Disclaimer: Remus, Sirius, Harry, and the wonderful Arabella Figg all belong to J.K. Rowling. (So do the Dursleys—grrr!)
Go Back to Being Friends
Chapter Five—And Harry Makes ThreeTwo Days Later
Padfoot reached up with a paw, depressed the latch handle of the cottage door, and shouldered the door open. He had transfigured the doorknob into a handle yesterday so he could use it as a dog. He pushed the door closed again before dropping two dead rabbits on the floor and retaking human form. Remus was sitting on the sofa but had turned to look at him as he entered.
"Padfoot the mighty hunter has returned. They put up a valiant struggle, but I was victorious in the end. I hope you like rabbit at this time of the month."
"As long as you cook them. Moon has to be a bit rounder before I like 'Bunny Tartar'."
Sirius decided that skinning and cleaning the rabbits could wait. He threw an arm around Remus's shoulders as he sat beside him on the sofa and watched as he darned a hole in the sleeve of a robe.
"That's what I like to see—my dear little wife sewing by the fireside."
"Fuck you, Padfoot."
"Yes, please!" Sirius realized that it was his own robe, now clean, that Remus was mending. His good mood vanished. "Just burn it, Remus. I'm never wearing that thing again."
Remus continued the repair. "It's in pretty bad shape, but given my sporadic employment, I can't afford to waste anything still useful."
"I was wearing that when I found James and Lily in what was left of their house. I was wearing that when Peter murdered all those people in front of me. I wore that for the twelve years I was in hell. I'll stroll through Diagon Alley naked before I wear that robe again."
Remus clipped off the thread and smoothed the robe across his lap. He considered a moment before he spoke. "All right. You don't need to ever wear this again, but we won't waste it either. I'll keep it for the full moons, and if I accidentally destroy it, it won't be a loss."
"Thank you, Love." He kissed Remus's cheek. "Tear it to shreds with my blessing. Besides, I have money in my Gringott's vault. You could take some out, and we could both get new clothes. How old is this any way?" He fingered the very thin and very patched sleeve of Remus's grey robe.
"Too risky. I know you've gotten away with withdrawing money before, but sooner or later the Ministry might convince the goblins to monitor your account." Remus threaded a needle and began another repair. Sirius nuzzled his nose against Remus's neck and ear. He loved having Remus close enough to touch.
"No, the goblins will never agree. Secrecy is almost as important to them as security—but if it makes you happy, better safe than sorry, I guess. Harry's birthday is coming up, but I still have some money left from last time. Remus?"
"Do you think there's any chance that Dumbledore would let Harry come here for his birthday?"
"Perhaps. I recently added more wards and protective spells here—just in case." Sirius grinned and peeked at his lover's face. Remus had anticipated his request. "Well, I knew that you'd probably end up here sooner or later, Pads, and I wanted you to be safe. And I knew that if you came here, Harry might end up visiting here, and we both want him to be safe." He dropped the old robe on the floor, repairs unfinished, and reached for Sirius's hand. "But I was thinking, if Dumbledore agrees that Harry would be safe here, maybe he could stay here longer than just a visit? I remember how much Harry wanted to live with you, and with the wards I've put in plus you and I to protect him, Harry should be as safe here as he is with his relatives."
"And much happier."
"The attic is big enough that we could change it into a bedroom. Right now, there's enough headroom to stand only down the center, but with your help, I think I could raise the roof a bit and put in dormer windows. We could tuck shelves and drawers under the lowest parts of the ceiling, so the space isn't wasted. It wouldn't be spacious, but it would be his own room, and maybe it will make him feel like this his home, that he's not just visiting."
"You've been giving this a lot of thought, haven't you?" Sirius's happy mood was back full force. This called for more physical contact than merely nuzzling against his lover's neck. He climbed onto Remus's lap, straddling his legs. Remus wrapped his arms around Sirius's back while Sirius began to untie the belt of Remus's robe. "Have I told you today that I love you, Moony?"
