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Road of Loyalty

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This story is No. 4 in the series "Roads Travelled". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Over a decade has gone by since the war, but Buffy and Remus might be on the edge of another - against the same enemy as Voldemort is not truly gone. And while Sirius escapes to go after Peter Pettigrew, will his Godson end up in the crossfire?

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Remus LupinladyvisionaryFR13647,9923323,9311 Mar 136 Dec 13No

Diagon Alley

DISCLAIMER
This story is in no way associated with, or makes any claim to, Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or any other fandom/celebrity/anything else you may recognize. It all belongs to their respective owners. No money is being made from this story which is purely written for entertainment.

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

24 August
Sarah excitedly grabbed hold of Buffy's hand and led her through the entrance to Diagon Alley once her mother had opened it with her wand. "Come on! Ollivander waits for no one!"

Buffy laughed. "Ollivander waits for everyone, sweetie," she said. "There's no rush."

It had been years since she and Sarah was deposited back in the wizarding world, but the novelty still hadn't worn off for her daughter. Sarah still got just as excited every time she was taken to Diagon Alley. The only thing that could possible make this visit better for the eleven year old was if her dad had been able to come as well: Remus had been looking forward to purchasing Sarah's school things with her, but unfortunately, he was stuck making lesson plans. With less than two weeks' notice to get them done, Buffy wasn't surprised and she wondered why Dumbledore couldn't have approached them sooner - after all, Sirius' escape happened at the end of July.

"But I want my wand first!" Sarah said. "Or do we have to go to Gringotts?"

Buffy shook her head. "No, I already have enough Galleons with me. But I was thinking we could get an ice-cream first?"

"Chocolate?" Sarah asked excitedly and Buffy's lips twitched. Her daughter had a lot in common with her dad and it had been a relief to Buffy that the two got along splendidly from the moment they first met, despite the fact that Remus had been absent for the first few years of Sarah's life.

"Sure," Buffy said, leading her towards Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. Once they'd bought their ice creams (Sarah: triple chocolate with chocolate sauce and chocolate sprinkles, Buffy: vanilla and chocolate with caramel sauce), they went to try and find a place in the Parlour's outdoor seating area, Sarah already licking at her cone. That's when Buffy froze as dark, extremely messy, hair sticking up in all directions caught her attention.

"Mum," Sarah tugged at her sleeve impatiently. "There's a free spot over there." She pointed at the opposite corner from where that messy haircut could be seen.

"That's a too big table for just the two of us," Buffy said, the excuse (rather lame, she thought) leaving her lips easily. "We'd just steal space from those who need it. Let's go sit with him instead." As if in a daze, she began to walk towards the James Potter look-alike.

"He doesn't look like he wants to be disturbed," Sarah pointed out hesitantly as they approached. And he didn't - the table was covered in parchment with the corners weighed down by books so it wouldn't blow away, and the boy was scribbling away at the pages, his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth. Occasionally, he would turn his head to consult one of his textbooks, or dip the quill anew into the inkpot next to him.

Buffy ignored her. She was now standing right in the way of the boy's light, Sarah hovering hesitantly behind her.

"I don't need any more sundaes, Florean," the boy said without looking up from the parchment he was writing on. "I'm really full, but thanks for offering."(1)

"Umm..." Buffy began slowly and the boy's head snapped up, his face colouring as he realised it was not the owner of the Parlour standing there. Green eyes, so familiar to Buffy, looked up at her, and for a moment, Buffy lost the ability to breathe. 'Lily...'

"Oh, I'm sorry!" he exclaimed and then began to look around the outdoor area to see if it was full. "Do you need my table? I can move!"

"No, there's no need to get up," Buffy assured him, giving him a slight smile. "We can share, if that's alright?"

"I'm Sarah," Sarah piped up from behind her. "Who are you?"

The boy gave her a slightly weird look for a moment, but then, that look turned into relief and he gave her a crooked grin. Again, Buffy lost her ability to breathe - the familiarity of that smile was so wonderful and so painful all at once... 'James...' "I'm Harry Potter."

Sarah's eyes widened as she sat down in one of the free chairs by Harry's table. "Are you really?" she exclaimed, the stories of Harry's adventures that she'd overheard Dumbledore tell her parents coming to mind, as well as the stories her mother, and sometimes her father, had told her about their friends and their son.

Harry's smile noticeably turned a little strained. "I guess you've read about me."

"No, she hasn't," Buffy assured him, finally snapping out of her daze and taking her seat, holding out her free hand for Harry to shake. "I've told her about you. Or rather, I've told her a bit about your parents. They were two of my best friends. I'm Buffy Lupin."

Harry's eyes widened and his entire face seemed to light up with hope and excitement. Buffy felt a pang of sadness. How starved must Harry be for knowledge and stories about his parents, if his face lit up like that at the mere mention of them? "You knew my mum and dad?"

Buffy nodded. "I did indeed. So did my husband. We were in the same year at Hogwarts, and we were both part of your parents wedding - I was your mother's maid of honour - and we were there when you were born."

"Really?" Harry sounded wistful. "Were you one of the people who sent stuff for the photo album Hagrid gave me at the end of my first year?"(2)

Buffy grinned. "I was, yes, and so was my husband. Did you like the pictures?"

