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All is Well 1/?

Posted on 2008.05.21 at 10:12
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: the world spins madly on - the weepies
Tags: ,
Title: All is Well
Author: Me, with Dorra who came up the idea and shares responsibility for plot development, and ideas (and illustrations in the future!)
Disclaimer: Of course I don't own the characters. Some lines of dialogue throughout the story may be taken directly from the book, and these do not belong to me either, they just reflect the idea of an Alternate Universe.
Rating: PG (future chapters maybe rated Mature)
Pairing(s): None definitively yet. Slash in future chapters, and implied slash throughout.
Spoilers: All books, eventually.

Summary: Total AU starting before The Philosopher's Stone. What if James hadn't been home when Voldemort arrived that night to kill the Potters? How would Harry's life, his relationships, his family have been different? Including blood pacts with Slytherins, scandalous tabloids, domestic!Sirius and rather a lot of Quidditch.

All is Well

Godric’s Hollow, 1981

Harry was wailing, clenching his little fists in his mother’s shirt as she snapped words over his head at his father, who stood at the door red faced and silent. “If you leave now, you can’t come home,” Lily said when she’d run out of incentives. “I’m dead serious. I’ll change our secret keeper and take Harry with me.”

“Snivellus convince you he’d make a good secret keeper, then? I’m sure he suggested a shared bedroom too, for security’s sake of course,” James ground out, swallowing more words, nastier accusations he wouldn’t be able to take back.

“If I had wanted him to share my bed, my child’s life wouldn’t be in danger!”

James started, as though he’d been slapped. “Right," he said. "Right.”

By the time Lily opened her mouth to apologise, to laugh, to give him a hug and offer up one of her best griddle scones, he had already stormed back out into the world and away from the one they’d created together.

When the Dark Lord came to her door that night, Lily thought it was her husband.

The Trial of the Wolf
By Felix Gormlington

Last year’s trial of the werewolf, Remus Lupin, for the murder of the wizard, Peter Pettigrew, was the most controversial in living memory. Whispers engorged to form rumours and newspaper articles, which inevitably shifted speculation to ‘fact’, several of which contradicted one another entirely.


WEREWOLF AVENGED POTTER’S MURDER! The Prophet, 6th August, 1981

WEREWOLF AND BLACK – PARTNERS IN CRIME? The Prophet, 10th August, 1981

In the courtroom, the story was far less convoluted. Mr. James Potter testified that he had left his house in Godric’s Hollow at eight minutes past nine and travelled by broomstick to the home of his friend, Mr. Sirius Black, in Camden Town, London. There he also met with werewolf Remus Lupin, who had been staying with Mr. Black for the weekend. At two minutes past midnight, the alarms were triggered in the Hollow and these two fine wizards and their werewolf companion had left to investigate the situation.

The house was in ruins upon their arrival and the events following this arrival has lead to the division of opinion in the wizarding world. Mr. Black and Mr. Potter promptly ran into the ruins only to discover Mrs. Potter deceased but son miraculously alive. Mr. Potter had assumed his secret keeper Mr. Peter Pettigrew, a lifelong friend, was dead as he could not conceive of the idea that he had been so betrayed. He was unaware that downstairs Remus Lupin had caught the scent of Mr. Pettigrew and followed it to find him in Animagus form (and therefore unarmed). Lupin did not hesitate to cast an Unforgivable Curse upon Mr. Pettigrew, resulting in his immediate death. For this crime he faced the possibility of a lifetime sentence in Azkaban or execution.

Why Lupin did not cast an alternative to the Unforgivable has widely been speculated as a move prompted by grief. However, those less sympathetic to Dark Creatures have made the case that his violence was prompted by the subconscious brutality present in werewolves. Five of the nine judges presiding Lupin’s sentencing agreed. However, in light of the circumstances, Remus Lupin was the first Dark Creature to be convicted of murder and sent to Azkaban (for the lenient term of three years) instead of the traditional sentencing in which the Dark Creature is to be hanged by the neck.

