"What's it called again? Where we're going?"
"Wartons Cross. It's in York."
"What about that other place you said? Diagonalley?"
"That's the main source of shopping for our kind, and it's very crowded. Even without your glasses and the hat people are likely to spot you. You're famous. Everyone knows the description of what you look like. There are other wizarding villages and areas but I don't want to risk going to them. Hogsmeade for instance is right off of Hogwarts grounds and the staff and students visit there frequently. Professor Snape said that Professor McGonagall knows that I've taken you, so that's not a wise option."
"Is there a bank there? You said I had money."
"There's a branch of Gringotts in all seven wizard quarters, but we won't be taking money from your vault. The Goblins would have to verify who you are to let you take money, and I have a feeling that the Headmaster has eyes on your accounts."
"I thought you said you didn't have any money though. How will we get the things we need?"
"I like Wartons Cross because they sell a lot of used goods. I got your clothes there. I have enough to get us through the winter and spring. You don't need to worry yourself over that." Remus gave Harry a dose of the potion to fix his eyesight for an hour and made sure that Harry put the blue Ravenclaw hat on.
"Here, take my hand." Harry took the outstretched hand and they apparated away, reappearing on a winding narrow lane where the buildings were crooked and tall and sometimes leaned right out over the street and tried to blot out the sunlight. There were a lot of people here and Harry wondered if Remus expected it to be this crowded.
"It's alright. Come this way." Remus took him through the crowd, and though Harry tried to keep his head down to hide his face, his curiosity got the better of him and he looked on in awe at all of the strangely dressed people. There were women with strange looking hats, people carrying brooms and cats, owls hooting overhead, and almost everyone was wearing cloaks of varying colors, even the children.
"Are you going to make me wear one of those?" Harry asked as a boy a few years younger than Harry ran by wearing a light blue cloak.
"They're very warm and standard attire in our world. You'll get used to it and find it useful."
"Traveling cloaks are heavy and if you ever find yourself stranded outdoors you can use them as a blanket. Some people wear cloaks that will help them blend in with their surroundings. I read of hobbits who wore gray cloaks to help them blend in with rocks or grasses when predators were nearby."
They went into a shop full of used clothes and Remus helped Harry pick out a heavy black cloak, a thick brown winter coat, and a thick gray pair of socks. Remus also bought a heavy coat and black cloak.
Remus took Harry to a used bookstore next, and told Harry to pick out seven sickles worth of used books. He'd recently taught him how to count wizarding money and Harry tried to remember how many knuts went into a sickle as he picked out book after book. After ten minutes he had nine books and he and Remus went to the counter to pay for them. Harry was looking through the stack excitedly as the person at the counter rang them up. There was a defense book with a well worn cover that claimed to have fifty five spells that could save your life, a book about famous witches and wizards, and Harry had been pleased to find several children's novels that looked similar to Tales from Beedle the Bard, which he'd read through completely almost five times now.
Harry looked up at Remus, whose eyes were on the door.
"What?" Harry asked as the man handed Harry the bag full of books.
"Come on, we've got to go," Remus said. "Keep your head down." Harry did as he was told and hurried along behind Remus past several shelves and a group of people and then out the door. All he could see was a lot of feet, and as soon as they were outside Remus ushered Harry quickly down the street.
Harry's eyes widened as a woman's voice called out behind them.
"Who is that?" Harry asked, panicked, not looking back.
"Keep walking," he insisted, and they picked up their pace. The woman was calling out again behind them.
"Remus Lupin! Stop this instant! I'll hex you! You know I will!"
Remus stopped, much to Harry's horror. "No! Let's apparate away!" Harry begged, but Remus turned instead and Harry did as well. A woman with bright orange hair and two children about his age with the same orange hair was hurrying down the street, wand out and aimed at Remus.
"How dare you!" she said, voice full of loathing. Harry watched her face and then looked to her children. There was a boy and a girl and they both looked confused and even embarrassed. "The child of Lily and James!"
"If you don't mind Molly, could you please keep your voice down? There are certain dangerous people we would not want to alert to his presence."
