Harry Potter was not your run of the mill thirteen year old. As an example of his outlandish life, how many thirteen year olds would you know of that had just discovered that this homocidal godfather had broken out of wizard prison with the sole intention of killing them, whilst hiding under an invisibility cloak underneath a table?
Just Harry, I’d wager.
Currently, Harry was feeling pretty numb at the revelation, trekking in the snow with Ron and Hermione. Hermione kept hugging him, and Harry let her. Hermione was a very good hugger. It was the hair, Harry thought. Very good to bury your face into and disappear.
But Harry was a multi-tasker. He could feel stunned, sorry for himself, and still think quite clearly.
“They said that he kept saying ‘he’s at Hogwarts’,” Harry said thoughtfully.
“Oh, Harry,” Hermione said softly but with emotion.
“But that’s so stupid,” Harry went on. “Don’t most eleven year olds in Britain go to Hogwarts? And I’m a legacy student - of course I’d be at Hogwarts. Sirius Black must have known about me being here, so why would he suddenly obsess over it?”
Ron looked uncomfortable. “Harry’s got a point,” he admitted. “Black’s a nutter, but a smart nutter.”
“But what, or who else could he be after at Hogwarts? You’re the only logical choice, Harry,” Hermione fretted.
Harry’s mind drifted to a conversation that he had had with Lupin not too long ago. Yes, I knew him, he had said with uncharacteristic sadness. Harry recalled a series of pictures in his family photo album featuring Sirius Black and James Potter, alongside another young man, pale and thin...
“Professor Lupin!” Harry gasped in realization.
“Professor Lupin was friends with my dad and Sirius Black!” Harry exclaimed. “I have loads of old photos with them in it. Maybe Black wants revenge on him, or something.”
Hermione looked troubled. “We need to see those photos,” she said, and the trio raced up to Gryffindor tower.
This was uttered by a frazzled Seamus Finnagan, who had been in the process of changing clothes in his dorm room when Hermione had barged in and made a beeline for Harry’s dresser. Seamus was now swaddled in his blankets, unwilling to expose his freckled tummy in order to get to his robes from his closet.
“Get over yourself, Seamus,” Hermione sniffed. “We’re trying to save Professor Lupin.”
Harry opened up his family photo album, and sure enough, he found a picture of a young Sirius Black with Remus Lupin. In the photo, Black had a rose between his teeth, and a leg swung over Lupin’s lap, while Lupin was trying and failing to not blush.
Sirius and Remus being dorks, February 1979, the caption said in James Potter’s handwriting.
“Oh,” Hermione said softly. “They look so...”
“Wow, Lupin was hot,” Seamus butted in, crawling onto the bed with the rest of them. “So was the mass murderer.”
Harry looked closely at the picture. “That settles it. They were friends, at the very least.”
“More than that, I’d wager,” Hermione said. “I don’t think you’ve ever put your legs around Ron, and you’re friends.”
Ron paused, and tried to recall. They had lived very unconvential lives, after all. “Nah, I think Harry’s had his legs ‘round me.”
“Yeah, that’s normal. Dean’s done it to me too,” Seamus added.
Hermione frowned. “What do you boys get up to in here?”
“Piggy back rides,” Harry supplied.
Boys, Hermione thought dourly, were the worst. “Well clearly Lupin and Black were not giving each other piggy back rides!” She said. “They must have been closely involved. Friends at least, and at most...”
“Really, Ron, you are such a troll.”
“So that means that Black could be coming for Lupin, and not me,” Harry said. “We can’t let him murder the best Professor on staff!”
“He’s so nice!” Hermione agreed.
“He’s competent,” Seamus added.
“He’s not Lockhart or possessed by You Know Who,” Ron nodded. “We’ve got to keep him safe.”
“But we’re only four people,” Seamus said worriedly. “We can’t watch him all the time. We need help.”
Harry grinned. “I have an idea.”
The next Hogsmeade weekend, Harry, Ron, and Hermione stepped off of the beaten path and walked into the Hog’s Head. The bartender rolled his eyes at them. “Butterbeer only.”
“Sure,” Harry said agreeably.
They were soon followed in by Parvati, Lavender, Neville, Dean, Seamus and the Weasleys from Gryffindor, Cedric Diggory (Harry’s stomach performed a flip), Ernie MacMillan and his posse from Hufflepuff, a handful of Ravenclaws, and curiously, a few upper year Slytherins and Draco’s gang.
“What’re Malfoy and his snakes doing here?” Ron hissed, as Draco swaggered up to the bar and ordered a firewhiskey. Aberforth laughed in his face.
“I never thought I’d say it, but I think that I prefer your brother,” Draco said snootily, before walking away.
“Shut it, Ron, we need all the help we can get for this,” Hermione hissed, before standing up on her stool. “Can I have everyone’s attention, please?” She called.