Whether Lupin deserved any sentence at all remains a bone of contention amongst scholars of Wizarding Law and those practicing in the Higher Chambers of the Wizengamot. Of course, the question most prevalent in the minds of his companions Misters Black and Potter does not concern legal ethics but the welfare of their friend Remus Lupin, who may not survive three years in the grimmest conditions in Great Britain.

18th August 1984

Mr. Potter,
Upon your own request, this letter has been sent to inform you of R. J. Lupin’s release from Azkaban at six o’clock, this morning. He was released into the care of St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for a mandatory post-release check up, after which his wand and personal effects shall be returned. If you wish to meet with him, he shall arrive at King’s Cross Station, Platform 9¾, at 2:13 today.

My wife and I look forward to seeing you and your esteemed young son at the Greenwich Ball at our family estate this coming spring.

Frederick Moor
Governor of Azkaban Prison
Godric’s Hollow, 1984

“Do you want lemon on your crepes, Harry?” Sirius asked, dumping a mound of icing sugar over the plate. Harry wasn’t paying much attention - he was staring out at the garden with a look nothing short of lust. “We’ll go flying when it stops raining,” he laughed, ruffling Harry’s hair as he pushed the plate across the table.

“Is dad coming?” he asked, Lily’s eyes peering up at Sirius through a shaggy mass of black hair.

“He’s still on duty – battling the forces of evil generally leads to less quidditch.”

Harry frowned and looked back down at his plate. “I wish he wouldn’t battle all the time,” he mumbled around a handful of crepe – Sirius had forgotten the cutlery and now the damage had already been done to Harry’s oversized Werewolves Rising t-shirt Sirius had found at Camden Lock (he knew the drummer and had felt obliged to buy it, especially considering today’s circumstances).

“Think you’ll find a fork will work just as well, mate,” he observed, handing one over. “And you know your dad will come to the station with us later, to meet Remus.” A thrill there, the cruel knot in permanent residence in Sirius’ stomach relaxing – Moony would be home soon, and he’d help pull them all back together.

“Sirius …” the querulous tone that struck fear in his heart – Harry was fond of awkward questions like ‘what is a git, and why is dad one?’ or ‘is lying okay if you’re lying to a muggle?’

“Yes?” Sirius asked wearily as Harry, aided with the fork, attacked the pile of crepes with renewed enthusiasm. The boy ate like a hippogriff but was still built like a broomstick.

“Hannah Abbott said that her mummy said that Remus would come and eat her up if she didn’t go to bed on time. Is that true?”

Sirius choked on his coffee and decided to have a chat with Hannah’s Mummy – or, failing that, introduce the snotty cow to Hagrid’s crop of Blast End Skrewts.

King’s Cross Station, later that day

Walking across the bridge in King’s Cross Station with his heart pounding and a stupid grin on his face, James felt eleven years old again. “Sirius!” he called, jogging to catch up with the familiar shape of a leather jacket slung over broad shoulders – an effort had been made, Sirius’d actually shaved and his hair had been pulled back.

“Dad!” Something small thumped into his legs and wrapped itself around his knees.

“Hullo there, young Potter,” James smiled, bending down to clasp Harry’s tiny hand in his own. Harry beamed. His dad “isn’t the hugging sort, mate – he loves you though, you remember that,” but Remus was coming home, and maybe when Remus was home his dad wouldn’t have to battle so much. The thought fluttered through his head for a moment before he was distracted by a muggle girl, her head shaved and metal spikes through her lip. Harry wanted to be a muggle when he grew up. Their lives were full of adventure.

Sirius was rocking on his heels, impatient and grinning and just this side of mad, cares lost in the prospect of Remus’ return. “Come on, lads!” he shouted, already moving away, towards the men’s bathroom. Harry had to run to keep up with his father's long strides, and before long all three of them were crushed in a warded toilet stall, tapping the wall tiles until they fell away to reveal a different platform entirely, populated by cloaked men and women carrying cages and floating carpet bags – there were murmurs, a few stares, but most were so busy getting to their destination they paid no notice to The Potters. The train wasn’t in yet, though the giant clock overhead read sixteen minutes past two.

