Chapter Nineteen: Salvaging the Past
Remus raised an eyebrow at the hostile look he was receiving from the little boy in slate blue robes.
"Minerva!" Poking her head back through the door cautiously, Amanda called in a harsh whisper so as to not set Poppy's intruder radar off again, "Albus said to remind you that you do have a class waiting. Since it's your last one of the day, I have to agree with him. Just go back and give them homework or something."
Minerva sighed and turned to the two people behind her. "Harry, will you stay and keep Remus company for a little while? I just need to finish up my class."
"Ok, Ma," he replied with an innocent grin. Minerva smiled and kissed him on the head as he climbed into the chair she had turned to face Remus' bed. Then she reached for Remus' hand and gave it a small squeeze. "I'll be back in a few minutes. Behave yourselves," she told them sternly. "Poppy," she called and went over to the witch, "Will you keep an eye on them? I need to get back to my class."
"Of course," the medi-witch replied, "And tell Amanda that I really can hear her."
Minerva grinned at her and hurried out of the hospital wing.
"That's my ma," Harry told Remus with a possessive note in his voice as Minerva left.
"Is she really?" he asked, interested to learn more about the woman he vaguely remembered. "She's a very nice lady."
Harry grinned despite himself. "Yeah, she is."
"Does she work here?"
"Yep, she teaches transfigtions. . . transgurations. . ." the young boy struggled with the long word.
"Transfigurations?" Remus suggested.
"Yeah, that's it," Harry agreed, liking the man's tone - he spoke to Harry as if he were an adult and an equal, rather than a child. "She started in September, but Aunt Manda says she taught here before too. Did she teach you?"
The young man's face fell. "I don't know," he said quietly.
"What do you mean?" he asked, his face scrunching up in confusion.
"I don't remember," came the reply, "I don't remember anything."
"Like ameena?" the boy asked.
"Ameena," he said again, "Uncle Snape said that's what happens when somebody's memories get lost."
Remus still looked puzzled.
"He means amnesia," Poppy said as she brought a large tray of food over. "Yes, Harry, like amnesia. Remus forgot a lot of things, so we are going to try to help him remember."
"I feel empty, like my mind should be filled with memories, but it's not," the young man mused quietly.
"Well you remember some things," Poppy said, trying to boost his spirits as she placed the tray on a table, "You remember Minerva."
Harry's face darkened at this, but the two adults were too busy talking to notice. His dislike for the man came back in full force and he quietly stole out of the infirmary. He made his way towards the transfigurations wing slowly, wishing the man hadn't remembered anything at all. "No," he corrected himself, "then ma wouldn't leave him ever."
Slipping into his mother's classroom, he quietly stood in the back of the room, watching silently as she dismissed her students. As they filed out the door, Harry made his way to the front of the room, where Minerva was putting her papers into a neat stack to be graded.
She smiled warmly when he reached her and obliged when he lifted his arms in a silent request to be carried. Holding him close, she closed her eyes and wistfully thought of the days when all she worried about was the Weasley twins getting a hold of her emergency potions stash.
Sighing, she asked, "Harry, do you miss home?"
"Yeah," he said tightening his arms around her neck.
Wondering what to do for the holidays now that Remus was back, inspiration hit her.
"Harry, how would you like it if we had the Weasleys over here for Christmas?"
"Really?" he asked, his eyes widening in disbelief. "But you said we were going home for Christmas."
"Well, I think it might be better if we stayed here, besides, then we can stay with Uncle Albus and Uncle Snape for Christmas as well."
"It's because of him isn't it?" Harry asked, putting a lot of stress on the word "him".
"A bit, Harry," she admitted, "I don't think it would be a good idea to move him around so soon after he's woken up." Seeing that her son was clearly not convinced, she kneedled, "And I bet Ron and the twins would love to see Hogwarts for the first time." The Weasley boys had misbehaved grievously on Halloween, some type of prank, and were forbidden to go to the Quidditch match Harry had asked them to come to. Harry then sent them a blistering lecture, in writing, about how they should behave and not act so stupid, especially when a Quidditch game was at stake. The twins and Ron had replied with a cheeky letter reminding Harry who sent them the "brilliant" Zonko's stuff.
Minerva watched the wheels in her son's mind turn, weighing the pros and cons of the situation. After a few moments of that, he exclaimed, "Ok!" Not doubt thinking about all the trouble they could cause if left to their own devices in the huge castle.
Minerva grinned despite the implications of the mischievous glint in his eye, thinking how wonderful it would be to have everyone she loved together for Christmas.
"Harry James Potter!" yelled Poppy from the doorway to the classroom, "How DARE you! Sneaking off like that! You could have gone anywhere! I didn't know where you went or how long you'd been gone until I looked up and you were GONE!"
