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"No, Moony, you're still thinking like a Ravenclaw."

"I don't think I am, I think it's entirely possible."

"Well of course it's possible, he did it."

"Padfoot, get your mind off how chuffed you are with Harry and listen to me. I'm not saying he did it. I'm saying you did it together. I don't really care whether you believe me or not, I think it's fascinating."

"But I've never done a Patronus."

"Well, clearly that's a gap in your education, you ought to spend more time in my class."

"You are such a Prefect."

"Of course I am, Sirius. I'm a professor."

"Don't remind me."

" you think we could re-create it?

"Dunno. We could give it a go. I've never seen anything like it."

"Nor I. I've never thought you could make a world look so..."



Harry was conscious that he had heard the words for some time, but he was only beginning to understand sense in them. Stark conjured a memory; the black trees and white sky and a deep, solid thrust that seemed to come straight from his core outwards. The world had turned oddly flat, and after that he had no memory until the voices -- Remus, Remus and Sirius.

There was a strange sweet taste in his mouth, and his lips were sticky and dry. He opened his eyes without moving, because his eyes were just about all he could manage at the moment. The view that greeted him was depressingly familiar: the ceiling of the Hogwarts hospital wing.

He closed his eyes again and listened, because listening seemed to hurt his head less. There was a rustling noise and a squawk, and then the sound of paper.

"It's from Bill. He says there was a reserve force -- three giants and a dozen Death Eaters."

"Bloody hell."

"They took care of the giants..." a pause. "Three Death Eaters were captured. I need to go, Padfoot."

"Sure. I'll keep an eye on Harry."

"I've no doubt," Remus said, and Harry was conscious of a certain dry humour in his tone. "I'll return shortly."

Harry heard footsteps and then in the following silence the soft chirrup of a bird -- Glastonbury, he decided. There was a sudden heat near his cheek, and he opened his eyes to find the phoenix in full plumage, perched on the bedstead and gazing down at him curiously. When he saw Harry was awake he fluffed himself up importantly and whistled.

The next minute the world spun and shook as something enormous landed on the bed; it turned out to be Sirius, who draped himself across Harry and folded his hands on Harry's chest, resting his chin on them. Harry could just about see his eyes.

"Ullo," Sirius said. "Guess what! You're on the front page of the Prophet. And my hand and a bit of my leg, too. It's very interesting, being half a celebrity."

Harry licked his lips. "Water. Please."

"Sure thing!" Sirius rolled off him and sat on the edge of the bed, filling a goblet with water from a pitcher on the table and offering it to Harry, who shoved himself upright and took it with both hands. He had to cradle the goblet in his palms for a moment before his arms felt as though they might actually lift it to his lips.

The water washed away the sweet taste in his mouth, and he could feel it cool his stomach. He licked his lips again and finally identified the taste -- chocolate and toffee.

"What happened?" he asked. Sirius pulled his legs up and turned around on the bed, crossing them so that he took up as little space as possible.

"Well, you blew up half the forest and then we all had a nice chocolate snack," he said. "Feeling all right?"

"M'head hurts a bit."

"Reckon it would. What do you remember?"

"The Dementors -- lots of them. Remus and Professor McGonagall and you and Tonks, and then I got so tired...and you grabbed me. To keep me from falling. Then I thought I'd give it one last go and everything went funny."

"S'right it went funny," Sirius said soberly. "You, mate, set off the biggest, fattest, angriest, loudest, most ball-contracting patronus I or anyone else has ever seen."

"Is that what it was?"

"Must've been, I heard you cast it. Remus and Tonks fell over and the Headmistress nearly did. Knocked you flat on your back with me under you. I don't think you breathed for a minute, then Remus went a bit bonkers and shoved a couple of your chocolates down your throat -- lucky you had those or you might've been done but good."

Glastonbury cackled angrily.

"Right, I'm getting to that," Sirius said to the bird. "Anyhow, there we were with a bloody great crater in the ground where you stood and dead Dementors dropping out of the trees, what hadn't been vaporised I guess. We'd no clue what to do until Glastonbury showed up and Apparated you and me back to the hospital wing. Did you know he could do that?"

Harry smiled weakly. "I saw Fawkes do it once."