“Trains are always bloody late since the ministry nationalised the service,” James growled. “This never happened when the Goblins were running it, but Merlin forbid we stick with a functional system. Anything to rake in a few more galleons, eh?” It was a familiar rant which would die out if nobody interrupted – James’ diatribes (on bureaucracy and wand wavers, departmental politics and Death Eater trials amongst other things) were a fixture of conversation, and always had been.

It was another five minutes before the train arrived, and people spilled out onto the platform in a wild tangle of colour and luggage. Sirius just about mauled those in his way to get to the unassuming man stepping out of the farthest carriage. Remus was far too pale, his hair hacked short, drowning in the brown suit he had surrendered at the doors of Azkaban three years ago. His lips were pulled from his teeth in a pained sort of smile when he saw his friends, and he set down his suitcase just in time as he was yanked to Sirius’ chest with a rough jerk. Harry - caught the midst of the tight hugs and back slaps, jokes and rough voices - felt quite forgotten and afraid.

It was a full minute before he peeked through his fingers, red faced and snotty, and blinked in surprise when he saw an unfamiliar face peering into his. The man’s eyes were dark and a little too large for his face, but his smile was very kind. “Hello, Harry,” he said gently. “I’m your Uncle Remus. Would you like some chocolate?”

Godric's Hollow, 1991

"So, did you ask your dad?" Neville whispered as quietly as he possibly could. They were crouched in their makeshift hide-out amongst the trees and Harry would thrash him if they lost to Hannah Abbott at Aurors and Ogres. Harry was busy smearing mud over his cheeks – either to better disguise himself or to make the girls scream – and took so long to answer that Neville wasn't sure if was going to at all.

"No, I didn't. I asked Sirius."


"Dad's got more important things to do than take me shopping. Sirius will take me."

"But now we can't meet up!”

“I see you all the time, anyway.”

“Yeah, but this is different. We’re going to buy school books and robes, and now Gran won't let me go with you because of all the fuss in the papers about Sirius and Re…"

"Would you shut up, Nev!" Harry yelled. The noise resulted in their discovery and the epic battle for ownership of Godric's Grove ensued – up until lunchtime that is, when a truce had to be called because their respective families were far more formidable than Ogres.

Camden Town, London

“Food!” Sirius yelled from the kitchen, his boots crossed on the table as he flipped through a thick white book, making notes in the margins. Remus shuffled into the kitchen still in his dressing gown and made vague noises about tea before collapsing into a chair. “You need to eat something before you keel over. Full moon was only two nights ago,” Sirius said without looking up, brushing his quill over his stubble as he frowned at a particular paragraph.

“You’re getting to be a nag in your old age,” Remus snapped, the smell of roast beef and potatoes in the oven unsettling his stomach.

“I’ll have you know I’ve been slaving over this dinner for all of four minutes. Eat it or you’ll be banishing drainpipe sludge out your socks for a week.”

“Drainpipe sludge? Come on, you can do better than that.”

“Alas,” Sirius deadpanned, “domesticity has drained me of all creative thought.”

“Tragic,” Remus agreed, summoning a cup and saucer. “James coming over today?”

Sirius flicked over the page with a little more force than necessary, spearing his quill into his apple. “Ah, just Harry, then.”

“He doesn’t seem to care about ...” the sentence was left to hang in the air as loyalty halted his tongue. “James is busy.”

“James is always busy,” Remus pointed out.

“Well he’s got a lot to do, alright? Death Eaters aren’t exactly running into Azkaban, are they?” No sooner had the words come out of his mouth that he regretted them. There were two things he and Remus absolutely Did Not Discuss: the Shrieking Shack, and Azkaban. “Bugger,” he said, putting his book down to reach over the table. “Remus, I didn’t …”

“Sirius! Uncle Remus!” Came a voice from upstairs.