Harry hid his face behind Minerva whispering sincerely, "Ma, I forgot, I didn't mean to make Aunt Poppy worry."
"All the same, Harry, we've been through this before, you're far too young to be wandering about the castle alone without giving anyone a clue as to where you're going," she replied quietly as Poppy continued to rant.
"I'm sorry, Ma."
"All right, love, but you need to tell Aunt Poppy too."
"Of all the irresponsible-."
"Poppy, hush," Minerva commanded, "He's fine, see? He just forgot. Go on, love," she urged him.
"I'm sorry Aunt Poppy," he said softly his green eyes wide and apologetic, "I didn't mean to make you worry."
The tall gray-haired witch shook her head and smiled her acceptance - she had never been able to resist those eyes.
"All right, all right. You're forgiven," she said, throwing up her hands in defeat, "Now tell me, why did you run off like that? Didn't you want to stay and talk to Remus?"
"No," his reply was sharp and yielded no room for questioning.
Minerva raised her eyebrows as Poppy looked at him strangely.
"Poppy, I think we need a bit of a chat, would you mind excusing us?"
"Of course not."
Sensing a stern talk fast approaching, Harry sighed in resignation and laid his head down on Minerva's shoulder as she carried him to her office. Setting him down on her desk, she sat in her chair behind it and looked up at the boy perched on the edge of the table.
"Would you mind explaining what exactly is the matter with you?" it was formed as a question, but it was more of a stern demand. Harry remained silent, but not the defiant kind of silence that reigned during his "I hate you" stage. Sighing, Minerva plucked him off the counter and cradled him in her lap. He cuddled into her embrace with his eyes closed, and heaved a deep sigh of contentment.
"Ma, is he really your son?"
"In a sense."
"Is he your son like I am?" he ventured timidly.
"Not exactly," she explained, "I only met him when he was eleven. I've had you nearly your whole life."
"Is that better?"
"Harry what is this about?" she asked, silently demanding a full and complete answer, "Are you jealous?"
She heard the blatant lie in his speed to answer and sighed again, trying to find the best way to explain this one. "Harry, you know I love you, am I correct?"
"I love you too, Ma."
She tried to hold in a grin and said, "And you know I'd do anything for you?"
"Yes," he answered dubiously, not sure where this conversation was going.
"And you know I care for you very, very much?"
"That's the same way I feel about Remus."
Harry's eyes narrowed in dislike and he sat straight up in her lap. "You can't."
"Why ever not?"
"Because I'm your son," he stated firmly.
"Harry, Aunt Molly has seven children, she loves them all the same."
"How?" she asked skeptically, interested to know where his train of thought would lead him this time.
Opening his mouth to reply, he closed it, then opened it again, but closed it in frustration when he couldn't think of a reason. Minerva was amused, to say the least, as she watched him grope for an answer that didn't exist. Finally, he gave up and slumped back onto her with his arms crossed defiantly. "I still don't like him."
"Because you're my ma."
"Harry," she sighed, "we-."
"No, listen!" he cut her off. "When you're his ma too, I don't have a mother anymore."
A slight crinkling of the corners of her eyes gave away her distress, as did the tiny twitch of her nose. She pulled him closer and said, "Harry, I will always be your mother. I'll always be here for you when you need me. But you have got to learn how to compromise. Remus needed me before and he needs me right now so he can have his memories back. Do you understand that?"
So this was just a temporary absence of Minerva from his everyday life. He could deal with that. "Yes Ma. I understand."
"Good," she said with a smile.
"Can we go find his memories right now?"
Laughing, she stood with Harry still in her arms. He refused to be put down and latched his arms around Minerva's neck. Shaking her head, she commented, "You will eventually get too big for me to carry, you know."
Ignoring her comment, he asked, "Where're we going?" as they turned down a corridor that he knew didn't lead to the hospital wing.
"The library," she answered simply.
"Really?" Harry asked in awe. Minerva had always told him that books could take you on journeys and introduce you to new and wild discoveries. She never said anything about recovering lost memories.
She chuckled at his wide-eyed expression and said, "You'll see."
They entered the library five minutes later and Harry called a greeting to the seemingly stiff librarian Madame Pince in a very loud stage whisper. She winked at him and gave a quick half smile before returning her face to its usual strict, uncompromising demeanor. Minerva made her way to one of the far corners of the room and cleaned the dusty table there with a quick charm before placing Harry in a chair next to it.
"Now let's see," she muttered quietly to herself as she ran her fingers over the spines of books that looked as though they had never been opened, "1946, no, maybe the next shelf. 1968. ah, here it is, 1975." She grasped the book triumphantly on a shelf above her head, stood on tiptoes to pull it out completely and set it on the table next to Harry.
