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How To *Cope*

Chapter Text

It was raining the day Max Metro tried to kill herself. A bottle of painkillers mixed with Firewhiskey could be a dangerous weapon; and sadly, Max felt that as this point in her life, she needed to use that. To her dismay, she had woken up in the infirmary two days later, feeling like her head was in a fog.

“Miss Metro.”

Max turned her head to see Madam Pomfrey standing beside her bed, her arms crossed.

“How are you feeling?” She asked, frowning as Max smirked.

“Dandy.” She sat up.
“Can I go?”

“No you cannot! Max, you tried to commit suicide.”

Max felt a gross feeling spread in her stomach- like ice- but like usual, she shut it down. That feeling always came about when someone talked about her health with her. She snorted, rolling her eyes.

“Professor Dumbledoor will be here in a moment to speak with you. I suggest cutting the attitude. It might help you not get sent to St. Mungos.” The matron walked away.

Max bit her lip. She didn’t want to get sent to the psycho ward. She silently scolded herself for not doing a well enough job in the suicide area. Her right arm became red after a few seconds of gripping at the skin, and she sighed in relief as she felt a slow pain run through the skin.

“Hello Max.”

Max looked up to see Professor Dumbledoor walk in, followed by Professor Lupin. Max blushed. She hadn’t talked to her D.A.D.A. teacher since he had found her crying in the unused girls washroom the week previous. She had skipped classes with him since that day; too embarrassed to show her face. She shivered slightly at the memory.

~

Max gulped air desperately, trying to breathe through the panic attack she was having. She coughed, not being able to get air through her lungs. Maybe this is how she would die; she thought. She grasped at the tiles on the floor, desperate for anything to help her ground herself. She had tried to train herself to not let these situations happen- but it was one of those nights.

Suddenly, Max heard the bathroom door open. She turned and saw Professor Lupin, standing there with a look of concern. Max blushed madly. She knew she probably looked awful, as she had been crying for an hour straight. Max prepared herself to get yelled at, but her Professor rushed over, kneeling in front of her.

“Max? Max, what’s wrong?”

Lupin looked her over quickly; Max was guessing he was searching for an injury or something. She felt greatly embarrassed by her professor seeing her in such a state, but she needed help; as terrifying as it was for her to admit. Max gestured to her chest.

“Can’t breathe?” Lupin asked, and Max nodded.

Lupin suddenly picked her up, and Max went to push him away, but he held her gently. Something that she never experienced before. He put Max’s back against his chest, beginning to speak in a soft tone.

“Copy my breathes, okay?”

Max tried to, but was struggling.

“In...” Lupin took a deep breathe; Max following suit.

“And out...” Max let her breath go as her professor did.

For the next five minutes, Lupin helped her gain her breathing back.

“There we go. Your alright.” He gently parted from her, and rubbed her back a couple times.

Max felt a different feeling in her chest. No one had ever held her, or cared as much as Lupin seemed to. It scared her. Max scrambled out of his grasp, standing up.

“I-I’m sorry!” She said, beginning to cry again.

Lupin stood up, and as he went to speak, Max dashed away, running out of the bathroom. She ran until she reached the forest behind Hagrid’s hut. A place no one could find her or see her weirdness.

~

Ever since she was little Max had a problem with letting others see her sad or upset. It scared her in a way she didn’t understand. And the fact that her professor had seen her acting stupid, heightened the fear even more. When Max didn’t respond to his greeting, Dumbledoor just smiled.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, sitting in the chair across from Max’s bed.

Professor Lupin just stood off to the side, looking... sad. It confused Max. She hadn’t seen him look that sad before.

“Fine.” Max said curtly.

Dumbledoor nodded, looking away for a moment.

“Max, do you like going to school here?”

Max blinked, startled by the question.

“Y-Yes, sir. Very much.”

“Is there something that’s making you unhappy here?”

Max wanted to say it; to just say it out loud, but she couldn’t. She could feel Dumbledoor watching her closely, and she shook her head quickly.

“No sir.”

“Then why did you try to end your life, Max?”

The elder’s voice sounded so disappointed- it made Max want to hide in shame.

“Because I wanted to.” She mumbled, fidgeting with the white hospital sheet over her legs.

Dumbledoor sighed.

“Max, we almost lost you.” Lupin finally spoke- his voice breaking a little.

Max looked up at him.

“I found you- passed out- you were completely white- I thought you were dead, Max.” Lupin looked close to tears.

Max was taken aback by how upset her professor sounded. She wasn’t used to people caring for her- a lot of her professors disliked her- but surprisingly, a few actually were nice to her. Max classified herself as someone very hard to like. She was quiet, anti-social, and sometimes had a hard time speaking. She often blamed her looks for the reason as to why she was so awkward. Max had shoulder length straight hair, a soft reddish-brown color, with a part that always fell in front of her right eye. It pissed her off so much she was beginning to consider giving herself bangs. Then there was her body itself. Max’s least favorite part. She was shorter than most, and had big green eyes. She often compared herself to a frog.

“Would have been good if I was.” She muttered, crossing her arms over her chest and looking away.

“Max- I think we need to send you to St. Mungos.” Dumbledoor said softly.

Max whipped her head to the side.

“N-No! No, I’m sorry! I-I’ll stop being weird- I promise!” Max stuttered, close to tears.

“There is another option.” Dumbledoor glanced at Lupin.

“But I need you to make me a promise.”

Max nodded quickly.

“The other professors and Madam Pomfrey think that your mind will heal best at St. Mungos. But I don’t think that. I think you would heal best here.”

Max felt relief flood her body.

“Remus has taken medicine and Psychology. He is as good as any doctor. I think that it would be good if you stayed with him until your well again. But I need you to promise me you’ll let Remus help you.”

Max furrowed her eyebrows. She was not expecting that. She felt a whirlwind of emotions going through her and of course the one that won was guilt.

“I don’t think you would want me in your quarters.” She said quietly, glancing at Lupin.

The two Professors exchanged a look.

“Meet me in the Great Hall soon.” Lupin patted Dumbledoor’s shoulder and he nodded, getting out of the chair and leaving the infirmary.

Lupin smiled at Max slightly.

“How about we get some food into you, then talk?” He suggested, and summoned a house elf.

She was a tiny thing- with a blue cloth over her torso.

“Two meals of whatever was at lunch today.” Remus chuckled slightly.

The house elf nodded and disappeared.

“Macaroni salad, and some apple juice.” Remus said, putting it on the nightstand beside Max’s bed.

Max frowned, but picked up her plate and started eating.

"Thank you Professor."

Lupin smiled. "Call me Remus."

Chapter Text

When Max first saw the room Remus had designed for her, she felt a wave of excitement go over her. Then guilt. She didn’t know why her professor cared so much- it made her feel so... guilt ridden. It was now officially two days of living in Remus’s quarters, and Max was slowly trying to get used to it. She didn’t really understand why Remus was being so kind to her; it almost felt like a cruel trick.

“Here’s your satchel, kiddo.”

Max felt her heart flutter as she grabbed the bag from Remus. She never had anyone use a nickname for her. But instead of smiling, Max just glared at him.

“I’m not a kid.”

Remus smirked at her.

“Well, you are 12. That’s a kid.”

She blushed, and turned on her heels.

“Whatever. Bye.”

Max heard her professor chuckle lightly as she closed the door behind her.

------------------------------------------------
It was currently second last class; History of Magic; and Max was having difficulty controlling her anxiety. It didn’t help that Lockhart always gave her trouble for skipping or not being thoroughly with her work. Max bit at her lip nervously. It didn’t take her long to decide that she was going to sneak out; maybe twenty seconds at best. Once Lockhart had his back turned, Max bolted out the door with her satchel.

She fidgeted with her fingers nervously as she walked down the deserted hallway. She talked lowly; beginning to count up to one-thousand to help her calm herself. Max had always known her behaviour differed from her peers. After a lot of research, she realized she had symptoms of autism. She knew she couldn’t know for sure unless she was diagnosed, but it made her feel somewhat at ease that she wasn’t just a weirdo; that the way she acted was actually because her brain was different. Max realized her nervous fidgeting and counting was stimming, and was totally okay. The only part about it that scared her was others making fun of her for it.