“Blast,” Sirius muttered, catching the darkening expression on Remus’ face. “Harry, could you wait in the living room, I’ll be out in a minute!”


“Listen, I …” Sirius blinked, finding he was talking to the space where Remus had been sitting. He hadn’t even heard him apparate. “Well, damn.”

“Are we having Sunday roast again? It’s Wednesday,” Harry said from the doorway, muddy and grinning, leaves in his hair and a scab on his knee. It was on the tip of Sirius’ tongue to say something about mud on the tile, but he was sure if he actually said those dreaded words it would be the death knoll of his youth.

“Eat it quick and we’ll have time for a rematch of Monday’s game,” Sirius said, glancing up at the ceiling when he heard a thud. Best not to disturb Remus when he was … agitated.

“I’ll beat you this time – Nev came over and we were playing for ages. He tried to take my knight, but I got him with the queen.” Harry said, pulling the plates out the cupboard. Sirius always made him set the table and wash the dishes. It built character. Or something. His parenting methods were mostly second-hand; gleaned from stories of Remus and James’ childhood as he didn’t particularly want to inflict his own on his godson. Still, he couldn’t shake the idea that sometimes a lad just needed a good cuff round the back of the head, and Harry was no worse for it.

There was another louder thump from upstairs and both of them valiantly ignored it.

“Your Uncle Remus isn’t feeling very well,” Sirius said eventually, picking at a potato.

“Will he be alright in time for Diagon Ally?” Harry asked through a mouthful of half-chewed beef.

“I don’t know, we’ll ask him later. Still got your supplies list?”

“Yeah, I was showing it to dad yesterday so it’s at home. He said he might meet up with us if he finished his shift on time,” he’s trying for casual, but Harry’s delight practically radiates off of him. “And he said that I can have an owl, so I can send letters home and stuff.”

“That’s brilliant, mate. I thought for a horrified moment that you were going to ask for a cat, and then I’d have to disown you,” Sirius said seriously. Harry just rolled his eyes with a weary tolerance evocative of Lily.

“You know just then, you looked just like …”

“Mum?” One would expect a reaction of interest, or maybe sadness. Harry just looked bored. “Because I look just like dad's, but my eyes are just like mum’s. Yeah, not like I haven’t heard that before.”

“Actually,” Sirius said, an eyebrow raised, “I was going say that you looked like an owl’s arse.”

Harry snorted into his pumpkin juice. “A what?” he giggled. “You can do better than that!”

Sirius glowered, stabbing a potato. “Apparently.”

Diagon Alley
Later that week

“No, you can’t have a broomstick,” Sirius said, pulling Harry by the scruff of his neck from the shop window.

“I didn’t ask!” he protested, straining to get a last glimpse of the Nimbus 2000.

“You were going to, and the answer’s no. Your dad would kill me.” Sirius was practicing his best Responsible Adult voice, tugging Harry up the high street towards the apothecary. “Barrels of beetle eyes and jars of glow-worm goo are far more useful to an eleven year old,” he said with a dreamy expression. “Trust me – a bucket of rat wax is invaluable.”

Rat wax?” Harry asked eagerly, his face lighting up. Sirius winced and paused mid-step.

"You know, on second thought I think I'll buy your supplies. Be a good lad and go into Madam Malkin's to get your robes fitted."

"But …"

"Merlin's teeth, Harry, argue with me and I'll drag you down to Knockturn and sell you for parts," Sirius said, steering Harry towards the entrance to the shop. "I'll be back in a bit, so stay here," he added before being swept into the stream of wizards and witches, his coal-black robes flapping around his bovver boots.

"Hogwarts robes, please," Harry muttered, his hands shoved in his pockets.