"Yes, but you can tell me again; I won't mind. There is one catch though. You have to tell Harry about us before he moves in." Sirius closed his eyes and dropped his forehead to Remus's. "If you don't want to, I'll understand. We'll just have him here for his birthday."
"No, you're right; this is important. I'll tell him. It's just—you know how long it took me to tell James, and I was reasonably sure how he'd react. But Harry—I mean he's a great kid, Remus. You know that as well as I do, but look who raised him. To the Dursleys, different equals wrong. Being raised that way rubs off on people."
"I know, Love. I'm nervous too. But I just keep thinking, I'm as different as they come, but Harry didn't turn against me when he found out that I'm a werewolf."
"And now we get to tell him that you're a poofy werewolf," Sirius said, staring to smile again.
Remus narrowed his eyes and gave him his "Be serious, Sirius," look. "It doesn't matter what he thinks of me, but what he thinks of you does matter. Think it over. If you decide to tell him, wonderful. If you decide not to, I can live with that. I'm just not willing to have him move in with us if he doesn't know."
"James lived with me and remained oblivious."
"I was thinking of how Lily found out."
"Oh God! We are practicing our silencing charms every day until Harry moves in!"Two Weeks Later
"Thank you again for watching him for us. We won't be home until seven or eight o'clock since we have to have dear Dudley's uniform custom made in London and we want to make a day of it. Can you imagine the school outfitters not carrying his size? It's scandalous, that's what it is."
"It's no trouble at all, Mrs. Dursley. I haven't seen much of Harry in recent years, and I'm looking forward to catching up with his school stories."
"Oh no, he doesn't have any school stories. Do you, Harry?" There was an unmistakable tone of menace in Petunia's words when she addressed Harry.
"No, Aunt Petunia. Nothing worth telling."
"Mind you behave yourself. I don't want you giving Mrs. Figg any trouble."
Sirius listened to the exchange in the front hallway from the other side of the parlor door. Although he was in human form, he found himself fighting the urge to growl at Petunia. Instead he returned to the lavender velvet loveseat and growled at the cats surrounding and staring at Remus.
"They don't trust me," Remus whispered.
"How can you be so calm?" Sirius whispered back.
"I'm not," he replied.
The door opened and they were instantly on their feet. Remus brushed the back of his hand against Sirius's to reassure him. Harry entered the room staring at his feet, or perhaps watching for cats that he might trip over.
"You're not my only visitor today, Harry," Arabella Figg said with a smile in her voice. Harry looked up warily. His face lit up with happiness, and he ran into Sirius's arms.
"I promised you I'd see you soon, Harry. Have your so-called relatives done anything that I need to turn them into fruit bats for?"
"Not recently." Harry pulled away just enough that he could offer his hand to Remus. "I'm glad to see you, Professor."
"Call me Remus, Harry." Harry nodded and turned his eyes back to Sirius. Remus decided that was his cue to leave the room. "I'm going to go help Arabella in her garden so you two can talk." Before leaving the room, he held Sirius's gaze for a moment and smiled at him. Sirius felt warmer and calmer. He remembered how Harry had described feeling when he heard phoenix song.
"So, you've been staying at Professor Lupin's house?" Harry asked as he sat on the loveseat.
Sirius almost sat beside him, but quickly changed his mind and took the neighboring chair. "Just in case Harry's uncomfortable around me after I tell him."
"I bet that's been nice for both of you. He seemed really lonely when he was at Hogwarts."
"He's had a lonely life," Sirius said quietly. "But let's start by talking about you. Things were pretty awful the last time I saw you. How are you doing?"
Sirius felt a bit like a coward putting off the reason for his visit this way, but he also knew it was important that he was available for Harry to talk to. If Harry accepted his relationship with Remus and agreed to move in with them, these heart-to-heart talks could be more frequent, but if Harry did not—this might be the last time Harry wanted to open up to him.