"Go on, love, see if you can find Remus in any of those pictures."
Harry opened the book carefully, wrinkling his nose at the lingering new-book smell and flipped through some of the pages.
"Ma, you've got the wrong book, these pictures are of my Daddy at Hogwarts."
She turned back to him (she had been trying to get the next yearbook from the shelf, but was having no luck) and gave him a mischievous, knowing look.
Harry's mouth dropped open, "He went to school with my Daddy?" When she grinned and nodded, he turned his attention back to the book, scouring the pictures of the first years for the mysterious young man.
Meanwhile, Minerva had given up on the muggle way of doing things and summoned the next six yearbooks from their place on the shelf. Placing them on the table, she leaned over Harry's shoulder and smiled sadly at the picture he pointed at.
"Where's this one taken?"
"This was their first flying lesson, it was back when they used to practice in the field next to the lake instead of in the stadium."
"There he is!" he exclaimed happily, "And there's my Daddy. And there's - hey, is that Uncle Snape?" he asked, his attention drawn away from the young redheaded girl to a small, hook-nosed boy with a frustrated scowl on his face.
"Yes, it is, they all went to school together."
"Wow," was Harry's only comment as processed this new information. Picking up the books, Minerva extended a hand to Harry, which he took, and led him out of the library.
As Minerva turned down the corridor that would eventually lead to the hospital wing, Harry tugged at her hand. "Not that way, Ma," he said, pulling her over to a tapestry of the Isle of Avalon, "Uncle Gus showed me this way last week. It's faster." He gently pulled away the tapestry and stepped halfway through the wall to reveal a hidden passageway.
'Wonderful,' she thought darkly, even as she was again amused at his title for Argus Filch, 'more places for him to escape to. And the Weasley twins - Merlin help us.'
The corridor was made up of stones that glowed brightly on the ceiling and on the floor, illuminating the small hallway. A minute or so later, they emerged from behind a dull, lackluster suit of armor a few yards down from the infirmary.
As they entered the infirmary, Poppy stormed out of her office, looking ready to hex the disturbers of the peace into the middle of next week. When she saw Harry, her expression softened somewhat, and nodded in an answer to his silent, pleading glance. He walked over to the bed Remus was in while Poppy complined to Minerva.
"Amanda's been hanging around all day - she won't believe that he's not remembering anything, keeps asking him about things - popping in whenever she bloody well feels like and trying to surprise a memory out of him," Poppy explained testily.
"Has anyone else been by?" Minerva asked softly as she watched Harry engage Remus in a quiet conversation.
"Just Albus really. Severus was by before, but he didn't really do anything except sneer and drop off another batch of potions for me."
"When did Albus come?" she asked, turning her attention back to Poppy.
Trying not to grin manically at the question, the medi-witch replied, "Oh, he was here when I got back from looking for Harry. He and Severus are trying to figure out what happened."
"Have they found anything yet?" Minerva asked in a low voice.
"Nothing. Albus is just theorizing now. Nothing solid."
Meanwhile, Harry approached Remus' bed cautiously, not sure of what to say. He was delighted to have found one of his father's schoolmates - he had so many questions to ask - but he was afraid he had made a bad impression with his warning glare a little while before.
"Hello, Harry," Remus greeted cheerfully, his spirits undoubtedly brightened by the huge plate of food Madame Pomfrey had presented him with before. It was practically licked clean now.
"Hi," the boy said shyly, then asked, "How did you know my name?"
"Madame Pomfrey told me."
Wrinkling his nose at his aunt's professional title, he said, "I thought she said for you to call her Poppy."
"Yes, she did, but I feel a bit odd calling her that."
The boy grinned at this, "Ma always said Aunt Poppy would have the students calling her by her first name if Uncle Albus would let her."
Remus returned his grin saying, "I didn't think she listened to much of what the headmaster had to say."
Harry giggled and climbed onto the chair beside his bed, replying, "She doesn't most of the time, but I think Ma told her not to do it too." He settled into the seat semi-comfortably - it would be much more comfortable if he was sitting on a lap - and opted instead to kneel at the edge, leaning on the side of the bed so he could talk to Remus quietly. Once he was settled, he looked up and met the young man's questioning gaze. "I'm sorry I looked at you bad before."
The corners of the man's mouth twitched upward and he replied, "It's all right. Just out of curiosity, why did you?"
"I thought you were stealing my ma," he answered quietly.
"I'm very sorry you thought that, Harry," Remus replied, not really knowing why the boy would think that, "Do you think we can forget it and start again? Maybe even be friends?"
"Really?" Harry asked. He had never had an adult friend before, only aunts and uncles.