As Max walked down the hallway, she heard her name be called. She turned, seeing a very angry Gilderoy Lockhart approaching. Her stomach flipped, and she saw a familiar memory flash before her eyes quickly. A memory she really didn’t want to surface at the moment. Max wrapped her arms around herself, starting to panic.

“You think you can just leave class whenever you want, don’t you?! 50 points from Gryffindor and a week’s detention!” Gilderoy Lockhart said angrily, stopping in front of Max.

“I-I can’t be in class right now. I-I-” Max began to stutter, and kept fidgeting with her fingers to try and ground herself.

“I don’t care- get back there now!”

Lockhart roughly grabbed Max’s shoulder; his hand encasing Max’s whole shoulder blade as he pulled her roughly.

She whimpered in pain; her brain going back to a place she didn’t want to go. As she looked up at him in fear, he pushed her shoulder roughly again. Max felt herself on the brink of a flashback, but snapped out of it as she heard another angry voice behind her.

“GILDEROY!”

She turned to see Remus walking briskly down the hallway towards them, a look on his face Max had never seen before. He looked livid.

“What the FUCK do you think your doing?!”

Remus stepped very close to Lockhart’s face, and Max stepped back from the pair fearfully.

“She left class for the-“

Remus didn’t let him finish. He quickly put his face an inch away from his, making Lockhart stumble back.

“Don’t you ever lay your fucking hands on her again.” He said in a menacing whisper.

It slightly scared Max, but made her feel.... protected. As she processed that for a second, she realized that it wasn’t a scary feeling…. it felt good.

Lockhart looked like he was about to say something, but turned and walked away angrily. Remus turned and bent to Max’s level.

“Sweetheart, are you okay? Does your shoulder hurt?” He asked quickly, looking at her with absolute concern.

Max looked at him in surprise. Sweetheart. She had never had anyone call her that before. She shook her head quickly, despite feeling a bruise forming where her Professor had grabbed her. Max glanced around them, feeling thankful no one was around to see what had just happened.

“I am so, so sorry he did that; has he ever hurt you before?”

Max shook her head.

“I will be speaking to Professor Dumbledoor about this.” Remus said, gently rubbing her other arm.

Max looked at him in fear.

“N-No!”

Remus gave her a confused look.

“Why not?”

Max began to fidget with her fingers. She opened her mouth to speak, but seemed to feel a familiar feeling of glue in her throat. She frowned, hating when she was unable to talk. Max then glanced at Remus, and blushed when she realized he was trying to read what was happening. Max suddenly began to lightly clap her hands together, looking away.

She tried to get the words to form, to save herself from the embarrassing situation she was now in. To her surprise, Remus rubbed her arm again. She was expecting him to laugh cruelly… like the other people that had seen her stim.

“It’s okay if you’re having trouble with words right now. How about we go have a cup of tea and calm down?”

Max felt an elated feeling in her chest. He understood and wasn’t angry!

Remus stood straight and gently led her back to his quarters. Once they were inside, Max sat down on the couch, beginning to count to one-thousand. She glanced at Remus every few seconds as he made their tea, and wondered if he was actually angry. It didn’t seem so, but the thought was still at the front of Max’s mind. She didn’t want him to realize she was bad, and make her leave. The hypothetical thought made a lump form in Max’s throat.

“Okay- Two green tea’s. Is green tea alright, sweetie?” Remus walked into the living area, holding two white mugs.

Max felt the strange feeling in her chest again. She nodded, and Remus sat down, putting their cups on the coffee table in front of them. Max continued to clap her hands lightly, trying to keep herself calm. She was starting to feel okay with stimming around Remus- he didn’t seem to judge her.

“That must have been very scary. Can you tell me why you don’t want me to tell Professor Dumbledoor, though?”

Max looked up at her new caregiver. It was such a strange experience to have someone care. No one ever had cared for her in her life, and it caused her to wonder if she was even worth the space on earth. She felt so happy Remus wanted to help her- even though it greatly confused her as to why he was. It made her want to stay with him forever. In her whole life, she never thought of anywhere as home. The closest place to home for her was the space she was currently in.

Her foster parents were cruel and evil, and the fact that she wasn’t a muggle made them despise her. Which confused Max since they were on the muggle/magic fostering committee. Things happened in her prison of a home that Max had tried her best to hide. She had figured out she was a metamorphmagus right before her first year, so that helped hide the many bruises that littered her skin. She really wanted to tell Remus the things that were haunting her, but felt that she would get in trouble from her nightmare foster parents.

The same went for the situation she was currently in. Max felt as if Professor Dumbledoor found out she was hurt, she was going to be in trouble. Max glanced at Remus as a few seconds went by.

“Don’t wanna be in trouble.” She muttered.

Remus furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.

“Why would you be in trouble?” He asked.

Max shrugged. She didn’t really know the answer to that question. Injuries and pain were secret.

Remus paused.

“Professor Dumbledoor would not be angry or give you trouble. This wasn’t your fault. He should never lay his hands on a student.”

“But I-I was bad.” She said, looking up at Remus.

Remus frowned.

“Why would you think that?”

“Because I left class.”

“That is no reason for someone to lay their hands on you.” He looked at Max with a firm look.

“Has anyone ever hurt you for your behaviour before?”

Max knew he wasn’t angry but her over-perceiving of facial expression made her fear that he was. She shook her head quickly.

“Honey, you can tell me anything, I need you to know that.”

Max looked at her hands. The sickening feeling of wanting to spill every bad memory overwhelmed her, but she just nodded. She could tell Remus was staring at her, but she didn’t look up.

“Can I tell Professor Dumbledoor about what happened? I don’t feel comfortable with that fu-” Remus paused, composing himself.

“I do not want Professor Lockhart teaching students if he is dangerous.”

Max fidgeted nervously. She nodded again. Remus rubbed her back gently, and Max flinched, standing up abruptly.

“I-I’m going to bed now.” She said, turning quickly and going to her bedroom.

Remus’s quarters had one large room containing the living area, kitchen and dining room, then a hallway that lead to five rooms; The bathroom, Remus’s office, and the guest room were on the left and Max and Remus’s rooms were on the right. Remus had picked a velvet purple and red theme for his home, and Max really enjoyed the Gryffindor aesthetic. Her room was painted light blue, and had a twin bed to the right, a bookshelf and a desk to the left, and a closet by the door. Remus had told her they would go shopping soon for things she likes, and even though Max insisted he didn’t have to buy her things, he had cancelled his Monday classes to go to Hogsmeade.

Max shut her door and climbed into her bed. She felt bad about leaving the living room so suddenly, but she needed to leave that conversation before the urge to tell Remus everything got any bigger. She pulled the blankets up to her chin and closed her eyes, starting to count.

Chapter Text

Today was the day that Max and Remus were to go to Hogsmeade. Remus had talked to Max’s professors, and collected her classwork. She was only missing Potions and Herbology, which both had no projects for the students to do that day. As Remus and Max walked up to the carriage to take them to town, Max paused as she watched Remus get in. Her Professor looked behind him in concern.

“Everything alright, Max?”

She looked at the horses nervously.

“Are they... are they gonna go fast?” She asked quietly.

Remus smiled softly.
“No, they go slow, don’t worry honey.”

He reached out his hand to help Max into the carriage.

She climbed in and sat beside Remus, feeling a bit of anticipation when it came to thinking about the horses.

“Has your foster parents ever took you to Hogsmeade before?” Remus asked as the horses started pulling them.

Max shifted uncomfortably at the mention of her foster parents. She could tell Remus was watching her closely, and tried to act normal. She shook her head.

“It’s really cool; we can go to any shop you like.”

The rest of the trip the pair rode in silence. It had been two days since the situation with Lockhart happened, and Max still felt awkward about it. Remus hadn’t mentioned it the next day though, thankfully.
Once they arrived at Hogsmeade, Max looked around nervously as they got out of the carriage. There were a lot of people, but not as much as their usually would be if they were there on a weekend. Max tried to feel thankful about that. She fidgeted with her fingers as they walked into the crowd.

“Everything okay, Max?”

Max wanted to just nod her head, but she could feel the panic begin to start. There were so many sounds, and her brain was trying to concentrate on each one. She glanced at Remus, and shook her head quickly. He stopped, and bent to her level slightly.

“What’s up, kiddo?”

Max glanced around. Nobody seemed to notice them, which made her feel slightly more at ease.