"I'm O.K.," Harry said. Sirius decided not to call him on the obvious lie.
"Has your scar hurt any more?"
"Just during nightmares, but they really are nightmares," Harry assured him quickly. "It's not like those other times, not yet."
"Do you want to tell me about them?"
"Not right now. Most of them have to do with Cedric. You can probably guess what they're like."
"Can you get back to sleep afterward?"
Harry shook his head.
"I have a lot of trouble with nightmares too," Sirius said. "I've found that if talk to Remus afterward, sometimes about the nightmare, sometimes about anything except the nightmare, I can get back to sleep more easily."
"That must be nice—having someone to talk to. When school starts again, I can talk to Ron, but I think I'll stick to talking about anything else. I don't want to give Ron nightmares too. But right now—" He shrugged.
"If you wanted, you could have me to talk to."
Harry looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"
Sirius mentally berated himself. "Come out first; invite second. Oh well, change of plans." "Remus and I spoke to Professor Dumbledore, and we convinced him that you'd be safe living with the two of us. Now it's up to you."
"Of course I want to! Can I move in today?" Harry's eyes were shining brightly as he grinned in excitement.
"Wait—don't decide yet," Sirius cautioned him. "I meant to tell you something else first. You need to know before you decide."
Harry's smile faltered, but his eyes were still smiling brightly. "Is something wrong?"
"No—well—I guess that's up to you. I need to talk to you about Remus and I." Sirius watched Harry's face carefully for any sign that he suspected. Harry's expression was neutral as he blinked behind his glasses. "He looks just like you, James. I hope you're having a good laugh at my expense right now. How do I start?"
"I love Remus." Still neutral. "What I mean to say is, I'm in love with Remus. I'm gay, Harry." "Bisexual, actually, but let's not confuse the issue."
Harry frowned slightly, and Sirius held his breath.
"Does he love you too?"
Sirius nodded, still holding his breath.
"That's good. It's awful when it's one-sided, isn't it?"
"Horrible," Sirius agreed. "You sound as if you're speaking from experience. Anyone you want to talk about?"
Harry suddenly became interested in petting the cat sitting beside him. "Not really. It's old news anyway." When he looked at Sirius again, his brow was still wrinkled with some concern.
"Maybe it'll help if I tell him how you felt, James." "I don't know what you've been raised to believe about homosexuality, Harry, but for what it's worth, your parents both approved of our relationship."
"So, this isn't something new."
Sirius couldn't help but smile. It felt very new to him. The past two weeks had been like a wonderful honeymoon. "Well, it is, and it isn't. You see, Remus and I started—" "Keep it clean, Padfoot," "—dating when we were in school, but we broke up when we were nineteen. Completely my fault. We remained friends, but just friends. We just got back together two weeks ago, the day after I moved in with him. I think your parents would be really happy for us."
Harry smiled, but his eyes were still troubled. "I'm happy for you too. You both deserve to be happy."
"What's bothering you, Harry? And don't say, 'Nothing.' You've been frowning ever since I told you about Remus and me."
Harry's face shifted from worry to panic. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."
"It's O.K. I'm not angry. You can't help how you feel. You don't approve."
"No, that's not it. It's just—maybe I shouldn't move in with you right now."
"Oh." Sirius suddenly realized that for a teenage boy, there was a world of difference between accepting two gay men in the periphery of his life and actually living with them. Now it was Sirius's turn to busy himself with petting one of Arabella's cats. He didn't want Harry to see the hurt in his eyes. "If you're not comfortable living with us, I understand. But I hope you'll at least come visit us, maybe for your birthday."
"I do want to live with you, but—"
Sirius looked up again only to see that Harry was now studying the carpet. On an impulse, he dropped to his knees in front of Harry and met his gaze.
"What is it, Harry? You can tell me." Harry still hesitated. His forehead was even more creased. "If you were your dad, I'd smack the back of your head and say, 'Out with it, Potter.' In fact, in about one minute, I may try that."