"Got the lot here – another young man being fitted up just now, in fact," the woman said, pointing to the back of the shop. Harry saw another boy stood on a footstool – his pale, pointed face looked as though it were floating as the long black robes were being pinned from the neck down by another witch. Madam Malkin stood Harry on the stool next to him, slipped a long robe over his head and began to pin it to the right length.

"Hullo," said the boy, "Hogwarts too?"

"Yeah, first year," said Harry, grinning.

"My father's next door buying my books and mother's up the street looking at wands," said the boy. He had a bored, drawling voice. "Then I'm going to drag them off to look at racing brooms. I don't see why first-years can't have one of their own. I think I'll bully father into getting me one and I'll smuggle it in somehow. Have you got your own broom?"

"I bloody wish," said Harry eagerly, intrigued by the prospect of broom smuggling. "I have to use my dad's old Cosmic 4000, but I'm going to try and hassle my godfather into getting me the Nimbus. Don't think he'll go for it, but it's worth a try." This reference to his dad's Cosmic was a subtle way to show off – the broom was far more up market than most. And it had the desired effect: the boy looked far more interested.

"Play Quidditch at all?"

"Who doesn't?" Harry replied with a measure of disgust.

"Nobody I'd like to know. Father says it's a crime if I'm not picked to play for my house, and I must say, I agree. Know what house you'll be in yet?"

"Gryffindor," said Harry without hesitation. "My whole family have been."

"Oh," the boy said, with a sneer. "Well, I know I'll be in Slytherin, all the Malfoys have been in Slytherin."

"Oh," Harry said, grimacing. "That's too bad."

The Malfoy boy's ears went pink. "Slytherin are by far the most prestigious house in Hogwarts. Unlike Gryffindor, who haven’t won the house cup in years because they’ll let any sort in, Slytherin are a class of our own."

"Sure, if evil were a class," Harry said archly.

"Boys, that sort of thing isn't necessary," Madam Malkin mumbled around a pin, scribbling down measurements.

"Did your mother not teach you any manners, Gryffindor?" Malfoy used the word as though it were an insult.

"My mother is dead," Harry said icily.

"Oh, sorry," said Malfoy, not sounding sorry at all. "Were her family a dynasty of Hufflepuffs, I wonder?

"Don't you breathe a word about her, snake boy," Harry growled, flexing his fist.

"That's you done, Mr. Potter," Madam Malkin said hastily. Malfoy's eyes widened upon hearing the name and his cheeks flushed as pink as his ears.

"You look shorter in person," he said, sneering.

"Harry, come on!" Sirius called from the desk at the front of the shop – Harry had been so infuriated he hadn’t even noticed Sirius come in. As he walked to the doorway Harry paused to narrow his eyes at Malfoy, communicating a silent promise: snake boy was going to get exactly what was coming to him.


Leaky Cauldron,
Later that Day

“He’ll be here in a minute, you know,” Sirius said after their third minute of quiet.

“Yeah,” Harry replied, staring at the menu as though he were trying to set it alight. More quiet, the only sound being the bustle of the pub, laughter and chatter from the other families around them. Frankly, it was making Sirius twitchy. Harry was only this focused when he was plotting something.

“Did something happen at Madam Malkin’s?” he asked, nodding thanks when his pint appeared in front of him. Harry said nothing. “Did that boy you were talking to say something?” He asked. Harry’s shoulders tensed and his eyes narrowed into slits behind his spectacles. “Harry, I know you don’t like it when people go on about your celebrity but they’re only impressed. It’s not as though they’re hexing your nose off or …”

“He was going on about Slytherins and how marvellous they are. Rubbish like that,” Harry said tightly. “I don’t want to talk about it,” he added, much to Sirius’ relief. They weren’t a talking sort, Harry’s family.

“I’ll have whatever he’s having,” James’ voice said from somewhere above Harry’s head as he rested his hands on his son’s shoulders. Raindrops were rolling off the cuffs of his sleeves down the back of Harry’s neck but he didn’t complain. In fact, he was grinning.