"I love them!" Harry exclaimed. "They're among my most treasured possessions."

"I'm glad you like them," Buffy said, and then gave him a searching look. "Hey, have you bought your school supplies yet?" she wondered. "Because it's Sarah's first year at Hogwarts this year so we're buying all her stuff today, and if you want, you can come along with us? And I could tell you some stuff about your parents if you want?"

Harry gawked, and looked as though he couldn't believe they would willingly spend time with him and offer such information so freely. "Yes, I-I'd love to," he stammered. "But I need to go to Gringotts first," he added hesitantly.

"That's alright - I'm guessing you don't need a new wand, so how about Sarah and I go to Ollivanders while you're at the bank, and then we can meet up outside the Apothecary?"

"That would be great," Harry said. "I-I'll see you later then?" he added cautiously, as though he was afraid Buffy would change her mind.

"See you," Buffy winked, finished the last of her ice cream and ruffled up Harry's hair - ignoring his protests - before she and Sarah left, Sarah waving happily at Harry.

"He seemed nice, mum," Sarah said, grabbing Buffy's hand and swinging it back and forth as they went to Ollivanders.

"He did, didn't he?" Buffy answered with a smile. "I hope you don't mind I invited him along, Sarah - "

" - No, it's fine," Sarah told her mother. "Like I said, he seemed nice, and you've told me so many stories about what his parents were like that I already feel as though he's somewhat family."

Buffy gave her a proud grin as she opened the door to Ollivander's. "I'm so glad to hear you say that."

"Buffy Summers, holly, ten inches, with a single hair from a very special werewolf," Ollivander's soft voice could be heard saying. Just like the first time she set eyes on the wandmaker, the hairs on the back of Buffy's neck rose slightly. "But...ah...it is Buffy Lupin now. I trust your wand still serves you well?" Ollivander's eerie moon-like eyes narrowed slightly. "It has been through many journeys...long journeys."

Buffy shivered slightly. "Yes, it works perfectly, thank you," she said, and then pushed Sarah forwards slightly. "My daughter needs a wand." Sarah smiled nervously.

"Hmm...yes, yes, of course. Which one is your wand-arm?"

"Umm...my right," Sarah answered, wrinkling her nose slightly as a measuring tape magically began to measure her limbs, while Mr Ollivander was flitting around the shelves, taking down boxes.

"That will do," the wandmaker suddenly said, and the tape measure fell to the floor in a heap. "Try this one," he said. "Holly, eight and a half inches, unicorn hair, flexible." Obligingly, Sarah took the wand and waved it in the air a couple of times. Mr Ollivander frowned and took it from her, handing her another one. "Cypress, ten inches, dragon heartstring, rigid..."

And on and on it went, with Sarah trying wand after wand. Sarah was beginning to get rather frustrated, and from the way her mother was looking at her watch, it was clear she feared Harry was already waiting for them. "...Ebony and Rowan, eight inches, phoenix feather, springy..." Sarah was waving wand after wand automatically now as she was given them, not really listening to its properties. "...Ash and Red Oak(3), nine and a half inches, a single hair from a unicorn,(4) swishy..." Sarah gasped as she felt a sudden warmth in her fingers that travelled up her arm, and when she waved it, white sparks flew shot out of its end, illuminating the room with shimmer light.

"Oh, excellent! I do believe we've found your match at last!" Ollivander sounded pleased.

Sarah grinned.



"We're so sorry we're late!" Buffy panted as she and Sarah reached Harry - who was not standing outside the Apothecary, but in front of the window display to Quality Quidditch Supplies instead, which was almost right next door. "But it took awhile to find the right wand for Sarah..."

"I figured it was something like that," Harry said with a slight grin. "It took a long time to find the right wand for me as well. Don't worry about it - the Firebolt kept me company." He nodded towards the display window.

"The Firebolt? Is that new broom?" Buffy asked questioningly as she turned to look at the broomstick. Her eyes widened almost comically as she saw the description. "Ooh. That's certainly something..." she breathed out, in awe.

"Do you fly, Mrs Lupin?" Harry asked, surprised she seemed so excited about a broom.

"Oh, I was a reserve on your father's Quidditch team, and I got to play in the final match we had against Ravenclaw," Buffy said. "But I only have a Cleansweep 4, which is ancient compared to the brooms out on the market now, though it was respectable enough back then, I suppose. And please, call me Buffy." She glanced back down on the description tag for the Firebolt. "Price on request. Well, even without asking, I know that puts it waaaay out of my price-range," she said with a slight chuckle.

"Mine too," Harry said. "But I certainly want it. I come by almost every day just to look at it..."

"Drool over it, you mean," Sarah said teasingly.

"I'm manly enough to admit it," Harry said with a grave nod which made both Sarah and Buffy laugh.

"Your dad would have loved this broom," Buffy told Harry. "He was obsessed with Quidditch and flying..." She shook her head. "Well, let's head to the Apothecary and get our actual errands done before we get stuck staring at a broom none of us can afford."

"Can I have a broom of my own, mum?" Sarah wondered. "Not a Firebolt, obviously, but a broom good enough to play Quidditch with?"