"His presence? Don't pretend you're looking out for his safety. I know better. Albus told us everything! You ought to be ashamed of yourself! What would James Potter say?"
Harry was feeling tense and on edge and he actually took a step behind Remus to get away from the woman's angry gaze, even though it wasn't directed at him. He slipped his hand into Remus' hand from behind, as much for comfort as the hope that Remus would simply apparate them away from this woman's wrath.
"I believe he'd say thank you."
She growled and muttered something under her breath, but from behind Remus all Harry could hear was, "Of all the dirty rotten.... worse than Sirius Black...."
Then in a clearer voice that he could hear he heard his name and peeked out from behind Remus to listen as she spoke. "Harry dear. It's ok, you don't have to be afraid. My name is Molly and I can take you to safety."
Harry looked at her face, which didn't seem as angry now, and then to the red headed boy, who was looking back and forth from his mother's face to Harry's with curiosity. "I promise I won't hurt you," she said. "I'll make sure to get you back to your family."
Harry reached around to Remus' other side then and took the wand from his hand from behind. He waved it in a circle around himself and shouted, "NO!" He didn't know what was supposed to happen, he just knew he didn't want to go and hoped that Remus wand would cooperate with his wishes somehow knowing that it was also it's owners wish. It did. A blue transparent dome appeared around Harry before disappearing in a flash, leaving a blazing electric blue ring on the ground around Harry's feet.
Molly looked perplexed, and Remus crossed his arms with a smile, seeming satisfied. Her children looked surprised at Harry's show of magical prowess.
"He doesn't want to go with you," Remus said to Molly with a smile, and the fact that the man could speak so nonchalantly to this woman who had thus far spoken with so much vitriol bolstered Harry's confidence that they would be able to get away. "He knows you'll turn him over to Dumbledore who will send him straight back to his relatives."
"That's where he belongs," she said to Remus, though her eyes were still on Harry inside of his blue circle.
Remus stepped forward and leaned in so only Molly could hear and said, "He's seen enough abuse already Molly. Let him be."
She looked startled by what he'd said and then seemed uncertain. Remus backed up to Harry's circle but didn't cross the line, not sure what spell Harry had cast to protect himself.
"Talk to Severus," he said, and then held out his hand towards Harry without looking at him. Harry shook the wand at his side and the circle disappeared. Remus picked up the bags of dropped books and clothes and Harry took Remus's other hand. Just as they disapparated Harry gave a small wave to the boy, and the last thing Harry saw of Warton's Cross, was Molly's perplexed face.
Remus was laughing as they reappeared and Harry gave him a bewildered look. Remus only laughed harder when he saw Harry's face though. "We faced down Molly Weasley," he said to Harry, who didn't seem to understand the significance of this event. "Oh Harry, I'm so proud of you. You've no idea."
"I just, didn't want to go with her."
"She's a good woman Harry, very protective. Dumbledore told her and her husband that I'd taken you, and when she saw us in the bookstore I knew there was no way she was going to let us leave without telling us off."
"Telling you off," Harry corrected him.
"What were you thinking when you put up the ward around yourself?"
"Is that what I did? I just thought I didn't want to go with her and that she wasn't taking me no matter what."
"The basic theory of a ward is to stop someone from getting in. Most wards are secretive and so they are invisible. I didn't think you'd be able to cast one at this young of an age. It was almost like a shield against magic, which is visible, but I'm betting that yours was meant specifically to keep her out of your space. Wards are more thought and intent than they are wand-work or incantations. I'd like to see you do it again."
Still having Remus' wand in hand, Harry tried to repeat his actions, but wasn't feeling threatened and so the ward didn't work.
"All is well Harry," Remus assured him. "Even if you never manage a ward again, it was worth it to see the look on her face at your casting."
"What are the names of the kids?"
"I'm not sure about the girl. I think their son may be Ronald or Robert. The Weasleys have a lot of children and I haven't seen Arthur and Molly in almost ten years."
"Do we have to go back out again? To the wizard stores I mean?"