Harry smiled somewhat. "I just don't want to be in the way. You and Professor Lupin just got back together. It's kind of like your honeymoon or something. I know you feel you have to take care of me, and it's really nice of you to offer, but I don't want to be in the way."
"You won't be in the way—unless you hog the bathroom when Remus and I want to stargaze, but that's another story." He enjoyed the look of confusion on Harry's face at that cryptic comment. "I'm not inviting you to live with us because I feel obligated to, Harry. I really want you with me. I miss you. You don't remember, but we were great pals. We used to have long talks together. They were a bit one-sided, but you were a great listener." Harry smiled at that joke. "We can't get back the time we lost, but I don't want to lose any more time with you. Remus feels exactly the same way. In fact, he brought up the idea of you moving in with us before I did."
"Yes, really. No sooner did I move in then he put me to work helping him change the attic into a bedroom for you. He had every detail already planned. I think he's been thinking about it ever since he found out I was innocent, hoping that you and I would both move in."
Harry looked slightly stunned. He seemed amazed that not only did Sirius want him, but Remus did as well.
"Of course he's surprised. He's lived his entire life in a house where he wasn't wanted," Sirius realized. "Perhaps part of the problem may be that you're still thinking of Remus as just your professor. You do have a history that goes back a bit further." An idea struck Sirius, and he grabbed Harry's wrist as he stood. "C'mon." He led Harry through the house toward the back garden. "When we get outside, ask Remus what we were discussing over breakfast."
Just before they reached the back door, Sirius shifted into canine form. The distinctive scents of cooked cabbage and cat piss became overwhelming, but were no longer unpleasant, just interesting. When Harry opened the door, the garden scents were even more interesting. Padfoot resisted the urge to trot over to the most intriguing scent of all and bury his nose in his crotch. Instead, he stood beside his nervous godson.
Arabella was pointing with a trowel and giving Remus instructions, but his full attention was focused on the teenage boy beside Sirius. Remus clutched the weeds he had just pulled, waiting for Harry's decision. The expression on his face was carefully guarded, ready to hide the pain of rejection. Sirius couldn't help but think that this was how Remus looked whenever someone found out that he was a werewolf.
Sirius barked sharply. Remus immediately looked at Sirius and noticed his wagging tail. Almost imperceptibly, his body relaxed in relief. He looked back at Harry.
"Pr— Remus? Um, Sirius said I should ask you what you were talking about during breakfast."
Remus looked puzzled and shifted his gaze back to Sirius again. "We talked about several things. Which one? Harry's room? Arabella's cats? Harry's first word?"
Sirius barked again.
"My first word? What was it?"
Remus grinned happily. "Moony. James and Sirius were quite jealous, but Lily thought it was cute. Your second word was 'Daddy.' Have you decided if you want to live with us, Harry?"
Sirius felt Harry rub the fur between his ears. "If you're sure you want me."
"Of course we do," Remus said in surprise.
"When can I move in?"After Dinner
Remus leaned back against the stone wall and tried to lose himself in feeling happy. The pessimist which dwelt within his soul, "One of my inner monsters," tried to spoil the moment by reminding him that all happiness was ephemeral, but Remus wouldn't let him win and spoil the evening. "This moment won't last—all the more reason to fully enjoy it now and cherish the memory later."
The sight before him was a familiar one. So many times he had sat beside the fire in the Gryffindor common room and watched Sirius and James sitting side by side on one of the squashy red sofas, heads bent together over some book, plotting together or laughing over a prank well executed.
Remus was not happy because the sight before him matched his memories so well; he was happy because Sirius and Harry were happy. For the first time since the night he arrived, Sirius was looking through the photo album—and this time the memories were bringing forth laughter instead of tears.
"Why do you and my dad have purple hair in this one?"
"Snape and a few other Slytherins were getting back at us for dyeing their hair pink, but the joke was on them. James and I just held our heads high and left our hair purple until it changed back. Took about three weeks to darken back to black, didn't it, Moony?"