Everyone’s eyes focused on her. “I’ve called this meeting in order to discuss the threat of Sirius Black hanging over our school,” Hermione said. “We have established that Black is circling the school, and that he is targeting a specific person-“
“Yes, Potter,” Draco drawled. “We know that. He’s a murder magnet.” Harry glared, and Draco mimed a kiss at him.
“Curiously, no,” Hermione said with a small smile. “We think that this year, Harry isn’t the target. We think that it’s Professor Lupin.”
There was a small outcry at this. Poor, mild, Professor Lupin? Why would anyone want to kill him? “That’s what we’re not sure of,” Hermione said. “We have established that Black and Professor Lupin were...close, as youngsters.”
“Shagging,” Fred surmised.
“Yes, thank you. Either Black wants revenge for Lupin abandoning him, or...” Hermione bit her lip, “he’s going to try and abduct him. Black is unhinged, we don’t know what he would do.”
“Then Lupin’s presence is a danger to us!” Pansy said shrilly. “We should get him to leave!”
“Typical cowardly Slytherin,” Ron hissed. “You’d sacrifice a good man to save your stinking hide.”
“It’s him or us, Weasley,” Pansy snapped.
“No,” Marius Fawley, the Slytherin prefect stood up. “We can’t let Lupin leave. He’s the best defense professor we’ve ever had, and we have OWLs and NEWTs coming up! If I have to fight Black off myself, I’ll do it so long as Lupin can keep teaching us!”
“Fawley is correct,” Percy said pompously. “We can’t risk losing the one good defense teacher we have.”
“Then it’s settled,” Theodore Nott said. All eyes turned to the otherwise quiet boy. “We protect Lupin by killing Black ourselves.” He drew out a dagger to emphasize his point.
“Merlin, you’re creepy,” Ron shuddered. “And we can’t kill Black. He’s too powerful.”
“Then we protect Lupin,” Cedric Diggory said stoutly. “We have to assign a detail to him at all times. The prefects can takes rounds with him at night.”
“Seventh years can disillusion themselves and sleep outside his doors,” Lisa Turpin suggested with her Ravenclaw logic. “That way, no one can sneak in.” There was a rumble of agreement for this idea.
“We can stay back to ask questions after class,” Harry suggested. “We won’t let him be alone in the classroom.”
“We can arrange for extra tuitions,” Hermione jumped onto the extra lesson bandwagon. “We can ask to do our homework in his classroom instead of the library or the great hall.”
“In short, we stick to the man like flobberworms on dragon dung,” Malfoy said. “For once, I don’t regret being in the same room with you, Granger.”
“Likewise, Malfoy. Now, we need to draw up a rotation schedule,” Hermione said briskly. “Let’s start with the 12am slot...“
Remus knew that the children liked him, but he had never expected this level of adoration. They absolutely refused to leave him alone. He had purchased extra chocolate to hand out to every child that seemed to hang off of his sleeves.
The most surprising thing was Draco Malfoy refusing to leave his seat after class one day, and instead pulled out his books and proceeded to do homework while Lupin went back to his own desk. After working in silence for two hours, Lupin gave the boy a chocolate bar which had been cautiously accepted.
Albus was highly amused by all of this, and made a pun about Remus’ animal magnetism. Snape scoffed and sniffed and was generally unpleasant. Remus offered him a chocolate bar, only to have Snape scowl at it like it had insulted his nose.
Remus couldn’t confirm it, but he strongly suspected that some students had taken to camping outside of his doors as well. Even though he couldn’t see them, he could scent humans near his chambers. They could have been prefects doing their rounds, though, so Remus didn’t pay too much mind.
The best part of all this was that Harry was spending more time hanging off of Remus’ sleeve. Remus was thrilled to have a chance to coddle the boy he’d sworn to love and protect as a baby. He spent hours telling Harry about James and Lily and James’ odd adventures. Sirius Balck tended to feature in them quite a bit.
They were also making tremendous strides in producing a patronus, until Draco Malfoy came barging into the classroom for his protection shift. “Are you teaching Potter to produce a patronus?” He demanded. “This is blatant favoritism. I want a patronus too.”
So Lupin smiled and allowed Draco to join the class. Then Ron got it into his head that Draco would mess things up for Harry, and joined himself, along with Hermione. To even out the numbers, Crabbe and Goyle joined as well, then Pansy and Tracy Davis. Then the Ravenclaws got word of the patronus classes and wanted to join too because they are sluts for knowledge. And of course, Remus felt terrible for leaving out the Hufflepuffs, so they joined in as well.
The results of the class were extra rewarding when Neville mistook Snape for a dementor in his billowing black robes, panicked, and cast an elephant patronus at him and knocked him down two flights of stairs. Neville got detention for his efforts, but really, it was worth it.