“Alright, James?” Sirius asked, clapping him on the back when he moved to sit between them.

“Long day. Four sweeps and we still don’t know if Quirrell was acting alone,” he replied, scrubbing a hand through his hair, sticking up in wet spikes.

“Did you arrest anyone, dad?” Harry asked, rapt.

“You know I can’t say. Auror regulations and all that rot,” James said, nodding subtly. Harry looked as though he were going to burst with pride. Sirius fought the childish urge to compete for Harry’s esteem but the most exciting thing he’d done was swear at a slab of pavement he’d tripped on. “So,” James said when his pint arrived, “what have you bought with my hard earned galleons?”

Harry launched into describing the events of the day with his usual talent for leaving out the parts he deemed boring and spending a good deal of time lingering over any hints of intrigue. The thin, drawn young man who served them ice cream “could have been a vampire! Did you think he was a vampire, Sirius? He kept looking at your neck!”. He quickly segued into the story of the ride to the family vault in Gringotts when he “saw a dragon! Did you see a dragon, Sirius? I defiantly saw one”. By this time the mood was decidedly relaxed – piping hot bowls of broth had been set down before them, and Sirius was smiling distractedly at a blonde witch who’d sent him a glass of nettle wine. But when Harry started talking about his latest arch nemesis, the Slytherin boy he’d met at Madam Malkin’s, James’ gaze sharpened.

“What’s his name?” he asked, interrupting Harry’s questions on whether a first year could perform a decent bat bogey charm.

“Who - Snake boy? Um, Malfoy, I think.”

“When you get to school, you stay well away from him,” James said seriously.

“But I …”

Stay away. Understood?” he snapped.

“Yes, dad. Sorry,” Harry said, his face flushing as he stared at his plate. The Potter men seemed to suffer the inevitability of an uncomfortable silence.

“So,” Sirius said, dutifully steering the conversation back on track. “What classes are you most looking forward to, mate?”

As Harry mumbled something about Defence Against the Dark Arts, Sirius’ blonde admirer was heading for the heavy oak door, only pausing for a moment to smile at him expectantly. Sirius shrugged, gesturing at his dining companions. She looked unimpressed. ‘He’s not your son’ she seemed to say. It was a familiar sentiment – most women weren’t keen on sharing Sirius’ time with an Auror, a mad werewolf and the Boy Who Lived. Sirius was never quite sure what all the fuss was about. They were just his family.

Part Two


★★ C. Gabriel Wright ★★
gabe_speaks at 2008-05-21 15:52 (UTC) (Link)
altho' i'm having a hard time figuring out who this story is about, i must say i'm intrigued. i've seen loads of AU whereby Harry's parents live or Sirius (sometimes with Remus, yay!) is the parent, but i've yet to read about single-father!James. i must say, considering we spent 10 years and 7 books basically father-bashing care of Rowling's Daddy Issues, i'm glad to see a single-parent story that is with a father.

so my interest is definitely piqued!

i can't wait for the next bit...

oh, and first...!
dragley at 2008-05-23 12:20 (UTC) (Link)
I'm thrilled that you're intrigued by the spin on things. Next part will be up today! Thanks for being my first reader and only reviewer :D
bryoneybrynn at 2008-06-08 17:30 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I love AU. It's almost always shit but this seems really promising (that's a compliment, by the way, in case it didn't sound like it! lol) I really enjoyed your writing and oh! Harry wanting James's attention/approval just pulled on my heart. I loved Sirius struggling with his domesticity (that line about the death knoll of his youth cracked me up) and this made me laugh: </i>Merlin's teeth, Harry, argue with me and I'll drag you down to Knockturn and sell you for parts," Sirius said </i>. Sirius does the exasperated 'parent' so well!

I really enjoyed your re-write of the exchange with Draco in Madam Malkin's and the glimpses of Harry's normal life interactions with the other kids. I'm hoping I'll have time for part two later this afternoon - yay!
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