Remus stood on the porch to number 4 Privet Drive and took a deep breath. He had finally done it. It had taken the best part of a year, but they had finally found out where they had taken his best friends son, Harry Potter. His Godson. He had been beyond angry upon finding out that Dumbledore had whisked him away to be raised in parts unknown by God-knows-who. His whole pack was dead or in prison and he had taken their cub from him. The one thing that might have allowed him to keep his sanity in the face of Sirius’ betrayal. Dumbledore had said he’d be better off here, that he was protected by Lily’s blood. But he had to check. He had to be sure, for James and Lily’s sake as much as his own.
Squaring his shoulders he knocked. The door was opened to reveal a scowling man who filled the doorway. He glanced at Remus and his face was instantly filled with anger, obviously looking down his nose at the scarred man before him.
“What do you want?” he demanded rudely.
Remus bit back his anger and smiled at him pleasantly. “Good afternoon, I am Remus Lupin, from Child Services. I am here to check up on a Mr Harry Potter.” He easily produced a fake I.D to show the man, who glared at it, his face turning red.
“Why would social services be here? We didn’t arrange a meeting.”
“No, well it is standard practice to give surprise visits on such occasions, as abuse is much easier to hide if you give the culprits forewarning. Not that I am accusing you of anything Mr Dursley.” Remus maintained his polite demeanour with difficulty. “May I come in?”
Dursley growled, but stood by to allow him past.
“Thank you,” Remus said, stepping into the hallway. “Where is Harry, may I ask?”
The man seemed to freeze for a moment. “He is in his room, perhaps you could wait in the living room?”
“Certainly,” Remus agreed, following the man down the hallway.
“Wait here,” Dursley said, before shuffling back into the hallway. Remus listened intently with his advanced hearing as he glanced around. There were plenty of photos of a smiling boy and the Dursleys, but it couldn’t possibly be Harry. In fact, looking around you’d never know another boy lived here. Remus frowned.
He heard a bang in the hallway and a door creak open. “What are you doing boy?” he heard Dursley whisper angrily. “Take your thumb out of your mouth, it’s disgusting. And get out here, there is a man here to speak to you and you’d better behave or you’ll not get any supper.”
Remus felt his stomach turn in knots of anger at the way the man addressed ‘the boy’, presumably Harry. He fought hard to school his expression as Dursley came back into the room, his big meaty hand clutching the boys arm tightly. Harry stumbled in his grip and stared at the floor.
“Hello,” Remus said in a friendly voice, ignoring the man in favour of looking at the boy. “My name is Remus, I’ve come to talk to you Harry.”
Harry gasped and looked up at Remus with wide eyes. He started squirming in his uncles grip, tugging on his arm.
“Behave Bo- Harry,” he huffed angrily.
“Let go!” Harry whined, and after glancing nervously at Remus, he did so.
Harry immediately ran to Remus and wrapped his little arms around his leg.
“Oh,” Remus said, automatically placing a hand on the two year olds back to stabilize him.
“What are you doing Boy? Let him go at once!” Vernon demanded. Harry flinched but didn’t let go.
“It’s alright,” Remus said calmly, not wanting to scare Harry any further. He wondered if he recognized him given his reaction. “Perhaps you could give us a moment alone while I talk to Harry here.”
Dursley shut his mouth and glared angrily. “Don’t order me about in my own-”
“Forgive me Mr. Dursley, but quite clearly your nephew is frightened of something. Whether it be you, or the spiders in that cupboard you just dragged him out of I couldn’t be sure. I already have enough evidence to prosecute you with child abuse, now I suggest you leave us alone so that I may talk to Harry.”
Dursley stuttered and growled, but seemed to think better of arguing as he stomped from the room and slammed the door shut. Using the opportunity that Harry’s face was buried in his legs, Remus took out his wand and cast a silencing charm on the room. Then he carefully extracted Harry’s arms from his legs so he could kneel by his side.
Harry bit his lip and looked up at him with wide eyes.
“Are you okay Harry?”
He nodded his head, then whispered, “Do you know me?”
Remus smiled. “Yes, I do, I was friends with your parents. Can you remember?”
Harry bit his lip and nodded.
“Can you tell me what it is like to live here?” Remus asked. Harry glanced around the room nervously. “They won’t hear you, I promise.”
“I don’t like it. They don’t want me.” He still whispered and clutched at Remus’ sleeve.
“I see. Do you have your own bedroom?” Harry shook his head. “Do you share with your cousin?”
“Under the stairs,” Harry said quietly, then slapped his hand over his mouth. “Don’t tell. I not say that.”
Remus felt anger burning inside of him. “I won’t Harry. Will you tell me how you got this bruise?” he asked, lightly touching the boys cheek.
Harry flinched away from him. “Pan.”