“Lots of people.... really noisy.” Her voice was very quiet; she hoped Remus could hear her.

Remus nodded understandingly.

“Your right. It is quite overwhelming, isn’t it?”

He then took out his wand, causing Max looked to look at it fearfully. Remus noticed this and put it at his side.

“Oh, it’s alright, honey. I was just wondering if I could try a spell to help you?”

Max furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. She hadn’t been around magic much during her childhood; mostly only at community functions that the muggle/magic foster committee held. It was still settling in her brain that there was basically spells for everything.

“What kind of spell?” She asked curiously.

“I can make all the background noise dull slightly, and make it so you can only hear people talking directly to you.”

Max felt her heart swell. He was being so caring- it made her wish Remus was there all those terrible years instead of her foster parents. She nodded, and Remus smiled softly. He uttered a phrase, moving his wand slightly and Max heard all the noise around her dull to a slight hum. Remus smiled.

“Better?”

“Better.” She whispered, smiling slightly.

Remus stood straight and they kept walking. After a few minutes of passing various boutiques and shops, Remus pointed to a taller wooden building with many large windows. They showcased different toys and books, both muggle and magic kind.

“How about we check out what’s in there?” Remus suggested.

Max nodded, and the pair opened the door, being greeted by an array of people. It was a cool store, with many different items. Shelves lined the middle, holding various toys, and the walls held books and an assortment of decorations. They also had ornaments and posters. Max wanted to enjoy shopping with Remus, but the many people were making her uneasy.

Remus walked slowly over to the books, and Max followed. She bit her lip, as she felt herself start to panic again. Max suddenly grabbed Remus’s hand, not letting herself debate the idea. Remus looked at her in surprise. She blushed and looked away. As Max went to go take her hand away, Remus squished it gently.

“Everything alright, sweetie?”

She nodded. Remus smiled kindly at her, and began to point out books that he though she might like. They browsed for a few minutes in the book section before going over to the array of toys. There were mostly older kid toys, like prank boxes and such, but as Max scanned the displays, her eyes fell onto a yellow bear wearing a red t-shirt that stopped just above his belly button. She realized it was the muggle book character; Winnie-The-Pooh.

Her heart swelled as she remembered it was the first book she had read. She had stolen it from the library after sneaking out one day as a child, and had cherished it for years. Sadly, her foster parents had found it and discarded it.

“Who’s this here?” Remus asked, reaching down to the display and reading the tag.

Max blushed madly. She shouldn’t be looking at stupid stuffed animals- she was almost a teenager! She tried to pull Remus in the other direction, but he did not budge.

“Hey, I know this little guy- we used to read you the stories as a baby.”

Max stared at Remus in surprise. They hadn’t talked about her previous life with her real parents before, or the part about Remus being close with her family. Except from the time that he had first introduced himself to her. Max noticed Remus look apologetic, and spoke before he could say anything.

“You and Sirius?” She asked quietly.

Remus smiled sadly. He nodded. Max had a few memories before foster care. She was taken away at five years old because of an unsafe household. The cops had come one night because of a noise complaint, and found Max’s parents high on cocaine. Max remembered mostly just scary yelling in that home, but it wasn’t a nightmare like her foster home was.

She also remembered being at the police station and being held by a crying Remus, telling her he wasn’t allowed to become her guardian.
Max didn’t remember much he said; something about not making enough income at the time.

She glanced at her caregiver.

“C-Can I have him?”

Max suddenly realized how stupid she must sound asking for a teddy bear. She grimaced.

“A-Actually- never-“

“Of course you can, sweetie!” Remus grabbed the Winnie-The-Pooh bear off the display and handed it to Max.

Max looked at it in surprise and confusion as she held the stuffie. She hadn’t had a stuffed animal since living with her real parents. She bit her lip, close to tears. The distressed child quickly handed it back to Remus, who frowned.

“What’s wrong honey?”

Max shook her head.

“Not allowed toys.” She stated, and looked at the ground.

She could feel her ‘immature state’ as she liked to call it, coming on. She usually just wanted to curl up and cry during these times. Sometimes she sucked her thumb- it made her feel ashamed but usually helped calm her.

“Who said that you weren’t allowed toys?” Remus asked, bending to Max’s level.

Without thinking, Max blurted out the words:

“My foster parents.”

Remus frowned sadly. Max suddenly realized her mistake. She wasn’t supposed to let anything out that let others think she was being mistreated- she knew the rules! She scolded herself for not being more careful.

“Have they ever let you have a toy or stuffie before?”

It was as if Max’s mind was acting against her. She shook her head, and looked away from Remus nervously.

“Well, Winnie is a very good teddy bear. Can you let me get him for you?”

Max glanced at him. Remus smiled at her, even though there seemed to be a sad look in his eyes.

Max bit her lip, then nodded. She wanted a stuffie so bad- so she tried to ignore the voice in her head telling her how stupid she was.

“C-Can we go back after?” She asked quietly.

Remus nodded, taking her hand.

“Course, sweetie.”

Chapter Text

Max had dashed to her room the moment she was able to as they got home from Hogsmeade. She had left Winnie with Remus to her dismay- even though she really wanted to hold him. Max knew if she had stayed there longer than a minute Remus would want to ask her scary questions, and she was not ready for that. It was now Tuesday, and Max was in second class. It was a class they had just started for second years, called ‘Health and Lifestyles’, and Max had just walked through the door and already she was bored. She sat down in the back left as she usually did, and pulled her books out. About five minutes later, their Professor appeared. He was a middle-aged man wearing a long brown robe, and silver glasses. Max recognized him from the welcome dinner at the start of the year.

“Hello class, welcome to the new Health and Lifestyles class.”

The Professor started writing on the board.

“As most of you know, this class covers drug abuse and sexual relationships. I will not tolerate any joking around during my lesson, so you better get it out now.”

There was a bunch of snickers from various students, but as for Max, her heart dropped. She couldn’t think about that stuff- or she would panic. Max looked behind her, deciding she needed to flee. But for some reason, she couldn’t move. It felt as if her body was ice. She watched her professor began teaching as if she was watching a horror movie through a lens. Max could not listen to this topic- it was going to make her breakdown and she knew it. As her Professor started to throw technical terms around; words that had been said to Max during horrific moments, she regained movement. She shot out of the room and down the hallway, trying to make her way back to Remus’s. She could feel her breathing began to restrict and she began to cry silently. Five minutes of running later, and Max arrived at Remus’s. As she pushed the door open, she realized it was locked. A quiet whimper escaped her lips as she pounded on it desperately. Upon looking at her watch, she saw that it was Remus’s break. He usually did class preparations in his next classroom- but she didn’t know where that was. Max began to tug at her hair, hyperventilating. She didn’t know what to do- her brain felt like it was being flooded with fear and confusion.

“Max? Max- No, sweetie, don’t do that. Hey-”

Remus suddenly appeared from around the corner and Max looked up to see him gently grab her wrists, taking her hands away from her hair.

“Honey, what’s wrong? What happened?” He asked in concern.

Max finally broke down. She let out a small cry and wrapped her arms around herself. She couldn’t control the tears anymore, and it made her have the urge to run away from Remus so he didn’t see her like this. But before she could act on that idea, her caretaker had pulled her into his chest gently.

“It’s alright sweetie. Let it out, okay?” Remus spoke in such a soothing tone, it made Max feel safer than she had ever felt.

Remus hugged her for a minute, before putting his head near her's.

“Let’s go inside, hm?”

He led Max inside their quarters, and once they were inside, Max tried to run to her room. Remus gently grabbed her hand before she could, though.

“Honey, I need you to talk to me.”

Max shook her head fearfully. She began clapping her hands, harder than she usually did. She didn’t know what to do- how to escape the situation she was currently in.

“Did something happen?” Remus asked gently.

Max nodded, biting her lip. She looked away, hiccuping as more tears steamed down her face. It wasn’t worth it trying to keep the truth from Remus- Max knew she couldn’t physically keep it in any longer.

“Oh love, please tell me what’s wrong. I don’t like seeing you this sad.” Remus bent down, and rubbed her arm lovingly.

Max let out a cry. She began clenching her fists repeatedly, wanting words to form in her head. She wanted to tell him. So bad. And she felt safe enough; safe enough that Remus wouldn’t hurt her for telling him the bad things. She took a deep breath.