"Scared the life out of me, I can tell you," Sirius said, nevertheless stroking the bird's bright plumage affectionately. "Remus and Tonks came up on the double and the Headmistress showed up a bit later. She says there isn't a Dementor left anywhere -- a bunch of animals came out of the forest and started dragging off the bodies."


"Yeah," Sirius said, sounding very impressed. "Couple of unicorns, an acromantula or three, whole herd of bowtruckles. She says they're getting their own back for what the Dementors did when they came to Hogwarts a few years ago."

"Third year," Harry muttered.

"Anyway, I don't think there's a Dementor left in Britain after that thing. You scared the bloody living hell out of Aberforth Dumbledore, he was just locking up for the night and this big white thing came rushing at him..."

Harry grinned a bit at this. Sirius dug in the pocket of his robes and produced an enormous chocolate bar.

"Which reminds me, Madam Pomfrey said I was to stuff you full of chocolate when you woke up," he said, breaking it democratically in two. Harry took one half and nibbled on it while Sirius produced, from the volumnous sleeve of the Tutor's robes, a folded up copy of the Daily Prophet.

"How long was I asleep?" Harry asked.

"It's about nine. Colin Creevey brought the Prophet up a few hours ago. Apparently he was part of the reinforcements McGonagall summoned -- took the photo himself right after it happened. I think it's a rather good one," he added.

"Colin's a born war photographer, someone says come help us fight and the first thing he does is grab a camera," Harry grumbled. "I think he sleeps with it."

He unfolded the newspaper and smoothed it out on his lap. The headline was typical: POTTER POTS PERPETRATORS. Underneath it was the photograph Colin had taken, and Harry was forced to admit that if anyone could get someone's good side while they were unconscious, it was Colin Creevey. It was quite a dramatic photograph.

The ground was, as Sirius had said, bare and almost craterlike, with grass ringing it in the distance, all of which had been blown quite flat. Harry lay on the ground, his head in the lap of someone just slightly off-camera; Sirius, to judge from his earlier remarks. Every so often a hand would emerge from the edge of the frame and push a bit of chocolate into Harry's mouth; he must have been at least half-conscious, because he could see himself chewing. Remus stood over them both, the tip of his wand glowing and a dazed expression on his face, one arm around Tonks. She was scanning the invisible horizon and looking as if she'd just come through a catfight and wouldn't mind another if the other guy wasn't satisfied with the whupping he'd taken the first time around.

Auror N. Tonks and Hogwarts Professor Remus Lupin look on as Harry Potter is tended to at the site of the battle, the caption read. It is estimated that as many as three thousand Dementors, almost the entire population of Great Britain, were destroyed in the skirmish.

"Skirmish," Harry snorted. The chocolate was indeed helping; he felt warmth flowing through his veins, and took a larger bite.

"Don't bother with the article," Sirius said, taking the paper away from him and tossing it on the floor next to the bed. "Eat up; do you want mine too?"

"That's all right," Harry said.

"No really -- there's plenty. The Prophet said you were in hospital at Hogwarts and a thousand million girls sent you chocolates." Sirius leaned over the edge of the bed and pulled out a large bowl that was full to the brim with gaily wrapped sweets. He settled it between them and began picking it over for the good stuff.

"I wouldn't eat any of that -- the last time Ron ate some of my food some girl had put a love potion in it."

"Madam Pomfrey cleared 'em all," Sirius said around a mouthful of Robe D'Or Truffle, the finest buttercream chocolates in the magical world. "Course I'll taste-test if you like, and you know if I've gone funny over a girl it's definitely the chocolate." He said the last with great daring, as if it were an act of willpower to joke about it; Harry recalled Remus' remarks about how terrifying even admitting it to his best mates had been for Sirius, and he grinned reassuringly. Sirius grinned back. "Packages've been arriving for Moony all morning too. And a bunch of owls found Tonks, which made Moony furiously jealous because they were almost all from admirers," Sirius continued.

Harry laughed. "I wouldn't peg him as being the jealous type."

"Well, he tried to hide it, very badly, so she sent him up here to keep watch with me. I think it's also that she got a big long letter from her mum cos apparently she hadn't told her yet that Remus was the one she'd been seeing. Besides, she's been down in town helping clean up."

"Was anyone hurt?" Harry asked.

"Not that I've been told. I think they'd have brought them up here, wouldn't you? I mean, none of us were top of our game after nearly getting our arses kicked by a bunch of Dementors, but a bit of chocolate and some breakfast and we were all fine. Fred and George are thrilled it worked."