"Not this year," Buffy said as they reached the Apothecary and stepped into the smelly store. "Maybe next year, if you get good enough grades."

Sarah groaned. "Blackmail."

"I call it incentive," Buffy smirked.

Harry couldn't help but laugh at Sarah's disgruntled expression, and inwardly wondered what it would be like to have parents, or a sibling...a family. The Weasleys had treated him like one of their own during his visit to their house last summer, but it wasn't the same... He had still felt like a guest. But here, with Sarah and her mother, he already felt at ease, even though they'd just met and were only out shopping together. Was it because of Mrs Lupin's - Buffy's, he inwardly corrected himself - connection to his parents? Inwardly, he swore he would keep an eye out for Sarah once she arrived at Hogwarts, even if she wasn't sorted into Gryffindor.

"What do you need, Harry?" Sarah asked, craning her neck to get a look at everything inside the Apothecary.

"Oh, almost a little bit of everything," Harry said. "I need to replenish my store of potions ingredients. What about you?"

"A basic kit. Mum's getting it all," Sarah said, gesturing towards Buffy who was conversing with the man behind the counter.

"Sarah." Buffy suddenly turned around and handed Sarah a few galleons. "Why don't you go buy yourself a Pewter cauldron, standard size 2? Potage's Cauldron Shop(5) is right outside. You can't miss it. Don't go anywhere else," she then admonished.

Sarah grinned brightly. "I won't! See you in awhile, Harry." She happily skipped out of the store, happy to escape the smell of rotten eggs and cabbages.

Like Sarah had promised, she didn't go anywhere else after she bought her cauldron, and once they were done inside the Apothecary, they headed to Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment(6) to get phials and brass scales for Sarah, and then Scribbulus Everchanging Inks, to get writing supplies for all of them. After that, they headed Madame Malkin's Robes for All Occasions together to buy a full uniform set for Sarah, and new school robes for Harry who had outgrown his.

Once Sarah and Harry were done being outfitted, and Madam Malkin's was ringing up their respective purchases, Buffy took a long good look at the clothes Harry was wearing. The fashionista in her immediately realised he was dressed in clothes that were far too big for him and looked like they belonged to a small whale rather than Harry. "Harry, I don't mean to meddle, but are those the best clothes you've got for everyday use?"

Harry flushed a deep red. "They're Dudley's old cast-offs," he muttered and looked down at his feet. "It doesn't matter," he hurriedly added. "We wear our uniform at school all the time anyway so it's not like anybody usually notices..."

"Like I said, I don't mean to meddle," Buffy said gently, "but you deserve to be dressed in clothes that fit you all the time and that aren't robes. They can be quite encumbering at times." Harry frowned, which Buffy took to mean that he was thinking about what she was saying. "If we have time once we're done in Diagon Alley, I'll take you to muggle London, how does that sound?" Buffy asked, knowing the trust vault Lily and James had set up for Harry should contain more than enough money to buy him some real clothes. "Sarah needs more muggle clothes anyway, so it's not like you would impose..."

"Alright," Harry said quietly after a few seconds of silence. "Thanks."

"No problem," Buffy said as she paid for Sarah's purchases. "Sarah, put that down," she then told her daughter, who was messing around with a ridiculous looking hat.

Sarah pouted. "Can't I buy it? It's kind of pretty. I like the sequins."

Harry and Buffy shuddered as one. "It looks like something Gilderoy Lockhart would wear," they chorused, and then gave each other surprised looks.

"Not a fan, huh?" Buffy asked Harry, amused. She wasn't a fan of Gilderoy Lockart either, nor was Remus or Sarah: his books were laughable at best, and straight out distasteful and preposterous at worst, and they all found Wandering With Werewolves particularly offensive.

"Really, really not," Harry said while paying Madam Malkin.

Sarah pouted but put down the hat. "Maybe it is a little silly," she admitted while stroking the large peacock feather sticking up in the back.

"She did not get her fashion sense from me," Buffy mock-whispered at Harry who snorted.

Sarah sniffed, having heard Buffy's comment. "You just have no appreciation for flare and drama," she said theatrically before she stalked out of the store, for a moment reminding Buffy seriously of a young Cordelia Chase - the seer's keen sense of fashion excluded.

Laughing, Harry and Buffy followed the eleven year old out of the store. Once outside, it was clear Sarah carried no real anger as she turned to them both with a wide grin. "Are we going to the bookstore now?"

"Yes," Buffy said, smiling. Like Remus, Sarah too enjoyed books a great deal - but unlike Remus, she preferred books for fun, not learning. As such, Buffy had a feeling her daughter would spend a lot of time in the belles-lettres & fiction-section of Flourish & Blotts, while Buffy looked through the nonfiction area in search of the literary works Remus had asked her to buy.

"Excellent! Dad's Flourish & Blotts newsletter said the sequel to The Glasstower(7) is out today. And there's this new author I want to check out too."

"As long as you don't forget the books you actually need for school," Buffy said, amused, "you may look through as many books as you want. But - " she added when she saw Sarah's thrilled look, "you can't buy more than three books that aren't for school all together. But feel free to put some on your wish list for Christmas," she added as she saw Sarah's expression fall.

