Remus Lupin woke to the realization of three things: one, he was shirtless, which wasn’t unusual after a full moon. Two, he was curled up around a bundle of blankets that was warm and squirming, and three….whew! Whatever was in said bundle desperately needed airing out.
His eyes shot open as a baby’s angry squall rent the air.
“Harry?” He gasped, and frantically unwrapped the infant, who was furious. “Alright, alright, shh…just a minute.” He soothed, rummaging around and managing to come up with a spare baby bag. His throat burned with unshed tears even as he went through the motions of diaper changing and warming a bottle. Lily had stocked both his and Sirius’ houses with extra diapers and baby supplies, ‘just in case’, as she said. Glancing away from the now quiet child in an effort to gain control over his emotions, he noticed an envelope lying close by, partially covered by the blanket Harry had been tucked in.
Frowning, he picked it up. It was from Dumbledore, telling the Dursleys’–whom Remus now remembered were relatives of Lily’s (despite the fact that she and her sister mutually denied the other’s existence) who Harry was, how he had come to them, and requesting that they take care of him. He would check back with them when the boy turned eleven to start the boy’s magical education.
Remus growled angrily. How dare Dumbledore! He knew of the mutual resentment between the two sisters. Why would he knowingly send Lily’s child to live with people who hated everything that he was?
All thoughts of taking Harry back and explaining the situation to Dumbledore had vanished. His eyes narrowed in determination. “Well, Harry my lad, looks like it’s just you and me now.” He murmured, smiling down at the baby, who stared back at him with wide green eyes. Fragments of the night before were slowly filtering back into his rapidly clearing brain. “I guess this is one time I can actually be thankful for some of my baser instincts. Enough about that though. Let’s get this house cleaned and baby-proof, and then I should set about making some plans…”
Those plans had been extensive, and yet ridiculously simple. The first plan was to visit Albus Dumbledore, for Remus had easily recognized the familiar scrolling script of the letter to the Dursleys. Why would the Headmaster leave a toddler—any child—on the doorstep in the middle of the night in cold, windy November? There had not been a heating charm or any kind of temporary sleeping spell on Harry to ensure that he would stay warm and quiet until the Dursleys discovered him. And why leave Harry with Petunia in the first place? Yes, she was technically Lily’s sister, but that was by marriage, not blood, and it was a tenuous link that both women only acknowledged under extreme duress. Surely Andromeda Tonks, Remus himself, or even Narcissa Malfoy would have been a better choice, even temporarily. Andi and Narcissa were sisters, originally of the Black family, and thus were cousins to Sirius Black on one side, and James himself on the other, which made them technically family.
Those were only a few of the questions Remus had for the old wizard. He had left early, leaving Harry under a light static sleeping spell and monitoring charms, which were Lily’s equivalent of a Muggle baby monitor. The static spell ensured that he would remain peacefully in the healing sleep that his little body needed to recover from the trauma of being left out in the cold on a damp November night. The monitor charm was in the form of a watch, much like a Wizarding family clock, and revealed Harry’s physical states – sleeping peacefully, fussy, hungry, wet diaper, etc. Even with the precautions and his own formidable wards, Remus had been reluctant to leave, but it couldn’t be helped.
Dumbledore had been delighted to see him, twinkle in full force. The werewolf had gotten straight to the point, as any Marauder would– asking about Harry, if he was safe, if he could at least visit.
“I’m sorry my boy, so sorry.” The old wizard said somberly. “But after Sirius’ betrayal, and the subsequent attacks on Frank and Alice, I made the decision to hide the young Mister Potter in a place where most in the wizarding world would not bother – or care – to look. He is safe, and with family. The wards I have placed around his home, along with the blood protection that Lily herself enacted with her sacrifice, will deter any with ill intent towards him, as well as repeal any Dark Creatures of any sort.”
