AN: My dearest followers, I very much apologise again for the delay in posting. I hope it won't be happening again anytime soon! The last couple of weeks have been crazy but I am now better rested, and hope to get the next chapter to you earlier than you usual next week as a reward for your great patience and continuous support. I hope you'll enjoy the new update as much as I enjoyed writing it! Much love as always.
Hermione woke up slowly, blinking her eyes open and in a moment of disorientation wondered what actually woke her up. She sat up in panic when he realised it was Teddy's crying. And he sounded hungry. She remembered it had been a few hours already since she fed him and got up quickly to soothe him. The crying however stopped before she could even enter the living room of Remus' quarters, making her even more worried if something happened to him. She rushed to the door but once she stepped into the living room, a rather curious sight made her pause. Remus was holding the babe safely beneath his arms and looking him straight in the eyes while Teddy squealed contently. That was when Hermione realised that it was not Remus who was holding the babe.
"We finally meet, cub." Moony's growling voice left Remus' lips, as his glowing golden eyes observed every little move while Teddy squirmed. "You are awake, mate." he said a moment later to acknowledge her presence without having to look away from his cub.
Hermione smiled, the tension leaving her when she saw all was well with them both. "He loves you...I remember how he wanted to join you outside during the full moon." she said softly and walked closer, gently brushing a few strands of unruly locks from Teddy's forehead. This night, the light curls were a grey, almost silver like the moon. As if the cub was letting them know that he knew the difference between his daddy and the wolf within him.
"He is small, but strong. I can smell my blood in his little veins...yet he is not like me." Moony observed and let his cub reach a tiny hand towards his stubbly cheek to feel him as all cubs did.
"Is he well? He sounded hungry a moment ago." Hermione asked, concerned for the cub's well being. He might be calm with the natural authority of the wolf around but that did not mean he was still not hungry.
Moony nodded and passed him over. "He needs a breast, to stay strong." the wolf said, not realising how his phrasing would sound to Hermione. The brunette blushed a little and turned to head into the bedroom to feed the babe but a gentle yet firm hand made her pause in step. "Stay..." Mony said softly, coaxing with his words and the enticing heat of his body so close to her.
She turned around and still blushing looked into those pools of liquid gold. "You...want to watch me while I feed him?" she asked uncertainly.
"Does the human not?" he asked in surprise. "To watch a mate take care of our cub is a gift that should not be missed." he caressed her warm cheek, enjoying actually being able to touch his mate and feel her skin through the human's body. She was so warm and soft, but strong and full of life at the same time.
Hermione hesitated a moment longer before giving into the wolf's coaxing. "Alright...if that is your wish.." she agreed and sat down, trying to open her blouse calmly to not let her nervousness affect Teddy. She slowly opened the small buttons and watched as Teddy's little hands immediately took a hold of her shirt and her chest to pull himself closer. With a smile that appeared only around the cub, she let those little lips attach themselves to her nipple and watched as he begun eating hungrily.
The only one oblivious to the adoring, almost heated look the wolf sent Hermione's way was little Teddy who drank happily. Hermione was however blushing and had to lower her gaze to watch Teddy feed before she would become red a a tomato.
Moony sighed. "I have to go now mate, the human has rested at the back of mind and has now the strength to let himself out any moment." he said and leaned in to nuzzled her cheek and breathe in her heavenly scent before getting up and sitting across from her instead. It took only a moment, as Moony closed his eyes and when he opened them, it was no longer Moony looking back at Hermione.
"Remus?" she asked gently, holding Teddy closer to her chest.
The man shook his head slightly and focused his gaze on her, blushing a little when he saw her openly feeding before him. "Hermione! I..." he stuttered, a little lost for words.
"Are you alright Remus? You must have had a really tiring day." Hermione said, detesting having to lie but drew her strength from her meeting with Moony.
"I'm fine, I just...don't seem to remember what we were talking about." he admitted.
Hermione chuckled. "We weren't. You were so tired when you got home I didn't even have a chance to cook us dinner, you went straight to bed. Or so I thought. I went to check on Teddy and here you were, sleeping as you are sat on the sofa." she smiled teasingly, lying seemingly unflinchingly, but she did feel a little remorse. She was mate to both Remus and Moony, and perhaps it was time she began establishing a closer relationship with the man as well.
"Oh, I...I'm sorry Hermione. I haven't been good company lately with this bill we are trying to pass." he sighed and ran a hand through his sandy locks.
Hermione just shook her head. "I know what you mean. I've been studying like mad and almost- well, I guess I will have to rethink if I can really do this." she said softly, hating to admit failure.
Remus looked at her in surprise. "You...thinking of postponing your exams and taking a year off before university?"
Hermione nibbled her lip but nodded. "I need to get good sleep and more time to myself or I could lose milk from the stress. And I can't do that now, Teddy needs at least another month."
Remus looked at her, his gaze suddenly intense as if he had realised something. "You would postpone your studies...for the needs of my son?" he asked softly.
Hermione sighed. "You sound so surprised. We are family Remus, and unless you forbid me to see your son, I will be there for him every day when he needs a woman's touch and care as well. And he is certainly one of the factors that affect my decision, yes."
Remus observed her a moment longer but his gaze seemed to have gained a new warmth, one that wasn't there before. And Hermione rejoiced internally, because that was one more wall down. One more out of the fortress built within the man across from her as a defense. If he was letting her in, it meant this could work. And they could be mates in everyday life as well.