"Oh, I suppose that's alright," Sarah grumbled, walking ahead of them towards the bookstore.

"Her father is obsessed with books too," Buffy revealed to Harry once Sarah was out of earshot. "He absolutely loves them, but he prefers to read nonfiction."

"He's like Hermione, then," Harry said. "She's one of my best friends," he added at Buffy's questioning looks. "Her favourite book is Hogwarts, A History."

"Oh, your mother loved that book too!" Buffy told him. "In fact, Lily loved to read and learn new things."

"Really?" Harry asked.

"Yep. She graduated with Outstandings in all subjects. Your father's grades were also excellent, but he barely needed to study to learn." Buffy shook her head, her lips twitching. "Right before our N.E.W.T.s. most of us, your mother included, were in full panic, but your dad was cool as a cucumber - and more than happy to mock the rest of us for our lack of calm."

Harry laughed, though he inwardly felt an uncomfortable twinge. The way Buffy described his parents, it sounded as if they'd both been really brilliant and intelligent, and Harry, in comparison, didn't feel as if he could live up to that - at all. He usually slacked off studying and did his homework at the last second...and unlike the way Buffy described his dad, Harry didn't feel like he could learn everything quickly. If they'd still been alive, would they be disappointed in him?

As if knowing what he was thinking, Buffy put an arm around him. "Don't worry if you feel you're not like them," she said. "Welcome to race: normal. Believe me, I'm far from a natural genius, and not everyone is meant to be. Be proud of who you are, Harry."

Harry threw her a grateful look. Buffy frowned slightly when she saw Sarah had stopped outside Flourish & Blotts rather than immediately head inside, like she'd expected. Her daughter was staring at the bookshop window, her jaw open. This became explained, however, once she and Harry joined her. They all stared at the large iron cage behind the glass that held about a hundred copies of books that were literally trying to rip each other apart. Torn pages were flying everywhere as the books grappled with each other, locked together in furious wrestling matches and snapping aggressively.

"Oh, that's too funny," Buffy snorted, while Harry pulled out his booklist.

"It's apparently the required book for Care of Magical Creatures," Harry said. "I got one from Hagrid as a birthday present."

"They're kind of barbaric," Sarah mused, while staring at the display in fascination.

"Let's go inside," Buffy said. "And no, Sarah, I'm not letting you buy one of those. It looks like an ex of that book is more likely to kill our book-collection rather than add to it."

"I wasn't going to ask!" Sarah protested, her innocent expression fooling no one. Once inside the store, Sarah quickly disappeared between the shelves for fiction, while Buffy consulted her daughter's booklist for the literature she would actually need: she knew her daughter well enough to realise she would forget to pick them up herself.

A couple of seconds later, the managed approached them, looking extremely harried. "Hogwarts?" he asked abruptly. "Come to get your new books?"

Harry blinked, feeling slightly taken aback. "Yes, I need — "

"Get out of the way." The manager brushed Harry aside, and put on a pair of very thick gloves, picked up a large, knobbly walking stick, and headed towards the door of the Monster Books' cage. The expression on his face was very telling - it looked as though he was approaching Mount Doom,(8) Buffy thought with a giggle.

"Hang on," Harry said quickly. "I've already got one of those."

"Have you?" A look of enormous relief appeared on the manager's face. "Thank heavens for that. I’ve been bitten five times already this morning - ” A loud ripping noise rent the air; two of the Monster Books had seized a third and were pulling it apart. “Stop it! Stop it!” cried the manager, poking the walking stick through the bars and knocking the books apart. “I’m never stocking them again, never! It’s been bedlam! I thought we’d seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of the Invisible Book of Invisibility - cost a fortune, and we never found them…" Buffy only barely repressed her laughter. "Well… is there anything else I can help you with?” the manager asked, forcing a more pleasant expression onto his face.

“Yes,” said Harry, looking down his booklist. "I need Numerology and Gramatica."(9).

"Ah, starting Arithmancy, are you?" the manager asked as he stripped of his gloves and led Harry towards a section of the shop devoted to Arithmancy, while Buffy headed off in the opposite direction to find the books she needed. "Good choice - a great deal more reliable than Divination, with several applications in other fields as well. Here you go," he added, pressing the textbook into Harry's hand.

"Thanks. I also need Intermediate Transfiguration and The Standard Book of Spells, Grade Three..."

"Are you done?" Buffy asked once Harry returned to the front of the store, carrying his new books. Except for a pile of books that Harry recognised as first-year textbooks for Sarah, Harry saw Buffy was carrying four books of her own, all non-fiction covering various fields - three of them were Defence texts, and the last was called The Healer's Helpmate.(10)

"Are all those books for your husband?" Harry asked curiously.

"The Defence texts are - The Healer's Helpmate is for me: I already had a copy, but this is an updated version published recently. Since I work at St. Mungo's, it's important for me to know about all medical advancements that are being made, and books tend to be more summarised than the medi-journals I subscribe to."

"What's St. Mungo's?" Harry asked.