"Shame they didn't get to see it."

"They made the front of the society page, their big charity smash," Sirius said. "Brilliant idea, really. All the best parties end with broken furniture anyway, so you might as well invite people to a party with the express purpose of blowing things up."

"Wizards seem to like explosions," Harry mused.

"I know I do. Could have done with a few less last night, though," Sirius said, and for the first time Harry saw how tired and pale he looked, and how deep-sunk his eyes were with worry. Impulsively, Harry leaned forward and kissed him, tasting chocolate and butterscotch on his tongue.

"You do know how to set the world on fire, Harry Potter," Sirius said in a low voice, when Harry finally released him.

"Well, people tend to give me a lot of kindling," Harry answered. "It's Saturday, isn't it?"

"Yes. Happy Hallowe'en, by the way. We did get a pretty great stash of sweets," Sirius observed ruefully.

"Can I go home soon?"

"Dunno. Want me to sneak you out? I bet Glastonbury would take us there if we asked him nicely," Sirius said. Glastonbury had hopped down onto the bed and was chasing a chocolate frog he'd freed from its carton across the counterpane. He looked up inquiringly at Sirius, then darted forward and caught the frog, carrying it proudly to Sirius and laying it on his lap like a small, greasy sacrifice. "Who's a good bird then?" Sirius murmured, tucking the melting frog back in its case.

"Better wait," Harry said. "If we're both gone when Remus gets back, he'll probably have a heart attack."

"Been rather a long day for him already," Sirius agreed. "I don't know about you but I think taking the rest of the week-end off sounds like a good idea."

"I'd planned on it," Harry said.

"Besides, this doesn't happen every day. I think we should celebrate," Sirius said.

"You always think we should celebrate," Harry teased. "Let me guess -- firewhiskey and Indian take-away."

"Better! Fish and chips and a gallon of puffapod wine from McGonagall's secret stash," Sirius answered. "Dobby's already nicked it for me and it's just waiting to be given a good home."

"You two look as though you're plotting something," said a voice from the doorway, and Madam Pomfrey entered carrying a pile of neatly-folded clothing. "I'm afraid your clothes were dirty and had to be banished off you, Mr. Potter," she said with a kind smile. "I've brought you some Hogwarts clothes; they look like they'll fit long enough for you to get home."

She set them on the bed, then sighed rather nostalgically as she looked down at the Hogwarts crest on the shirt. "Inasmuch as you seem unable to keep away from Hogwarts, Harry, we do miss you here. I've never had a nicer patient."

"Thanks," Harry mumbled, embarrassed. "That's nice of you to say."

She gave him a rather misty smile, then seemed to smarten up and recall that she was a school Healer, not a schoolgirl. "Well, now then, no need to dwell on unpleasantness. Your colour is good and you seem to be feeling all right; any lingering pain?"

"Bit of a headache, that's all."

"No tingling in the extremities or disorientation?"

"Not more than Hogwarts always gives me," he said. Sirius snorted.

"All right, in that case if you can stand up and manage to dress yourself, I think we may send you home. By the way, I don't suppose you'd like to, but there's a reporter from the Daily Prophet camped out at the front door of the school, insisting on an interview. Actually there are quite a few."

"I don't want to talk to anyone," Harry said tiredly. Sirius slid off the bed and offered Harry his arm for support as he threw back the blankets and made a precarious attempt at standing. He felt surprisingly solid on his feet, not dizzy at all, but he still let Sirius help him. Madam Pomfrey, seeing that he was in no immediate danger, left the room to give him some privacy while he undressed.

He could have done it himself, but there was no need to; without being asked, Sirius unbuttoned the hospital pyjama shirt he wore and eased it off his shoulders, setting it aside. He picked up the Hogwarts shirt and shook out the creases, then took Harry's left hand and slid it into the sleeve, repeating the process with his right. He leaned close to settle it around Harry's shoulders and began to do up the smaller, closer-together buttons on the school uniform shirt. Harry inhaled; Sirius smelled like leaves and dirt.