"Um-hmm. But Snape didn't do it."
Sirius looked up in surprise and saw that Remus was wearing what Lily had called, "Remus's Mona Lisa smile." He grinned back, shaking his head.
"Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Half of the stuff we pulled was Remus's idea—including dyeing the Slytherins' hair pink—and if it wasn't his idea to start with, he probably had a hand in improving the plan. The only reason James and I, and not Remus, got the reputations as practical jokers was because James and I enjoyed taking credit for our efforts, whereas Remus is content to wait over twenty years to confess."
"As long as I am confessing—I wanted to dye your hair green, so you'd really think the Slytherins did it, but Peter wouldn't let me. He said green hair on Gryffindors was too cruel, and he'd help me do any color but."
Sirius's grin disappeared the instant Peter's name was mentioned. Remus shrugged as if to say, "Why not Peter?"
"Peter was much better at potions than I was. I needed his help so I wouldn't accidentally poison you two." Remus decided to shift Sirius's attention back away from Peter. He looked at Harry. "This was before your dad fell madly in love with a green-eyed classmate of ours, otherwise he probably would have liked green hair. What else looks interesting in there, Harry?"
Harry took the hint and resumed flipping through the album.
"This is you, isn't it?" he asked Sirius.
"Yeah. It's the one of you petting me while you were reading on your bed, Moony. When I first learned how to transform, I often changed into a dog up in our dorm."
"You just liked having us pet you."
"True—especially you, Moony."
"Do you have a photo of my dad when he was a stag?" Harry asked Remus.
"Next page, I think."
Harry turned the page slowly, as if afraid he'd frighten the deer into hiding from view if he moved too suddenly.
Remus didn't need to see the photograph; he knew it well. A tall, imposing stag with sharp, white antlers steps out of the forest shadows into the golden sunlight of a clearing. Every move—the sure, deliberate steps, the slight lowering of the antlers toward the camera before looking at it squarely—all tell the viewer that this is a creature of quiet, controlled strength and power. Prongs was no timid forest dweller. He was akin to Cernunnos, the stag-god worshipped by the Celts as a protector of animals. "Harry must sense that too. After all, Prongs is his Patronus."
"You can see why I felt safe running free under the full moon," Remus told Harry quietly. "There was no way your dad or Sirius would let me get past them and hurt someone."
Harry nodded but did not take his eyes off the photograph.
"Take it," Remus urged. "It's yours."
Even as Harry said, "No, it's yours. I couldn't," his hand moved just slightly toward the photo.
Remus looked into Sirius's eyes and gestured his head toward Harry. Sirius did as he had silently been told. He slipped the photo free from the corner pockets and put it in Harry's hand.
Harry looked up in surprise, first at Sirius, and then at Remus. "You're sure?"
"I have my own copy," Remus said as he placed a hand over his heart, "here."
"You're welcome, Harry."
Harry's eyes looked suspiciously bright, and Remus knew that few things embarrassed an almost fifteen-year-old boy more than crying in front of adults. He decided to use the clock chiming eleven as an excuse to rescue Harry.
"It's late, Harry. Why don't you get ready for bed?"
Harry nodded and went into the bathroom. Sirius watched him go with a smile and then turned his smile on Remus.
"Are you going to join me on the sofa? or do I have to join you on the floor?"
"You look more comfortable," Remus replied. As soon as Remus sat on the sofa, Sirius laid his head in Remus's lap and dangled his long legs over the arm of the sofa. Remus began to run his fingers through Sirius's hair, just as he knew Sirius wanted. "Better than silk."
"I told you that you were good with kids," Sirius said as he looked up at Remus with a smug smile.
"I never disagreed. I just said that I shouldn't be anyone's father. What about you, Sirius? Will you regret it if you never have children?"
Sirius turned his head and nuzzled Remus's belly with his nose. "I'd regret not being with you more. Besides, I think Harry's enough of a handful, don't you?"