“S-Scary class.”

Remus nodded in understanding.

“Which class were you in?”

“H-Health and lifestyles.”

Max watched as Remus made a look she couldn’t comprehend. He looked sad.... but angry? She looked away, letting out a fearful cry.

“Shhh, it’s alright.”

Remus gently picked her up, and Max gasped at the strange feeling. He carried her over to the couch, and sat down. Her caregiver positioned her so she was in his lap, with her legs resting on the couch.

“What was so scary in that class?”

Max whimpered, nestling into Remus’s chest. She tried to get herself out of the immature mindset she was in- so she could articulate her thoughts. She furrowed her eyebrows, willing her brain to say the scary word.

“S-Sex.” She whispered, feeling a pit of shame at the bottom of her tummy.

“Does that scare you because something happened?” Remus asked softly.

Max nodded, hiding her face in the fabric of Remus's shirt. Remus hugged her tightly.

“Tell me what happened, sweetheart.”

She took a deep breath.

“J-Jake hurt m-me.” She whispered, feeling sick as she said her foster father’s name.

“He touched you inappropriately?” Remus asked, a hint of anger in his voice.

Max knew it probably wasn’t directed at her- but that didn’t stop her younger mindset from thinking it was.

“I sorry!” She said fearfully, sitting up.

“D-Didn’ mean to! I sorry Remus!” Max began clenching her fists again.

She watched in surprise as her Professor began to cry. Tears rolled down his cheeks, and he took a shaky breath.

“Baby- you did nothing wrong. This is not your fault.”

Max felt her heart tingle at the nickname. She always wanted to be called baby- to be someone’s baby. She clenched her eyes shut and burrowed into Remus’s chest. Then began to sob. They were strangled, painful sobs, that she had sadly been keeping in much to long. Remus just rocked her as she cried, whispering soft “shh’s..” and “it’s okay’s,”.

"H-Hit me too- hurt so b-bad." Max said after a bit.

"A-And he make me d-do bad things to him..." Max took a shaky breath.

"I didn't want to, Remus, I s-swear. Didn't want to do those bad things." Max stuttered, looking up at the man holding her.

He was still crying. Max frowned and reached up to touch his tears. It just didn't seem real that she was somehow making her professor sad, and not angry.

"W-Why you crying? I make you sad?" She asked in confusion.

Remus shook his head, drying his tears with his sleeve.

"No, baby- you didn't make me sad- this makes me sad. That a monster hurt someone I love so much." Remus took a shaky breath, blinking away fresh tears.
"I'm sorry I wasn't there, Max. I am so sorry." He held her again, running his fingers through her hair. Max felt happiness start to bubble in her chest despite the situation. Remus has said he loved her. She hadn't heard that directed at her in years.

"I'm not leaving again, okay? If you want me around, I'll stay, okay love?"

Max looked up at him in confusion.

"What you mean?" She asked.

"You can stay here permanently, sweetie."

Max looked at him in surprise.

"Like.. you.. like you be my new d-daddy?" Max asked, beginning to fidget.

Remus nodded, smiling softly.

Max wrapped her arms around his neck and began to cry again. This time, though, they were happy cries.

"Talk to me, honey."

Max moved her head so her voice wasn't as muffled.

"H-Happy cries."

Remus hugged her tightly, smiling at her with love.

"I am happy too, you know that?"

"Why?" Max asked.

"Because I have my Max safe and sound- here with me." Remus said in a cheerful tone, trying to change the somber mood.

Max sighed in content, and burrowed her face back into Remus's shirt.

“You are such a good girl for telling me these things- such a brave girl.” Remus whispered, kissing the top of Max’s head.

He held her for hours, letting her release the pain that she had built up for years, and eventually, she fell asleep in his arms. It would be the first sleep she would have that wouldn’t be plagued with nightmares since she had been five. Max had never even imagined she could have a life that most of her peers had; A loving parent and a safe home. It was something she had wished for since the first time she was hurt by her foster father. As she fell into the wonders of REM, all she could feel was serenity.

Chapter Text

The next couple days was filled with a lot of hugs and a lot of crying. Remus had told Max they needed to tell the police about what had happened, and after hours of expressing panic and fear to Remus, she slowly started to ease into the idea. It was her biggest fear that anyone would find out about what she had done. Remus had corrected her though, that she had done nothing wrong. Max was trying to believe that, but it was hard.

“Max? Can we talk for a second?” Remus slowly pushed Max’s door all the way open.

Max was currently colouring in a picture from a muggle colouring book, trying very hard to distract herself from everything that was going on. Her heart immediately dropped at Remus’s question.

“I-I in trouble?”

Remus walked over to her bed and sat beside her.

“No, no, honey! Of course not.” He patted her wrist gently.

“Do you remember my friend Sirius?”

Max nodded. He was another one of her parents friends, but she hadn’t seen him since she was little.

“Well, he is an Auror, which is why you haven’t gotten a chance to meet him yet- he’s always travelling for work. But he’s a special type of Auror.”

Max looked at Remus in confusion.

“Special?” She asked, putting her crayon down.

Remus nodded.

“Sirius works on cases that have to do with children. He’s coming to stay with us for a little bit so he can help us with everything.”

Max suddenly realized what this was about. She blushed madly, going back to colouring. But instead of colouring in her picture as she was doing previously, she roughly dragged her crayon over the page.

Remus looked at her in worry. He put his hand on her wrist again.

“Max, I need you to listen to me right now.”

Max shook her head.

“Don’ wanna listen.” She mumbled.

“Why don’t you want to listen?” Remus asked.

Max appreciated how Remus asked her questions, and tried to understand how she was feeling. But she didn’t want to talk about this subject. It made her tummy feel sick.

“M-Makes- Make me feel icky.”

Remus looked at her sadly. Max stabbed the paper with her crayon, breaking it with a loud snap. Remus softly touched her hand.

“Hey,”

Max pouted, knowing she wasn’t supposed to do that.

“I need you to make more pretty pictures for me, you can’t do that without crayons.”

“I sorry.” Max whispered.

Remus smiled lovingly.

“It’s okay, honey.”

He thought for a moment.

“I do need to talk to you about this though.”

Max frowned, and brought her knees to her chest.

“Would it make you feel more safe if I held you while we talked?” Remus asked, and after a moment, Max nodded.

He picked her up gently, and held her against his chest. The pair had bonded a lot in the past couple days- Max had even shared with him her thoughts about maybe having symptoms of autism. She had also shared with Remus that she had strange moments where she felt immature and small, and Remus had told her that she was regressing due to the stress she had been through. It made Max feel like less of a freak when he put it that way. Remus had also said that he could talk to his friend from his old Psychology class that now were doing the practice about making an appointment for her; so she could find out if she really was autistic.

“You will love Sirius, he’s my best friend in the whole world.” Remus began rubbing Max’s back in small circles.

“He likes Quidditch, rock n roll, and macaroni salad.”

That earned a small giggle from Max. Remus smiled down at the child in his arms.

“And he is very, very kind. Just like me. I promise that you are safe around him, okay?”

Max looked up at her caregiver.

“W-What if he doesn’t like m-me?”

Remus kissed her forehead.

“Sweetie, he already loves you.”

Max blushed, but smiled slightly.

“And we can take some time before we talk about all that stuff- but for now, he is very excited to meet you. He’s coming this afternoon.”

Max wiggled nervously.

“He not gonna h-hurt me?”

Remus shook his head.

“Never. I promise.”

"Okay." Max said, resting her head on Remus's shoulder.

She had slight memories of Sirius Black- mostly just vague ones of a man with curly hair that was wrapped in a bun on the top of his head; singing and dancing around the room for her. Hopefully he still liked her- and didn't think differently of her for what had happened.

Chapter Text

Max was very regressed at the moment. She knew it was because she was nervous to meet Sirius- but she just wished it would go away. Remus had ordered her Legos in the past couple days; hoping to cheer her up a bit and get her mind of things. It was working quite well, surprisingly. She was currently sitting on the living room floor, engaged in the blocks surrounding her.

“What do you think we should have for dinner tonight, love?” Remus asked from the kitchen area.

“I ‘no.” She replied, and saw Remus smile at her out of the corner of her eye.

She didn’t really understand why she made him happy.