“A pan?” Remus asked, Harry nodded. “Somebody didn’t hit you?” He shook his head. “Did somebody throw it at you?”
The small boy wrapped his arms around himself and nodded. Remus’ inner wolf let out a growl. Harry stumbled away from him slightly. The frightened expression was enough to calm Remus’ temper, he took a deep breath and cleared his expression.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
Harry nodded and stepped forward again. “I dream about you.”
He nodded. “And a black dog and a man with glasses.”
Remus swallowed. “Do you remember what your parents look like?”
Harry shook his head, so Remus pulled his battered wallet out and took out the photo of his pack, turning it to show the boy.
“This is your mother.” He pointed to the woman with the bright smile and flame red hair. “And this is your father.” He pointed to the man with messy hair to match his sons, wearing thick framed glasses. Harry reached out to touch it and Remus let him take the photo from him. “I think you look rather a lot like him, don’t you?”
Harry had watery eyes. “Mr Remus, don’t leave.” He crawled into Remus’ lap and wrapped his arms around him. “Please.”
Startled, Remus took a moment to respond before wrapping his own arms around the boy. “I’ll see what I can do Harry. I don’t want you to be here either.”
After a moment he pulled out his wand and cast a patronus, giving it a message to Dumbledore: “they are abusing him. If you are not here to take charge of this in five minutes then I will kidnap him. Blood protection won’t work if they keep him locked in a cupboard and shun him all his life.”
“Wolf,” Harry said, reaching out to pet it. Remus smiled as his partonus licked his hand, then turned and leapt from the room.
“Do you remember magic Harry?” Remus asked the boy in his lap.
Harry thought for a moment. “Smoke,” he said.
Remus smiled and pointed his wand into the air, making puffs of coloured smoke appear from the end of it. “Like this?” he asked.
“Yes,” Harry said happily, giggling and jumping to his feet to catch them.
They played for a few minutes before there was another knock at the door. Remus removed the silencing charm and put his wand away. There was a growl in the hallway and stomping feet before the door to the living room was wrenched open.
Harry stiffened and ran to hide behind Remus again.
Dursley burst into the room. “You! You’re not from Social Services!” he yelled.
Remus rose to his feet and glared. “No, I’m not.”
“Mr. Lupin, I told you not to come here,” Dumbledore said quietly, entering the room behind Dursley.
“I don’t care Albus. He’s the only family I have left, and you took him from me. I had to at least make sure he was safe. I owed that much to James and Lily. If he had been safe and happy then I would’ve left him here gladly. But they lock him in a cupboard and starve him. I can’t leave him here. I won’t.”
“It is the only place he will be safe from Voldemort, Remus,” Albus said sadly.
“At what cost?” Remus asked, frustrated. “To grow up abused and unwanted on the off chance that Voldemort comes back?”
Harry peaked around Remus’s legs to look up into the Professors face. “Please don’t leave me here Mr Albus,” he said, cringing away from the glare his uncle shot at him, he was so purple in the face at this point that he seemed incapable of speaking.
“Remus, he cannot grow up in our world. He’s too well known.”
“It’s a good job I work in a muggle book shop then, isn’t it? He’s my Godson Albus, I won’t leave him here to be miserable. You know blood protection only works if he is loved.” Remus glared at the headmaster, unable to understand why he was so determined for Harry to grow up like this.
“Take the boy, we never wanted him. You lot just dumped him on our doorstep!” Dursley yelled.
“Vernon dear, what is-” Petunia asked, coming into the room. She paused in the doorway. “You,” she breathed out upon seeing Remus. He raised an eyebrow, surprised she recognised him from the one time they had met. “What are you doing in my house?”
“I came to check up on my Godson. I have to say Petunia, I knew your contempt for our kind, but to take it out on an innocent boy…” he trailed off unhappily and shook his head.
He knelt down to Harry’s height. “Are you happy here Cub?” he asked, the old pet name slipping out. Harry shook his head. “Would you like to come with me?”
Harry gasped. “I can?”
“Only if you want to. Your parents did ask me to look after you if they were unable to.”
“Yes please,” Harry said, his face breaking out into a wide smile and he wrapped his hands around Remus’ neck. Remus held him tightly and lifted him up, hugging him close.
“Give me one good reason why he should stay here Albus,” he demanded, ignoring the Dursley’s completely. Dumbledore opened his mouth but no sound came out. Remus nodded grimly. “You know where I live. I’ll keep him away from the magical world until his letter arrives if that is what I must do.” He looked at Harry then. “Do you have anything you want to bring with you Cub?”
Harry shook his head. Remus nodded. “Okay, let’s go home then.”
He walked out of the house without a backwards glance. A wave of relief washed through him as Harry buried his face into the crook of his neck. “I missed you Moony,” he said.
Remus felt a twinge in his chest at the familiar name as he walked down the street. “I missed you too Cub.”