"No, not for a long while. We still need supplies like blankets and other winter wear though. I'll figure out a safe place to get our supplies. Come sit down, show me the books you got."
Harry was still feeling rattled by the experience, but also felt strangely bolstered by the fact that they'd gotten away without being chased. At least it wasn't the dark eyed Snape this time, though Harry wasn't sure Molly Weasley was much better.
It was midway through October before Harry and Remus saw anyone from the wizarding world again. Two weeks had passed since their encounter with Molly, and the weather had just taken a turn for the cold. Remus had moved their camp into a dense wood where they were shielded from the wind by the trees, and they'd only been there a few hours when Severus Snape appeared just inside the ward line with a box in his arms.
Harry startled and scrambled into the tent, but came back out a moment later with Remus.
"Severus, I wasn't sure we'd be seeing you again."
"Now that I know what wards you are using, you are easy to find," he said. He walked to Remus and held out the box.
"Blankets, gloves... thank you Severus," Remus said, and Harry wondered that he could sound so friendly towards this man when he had come in and tied Remus up and stolen Harry away like he had before. Harry stood behind Remus but tried not to act like he was hiding. Snape seemed to notice that he was anyway.
"You'll have to forgive him," Remus said. "We had an encounter with Molly Weasley a couple of weeks back on Warton's Cross."
"So I heard."
"You spoke to her?"
"She was concerned that I was somehow involved in your kidnapping of the boy hero."
"I have a name," Harry said then, feeling a moment of bravery remembering how he'd dealt with Molly, but then he realized who he was talking to and disappeared completely behind Remus' back.
Remus chuckled at Harry and asked Severus, "What did you tell her?"
"The same thing that I told you. That you are foolish and that you will end up getting caught."
"Did you tell her you'd already found us?"
"I did not because I did not know if she would inform Dumbledore of that fact. So far I have told him that I found one of your previous camp locations but that is all. I did tell her that I had investigated Harry's family," he made sure to place special emphasis on Harry's name so that he wouldn't pop out from behind Remus' back to interrupt again, and then continued on, "and that it seemed as though you had taken him with good reason."
"What did she and Arthur say?"
"They said they would not tell Albus that they encountered you, and expressed concerns over Harry's safety during the full moon and during the winter months."
"We've been through two full moons now without incident," Remus said. Harry came out from around Remus again, though he kept his face half hidden as he watched Snape. Snape looked at him as if to make sure he was still whole and unharmed. "There is one dose of wolfsbane in the bottom of the box. Do not waste it. It cost nearly two galleons to make."
"Severus... I appreciate the gesture."
Severus snorted and looked away, as though he very much doubted that Remus appreciated him at all. "I will be very... irritated if I have to deal with a rambunctious eleven year old werewolf come next September. I would be even more so if said eleven year old werewolf were unable to cast spells properly because his arm had been chewed off."
Harry frowned. Was the man trying to warn him? It was nothing he hadn't already seen. Remus didn't know Harry had followed him again or that he'd seen Remus rip a wild rabbit to shreds before swallowing it without even chewing. It was dangerous to be around him during the full moon, but at the same time Harry couldn't help but feeling envious of the man's raw power and ability to keep himself safe for those three nights of the month. Harry wondered how Remus could be so... tame during the rest of the month, and wondered if he was holding his real power back until he really needed it.
"Ah, I see he already knows how dangerous werewolves can be." Harry's head snapped up and he found both men looking at him, Snape with a raised brow and Remus with a surprised look.
"Did you follow me?"
Harry looked away.
"Harry, we talked about this. You don't know what it's like. You don't know what it is that you think you want."
Feeling embarrassed to be talked to like this in front of Snape, who he'd already made himself look childish in front of the last time he'd met him, Harry looked up at Remus and said seriously, "You don't know what it's like to have no power to protect yourself. I followed you and watched, and I kept my distance. I'm not going to cross the line."