“How about omelettes?”

Max suddenly did care what they were having for dinner. She looked up, nodding excitedly. Remus chuckled, and walked over to the living area, joining Max at the carpet. Just then, a knock came at the door. Remus shot up, slightly startling Max. He rushed over to the door and opened it, and Max winced as Remus yelled happily. She liked that he was happy- just didn’t understand why he had to be so noisy. A man a bit shorter than Remus engulfed him tightly, and she watched as the pair laughed cheerfully, holding onto each other as they did. Remus then separated from him, and took his face in his hands.

“I missed you padfoot.”

Sirius gave him a huge smile.

“I missed you too moony. Got a bit more grey in there, hey?” Sirius ruffles Remus’s hair, making Remus hit him jokingly. Sirius looked over at Max. Max blushed madly. She didn’t like meeting new people. Sirius wasn’t exactly new in her life, but new enough to make her nervous.

“Hi, Max!” Sirius said excitedly, and walked over to where she was sitting.

Max pulled her knees into her chest. She watched Sirius frown slightly.

“Oh love, I’m sorry; I’m just excited to see you. I haven’t seen you for a long time.” Sirius sat down on the couch, and put his hands in his lap.

Max was glad he did- she didn’t like hands being where she couldn’t see them. Remus promised her Sirius wasn’t going to hurt her- but she still didn’t believe that just yet. People tended to want to hurt her. She didn’t know why it happened, it just did. Remus walked over to the pair, and sat down beside Sirius. Max suddenly felt a surge of jealousy go through her, but she pushed it down.

“What are you building?” Sirius asked.

“Blocks.” Max stated bluntly, crossing her legs and going back to building.

“Did Remus get those for you?” Sirius asked, and Max glared at him.

She didn’t know why she was upset at him- she almost felt bad that she was feeling this way- but she just was.

Obviously.” She said coldly.

“Max.”

Max looked up to see Remus looking at her with a firm look.

“That was rude. Please don’t talk to Sirius like that.”

Max glared at him angrily. Now she was mad at both of them. With a quick slam of her hand, she destroyed her creation and stood up.

“Don’t fucking care!” She yelled, storming to her room.

Max slammed the door behind her and began throwing things she found around the room at her walls. She felt angry- and scared- and she didn’t know how to deal with it. Her secret was out and she might get in trouble and she felt icky and there was a new person in what felt like her house- it just wasn’t a good day so far. Max yelled loudly, throwing a glass figurine at the wall. She was surprised at how vocal she currently was, but that surprise turned into shock as she felt a sharp stab on her cheek. She could hear Remus and Sirius coming down the hall, and as they opened the door, Max felt something trickle onto her lip. She touched her cheek, and felt a pool of blood forming over a large gash.

Oh my God-“ Remus rushed in, and took Max’s face into his hands.

“Baby- you are cut very bad- we need to go to the infirmary.”

Max whimpered, feeling fear bubble in the bottom of her tummy. Blood scared her. It reminded her of bad injuries and not being able to move. Suddenly, Remus picked Max up and Max looked up in surprise as Sirius pressed a cloth or fabric of some sort onto her cheek.

“I need you to keep pressure on your owie, sweetie.” He said in a soft tone.

Max nodded, beginning to cry. As Remus rushed her out of their quarters and down the hallway, she noticed students staring and whispering. Max tried to hide her face in Remus’s shirt.

“Oi! Get your arses to class!” Sirius barked, making students scramble away from them.

Once they arrived at the infirmary, Remus put Max on a bed hurriedly.

“Poppy!” He called frantically.

Madam Pomfrey came out of her office, sighing at first. But when she saw Max, her eyebrows furrowed.

“What happened?” She asked, beginning to get supplies from the nearby cupboards on the wall.

Remus was about to speak, but became at a loss for words. He looked down at Max, about to ask her, but she spoke before he could.

“Threw glass at the wall- it came back at me.” She whispered.

Madam Pomfrey began cleaning and treating Max’s wound, much to Max’s discomfort.

“It will need a few stitches. Are you positive this wasn’t on your own accord?” She said, sounding skeptical.

Max pulled back, glaring at the matron.

“I-I didn’t do this on purpose!” She yelled angrily.

Madam Pomfrey was about to speak, but Max cut her off.

“No! Fuck off! E-Everyone go ‘way! Go away!” Max began to hyperventilate, and went to get off the bed.

Remus stopped her, bending down and holding her hands on her knees.

“Let me go!” She yelled, struggling in Remus’s grasp.

“Max.” Remus said in a calm tone.

“Fuck off! Fuck OFF!” She screamed, her voice cracking at the end of her sentence.

“Max, you need to ground yourself, baby.” Remus’s voice was so soft- it made Max want to snuggle into his chest and never leave.

She let out a cry-too angry to ground herself. She shook her head furiously, clenching her eyes shut. Everything was turning shaky when she kept her eyes open- making her feel nauseous. Max realized she was unable to relax, and needed Remus to proceed to take it upon himself to calm her

“I am here with you. Your my good girl, and I love you very much.”

Max opened her eyes and looked at Remus, the shaky image of him coming into focus.

“And your my brave girl- who is amazing at building Lego’s.”

Max grabbed his hand quickly. She began rocking back and forth, not caring who saw her stim.

“There we go- such a good girl, Max. So brave, sweetie.” Remus sat beside her, and pulled her into his arms.

He then proceeded to treat her wounds himself, taking some cream from Madam Pomfrey. He was rusty with magical medical stitching, but realized he better learn quick, because it was the only way Max’s wound was going to get treated. She would not let Madam Pomfrey go near her again, and Remus knew that. After Max was healed, Remus just sat on the infirmary bed, rocking her soothingly. Sirius sat beside them, and after a few minutes, Max looked up, teary eyed.

“I-I sorry Sir’us.” She said softly, sniffling slightly.

Sirius looked at her in confusion.

“For what, love?”

Max looked away, feeling ashamed.

“For being rude.”

Sirius looked at her with love.

“Max, there’s no reason to be sorry. I’m not upset with you at all.

Sirius rubbed her shoulder lightly. Max burrowed back into Remus’s shoulder. She just wanted to sleep, and thankfully, it only took her a few minutes to completely pass out in Remus’s arms.

Chapter Text

Max was currently taking a break from classes- and doing them with Remus. Since the incident in Health class, Max was very nervous attending her courses. Currently, she had just finished up her homework (with the help of Sirius) and were getting ready to go have dinner in the Great Hall with Remus.

“Okay- shoes and socks!” Sirius said, coming out of Max’s room.

He was holding a pair of red and gold striped socks, (Max's favorite) and her white sneakers with the blue laces. Max smiled up at him. She absolutely loved Sirius. Vague memories of her time spent with him before foster care kept coming up in her brain, and it helped her get used to him.

“Socks first!” Max said, sitting down.

“That’s right! Smart girl.” Sirius praised, sitting down on the floor with her.

It had been about a week since Sirius had arrived, and the two of them had bonded amazingly. Max loved how funny and silly he was. He also was very good at building legos.

“Would you like help?” Sirius asked.

Max shook her head, taking the socks.

“I do it.” She said, putting her socks quickly on her feet.

“See?” She smiled at Sirius, wiggling her toes.

Sirius beamed at her.

“Very good sweetie!”

Max fidgeted with her fingers.

“Um... nee’ help with shoes... please?” She didn’t look at Sirius as she asked, still very nervous about asking for help.

“Course!”

Sirius put her sneakers on, tying the shoe laces.

Max pouted, feeling her feet restrict slightly. She didn’t like things too tight.

“What’s wrong? Too tight?”

Max nodded.

“Sorry, love. I have a habit of tying shoelaces tight. On motorbikes, you need to have them really tight or they get caught in the bike.”

Sirius loosened the white laces, and Max raised her eyebrows at him.

"You have a motorbike?!"

Sirius laughed, standing up.

"I do. Maybe when I get it running better I can take you on it. It's still got a few quirks I need to fix."

Max nodded excitedly, then looked down at her shoes.

“Thank you for helping me, Sirius.”

Sirius helped her up.

“Of course, honey.”