Harry stood in the garden, the large practice target before him. Three arrows were already protruding from the large red middle eye, another in his hand as drew the bow and after a deep breath released, watching the slim piece of wood swish through the air and form a square of the four arrows. It was a skill he had learnt only a short time ago, a part of the little training he had and mastered. There was something simple about a bow and arrows, much more refined than blasting a bloody rock with a spell. It was almost like comparing art and the mess left behind by a toddle after lunch. And it was in moments such as these that he particularly enjoyed the sport.
Severus just had to fucking push him. Not only did he let the man drink from his neck, which was itself beyond his comfort zone still, he ended up rubbing against the man. Rubbing..against Severus...and loving it. Pink blush rose on his cheek as he admitted to himself just how enjoyable it had been to be so close to the man and have him suck on his precious flesh and life force. It had been divine to feel the man's arms around him, holding him so securely and letting him lean into his touch. But was it really so? Was it not merely the bond that produced the compulsive need for closeness?
Yes, it was... Harry took a deep breath and reached for another arrow. Breathe in, tense, breathe out, release, hit target. Did it really matter that it was the bond makin g him react to Severus in such a way? Could he forever be in the man's presence, allow him touch and justify both their actions to himself and the world by simply blaming the bond of a Sire? The question remained, did he like Severus enough to let him do this?
The man remained an enigma, his moods and behaviour changing like a flick of the light switch. But he trusted him, respected him and even admired him for managing to survived those long years kissing the hem of Voldemort's rags while knowing he would most likely die if the man ever got into his head. It was madness. It was brilliant. It was Severus. And those were the feelings Harry recognised from times before the bond. Just as he did not wish for the man as his constant to be delivered from this world, he respected him. And now, he was left wondering just how much amplified those feelings were due to the bond. Again, did it really matter?
Rotate shoulders, inhale, pick up another arrow, tension, exhale-
He jumped and released the bow prematurely, almost taking out the magpie on one of the tree branches.
"Remus, you startled me!" he said but smiled at the man who looked somewhat more at peace than he had before. "I haven't seen you in days."
Remus chuckled. "Yes, you have been busy renovating. I have to say you have done a wonderful job. Sirius would have been proud.." he said gently.
Harry nodded sadly. "I wish he was here to see it sometimes..but then I hope he is at peace. The years in Azkaban have taken their toll."
"They have indeed.." Remus said contemplatively.
They just stood in silence for a moment before Harry put away his bow. "Cup of tea?" he suggested.
"Sure. I should start on dinner anyway. Hermione has been doing way too much around the household." Remus led the way and begun making tea while scouting for something edible in the fridge.
"She was going to make steaks tonight. Something about two blood lovers in the house and iron for milk.." Harry mused as he sat down and stretched his slim build tiredly.
Remus chuckled. "Found them. I take it you like yours rare as well?" he asked as he looked around for potatoes.
"In the cupboard next to the fridge." Harry guessed his intent. "And yes. Blue for you and Severus, rare for Hermione and I." he smiled.
Remus nodded and made their tea before beginning on the potatoes. "How is Severus?" he asked nonchalantly.
"He is...healing." Harry answered evasively and avoided the gaze of the man he considered his second god-father.
"And are you still...taking care of his needs?" Remus asked, trying to keep his tone neutral. He was not happy about the bond situation but this was Harry's life and his choice. If he wanted to be with the man, Remus would support it even if it went against every of his instinct.
"Yes." Harry answered softly. He hesitated a moment, not sure he should talk about this with Remus, both as a werewolf with natural dislike for Severus' species, and as his god-father figure. But he wanted to hear an opinion other than Hermione's, who was always supporting of him. "Do you think Severus is a good man?" he finally asked.
Remus paused, the half-peeled potato in one hand as he contemplated his question. "I think he is a man of...certain values. Call me old-fashioned but I believe he has his own values and morals, perhaps somewhat distorted by his years as a spy...and that moral side of his is waging a battle with his impulses as a vampire." he answered honestly.
Harry sat up straighter and thought about Remus' words. The Severus he had known before could not compare to the man he knew now. He was still moody, and unkind sometimes. But he was a man of manners, always asked permission first and tried to prevent Harry from seeing his weakness, wishing to deal with his own problems. On the other hand, there was Severus the predator, the very man whoo had made him sit in his lap and offer his throat while he felt pleasure unlike any other. "You make him sound like a Stevenson character." he mused.
Remus turned to look at him and his smile had a few too many sharp canines on display than was comforting. "I would know all about Jekyll and Hyde. And I understand Severus well in this aspect. He is a man torn between nature and nurture, just as I am." he remarked simply, but Harry could see it was not a comfortable topic for him.
"And would approve if I..decided to explore this bond I have with him?" he asked softly.
Remus wiped his hands on the tea towel and turned to the young man. "Does it really matter if I approve or not? I cannot change your decision, nor do I want to, Harry. You are your own man, and you have a long life ahead of you. How you decide to live it is none of my business. I would only say that whatever decision you make I will support. But if you ever have any doubts, I would hear them and give you my most honest opinion." he said honestly and watched the smile blossom on his godson's face.
"Thank you..." Harry said softly. "For listening, and for your support. I have always valued your opinion." he smiled warmly.
Remus nodded. "You are most welcome, Harry."
The young man finished his cup of tea and turned to leave in search of his wayward best friend. He paused however at the door and turned to look at Remus once more. "Oh and Remus?" he asked. The man turned to look at him and was slightly taken aback by his serious expression. "You may not realise it but I see how you look at Hermione. Don't hurt her." was all he said before leaving a very confused Remus in the kitchen all by himself.