Remus sighed and sat down in one of the camp chairs next to the box. "Harry, would you mind gathering the night's firewood? Take my wand. You can levitate it all back if you want." Harry took the wand being offered to him without complaint and moved off into the treeline glad to be out of the line of verbal fire.
"Am I to understand that he wishes to be turned?" Severus asked seriously, sitting down in the other chair in front of the fire.
"He asked about it once or twice. He wishes that Dumbledore would leave him alone and he thinks that if he becomes one that he can be my son and that it will keep Dumbledore from caring about what happens to him or where he lives. He thinks it will keep him from being sent back to live with his Muggle relatives."
"You are serious."
"Yes. My initial intentions were to leave him with my wand on the nights when I change so that he could protect himself, but now I have to take the wand with me to cast wards around myself so he can't get in. I didn't realize he was following me out and watching me."
"He appears to be a handful."
"He's not, he's really a good boy. He does his school work and works hard and is eager to please."
"And is stubborn and defiant and cheeky."
"You're talking about when he made you tip that chair over?"
Severus shot him a look and Remus chuckled.
"I didn't think we'd be seeing you again."
"Winter is coming. It is supposed to be particularly bad this year."
"Thus the blankets," Remus said. "I know. That's why we went to Warton's Cross, to get heavy cloaks and coats."
"There are hats, gloves, and blankets in the box. I also included a first year potions text and several pepperup potions. I assume you know how to cast fire into a jar?"
Remus nodded and Severus said, "There are two lidded jars in the box as well."
"It's an easy incantation," Remus said. "I'm sure Harry will pick it up quick."
"You make it sound as though he is some kind of prodigy. I did not believe he could cast anything."
Remus gave him a knowing look and a little smile. "You thought he could cast an Expelliarmus."
"One more time wolf," Severus warned, and Remus looked into the fire with a smile. He generally didn't like to raise people's ire even though he was good at it. Not like James and Sirius who liked to rile people up to start fights with them or to prove a point. No, when Remus did it, it was a form of camaraderie, and it gave him some small satisfaction that he could raise Severus Snape's ire without sending him into a tirade. The words he'd spoken with him about Harry were more words than they'd exchanged in their entire time as schoolmates and later as Order members.
Harry chose that moment to come back levitating an armful of wood. He lowered it to a spot a few feet from the fire, and then went inside and brought out the short wooden stool to sit on since both chairs were occupied.
"If there is nothing else you need," Severus said, standing up.
"We appreciate the thought," Remus said. "I think we have everything for now, so long as Harry doesn't read through all of his new books too fast and grow bored again." He turned to smile at Harry, who was busy trying to work up the nerve to ask Snape a question.
"Sir." He didn't know if he should call him Snape, or Severus, or teacher. Snape looked at him and waited, dark eyes piercing. "Mrs. Weasley's son... the one we saw in Warton's Cross. Do you know what his name is?"
Severus considered him for a moment and then replied in his usual cold voice, "Ron."
"Is he my age?"
Harry looked away. "Thanks."
Severus narrowed his eyes, sensing the unasked question, and then said, "I will pass on your interest in seeing him again." He gave a last look at Remus, ignoring Harry's shocked expression altogether, and then disappeared with a sharp pop.
"I didn't ask him that," Harry said. There was no realistic way he'd be able to see anyone because of the wards.
"No," Remus said with a smile, "but he's sharp as a tack. Come on, let's take this box inside and see what he's brought us. It's going to be cold tonight and it will be good to have the extra blankets. I've got a new spell to show you too." Harry followed him inside and took one of the soft gray blankets and put it over his sleeping bag and watched as Remus did the same. Was Snape going to come back? Remus seemed friendly towards him, did that make him a friend? He'd brought them supplies, but Harry wasn't sure if he could be trusted. He knew where they were, and knew that they'd run into the Weasleys. He could tell Dumbledore at any time and that made him dangerous, didn't it?
"Now about you sneaking out..." Remus said, bringing Harry's attention back around to him. Harry sat on his cot, ready to be lectured about the hard life of a werewolf again, but he wasn't listening as Remus spoke to him. He couldn't get his mind off of Snape, who seemed more mysterious now than before he'd learned his name.