Sirius hitched up the tails of Harry's shirt, undoing the drawstring on the pyjamas and hooking his thumbs in the waistband; Harry put his hands on Sirius' and they both hesitated for a moment. Then Harry nodded, and Sirius grinned and just barely pushed. They slid off Harry's slim hips almost too easily, and Sirius leaned back just before his lips would have brushed Harry's shoulder. He unfolded the trousers and circled around behind Harry, holding them in front of the other man. Harry stepped into them carefully, let Sirius slide them up his thighs and over his hips. Sirius pressed his face against Harry's neck as he did up the zip, fingers lingering a little longer than strictly necessary, and buckled the belt already threaded through the loops. Harry could feel the press of Sirius' chest against his shoulderblades, warm breath on the nape of his neck.

"It's been almost half a year since I wore one of these," Harry said, touching the collar of the shirt with one hand, Sirius' hands at his belt with the other.

"I wondered what you'd look like," Sirius said against his neck. Harry sighed.

"Like James," he said. "I know."

"No...I thought so for a little while," Sirius said. "But really, you look like you."

Harry twisted to catch his gaze, surprised. "You remember."

"I told you then. The rest of the world may want you to be whatever they decide, but I just want you to be you," Sirius breathed.

There was a discreet cough, and Sirius jerked away from Harry, so suddenly that Harry almost did lose his balance; it was only Remus, however, and he was looking politely out the window by the time Harry turned to see him.

"I've been told to get out of the bloody way and go do some good by chaperoning you two home," he said, turning to regard them both with eyes at once concerned and amused. "Madam Pomfrey says if you're feeling well, she sees no reason you can't, and I'm quoting here, "spend the rest of the weekend in your own bed instead of one of ours"."

"I feel all right," Harry said.

"Clearly," Remus drawled with a grin. "Considering Glastonbury's developing talents, you're welcome to Apparate down to Fourteen Back if you think he can manage it; it'll be safer than floo'ing, I suspect."

Sirius crooked his arm, holding his left forearm up and level, and Glastonbury fluttered across to him, landing as lightly as any owl.

"What do you say, Glas?" Sirius asked. "You remember how to get there? It's where Hedwig is. Do you remember Hedwig?"

Glastonbury looked as if his intelligence had been insulted, then made a low hooting noise that was so like Hedwig's that Remus and Harry both smiled.

"It sounds like he's ready. I'd like to go on ahead though, just in case -- I'm going to run down and floo home from my office. Give it five minutes and then have him bring you home," Remus said. "I'll let Madam Pomfrey know."

"Thanks," Harry said. "Are you sure we can't help somehow?"

"Oh -- the Ministry's shown up, believe me, there's no help for anyone right now," Remus said with a sigh. "Best we just stay out from underfoot. Five minutes!" he called, as he left.

"Gives us just enough time," Sirius said, and Harry got a rather hopeful feeling in his chest, but Sirius was walking to the bed. "Dobby!" he called. "Dobby, where's that basket?"

Dobby appeared at once, a basket almost as large as he was slung over one arm.

"Hello, Harry Potter!" he said happily. "The house-elves wish to say that they hope Harry Potter is feeling better and that he has come back to school!"

"Sorry, Dobby, not quite yet," Harry said. Dobby's ears wilted a little, but he kept smiling.

"It is good to see Harry Potter took no harm?"

"Almost none, thanks though," Harry said. Sirius had taken the basket from his arm and was loading it up with all the chocolates from the bowl on the bed. "Tell them all I said hi, and thank you."

Dobby saluted. "Does Nigel Padfoot require anything else?" he asked.

"Thanks, Dobby, no," Sirius said. "I'll be gone until Sunday night -- can you make sure that when they clean my room they don't upset the papers? They're sorted very carefully."

"Dobby will personally clean it himself!" Dobby squeaked. Sirius grinned.

"Ta," Sirius said, and Dobby saluted once more before disappearing.

"Uh, Sirius, just one question," Harry said, as Sirius returned to his side, basket in his right hand. "What happened to my shoes?"

"You were blown out of 'em," Sirius said.


"S'right. Blew you right out of your shoes and set your socks on fire for a minute. The shoes hadn't any toes left to them. It was pretty much the greatest thing I've ever seen," Sirius said with a grin. "Ready to go?" he asked, and before Harry could answer he'd held Glastonbury up to his face again. "Can you take us both to Fourteen Back?" he asked. "Where Hedwig is?"

Glastonbury rustled his wings excitedly and hopped a little on Sirius' arm. Sirius carried him to where Harry stood, and Glastonbury reached out with one foot and sunk his talons into Harry's shirt.