Buffy blinked at him. "St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries," she said. Once she had returned to the Wizarding World, she had been re-employed, this time as a full-fledged Healer, albeit part-time at first. Now, however, she worked there full-time, part of the regular staff for Creature-Induced injuries. "It's the largest wizarding hospital in Britain...you've never heard of it?"

Harry shook his head, feeling slightly embarrassed. It was yet another thing in the wizarding world he was completely ignorant about, he supposed. He wondered if he would ever learn everything everyone else already seemed to know.

"Huh. Oh, well, I suppose it's a good thing you've never had to go there...except that you have, you know," Buffy said. "You were born there, and I know you had a couple of check-ups there afterwards as well."

"Oh."

"Hey, are we ready to go?" Sarah approached and Harry literally gawked at her as he saw the pile she was carrying: it reached her nose, her eyes barely visible over the cover of the book at the top.

Buffy rubbed her nose tiredly. "You do remember I said three books, right?"

"Well, yes," Sarah's voice sounded sheepish, even though neither Buffy nor Harry could actually see her expression. "But then I remembered that I'm going to be at Hogwarts for a whole year! Three books will barely last me until Halloween, and that's if I read really slowly! Which I don't!"

Buffy rolled her eyes skywards. "I've got to teach you budgeting," she muttered.

"If these were shoeboxes, you wouldn't be saying anything!" Sarah said and Harry coughed to hide a laugh when Buffy began to blush. "And books are cheaper than shoes! So really, I am saving money!"

Buffy threw Sarah an exasperated look. "But we're not talking about you buying books instead of shoes, little lady," she said. "You put those back. You can keep four."

"Four?" Sarah whined.

"That's still one more than we originally agreed upon," Buffy said. "And you do know Hogwarts has a library, right?"

"Full of textbooks, I'm sure," Sarah muttered, but nonetheless sighed. "Alright. Grab the books I have at the top and help me put them back. I knew you'd never let me buy so many so I thoughtfully arranged them in the order I wanted them, with the ones I want most at the bottom."

"How proactive of you," Buffy said dryly as she began to remove book after book from Sarah's pile.

"I'll just go pay for my stuff while you do that," Harry said, sniggering. Sarah Lupin was certainly quite a character - and so was her mother. Their chemistry was very different from that between the members of the Weasley family - not better or worse, just different, and he was looking forward to getting to know them better. Harry hoped they wanted to stay in touch after today - and not just because he'd learnt more about his parents in a few hours than in the two years since he started Hogwarts, but because they were genuinely fun company.



Harry rarely got to come with his relatives when they were in muggle London to shop, so to be there with people who actually cared about him as well was quite an experience for Harry. Buffy took him to Oxford Street, bustling with life and people, and ushered him and Sarah into three different places to shop for clothes: Debenhams, River Island and Selfridges.(11). The department stores were easily the biggest Harry had ever been in and he felt completely overwhelmed by the gigantic clothing selection and he more than happily let Buffy pick out clothes for him.

Together, the two Lupin females went completely mad when it came to picking out his clothes for him, sending him in and out of dressing rooms and treating him a lot like a dress up mannequin. Though Harry inwardly vowed to never give a woman 'free reign' again for his sanity's sake, he couldn't regret he'd done so this time, and he actually had kind of fun. By the end of the shopping round, Harry had a completely new wardrobe that actually fit him, including shoes, and he was reluctantly forced to conclude that the torture to get there had been worth it.

"That was fun!" Sarah exclaimed once they returned to Charing Cross Road and the Leaky Cauldron, Harry to go back to his room, and Sarah and Buffy to floo back home. Harry only let out a weak grunt. His feet hurt and he couldn't understand how both Sarah and Buffy looked as though they had energy left to spare. Sarah gave Harry a hug. "I'll see you on September the first," she said. "Save me a seat on the Hogwarts Express if you get to King's Cross before me!"

Harry gave her a crooked grin. "I will." He then glanced up somewhat awkwardly at Buffy, who held out her arms.

"Come here," she said, and then gave Harry a tight hug that somehow felt a lot more comfortable and right than Mrs Weasley's ever had. "I want you to keep in touch, Harry," she said. "Write to me - I can't write to you unless you write to me first because of the mail ward around you, so write to me."

Harry frowned. "What mail ward?"

"Didn't you ever wonder why you've never gotten any fan mail for vanquishing Voldemort?" Buffy asked, not noticing Harry's surprise that she said Voldemort's name rather than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named or some other placeholder name. "It's because there's a ward around you that keeps mail from getting through, unless it's official notices from Gringotts, the Ministry, Hogwarts and the like, and mail from people you've written to yourself or regularly spend a lot of time with."

"I didn't know that..." Harry bit his lip. "But I guess the mail ward is a good thing - I don't want any fan mail."

Buffy laughed. "Understandable. Now, don't get into too much trouble at school and look after this one here," she gestured at Sarah. "Trouble is her second name."

"Actually, it's Joan," Sarah said, wrinkling her nose.

"Joan is a perfectly respectable name and I still don't understand what you have against it!"(12) Buffy said with an exasperated look, which told an amused Harry this wasn't the first time they'd had this particular disagreement. Buffy turned back to Harry. "Also, my husband, Remus, who I already told you knew your parents as well, is going to be the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, so feel free to turn to him if you have any questions."