Snape it seemed, couldn't get Harry and Remus off of his mind either. He came back again the next week with a box of canned foods, several pairs of warm socks for Harry, and a book called ‘Hogwarts A History'. Harry knew he should have been thankful for the food and socks, and he was, but he was more thankful for the book. Without anyone his age to spend time with, or chores to do, he only had reading and practicing spells to occupy his time. Much to Harry's displeasure, he'd hit a block with his spell-work, and the spells he was learning had slowed to the excruciating crawl of one per week. Remus' wand was fighting him harder as the spells Harry tried to learn increased in difficulty. Without being able to learn new spells, Harry only had reading and note taking to fall back on to occupy himself. Snape didn't stay when he'd dropped off the food, socks, and book. He merely looked Harry up and down, handed Remus the box, and then had popped back out of existence, as if he hadn't ever really been there at all. He did the same thing a week later, only bringing a green and silver scarf for Harry.
"Why d'you think he does this?" Harry asked Remus, staring at the spot Snape had disappeared a few moments earlier. "He doesn't even talk to us."
"I think he comes to check up on you."
"Why? Do you think he's reporting back to Dumbledore?"
"Definitely not," Remus said, beckoning for Harry to follow him back into the tent. There was an inch of snow on the ground and since the weather had turned they'd been spending very little time out of the tent. "I would be in Azkaban or on trial right now if he'd told him." When Harry didn't respond, just running his thumb over the soft scarf as he sat on his cot, Remus said, "You don't trust him."
"Well why do you?" Harry asked looking up.
Remus considered him. In all truthfulness, he wasn't sure he did trust him. He hadn't turned them in yet though, and that was something. He remembered Lily trusting him though, and defending her friendship with him to James in their last few years at Hogwarts when James and Sirius had decided to bully Severus brutally.
"Your mother trusted him."
"He knew her?"
"He was in our year at Hogwarts. He's the one Slytherin friend she had that I told you about."
"Ooh," Harry's eyes widened. "Him?"
"I would not mention to him what I'm about to tell you. Well- maybe I shouldn't say anything at all."
"Come on Remus, please?"
Remus fixed Harry's hopeful eyes with his own. "It's going to have to be a story he tells you," he finally said, making up his mind.
Harry gave him a weak glare. "You won't even give me a hint?"
"No. Do you other have questions about him? I can try to answer those as best as I can."
He thought about it. Maybe if he asked questions, Remus would forget and tell him whatever it was he had thought about telling him a minute ago.
"What's he teach?"
"Potions. He's also the head of Slytherin house."
"And he was in the Order if Dumbledore sent him after us, right?"
"He was more than just in the Order. He was the only spy we had in Voldemort's ranks."
"He's a DEATH EATER?" Harry jumped up off his bed, looking alarmed, and dropped the Slytherin scarf on the floor. "Did my mum know that when she decided to be friends with him?"
"From what I know, she was friends with him before they started at Hogwarts. And yes, she knew. We didn't see much of Severus when working for the Order. A lot of people were in hiding and the Order was a secret. Meetings were infrequent and not everyone came to every meeting. Lily and James, Sirius and Peter and I joined the Order right after school, but Severus didn't join until just a few months before Voldemort attacked your parents."
"So how long was that then? Between when you joined and he joined?"
"Almost two years."
Harry stared at Remus like he was crazy and Remus raised his brows. "He was serving Voldemort for all that time and you trust him?"
"Dumbledore trusted him enough to let him into the Order and hire him at Hogwarts."
"Who cares what Dumbledore thinks. You said we couldn't trust him!"
Remus sighed as he gazed at Harry. "Harry, you're an intelligent boy. You're going to have to make up your own mind about who you can and can't trust. I'm not perfect, I'm just a man, and that means I can make mistakes like anyone can. And besides that I won't always be here to tell you who to trust."
"I trust you," Harry said, and Remus nodded. He'd made that decision when he'd let Remus take him away from Privet Drive and that had turned out well.