"Ok," he replied happily, "So what do I call you?"
"Remus," he replied, "And maybe when I figure out what 'Moony' means, you can call me that."
"Moony?" Harry questioned, giggling again.
"I think it was a nickname," Remus explained, making a face. "It's not a very good one, whoever thought it up."
"Well, perhaps these will help to jog your memory," Minerva said as she came to sit beside the bed. Placing the books on the edge of Remus' bed, she picked Harry up again and sat down, placing him comfortably in her lap. "They're old yearbooks, from when you were here," she explained. "I'm not sure if they will help or not, but Poppy said they might."
"Thank you, Professor," he said absently as he picked up 1975. As he flipped through the first few pages, he shuddered inwardly. It was unnerving, to put it mildly, to see yourself in different pictures, obviously with people who were friends, and have no recollection of them at all. He hadn't reached the actual class photos yet, only the collages and random pictures, when he stopped at a shot of two young boys. One of them was him, obviously, and the other was an equally short boy with a mass of unruly black hair who bore an uncanny resemblance to the boy seated on Minerva's lap.
"You're James' son aren't you?" he asked, eying the boy for more similarities. Yes: there was the hair, the nose, the whole face, really, but the eyes - the eyes were different, but familiar as well. He glanced up at Minerva's face and saw her smiling happily through over bright eyes. "What?"
"James," she said simply. "You remembered his name."
He paled slightly at that. Yes, he agreed, he had remembered his name. He hadn't even realized it. It seemed like the most natural thing, though, to match that name with this face. "Wow," he said, words escaping him.
"There were three of us," he said excitedly, "Me, James, and one other blonde boy."
"No, dear heart," Minerva said softly, "There were four of you." She took a silent breath here to try to calm her nerves. Harry felt her trembling slightly as she held him, and looked up into her face. It was closed completely, as was usual when something bothered her and she didn't want anyone to know. Deciding to wait for later to ask her about it, he settled down as she continued, "But you've got the first three down perfectly."
Grinning, Remus continued to flip through the book. He didn't remember much else, but did stop at a picture of Lily from 1980 and comment, "You have your mother's eyes, Harry," then added, "and her ears," before turning to the next page. Minerva couldn't help but notice that Lily's hair was down, covering her ears in that picture.
It was supper time by the time they had flipped through each of the yearbooks once. As Minerva and Harry left after bidding Remus good bye and good night, Poppy brought in another huge tray of food for him.
"Madame Pomfrey," he began, meaning to ask a question that had irked him somewhat since the beginning of Minerva's visit.
"Poppy, Remus. It's Poppy," she corrected, her patience wearing thin.
"All right, fine, Poppy," he began again, "Professor McGonagall-."
"Minerva," she interrupted.
"-said that there were four of us here," he said, ignoring her correction, "I remember James and a blonde boy, but who was the other one?"
Poppy's eyes darkened and she briskly put the plate down and stared out the window a moment before quietly answering, "Perhaps it's best if you don't remember that part."
"Ma, what was the matter before?" Harry asked as they entered the Great Hall.
"When you said there were four of them instead of three."
Silently, Minerva led Harry up to the high table and into a seat between herself and Severus.
"Eat you vegetables, Harry, they'll help you grow," she told him, sidestepping his question successfully as he muttered, "You say that about everything."
"Perhaps that's because it's all true," Severus suggested from his other side as the man spooned some green beans and broccoli onto the boy's plate. Harry glared at him and yelled, "HEY!" when Severus attempted to put a second huge scoop of vegetables on the boy's plate.
"That's enough Severus," Minerva said from her seat beside the headmaster.
Obediently, he released the handle of the serving spoon and reached for the salt instead as Minerva put a few chunks of roasted potatoes on Harry's plate.
Once Harry was ready, Minerva turned to her own plate, ready to load up, but found that someone had already done that for her - exactly the way she would have done, down to the white turkey meat drowning in gravy. She grinned her thanks to Albus, who returned it in his usual twinkling manner, and dug in.
"So how is our patient today?" Albus asked in a low voice so as to keep the conversation between the two of them.
"Fine, I suppose," she said and reminded him, "He did only just wake up."
"Point taken," he concurred.
"But I suppose he is doing well. He remembered a bit more this afternoon."
"Minerva, that's wonderful! What did he remember?"
"James. And a bit of Lily and Peter as well."
"Nothing," she replied frowning, "Do you suppose he might be blocking that out? He was much closer to Sirius than he was to Peter, and even James."
"It's possible," Albus sighed after a few moments' contemplation.
"I hope he'll be all right," she whispered.
"He will be," he assured her confidently, "He's made it this far, hasn't he?"
She grinned half-heartedly at that in silent agreement.
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