"He's our cub."
Remus laughed but it turned into a choked cough almost immediately.
"Excuse me? Cub? His dad was the deer, remember? And sit up before he comes out of the bathroom. This might look a bit suspicious from the back of the sofa."
"Oh!" Sirius immediately sat up. "I guess we shouldn't shock him too much the first night he's here." He turned enough to hitch one bent leg up into Remus's lap and to glance back at the bathroom door. Then he hurried into an explanation. "What I mean is, we're your pack. At least, that's how I always felt. And in every wolf pack, there's only one pair that has cubs. All the other members of the pack take care of those cubs just as if they were their own."
"And Harry is our pack's cub," Remus finished for him. Sirius nodded, his eyes searching Remus's for approval or laughter.
When they were younger, Remus had occasionally heard Sirius refer to themselves as a pack, but he had wondered if Sirius was just using the term or truly understanding it. Now, hearing Sirius explain their relationship to Harry in terms of pack dynamics, he knew that Sirius not only understood the pack relationship of wolves, but that Sirius understood those wolf instincts were part of Remus. "He understands me—both of me—all of me."
"Would you mind if I were to say that you think like a werewolf?"
Sirius's apprehension disappeared into a happy smile. "I'd consider it a compliment."
The click of the opening bathroom door forestalled a very promising kiss. Sirius sat back a little farther from Remus but left his bent leg in his lap. He didn't want Harry to feel like an intruder—so no snogging on the sofa with Remus like a hormonally-charged teenager—but he wouldn't pretend that they weren't physically affectionate either.
Harry hesitated near the bathroom door, sensing that he had interrupted a private moment. The hair framing his face was slightly damp, and his face was still pink from being scrubbed clean.
"Ready for bed, Harry?" Sirius asked.
Harry nodded and took a tentative step closer to the sofa and the stairs they held put in just behind it. He carried the photo of Prongs carefully, protectively.
"Just remember," Sirius continued, "if you have a nightmare, don't hesitate to call me or come knock on our door. I'm a light sleeper; I'll wake up."
"I'll be all right," Harry assured him. He raised his chin slightly as if trying to pull himself up as tall as possible. He walked to the base of the stairs.
"Well, I'll feel better if you wake me and talk to me. All right?"
Harry smiled gratefully at Sirius. "All right. Good night." He shifted his gaze to Remus. "Good night, and thanks again for the photo."
"And for letting me stay here."
"No, thank you for coming here. We're glad you're here, Harry."
Harry smiled shyly and hurried up the stairs. Sirius watched him go with a happy smile. Remus reached out to stroke his silky black hair. Sirius closed his eyes and lay back down, enjoying the touch.
"I told you that you just like having people pet your fur, Padfoot."
"No, not especially me," Remus said, trying to sound stern. "You got James to pet you,"—"and Peter,"—"and Lily and Ivy, and those third years when we were in Hogsmeade, and Hagrid that one time, and—"
"And did Padfoot ever crawl into bed with any of them, and rub his fur up against any of them when they were nude and still smelling like the wolf they had been the night before?"
Remus smiled in spite of himself. "Since none of them ever was a wolf, I'd have to guess the answer is 'no'." He slipped his hand between the buttons on Sirius's shirt and stroked the line of fine hairs down the center of Sirius's belly. "And that part about crawling into bed and rubbing up against each other sounds intriguing. Do you mind if I don't smell like a wolf tonight?"
"Not at all," Sirius said as he rose from the sofa and pulled Remus after him toward the bedroom. "I'm so glad you learned how to do one way silencing charms, Moony. We can howl all we want without bothering the cub."
Author's Note: If you'd like to read a funny story about Harry's first word, try The First Word by Evie.
Hope you enjoyed the story! Please, please review. What did you like/dislike? Agree/disagree with?
Oh, and if you haven't read "Fallen (Alternate Version)" by CLS yet, please do so. You'll be glad you did.
-Posted March 2003