They left their quarters and departed to the Great Hall. It was a fair ways from their quarters, usually down a few staircases if they didn’t move. As they walked, Max felt the need to hold Sirius’s hand. She had never done that before, though. It made her feel funny inside- the thought of holding another person's hand besides Remus's. Remus liked holding her hand, though, she thought. Maybe Sirius would too. She slowly grabbed Sirius’s hand and looked at the ground. After she realized Sirius held her’s back, she glanced at him in anticipation. He smiled at her with adoration, and it made Max’s heart swell. They walked for a few more minutes, before Sirius spoke.

“What do you think they will have at dinner tonight?” He asked.

“Cake!” Max said, making Sirius chuckle.

“Yeah? What else?”

“Um... watermelon and-“ Max stopped suddenly as she looked ahead of her and saw Gilderoy Lockhart a few feet away. Sirius glanced at Max, seeing something was wrong.

“Sirius.” Lockhart stopped beside them, and nodded at his coworker.

Sirius let go of Max’s hand to shake Lockhart’s. His hand was currently Max’s safety net and now that it wasn’t holding her’s-she felt herself begin to panic. And the fact that her abusive Professor was in front of her. Remus had tried to get him fired- but it didn’t work. Max didn’t really care if he was here or not- she just didn't want to be next to him- and didn’t really understand why Remus had been so cautious when telling her he wasn’t able to get him fired. People always hurt her. That’s just how it went; she was used to it. It just sucked.

“Hey, how is everything?” Sirius asked, and Lockhart shrugged.

“Same, same.” He said, and looked at Max with a smirk.

“When do you think your going to return back to education?”

Max felt his mean state boring into her- and it made her want to cry.

“I’m sorry?” Sirius asked defensively, frowning at Lockhart.

Lockhart looked up quickly.

“Meaning, she’s been missing quite a few classes.”

Sirius glared at him.

“I don’t think this is appropriate to discuss right now. Why not take it up with Remus in his office?”

Lockhart snorted, walking away. Sirius looked down at Max, and Max hurried away from him. She clapped her hands lightly, ignoring Sirius as he called her name. She needed to distract herself. It was dinner time. Time for dinner. She was going to eat dinner.

“Max." Sirius said firmly as he rushed after her.

"Max, hey!” Sirius called desperately.

He grabbed her shoulder, not rough, but enough to stop her from walking. Max flinched, and backed away from him. Sirius looked at her in concern as he bent down.

“What’s up, little one?” He asked, touching her shoulder again; Max guessed to ground her.

She liked being called ‘little one’. It felt good. She had already realized Sirius didn’t know about what had happened- and she really didn't want to explain. But she was trying a new thing- sharing what was going on so that Remus and Sirius could help her when she was in this sort of state. She looked away and fidgeted with her fingers.

“Lockhart h-hurt my sh-shoulder.”

Max watched the same expression Remus gave her appear on Sirius’s face as she told him someone hurt her.

“When did he do this happen? Does Remus know this? Is it okay, does it hurt honey?”

Max bit her lip. She was too little at the moment for that many questions at once.

“Um... lotsa questions, Sir’us. Can y-you please say... say it again?” Max clenched and unclenched her fists repeatedly as she spoke, not looking at Sirius.

“I’m sorry, love, my bad. Here, let’s sit on the bench for a sec, hm?” He led her over to one of the small benches that sat along the walls.

Max shuffled her feet back and forth.

“Did you tell Remus this?” Sirius asked gently.

Max nodded.

“H-He saved me a-and got really mad at Lockhart. R-Remus made Lockhart scared.” Max laughed softly at the last part.

Sirius chuckled.

“Remus is very protective, isn’t he?”

Max nodded, smiling slightly.

“How about we go meet him now? Hopefully there’s cake. And watermelon.” Sirius smiled at Max as he took her hand.

Max giggled, and walked with Sirius down the hall. She felt so lucky to have Remus to take care of her, and now, she had Sirius for the time being. Max was so happy. But sometimes when she thought about it, she felt a small amount of guilt swirling around her chest. The intrusive thoughts that entered her brain telling her she didn’t deserve anything was sometimes prominent, but she was good at pushing that down. It took many years of practice to be able to do so. In the moment of holding Sirius’s hand and walking through the hallway of her school (and also, home) Max felt proud of herself for the first time in her life.

Chapter Text

Fast forward about a week later, and the little family of three were having more fun than ever. Max enjoyed playing, reading stories, and absolutely loved when they would go for walks. Max didn’t really care what her peers thought- she was too happy to care. A few days previous, she had convinced Remus she was well enough to go back to school. That was a big lie. But since the second embarrassing situation with Lockhart, Max wanted to prove to him and herself that she was not weak or stupid.

“Max, hey!”

Max heard her name be called, and she turned in confusion. A boy her age named Draco ran up to her, holding a sheet of paper.

“I forgot to give your notes back.” He said, laughing nervously at the end of his sentence.

Max smiled, taking the piece of paper.

“Thanks. Hoped they weren’t too messy.” Max smiled kindly, and Draco shook his head.

“Not at all.” He glanced behind Max briefly.

“Um... you want to walk to next class together? Your in my Wednesday Charms, right?”

Max blushed, nodding.

“Sure.” She said quietly.

The two began walking, and Draco made idle small talk. He asked about how she did on the last tests and such, and also if she had heard about the latest Quidditch match. Max and Draco has sat beside each other for a few classes now, despite the fact their houses were rivals. As they walked, Max realized this was her first “friend”. Hopefully he was a friend. As they reached Charms class, Max felt someone grab the collar of her shirt, and she flew backwards, landing on the concrete hard.

“What the fuck, Crabbe?!”

Max looked up to see a group of boys laughing at her. Vincent Crabbe, a Slytherin boy, loomed over her with a smirk.

“Seen you with your two bodyguards. They watch you cause your fucked up or something?”

Max blushed madly, and stood up.

“Fuck off Crabbe! What’s your problem?” Draco asked angrily, looking at the taller boy with a glare.

Crabbe stepped up to Draco threateningly.

Oi! The fuck is going on here?”

Fin Yvoch, one of the Gryffindor Prefect's, stepped between Draco and Crabbe.

“He pulled Max to the ground!” Draco exclaimed.

“You do that, Crabbe?” Fin asked, looking at him firmly.

“Yeah; so? She’s a little freak, who cares?”

Max felt her heart drop. So much for not caring what her peers thought.

Fin got really close to Crabbe’s face, making him stumble back slightly.

“Watch it, Crabbe.” He said lowly, not breaking his firm glare.

Fin moved away from him.

“Twenty points from Slytherin- get the fuck to class. All of you.” He glared at the group of boys.

They left, muttering things Max couldn’t hear. She looked away from Fin and Draco.

“Max, don’t listen to them. They’re assholes. Let’s just go to class, okay?” Draco said, putting a hand on her arm lightly.

Draco’s touch didn’t scare her as much as she thought it would, but her body still involuntarily recoiled.

“No. I’m leaving.”

Draco went to protest but Max had already spun on her heels and took off.

“Max, wai-” She heard Fin cut Draco off.

Max thought that what had happened would cause her to regress but it just made her angry- and want to hurt herself. Or drink. She had stolen the Firewhiskey from Filch’s office a few times. And got totally wasted. As Max stormed down the hallway, she thought about repeating that again.

“Hey, Max. Stop for a sec.” She turned to see Fin standing there looking thoughtful.

“Fuck those guys, alright? Where are you going right now?”

“Why would I tell you?” Max snorted, implying the part about Fin’s position.

“I have no interest in reporting you for skipping class. Are you going back to Lupin’s?”

Max blushed at the question. She didn’t like everyone knowing about her situation. She laughed drly, shaking her head and turning.

“I gotta go.”

Fin touched her arm lightly.

“I found out from Zoey, okay? Zoey found out from Winter, and so forth; I don’t judge you. Your still a Gryffindor-even if your not sleeping in our beds.”

Max grimaced. So everyone knew she was a mental wack job. Lovely. The last part he said made her want to smile, though.

“I don’t. I’m serious. I… get it. Being with a bunch of strangers can be overwhelming.” Fin looked away sheepishly for a moment.

“Could I walk you back to your quarters?” He asked.

Max nodded slightly. The two walked together at a moderate pace, and Max glanced at him every few seconds.

“Were having an after party for the next Quidditch match. Want to come?”

Max raised her eyebrows.

“You’re certain you’ll win?”

Fin looked dumbfounded.