Harry gave Buffy a startled look, and then, a thoughtful one. He hadn't had very good luck with Defence professors, and he couldn't help but feel slightly suspicious now... But if he was married to Buffy and had known his parents, he couldn't possibly be bad. "Alright, I will."

"I still don't understand why dad had to say yes when Dumbledore asked," Sarah muttered. "It's going to be so uncool to have my dad as my professor..."

"You know your dad has always wanted to teach," Buffy told Sarah. "And I'll have you know, professor or not, your dad is not uncool in the least - minus his insistence to wear cardigans more often than I find fashionable - and once homesickness sets in, I bet you'll be glad he's there."

"I'm not going to get homesick," Sarah sing-songed.

"Do you want to bet on that?" Buffy said, a twinkle in her eye. "Bye, Harry," she then said, giving Harry another hug, while Sarah exclaimed: "You bet I want to bet on that!"

"Bye," Harry said, waving at them both as he walked up the stairs to his room. The last thing he heard before he closed his door was Buffy and Sarah loudly, but playfully, arguing over the terms of the bet they'd just agreed upon. Harry shook his head, a smile playing at his lips. They were certainly something...and if Remus Lupin was anything like them, he had to agree with Buffy - he couldn't possibly be uncool.



"Hey," Remus looked up from the lesson plans he was working on when the fireplace flared up and Sarah came stumbling through, carrying two large shopping bags. "Did you and your mother have fun?"

"I did," Sarah said, just as the fireplace flared up again, and Buffy stepped through, carrying several large bags of her own. "And you better not be uncool at Hogwarts or I'll be a total outcast," she continued somewhat dramatically. "And don't be too cool either, because that will only lead to crushes and listening to my new classmates go on and on about how hot and awesome my dad is, is not something I want to suffer through." Remus felt completely bemused. Behind Sarah, Buffy's lips were twitching. "And mum is right - you do wear cardigans too often," Sarah added, before she left, heading towards her room.

Remus gave Buffy a baffled look. "I don't know how to interpret that."

Buffy patted his back and gave him a kiss on his cheek. "Just go with the flow, honey."

"At least she thinks there's something potentially 'crush-worthy' about me," Remus said, grinning ruefully.

"Of course there is. You're hotness personified."

"You're married to me," Remus said dryly. "You have to think that."

"That doesn't mean I'm wrong," Buffy sat as she put down the shopping bags. "Though fewer cardigans would only aid you in your quest to grab the number one spot at the 'hottest professor at Hogwarts rooster.'"

Remus gawked at her. "There's no such thing, is there?" he asked, horrified. "...Do you and Sarah really think I wear cardigans too often?" he then added, somewhat morosely, before Buffy got the chance to answer.

"Shirts are your friend," Buffy advised sagely. "And you look really smexy in polo necks."

"What on earth is smexy?" Remus wondered.

"Smart and sexy, of course," Buffy said with a grin, climbing onto his lap and wrapping her arms around him.

Remus let an eyebrow rise. "Really?"

"Of course. And did you know your eyebrow thing drives me crazy?" Buffy asked, wiggling her own eyebrows and leaning in for a kiss.

Remus blinked, and then let his other eyebrow rise. "It does, huh?"

"Totally," Buffy breathed and slowly began to unbutton Remus' cardigan.

"Mum, dad, I'm hungry, when are we having - oh, my God, my eyes!" Sarah exclaimed and Buffy reluctantly pulled away and adjusted Remus' clothes. Remus' face went beetred as Sarah covered her face with her hands. "Please don't tell me you were about to do what I think you were about to do? Yuck!"

"Alright, I won't tell you," Buffy said, amused. "And stop being so dramatic - we're both fully dressed."

"For now," Sarah mumbled, peeking out between her fingers, slowly lowering her hands. "You do know things like that are what scars children for life, right?"

"How do you even know about things like that?" Remus wondered with a frown, hoping Sarah had no clue about the birds and bees and having been rather happy in his ignorance. "You're eleven!"

"I read," Sarah deadpanned.

Remus stared. "Read what, exactly? Now I have this inexplicable urge to go inspect your book collection..."

Sarah rolled her eyes.

"Don't worry, Re," Buffy comforted. "No matter how much Sarah thinks she knows, I won't consider her correctly educated in such matters until she gets the talk and I'm more than happy to leave that to you. It's about time she gets it anyway." She grabbed the shopping bags still discarded on the floor. "Have fun!" She left the room, leaving Remus and Sarah staring at each other in identical horror.



"You are an evil, evil, woman," Remus said when he went to bed that night, climbing in beside Buffy. "I think I may have traumatised Sarah, and she is going to despise me for what I just put her through."

"Oh, don't be so dramatic," Buffy giggled. "She will not! She loves you." She sighed, the amusement fading from her voice. "I forgot to tell you something that happened in Diagon Alley today."

"Hmm...what?" Remus mumbled, already drifting off to sleep.

"Sarah and I met Harry."

Remus abruptly sat up, suddenly wide-awake. "You did?"