Remus gritted his teeth. Petunia Dursley was not Harry’s family! She abhorred everything about the wizarding world! Placing a potentially strong young wizard like Harry in her care was a cruel disaster waiting to happen. Remus had no doubt that she would have done her best to poison Harry against his parents and magic, in her lifelong campaign to be considered normal. He was also doing his best to ignore the subtle slur and hint against him personally—yes, he was a werewolf, and therefore automatically classified as a Dark Creature, but that didn’t mean that Dumbledore, as powerful as he was, couldn’t modify the wards to let Remus through if he had actually wanted to. The full moon was only a few days out of the month, after all, and he had more than proved his trustworthiness over and over again.
“But sir-“ he tried anyway, knowing he was fighting a losing battle.
Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed, losing a bit of their twinkle. “Enough, Remus. He is safe.” He peered shrewdly at the werewolf over the top of his half-moon glasses. “Voldemort is gone, yet times will remain turbulent for werewolves and other Ministry defined Dark creatures, regardless of which side they chose to fight on or not. Perhaps it would be prudent for you to do some travelling. See the world. Deal with your own grief and losses.” He said gently.
Remus felt the Confundus charm bounce off of his shields, and dropped his head, presumably yielding to the gentle hint, but really to hide his anger, knowing that Moony would show in the flash of gold in his eyes. “Yes. Perhaps that would be best. I do have friends in Italy that I have not seen in a long time…” He murmured, and sighed heavily. “Thank you, Albus. If you don’t mind, I will take my leave and go make my preparations.”
“Go and be safe, Mister Lupin. You are the last of an era, one that sacrificed too much. Go, and find your peace.”
Remus inclined his head slightly, unable to respond, and quickly left.
It took half an hour after he had returned home and taken care of Harry to soothe the wolf, which was furious at Dumbledore and his subtle barbs and manipulations.
“Easy, Moony.” he murmured. Despite his inherent fear of the wolf, he had found that the beast eventually responded to his voice and logic. In the lonely nights spent spying on the were packs, he had started having one sided conversations, mostly to alleviate the boredom and loneliness. It was strange, but there were moment where he had the sense that someone was trying to respond to him, connect on a mental level. He had shied away from the tentative, faint contact though, and strengthened his mental shields, afraid that someone had discovered his true goals. That person had never tried again though, so he had brushed it off as a figment of his over active imagination.
“I saw it, felt it, heard it too. He used to hide his disdain much better when we were in school. However, I – we – are not harmed by one man’s dislike. He is not Pack. He is of no consequence right now…”
The wolf subsided, grumbling. Remus gently picked up a still slumbering Harry, burying his nose in the toddler’s hair and breathing deeply, letting the familiar scents of contented baby mixed with Lily’s hint of lavender and James mixture of forest and wind take over his senses and calming both him and Moony further. Pack. Home. Safe.
He moved to the rocking chair in the corner and carefully sat down, closing his eyes with a heavy sigh. Lily had insisted on replicating her favorite objects – the rocking chair, Harry’s crib, and the changing table were only a start – at both Sirius’ and Remus’ houses, so when they came to visit or when one of the men had to baby sit, Harry wouldn’t be uncomfortable.
Frowning, he recalled the underlying emotions emanating from his former Headmaster – remorse, regret, frustration, anger, resentment, dislike… That had hurt far more than he wanted to admit. The Headmaster was one of the first adults that Remus had come to trust, since it was Dumbledore who had allowed Remus to attend Hogwarts in the first place; something that the older wizard had no problems holding over the younger man’s head as needed.
Shaking his head, he decided that he didn’t want to over analyze anymore. The important thing was that Dumbledore still believed that Harry was with the Dursleys, and now assumed that Remus would be out of the country for some time.
Harry whined and squirmed in his sleep, and Remus shushed him, smiling as the boy snuggled deeper into the crook of his neck, soft breaths ruffling the hair at his nape. The wolf was also content, and slumbering lightly. Remus had a sudden vision of a tawny gold male, curled protectively around a small pile of black fur that twitched and shivered in his sleep. The wolf pup whimpered and moved his head, revealing a jagged white lightning bolt shaped patch of fur on his forehead – exactly where Harry’s was. The adult wolf raised his head, opening gold-brown eyes to meet his gaze.