“Max- It’s us against Hufflepuff.”

“Shit- right.” Max laughed sheepishly.

Fin chuckled, shaking his head.

“We need you in the loop more, you know that? You should come hang out more often.”

Max grimaced. She really did miss her house- despite only talking to a few people. It just made her feel extremely awkward being so different than her peers. They arrived at Max’s quarters and Fin looked at her firmly.

“Seriously, Max. Were family- you need us by you. I know it would feel weird going back- but we miss you. And if anyone from our house gives you trouble; direct them to me.

Max nodded, smiling slightly.

“Thanks, Fin.” She said quietly.

He nodded before departing. Max felt giddy almost. Having friends was strange.

Chapter Text

Max was battling with the blade.... yet again. She knew everything was better- but it didn’t feel better. She felt stupid at the fact she knew she was healing from what had happened, but still wanted harm herself. She hadn’t cut that much before- not enough for people to notice, at least. But she liked it. That was the problem. She didn’t know why she did; maybe it was like a punishment or something.

Max was currently in the gender neutral washroom on the second floor. Just like the girls washroom, it had a local ghost that haunted it and made people wary of going in. Max didn’t mind him, though. His name was Ben and seemed pretty nice. They had come in agreement that he would leave Max alone when she wanted to do... unhealthy things- as long as she kept visiting him. Max liked talking to Ben. He was lonely, like her. Sadly, he was only there because he had committed suicide in his fifth year in the bathroom and didn’t want to leave.

Max grabbed the weightless piece of metal and put it level with her eyes. So shiny, she thought. It was weird how something so controversial had such a pretty look to it. Max breathed in deeply before pulling her sleeve up. She had gotten it from one of her razors- it was a bitch to get it open but hopefully it would make her calm. She just had to remember to concentrate her metamorphagus abilities on hiding it from the public. And her parents.

Max felt a giddy sensation, but it slowly shaped itself to guilt. Her parents. Remus technically was- and it felt like Sirius was for keeps they way Remus and him acted together. They loved her- she didn’t need to be doing this to herself if people loved her- but she still felt the overwhelming need to. She bit her lip, and carved into her skin before she could think twice. Max gasped as she realized she had cut deeper than intended to. She was fine with blood- even on herself- but not with seeing flesh or tissue. As Max felt herself become light headed, the bathroom door opened.

“Oi, Ben! Brought you a comic! This one is way coo-“

Max looked at the entrance to the washroom in fear as Fin Yvoch entered. Why the fuck is he here! Max thought. She hurried to cover her arm that was now oozing blood at an alarming rate, but Fin was already rushing over to her.

“Fuck, Max-“ Fin said under his breath as he took his jacket off.

Max looked at him in confusion and fear. Taking your jacket off usually meant violence. She stepped back from him.

“I’m- I’m sorry- p-please don’t hurt me.”

Fin looked at Max in surprise.

Hurt you? Max- I’m not going to hurt you- I would never do that.”

He looked at her cautiously as he pressed his jacket sleeve against her wound.

“We just need to put pressure on it, okay?” He gently tied his sleeve around the cut, and looked up at her.

“Why did you do this?” He asked, a hint of hurt in his voice.

Max furrowed her eyebrows. She didn’t understand why he cared. He was popular, nice, funny- and very pretty, Max realized with a funny feeling in her stomach.

“Wanted to.” She replied quietly.

Fin opened his mouth to reply, but didn’t. He glared over at the stalls.

“Ben!” He called angrily.

The ghost of a fifteen year old boy floated through the one of the stall doors. Ben was about five feet, with sandy brown hair and green eyes.

The teenage ghost looked at Max in surprise.

“Shit-She finally done it, hey?”

Fin made a sound of bewilderment.

“What the fuck, Ben?! No! Why did you let her do this?” He asked in frustration.

Ben shrugged.

“We made a deal.”

Fin was about to retort, but shook his head. He tossed the comic he had put on the counter on the ground.

“Here’s your comic- don’t expect any good ones soon.”

Ben scoffed.

“It’s not my fault!”

Fin gently lead Max out of the washroom by the shoulders.

“I need to take you to the infirmary.”

Max sighed in exasperation, stopping in her tracks.

“Pomfrey hates me- can- can you just take me home?”

Fin thought for a moment.

“Okay. But I have to get Remus after- he’s eating dinner in the great hall right now. Where you’re supposed to be.” He said the last sentence with exasperation.

Max felt a sting at his words. She couldn’t control the way she was- it was like she was a robot; her actions programmed by someone else. It wasn’t her fault she was the way she was.

“I’m sorry, okay?” She said, beginning to cry.

“I don’t want to be a freak. Why did you even help me if your just going to make me feel bad?”

Fin looked at her apologetically. Max pushed her tears away angrily.

“Fuck- I’m sorry, please don't cry- I didn’t mean it to sound like that, I just-“ Fin sighed, rubbing his forehead slightly.

“Can we walk and talk?” He asked softly.

Max saw a look she hadn’t seen before appear on his face. Almost.... sad. She nodded. The pair began walking, slowly.

“My dad.... killed himself when I was eleven.”

Max looked at him in surprise. He wouldn't meet her eyes and stared ahead firmly.

“I’ve never told anyone that. You’re literally the first person.”

Max frowned. He sounded so sad- she didn’t like seeing Fin sad.

“And when people hurt themselves- people I care about- I get angry.” He glanced at Max.

“You care about me?” Max asked in surprise.

Fin laughed slightly.

“Course I do. I’ve cared about you since you saved my little brother from those Ravenclaws.”

Max stared at him in confusion, then suddenly remembered what he was talking about. Last year, Taio, a boy in her year, was being beat up very badly by a group of Ravenclaws. Max was shit at magic- and maybe that was a good thing because as she cast a hex that was supposed to turn their legs to jelly, she made boils of goo appear on their faces. It caused them to flee, and for Max to help the boy to the infirmary.

Max laughed slightly.

“Only cause my hex went wrong.” She said as they stopped in front of her quarters.

Fin took out his wand, and to Max’s surprise, cast a Patronus.

“Fin-What the fuck?” She stared in bewilderment as a beautiful pony took form, and bounded away.

He chuckled. Max looked at him in surprise. She felt wary about becoming friends with Fin- but she needed to get to know him if he could cast a Patronus that well.

“Yeah, it took a long time.”

Max shook her head in disbelief, casting a spell to unlock the door to her quarters.

“You-You want some tea?” Max asked sheepishly as they walked into the living area.

Fin nodded.

“Sure. How about I make it? I use a surprise ingredient.”

Max looked at him weirdly.

“As long as your not drugging me.” She said, laughing slightly.

Fin rolled his eyes and Max walked over to the couch. She stared in horror as she saw her teddy bear and blanket out. She hurriedly stuffed them in the box beside the couch and sat down, hoping Fin didn’t see. He seemed very busy making a pot of tea- and Max watched him put two spoonfuls of honey into their cups. Very surprising, she thought sarcastically. About a minute later, Fin carried two cups into the living room. He handed Max her’s and sat down beside her.

“So- is Remus and Sirius going to think a random Patronus is showing up to dinner, or....?” She smirked slightly.

Fin shook his head, smiling.

“No, that would be funny though. Everyone in Hogwarts has to have their Patronus form registered- and the teachers have to know it.”

Max nodded in acknowledgment. She tried to ignore why she was currently sitting on her couch with Fin Yvoch, and just tried to enjoy his company. About two minutes later, Remus and Sirius burst through the door, followed by a translucent pony.

“What’s wro-“ Before Remus could finish his sentence, he saw the sleeve tied around Max’s arm.

He rushed over to her, bending down.

“What happened, love?” He began to untie the sleeve of Fin's Gryffindor robe.

“I found Max in the bathroom and brought her here. She said it was better for her to go here instead of the infirmary, Professor.”

Remus didn’t answer. He stared at Max’s wound, realizing what it was from.

“Thank you, son. What’s your name?” Sirius replied for Remus upon realizing he wasn’t going to.

Fin blushed slightly at the choice of nickname. He stood up, putting his right hand out.

“Fin Yvoch, sir.”

Sirius shook his hand.

“Thank you so much for getting Max back here safely, Fin. I’d give you points, but sadly I don’t teach here.” He chuckled.

Fin nodded, smiling slightly.