"If he Apparates you and my shirt without me in it, I'm not going to be best pleased," Harry warned him, but the end of his sentence was swallowed up in the Apparation itself.

Phoenix Apparation was nothing like the clumsy human version; for one thing, when you were on the receiving end it felt a lot slower. The hospital wing seemed to melt, the colours blurring and bleeding into each other until the room was completely unfocused; then, slowly, the edges began to sharpen and colours fall into their proper places again, only this time they re-formed in the shape of Fourteen Back's kitchen. The actual process hadn't taken more than a second, Harry knew, but it felt like it had taken much longer.

"Welcome home," Remus said, sitting at the kitchen table. "You're well-timed, I just put a kettle on."

"That was great," Harry said. Glastonbury peeped self-contentedly and let go of his shirt, flapping over to the kitchen window where Hedwig was perched. The owl scooted aside to give him room to land and politely regurgitated half a mouse for him. Glastonbury couldn't have been more pleased if she'd brought him a whole bushel of dry tinder.

Sirius set the basket on the table and began unloading it; he gave Harry an unsubtle shove in the direction of the kitchen table, so Harry took the hint and sat down. His head did still hurt a bit.

"Madam Pomfrey said to make you some tea, and after that we're to send you to bed for the rest of the day and place ourselves at your beck and call," Remus said with a grin. "I suspect you won't lack for company. You certainly won't lack for chocolate."

"Sirius says you got a bunch too."

"Not as much as the hero of the day," Remus answered. "Or Tonks," he added, looking rather aggrieved. "I'm sure I don't know what these young men were thinking, sending my -- and you can stop laughing, Sirius Black!"

"I didn't laugh! I didn't hardly snigger," Sirius replied from the stove, where he had placed a pan and was assembling piles of food nearby. "If I were you, fools sending my girlfriend chocolate would not be what I'd be worried the most about."

Remus rubbed his forehead. "Don't remind me. I've lived with you two long enough that I think I may actually have forgotten proper table manners completely."

"Andromeda's invited you to dinner then, has she?" Sirius asked with a wicked grin as he cracked two eggs into the pan. "I can't believe you didn't make Tonks tell her when the whole thing started -- goes against your image as the chivlarous knight of Gryffindor..."

"I thought she had! Wouldn't you assume? I just thought maybe they didn't approve so we never talked about it."

"Do they?" Harry asked. "Approve, I mean?"

"Of a schoolteacher ten years her senior, who happens to turn into a monster every month, being appropriate material for their daughter? I hardly think they would, Harry," Remus said drily.

"Nonsense, they both like you," Sirius protested.

"They liked me when I was sixteen, Sirius. Which, I may remind you, was when Nymphadora herself was six."

"Do you really need their approval?" Harry asked curiously.

"No, but I'd rather not be on bad terms with the parents of the woman I'm -- " he stopped abruptly, and then continued in a more subdued tone, " -- I'm rather openly living in sin with."

"Living in sin!" Sirius hooted. "Living in sin! You read too much Mallory as a child."

"The point is neither here nor there but resides in the fact that I'm dining with the Tonkses tomorrow night," Remus said. "We who are about to die salute you, Caesar."

Sirius returned to the table, carrying three mugs of tea in one hand and a plate in the other. Harry, who was starting to feel a bit chilly, wrapped his hands around his gratefully.

"And even more to the point, it's not really any of your business to begin with," Remus continued. "Harry, when you're feeling a bit better, I need to ask you some questions about what happened."

"All right," Harry said, sipping the tea. All he had in his stomach was a lot of chocolate and some tea; Sirius pushed the plate he'd brought over at him and Harry eyed it warily.

"Scrambled eggs with...stuff in," Sirius said. "Sorry, I was trying to make an omelette."

Harry took an experimental bite and, when it tasted actually rather good, began to devour the whole plate.

"No loss of appetite," Remus said to Sirius, who grinned. "You know, there are rumours that there's not a Dementor left on the island. He must have sent every single one he had up against the forest. It might have worked if we hadn't been ready for him. He's not a very good tactician, you know, not on a grand scale."

"Strange, really," Harry said. "He's not stupid and he's good at fooling people."

"Well, a confidence man doesn't always make a good general," Remus said with a shrug.