Buffy nodded. "Apparently, he lives at the Leaky Cauldron - I don't know how long he's been there, but quite awhile, I think. And you should have seen the clothes he was wearing before Sarah and I convinced him to go with us to muggle London to shop. His relatives can't be treating him well."

Remus pursed his lips together, a frown on his face. "Do you think he's being abused?"

Buffy shook her head. "Not physically, I don't think. But verbally abused and neglected? Almost definitely. The expression on his face when I asked if he wanted to accompany me and Sarah on our shopping round was heartbreaking, Re: so hopeful and yet full of disbelief, as though he couldn't believe we wanted him to come with us. He's starved for affection, and I don't think he knows very much about Lily and James at all either."

"I curse Dumbledore everyday for leaving Harry with Lily's sister," Remus said, shaking his head. "And I curse myself for not being able to do anything about it."

Buffy sat up and leaned her head against Remus' back. "It's not your fault. And I've met him now, and he promised to keep in touch - and I wouldn't be surprised at all if Harry approaches you at Hogwarts outside of your lessons. We can't make up for years of absence, but we can make sure we are there for him now."

"And we will be," Remus said, sounding determined.



31 August

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as he watched his staff members file in, one after the other, and settled down in the old, mismatched chairs inside the staff room, gathered for the meeting they always had right before a new term begun. "Now that we're all here," he began, "let's get down to business. As you all know, Sirius Black has escaped Azkaban and is believed to be heading towards Hogwarts. Because of this, certain...security measures have been put in place. Dementors from Azkaban will be patrolling the entrances to the grounds - "

" - I thought you were going to tell the Ministry you did not want them at the school, Albus?" Filius Flitwick piped up.

"I did, several times, in fact, Filius, but I was overruled," Dumbledore said.

McGonagall snorted. "Well, I suppose hell will freeze over the day Minister Fudge sees sense. He was a blubbering fool as a student and he is no better now."

"Now, that is quite harsh, Minerva," Dumbledore admonished, though his lips were twitching. "At least I managed to gain assurance that the Dementors would stay out of the actual grounds, since their presence there would, in fact, endanger the students rather than protect them. I suggest you all practise your Patronus charms, and Poppy, you better make sure we are fully stocked on chocolate."

"Of course," Poppy Pomfrey, the Hogwarts school matron, nodded.

"Hagrid, how are your lesson plans coming along?" Dumbledore next turned to the gentle half-giant, who would take over professor Kettleburn's position as professor of Care of Magical Creatures. "I found the book you chose for the booklist was quite amusing."

Hagrid coloured. "Oh, thank yeh, Headmaster. I was goin' ter show the third years a Hippogriff for their firs' lesson."

"I'm sure that will be very interesting for them, Hagrid," Dumbledore said with a slight nod.

"Are you quite certain a Hippogriff is the right creature to start off a beginner's lesson with?" Snape drawled. "Perhaps something less dangerous would be more appropriate."

"Hippogriffs aren't dangerous!" Hagrid said. "It's a beau'iful animal, and Buckbeak wouldn' harm a fly."

"I'm sure you're right, Hagrid, and I am convinced you will be a fine professor," Dumbledore interceded to stave off any argument: from the smirk on the Potion's Master's face, it was clear Severus had a both scathing and sarcastic retort on his tongue.

"It was about time Silvanus retired, Merlin bless his remaining limbs,"(13) Poppy said.

"Agreed," McGonagall said. "Now, Albus, don't you think it's time you told us who you hired as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, and why he or she is not here now? Term starts tomorrow. I surely hope you have found someone competent, and not another fraud like Lockhart? The students are falling behind - I am afraid they will have a lot to catch up on this year. Is it an Auror? With Black on the loose, surely that would be the most sensible choice..."

Dumbledore chuckled. "It is not an Auror, Minerva, but he is a bit of an expert on Sirius Black, one might say. I assure you, you will not be able to find anything wrong with my choice."

"Well, then, out with it, Dumbledore," Snape said. "I don't have all day."

Inwardly, Dumbledore winced somewhat, preparing for the explosion that was surely going to come from his Potion's Master's direction. Outwardly, however, he kept a broad, jovial smile on his bearded face. "I'm sure those of you who had him as a student remembers him well: Remus Lupin."

Poppy let out a little squeak of delight, clapping her hands, while McGonagall blinked in surprise, a pleased expression appearing on her face. Likewise, professor Flitwick was nodding in approval. However, Snape's face had coloured.

"Lupin?" he spat out. "Have you lost your mind, Dumbledore? The man is more likely to help Black rather than stop him! And have you forgotten what he is? Surely you cannot mean to let a werewolf teach our students!"

The few members of the staff who had been hired after the marauders left Hogwarts hissed in surprise and disapproval.

"I have not lost my mind, thank you, Severus," Dumbledore said calmly. "And I trust Remus Lupin completely. As for his...furry little problem," his lips twitched, "I have been assured he has it under control, and he will keep away from the castle whenever the full moon rises. As he cannot infect someone by his mere presence, I really don't see why you are protesting."

Snape spluttered. "I am protesting because he is a dark creature!"

"Who better to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts?" Dumbledore countered calmly.

"And," Snape ploughed on, "he was one of Black's best friends! Surely you can see why I am concerned?"