“Of course, sir. I’ll see you at tomorrow’s party, Max?” Fin looked down at Max and she nodded.

She hoped she was allowed to go; considering she was probably now on red alert with Remus and Sirius.

“Goodnight Professor.” Fin said quietly as he walked by Remus.

Once Fin left, Remus looked up at Max sadly.

“Baby.” He said softly, close to tears.

Max looked away. She really wanted to go into that mindset and tell Remus and Sirius all about what she was feeling, but she just couldn’t. It felt better to be a big girl. She felt accepted when she was a big girl. Remus turned to Sirius, asking him to get the disinfectant.

“Why did you hurt yourself?” Remus asked gently.

Max looked away, not replying. Remus sighed, and began stitching her up with basic medical spells. Sirius came back with the disinfectant, and Remus spread it lightly on the cut.

“Max, I need you to answer my question.” Remus said firmly.

Max pouted. She didn’t like when Remus used his serious voice. She felt herself slowly slip into her younger mindset and shook her head at the feeling. Remus took it as an answer to his question, and he frowned.

“Max, you hurt yourself. Why did you want to do that?”

Max began clapping her hands, not looking at Remus or Sirius.

“Cause.” She replied softly.

“Cause why?”

Max sighed in exasperation. Trying to fight off little-kid mode and answering questions at the same time was hard.

“Cause I wanted to!” She said, standing up. Max took off to her room, slamming the door. She didn’t want to think anymore- except about Fin. He was a pretty good thought.

Chapter Text

Remus was finally at the point in his life, where he was happy. Truly happy. He had put in the adoption papers for Max and the hearing to imprison the monsters who hurt his daughter was in two months. He hadn't gotten Sirius to talk to Max yet; he wanted them to be able to bond before they talked about stuff like that.

On the note of Sirius; he was (obviously) one of the things that had made Remus feel genuinely happy. He hadn’t seen him in three years- right before he had done his first international trip for work. They had broken up then, both knowing distance would be too hard. But now that he was back, Remus wanted to try again. Sirius had requested local work, thankfully, So Remus had put out the idea of him moving in. He had agreed. With a giddy sensation, Remus realized he was finally where he wanted to be in life.

But still, the same thing that had been gnawing at him for two months was very present in his brain. Someone had hurt his child. He had deemed Max his responsibility when he discovered his best friends- Gale and Aubrey- were doing meth. He had discovered their addiction upon coming over one day and finding them passed out after they had mixed the drug with alcohol. Max was two.

He remembered the day she was taken away quite vividly- it was the day he felt his heart literally break for the first time. Sirius and him were going through college during that period, and were more broke than ever; they legally weren’t able to take care of her. The look on her face when he had told her that was something that still made him feel beyond guilty. He never had any children of his own- it just hadn’t been a thought until Max came into his life. He wished he had of been there for her childhood, though. Remus tried to visit her after she was taken- but was denied seeing her due to the fact she was to have no connections to her parents and their “crowd.” Remus and Sirius were absolutely devastated by that.

But on Max’s first day of Hogwarts- he vowed to be there for her. He never knew he would end up adopting her, though. He had poorly assumed her foster parents were up to par. They were magic, in a good home, but nothing was never as it seemed, Remus sadly had to remind himself. He had suspected she was being abused a few weeks before she tried to kill herself. From the way she acted in class and the panic attack he witnessed, he had begun to assume someone had hurt her in some way.

The family of three were currently in the living room relaxing after supper. Max was playing with her legos while Sirius helped her periodically, and Remus was doing the dishes. He figured now might be a good time to bring up what she needed to talk about with Sirius. Remus looked over at his boyfriend.

“Hey, babe? Help me with something?” He asked, and watched Sirius kiss Max’s head before getting up.

He smiled in adoration. He was so sweet with her. Sirius had gone into the field of Child Safety in his Auror career a few years previous, and learned a lot about the behavior of abused kids. Remus was surprised at how fast and well he bonded with Max when he moved in. Sirius was often very hyper and distracted during their relationship years ago, but he assumed work had calmed him down somewhat.

“What’s up?” Sirius walked over and stood next to Remus.

Remus glanced at Max, then leaned into Sirius.

“I think you should talk to her about everything. Can you, ah, disappear for a moment while I explain everything to her?”

Sirius smiled softly. He kissed his lover’s cheek.

“Course. I’ll be in the room, okay?” Sirius said, referring to their bedroom.

Remus nodded.

“I’ll be right back, okay love?” Sirius bent to Max’s level.

“‘kay.” Max responded, not looking up from her Lego’s.

Remus smiled lightly at Sirius before he left the room. He then dried his hands and walked over to his daughter.

“Hey baby; can we talk?”

Max looked up in surprise.

“You aren’t in trouble- promise.” He said, and sat down on the couch.

He patted the seat next to him and Max got up from the floor. She sat down slowly, not looking at Remus.

“You know how Sirius is an Auror, right?”

Max frowned at him.

“This is about the bad thing.” She stated.

Remus tried to hide his surprise. She wasn’t usually that blunt. But he had to remember she was growing up- he sighed internally upon realizing he was about to deal with the teenage years.

“Yes, this is about that.” Remus grabbed her hand, ignoring her protest.

Max needed gentle touch during these moments- or she was at risk of having a flashback.

“Sirius is going to handle your case. He is going to be the one who speaks at the Ministry, and he is going to be one of the ones working out their sentence. He just needs to talk to you about everything first."

Remus grimaced slightly.

"I know this probably sounds very scary, but I promise it’s not as scary as it sounds. There’s just... one thing that-“

“I have to speak...there.... don’t I?” Max asked in a whisper.

Remus looked at her in sorrow. She looked so tired- not even afraid- just tired. It killed him. She was only twelve. She shouldn’t have to deal with this.

“Yes.” Remus said quietly.

He squeezed her hand lightly.

“But Sirius can be beside you the whole time.”

Max squirmed uncomfortably. Remus wanted to bring her into his arms- but wanted to explain everything before she possibly regressed.

“Sirius....Sirius won’t thing I’m icky? From what I tell him?” Max asked, looking at Remus fearfully.

Remus shook his head.

“No, 'course not. He would never think anything bad of you, sweetie.” Remus watched as Max brushed away a stray tear.

“He loves you. He is just as upset as me that our little one was hurt.”

Max looked up, biting her lip.

“I-I both of yours? Like.... like you and Sirius together?” She asked nervously, fidgeting with her fingers.

Remus chuckled.

“Yes, were together. And yes, your both of ours.”

“I-I have two daddies then!” She said with a smile, beginning shuffling her feet.

Remus nodded, laughing slightly.

Remus had taught Max to never hold it back if she needed to stim. He told her it was healthy and okay- it took Max about a month, but she slowly let herself clap and fidget eventually.

“W-Which is good c-cause I don’t have Mom and Dad anymore.”

Remus looked at her sadly. Max then looked up at him expectantly.

“Remus?” She asked.

“Yes, love?”

“Where are they? Mom and Dad?”

He knew the question would come at some point. He sighed.

“I saw them last in London, on the streets. They....don’t have a home.”

“Are they still sick?”

Remus grimaced.

“Yes love, their still sick.”

Max nodded.

“O-Okay.” She said quietly.

“Come here.” Remus said softly, and picked her up.

He settled her into his lap, and Max wrapped her arms around his neck.

“I love you. More than anything in the world, okay little one?”

Max nodded, laying her head against Remus’s chest.

“I love you too. Lots and lots.” She said softly.

Remus chuckled.

“That’s a lot of lots.”

Max giggled.

Remus rubbed her back for a few minutes, before Sirius walked in.

“Hey guys.” He said, smiling at the two before sitting down beside them.

Remus smiled at him softly, then looked down at Max.

“You want to talk to Sirius now?” Remus asked, continuing to rub her back.

Max nodded, not moving her head from it’s spot.

“Want me to stay with you while you talk?” He bent his head toward hers

Max shook her head, raising it.

“I big girl. I can do it.” She said, and Remus smiled proudly.

“You’re right. You are a big girl. But I’m just in the other room if you need me, okay?”

Max nodded.

Remus put her gently on the couch. He kissed her head, then Sirius’s. He hoped it went well; hoped that Max didn’t become even more traumatized from having to say what had happened in agonizing detail.