Ten years later.
“Harry James Potter, stop bouncing so much!” Remus laughed, placing gentle hands on the ten year old’s shoulders.
“But I’m just so excited, Uncle Remus!” Harry replied, still bouncing on the balls of his feet, anxiously trying to peer around the people standing in front of them in line. “How does the airplane stay up in the sky? Does it flap its wings like a bird? How many people can fit inside? What–mmmph!”
A long arm slipped between Remus and the boy, wrapping around his head in a playful headlock that muffled the rest of his excited questions.
“Breathe, Mini Me,” James said fondly, ruffling Harry’s already messy black hair affectionately. “At least give us – or the nice lady – a chance to answer your first ten questions before spouting off twenty more, hmm?” He winked at the stewardess.
The ‘nice lady’, whose name tag read ‘Bridgit’, smiled back at him, her eyes bright with laughter. “You must be Harry.” She said cheerfully, right on cue. “If you gentlemen would follow me, we will get you settled into your seats. If you would like, young Harry, the Captain has invited you and your dad up to the cockpit, where he will be happy to personally answer your questions.”
“Can I, Dad?” Harry immediately wheedled, turning wide green eyes beseechingly on his father, as Remus snickered. Although the lad was a carbon copy of his father, the eyes and some of the mannerisms were pure Lily. And, just like with his wife, James had no defense against that pleading look from those green eyes.
Accepting his fate, James sighed dramatically. “Are you sure you aren’t Remus’s kid, with that puppy dog face?” He teased.
“Not a chance. Lily is somewhere watching and giggling like crazy.” Remus retorted. “As are your mother and grandmother, both of which I believe, blessed you with the popular, ‘may you have a child just like you’ when you told them Lily was pregnant.” He poked Harry in the side, making him squirm away with a giggle. “Have I taught you nothing? Save that face for your birthday and Christmas!”
James rolled his eyes. “Lead the way, Miss Bridgit, please. I guess we’re off to see the captain.”
“So, how does the airplane stay up in the air?” Remus greeted them, amused, as they returned. He was already settled comfortably into his seat in the middle – they were flying first class – and had taken the liberty of ordering both himself and James a drink, knowing it would be appreciated.
“Magic.” Harry answered wit ha straight face, before breaking into laughter at his uncle’s obligingly exasperated huff. “I don’t really know–the captain said something about lift and aerodynamics, but I didn’t really understand it, so my theory now is a modified levitation charm, like on flying carpets.”
“So then not by flapping its wings like a bird?” Remus teased, as James settled in beside him near the aisle.
Harry stuck his tongue out at the older man, turning pointedly to look out the window instead.
“Ah, the pre-teen years.” The werewolf murmured, still highly amused. “Like the calm before the storm. Is that the distant rumble of hormones I hear in the distance?”
James snorted, slumping down in his seat as much as the still upright position would let him. “Shut it Moony. You’re the favorite uncle, remember? So guess who he’s gonna come running to play mediator and sympathizer when dear old dad becomes the bad guy. You, that’s who.”
“Lucky me.” Remus drawled. “Are you sure I can’t stay in the States?”
He bit back his instinctive initial response, that it would be like Hogwarts all over again, with him usually as the logical voice of reason (and tie breaker) between the more hot headed James and Sirius. Even after ten years, the mere mention of Sirius’ inexplicable betrayal still brought a dark shadow to James’s eyes and mood. Sirius had been his family, more like a brother than the cousin he technically was. The Potters had brought Sirius into their home after he was kicked out and disowned from his own family for not adhering to the Black family values, beliefs, and traditions, especially those that aligned with Voldemort.
The only person Sirius had loved instantly more than James had been young Harry himself. He had often teased Lily about having to share the two men in her life. She had responded by giving him a certificate stating that he had shared custody and ownership of the Potter males, as well as a co-ownership contract that required a mandatory boys’ weekend once a month (so she could get things done), and at least one night every other week babysitting his godson (that night become the Potter date night, although most of the time they came home early, or spent the night in watching movies and reminiscing.) She also gave him a bill for 5,000 Gaellons in owed child support. She was just teasing about the money, but Sirius secretly started a vault in Harry’s name, and made a deposit faithfully, every month.
So then why had Sirius betrayed them to Voldemort? Remus still didn’t understand, and suspected that he never would.
His friend had raised his brows and shot him a thoroughly unamused look. The blonde relented, his tone holding a hint of apology for the tease. “Only teasing. You know I’m with you to the end, no matter what.” He stated quietly.
James held his gaze for a moment, and nodded. “I know.”
Shaking off the melancholy thoughts, both men turned to watch Harry, who had missed the byplay in his own enthusiastic running commentary of the slow progression of the airplay, as they finally departed the gate and joined the line for liftoff.
“Why did we decide to take a Muggle airplane instead of an international Portkey?” James muttered, gripping his arm rests as they climbed into the sky.
“Because to the wizarding world, James Potter has been dead for ten years, so seeing your name on a passport might raise some questions we don’t want answered yet.” Remus answered too patiently. “And there’s also the fact that the Supreme Mugwump, Albus Dumbledore, believes that your son has been living with his Muggle relatives, tucked away, but still on the same continent, so we don’t want to rile the old man up anymore than we already have either.”
The werewolf smiled sympathetically. “C’mon, Potter. You were the Captain and lead Chaser for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, yet you can’t handle flying in a plane, with nice padded seats and plenty of protective mental betweenyou and the outside world?”
“I know how my broom works, and I’m in control of it and thus my life.” This way, I’m entrusting Muggles to keep us safe.”
“They have plenty of magic of their own, in a way.” Remus shrugged. “Relax, James. Look at your son. He loves this! Besides, we’ll be in Britain before you know it.”
“From one land of mist and rain to another. Will you miss Haven?”
The other man glanced away. “It doesn’t rain in Washington nearly as much as people assume. Britain is far worse.” Feeling his friend’s knowing gaze, he relented. “I will miss Haven, yes. I…learned a great deal among the Lunar packs.” He felt Moony’s pleased agreement wash over him, and smiled faintly.
You did well, wolfling. You are beginning to show the potential that I saw in you from a young age. You will make a great alpha someday. The wolf said quietly, overriding the wizard’s automatic protest. You are an Alpha, a leader. It is instinctual. There will come a point where you will have to decide to challenge for control of the packs. You know it as well as I. The viper is still linked to this middle plane. When he returns, he will recruit again. The packs would follow you, Remus. And you, in turn don’t have to follow Dumbledore or Voldemort. There’s always a third path.”
“I have an idea.”
Remus stared at James in horror. “No.”
James’ expression went from amused to insulted in a blink. “Moony! You haven’t even heard it yet!”
“Don’t have to. I know that tone of voice. All the hair stood up on the back of my neck.”
“What…like you raised your hackles?” his friend teased. “C’mon, Remus. I promise – this is a good idea! Look, we need a female influence that we can trust, right?”
“Yes…” The werewolf answered warily.