"Frankly, I don't. The key-word in that sentence is 'was' - not is. And as a former friend of Sirius Black's, I find it extremely likely that Remus Lupin will be in a better position to predict his moves than anyone else. That gives us a higher chance to keep Black away from the students and catch him. No offense to you, dear Sybil, of course."

"Oh, not to worry," Sybill Trelawney, the Divination's professor said, her eyes looking gigantic behind her glasses. "I am sure that whatever foresight professor Lupin manages to bring to our school will not surpass my own."

Several members of the staff, McGonagall included, either rolled their eyes or barely suppressed their sniggers. Severus stood up, glancing at his colleagues. A few still looked doubtful at Lupin's appointment, but the majority seemed to be at ease, reassured by Dumbledore's explanation and trust in him. "I suppose I will have to take comfort in the knowledge that Lupin will be gone within a year," he snapped. "The curse will make sure of that."(14) And with that final remark, he swept out of the room, his robes billowing behind him.

"Say what you will about Severus, but he does know how to make a dramatic exit," Septima Vector, the Arithmancy professor, said with a slight grin. The rest of the staff chuckled.

"When will Remus arrive?" Poppy asked.

"Ah, because of the unfortunate date of the full moon, Remus will arrive alongside the students with the Hogwarts Express tomorrow. With Black out there, I feel more comfortable with a professor present on the train, and I'm sure Remus is more than happy to ride with his daughter."

"His daughter?" Flitwick squeaked in astonishment. "I assume Buffy Summers is the mother?"

"Indeed. Sarah Lupin is to begin her first year this year."

"Another Gryffindor for my house, then." McGonagall looked pleased.

"Perhaps. But you never know what the sorting hat will say," Flitwick piped up. "For all you know, she might end up in my house. I've always thought Remus Lupin would have made an excellent Ravenclaw."

McGonagall's eyes narrowed in challenge. "She will be a Gryffindor, mark my words."

"Don't dismiss Hufflepuff," Pomona Sprout, head of Huffelpuff House and the Herbology professor, huffed. "Loyalty and hard-work are to be admired, not to mention, Hufflepuff is the house which takes all sorts of personalities. Even if her parents were both Gryffindors, the odds still speak for Hufflepuff above Ravenclaw, at least."

McGonagall looked from Pomona to Flitwick. "How about a little wager...?"

"Young Sarah might surprise all three of you and end up in Slytherin," Dumbledore pointed out with a cheery smile. All three Heads of Houses gave him identical expressions of ire and disbelief. "Or perhaps not," the Headmaster hastily amended.



Trivia

(1). During the three weeks Harry lived at the Leaky Cauldron the summer before his third year, Harry would do his summer essays outside Florean Fortescue's, and got free sundaes every half hour from Florean Fortescue himself.

(2). Hagrid gave this to Harry when Harry was in the hospital wing after his confrontation with Quirrell, after writing all of his parents' old school friends for photos.

(3). According to the information found on Pottermore, the ash wand cleaves to its one true master and ought not to be passed on or gifted from the original owner, because it will lose power and skill. This tendency is extreme if the core is of unicorn. Those best suited to ash wands are not lightly swayed from their beliefs or purposes. The ideal owner may be stubborn, and will certainly be courageous, but never crass or arrogant. Red Oak is a wand for those with unusually fast reactions, making it a perfect duelling wand. Its ideal master is light of touch, quick-witted and adaptable, often the creator of distinctive, trademark spells, and a good person to have beside you in a fight.

(4). According to Pottermore, unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner. Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and they are prone to melancholy if seriously mishandled, meaning that the hair may 'die' and need replacing.

(5). The name of the Cauldron shop is revealed through Pottermore.

(6). The equipment store's name is also from Pottermore.

(7). A made-up title by me: not a real book, as far as I know, and it has no relation/intentional referral to the fictitious skyscraper from The Towering Inferno (1974 film).

(8). A volcano in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth, located in the heart of Mordor, the black land, and the place where Sauron's One Ring was created and the only place it can be destroyed, making it the end point for Frodo's quest in Lord of the Rings.

(9). We find out this is at least one of the books Hermione uses for Arithmancy in third year in chapter 16 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

(10). In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Mrs Weasley consults this book while trying to heal the black eye Hermione received from the twins' punching telescope.

(11). Debenhams, River Island, Selfridges are three department stores at Oxford Street, with a price range that seems to be cheaper and somewhat less exclusive than for example Harrod's.

(12). In Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6x8: Tabula Rasa, Joan is what Buffy chooses to call herself when she loses her memory, Dawn mocking her for it. In Road of Sacrifice chapter 30, Faith is also less than impressed when Buffy reveals her intentions to give Sarah Joan as a second name, calling it 'blah' - the same response Dawn had in Tabula Rasa.

(13). Silvanus Kettleburn is the name of the professor of Care of Magical Creatures before Hagrid who retired to "spend more time with his remaining limbs" according to Dumbledore at the 1993 welcoming feast.

(14). After Voldemort was not accepted as professor for Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts when he applied, no one has lasted on the position for more than a year. Therefore, it is believed he somehow cursed it...

Episode Art: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter.



Published: 24/03 -13
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