"Is that what he's like?" Sirius asked, and the gap between Remus' experience, Harry's knowledge, and Sirius' historical education yawned wide in front of them for a moment. "A tricky bloke but not much more?"

"He's very intelligent, very powerful," Remus said. "Don't underestimate him because he made one or two tactical errors. He learns from his mistakes."

"He does that," Harry murmured. "He plays games. He likes games for the sake of them. He doesn't always have to do things the way he does them, but if he does them that way then he controls them."

"Sometimes I wonder," Remus said, "why he ever wanted to be immortal in the first place."

"Wouldn't you?"

"Oh, I suppose in some circumstances I would, but there's a great difference between me and Tom Riddle," Remus said. Sirius laughed. "What I mean is...well, I don't know about the two of you, but I think it's generally accepted that we become immortal when our name is remembered -- humanity has a strong urge to pass on the memory of itself to the next generation. So we have children, or we try to accomplish things that will make us well-known. But Tom Riddle..."

He shook his head.

"He clearly isn't concerned with how people see him as a man; if he were he wouldn't have accepted his physical changes as a payable price for immortality. He likes to be admired and feared, but he doesn't -- not anymore, perhaps not ever -- connect with people on any kind of level that makes them a reality to him. I think if complete anonymity were the price of immortality, he'd take it, which goes against every natural human urge to perpetuate. It's a very strange form of ambition. Some Slytherins might say it's the purest, because his ambition is wholly independent of the actions of other human beings."

"Why does he want it, then?" Sirius asked. Harry understood now why Sirius and Remus had been friends at school; Sirius was hanging on the other man's words, fascinated and enthralled. Harry wondered if Remus was even aware of it. It occurred to him that Sirius himself was not someone who could tell stories; Sirius was grounded in the present, in the earthy realities of life. Ellis Graveworthy had spent most of his time in other worlds and laid them at Sirius' feet; Remus sometimes did the same, perhaps without even realising it.

"I'm not sure. He doesn't seem to indulge in the usual things -- sex, food, drink, music -- natural human things. He has no interest in human affairs except as how they relate to his own desperate pursuit of eternity. I think...I think it's an irrational fear of death."

"I don't think fearing death is so irrational," Harry said. "I think it's pretty rational, actually. I'm afraid of death."

"Are you really?" Remus asked, and Harry saw that he really was curious. "You throw yourself into danger without hesitating; granted you don't throw yourself in front of cars, but it seems to me that what you fear, Harry, is the half-lived life. You're not afraid of dying, are you? Just of not being able to enjoy life anymore."

Harry considered. "Oh."

"I think that's why he frightens people so -- he wants to be immortal not out of fascination but out of fear. He doesn't really take true pleasure in anything, so he can't regret that. He's just terrified to die. He wants his consciousness to be present in some form, eternally." Remus looked down at his tea. "It must be horrifying -- such a tormented existence. Sacrificing everything out of fear is no way to live."

Harry gave him a significant look, and he grinned. "All right, so sometimes even we mere mortals do it as well. But the key is, isn't it, that I'm not afraid anymore."

"Except of Andromeda," Sirius put in.

"No man in his right mind wouldn't be," Remus answered. "And I know that Ted used to own a shotgun, which could definitely end my enjoyment of this world. At any rate, Harry, if you're done eating..."

"Yeah," Harry said, feeling much better with a stomach full of real food and some warm tea in him. "I'm going, I'm going."

"If you need anything, just shout; I'm going to be down here for a while. Hermione has some interesting notes for me on the nature of the mortal soul," Remus said. "Sirius?"

"Padfoot's place is with the ill," Sirius said gravely. Harry snickered as Sirius transformed and dashed out of the room, barking all the way up the stairs and thumping around in the upstairs bedroom. Harry followed, but he stopped in the kitchen doorway and looked back.

"Remus," he said.

"Yes?" Remus asked, looking up from the table.

"Don't think anyone in the Order isn't aware of who outflanked Voldemort yesterday. You make a pretty bloody good general yourself."

Remus smiled. "I'd rather be a diplomat."

"That's probably why."

"Get to bed, Harry; you need your rest. And I have some distinctly unmilitary books to look through."

Harry gave him a nod and turned, crossing the living room. As he went up the stairs rather less noisily than Padfoot, he thought he heard Remus breathe a sigh -- whether of relief or anxiety, he couldn't tell.

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