Part 2 - Happy Christmas at Last!
Their emotions were still in turmoil by the time they had to testify in court. Dumbledore visited them two days ahead of it and suggested:
"I've brought a Pensieve. I know of a spell that would extract Harry's memory of the event – if Peter has been there he would be seen by everyone – and thus recognised as a Death Eater. Millicent Bagnold believes my statement that you had not been their Secret Keeper, but many out there will have to be convinced still, Sirius. This is a hearing to summarise our investigation, you are not under charge, Sirius, be assured of that. Harry's memory, your testimony under Veritaserum and the Potters' will should be more than enough to clear you from possible blame."
"They didn't put down their choice of Secret Keeper in their wills as far as I know…" Sirius remarked.
"No, but they deposited a letter with their lawyer, in which they stated that they switched from you to Peter. James sent it after he went under the charm. You will be asked about the custody of Harry and Hannah. Since the will contains the explicit wish for the children to go to you it will be up to you to tell the court of the Canadian arrangement between you and the new foster family until the whole thing has settled down."
"Okay. What should I say?"
"That I have placed the children with a family that has yours and my trust. That their location and their names were kept secret out of respect for the children's privacy and safety. I'll see to it that these questions will only be asked after the questioning under Veritaserum is already concluded. You will receive the antidote immediately after the questioning regarding your position as Secret Keeper. They won't doubt any of your statements after that, I'm convinced."
"Good. I don't think I'd be capable of lying under the truth serum."
"You're not supposed to be. If the children are thought to be abroad they should be safe from being hunted down by the media."
"Yes, I would agree with that."
When the time came Sirius was quite calm. Knowing that he was not accused of anything gave him the strength to answer to all the questions he was presented with. He was called up and was immediately put under the Veritaserum. He was asked about the last week before the deaths of his friends and testified that he had been meant to be their Secret Keeper, but that he and his friends had decided to switch to Peter Pettigrew. He told them everything he saw and knew exactly as he had done in the days before the hearing, when he had been questioned repeatedly. But when Remus looked up to the Wizengamot, he thought that there were still many doubtful faces.
After receiving the antidote of the Veritaserum Sirius was really asked about Harry and Hannah.
"The will clearly states you will be the Potter children's guardian. Where are the children now?" the judge, Bartemius Crouch, asked.
"I have decided to give temporary custody to some family in Canada until the children are a bit older, when they will be coming back to me. I've done this in accordance with Albus Dumbledore's advice. To answer your next question: no, I will not say who their new foster family is, nor will I tell you about their current location. But I can assure you that they are both in excellent health and as well as they can be after having lost their parents. I feel it is necessary to keep Harry safely out of all the media craze that seems to have started up already. He has a right to grow up undisturbed and without being corrupted before he even understands what he has accomplished. It is also my wish that he learns about all of these things as he grows up, but he's to be told with care. Therefore there will be no press contact whatsoever until he is at least fifteen or sixteen, unless it is in my company and the questions have been passed by me before any interview. Any trespassing of those rules will be prosecuted from my part."
Everyone in the room knew that Sirius was a lawyer and that he would follow suit on his threats.
Remus' testimony was much less complicated. He was asked how he had spent the two days around Halloween and could tell them nothing much until the moment when Hagrid and Sirius had come into their flat with the children.
"Is it true that you and Mr. Black have moved location?" Crouch asked.
"Yes. Our new address is on one of the Scilly Islands. To be precise on Gargle Island, which is unplottable and was left to Sirius Black by his late great-uncle Alphard whose main residence it had been outside of London. We decided to make use of this place to get a bit of privacy after the recent events."
Finally Dumbledore stepped up and said:
"Just after placing the children in their new foster family's home I have been able to extract Harry's memory of the event. I have placed it into this Pensieve and would like to ask permission to show it to the court. I would also like to point out that apart from myself no one has seen this memory yet."
"Permission granted," said Crouch.
Dumbledore put the Pensieve on a small table which he conjured, then he tapped his wand to it and the memory of the events from Harry's point of view started to come up. Remus and Sirius stared at it. There was the familiar nursery. Harry sat in his cot, crying, Lily came in and lifted him up to sooth him.
"Sssshhh, little one, it's okay, mummy's here now. No reason to cry, my love…"
Then she halted and listened up. She heard James cry: "Lily, it's him! Take Harry and Hannah and go! Quick! I'll try to hold him up!"
But before Lily could really react Voldemort was already upon her. Right behind him was Peter, who had not even put up his mask. He smirked at Lily. Her eyes widened in shock, but then she placed Harry back in the cot, pulled her wand and said coldly:
"You'll have to kill me first if you want to get to Harry!"
"Stand aside, you silly girl, I don't care if you live or die!" Voldemort screeched.
"No! Not Harry! Take my life instead of his! Not Harry!" Lily screamed.
"Stop fidgeting and stand aside already!" Voldemort hissed and cast a quick Cruciatus curse.
Lily screamed more, but didn't budge away. Voldemort, impatient, cast Avada Kedavra on her. She broke down on the floor and Voldemort immediately pointed his wand at Harry's head and cast Avada Kedavra again.
The audience in the courtroom screamed as the curse hit Harry and bounced off him right back to Voldemort. There was a terrible scream from him and then he just seemed to fall together until finally a spirit crept out of the pile of robes on the ground. At the same time the fallout of the blow sent the wall behind Harry's cot flying right out of the house. With another scream Voldemort shot out of the hole in the wall in a green bulb of light and was gone.
Behind him, Peter had watched the event unfold in front of his eyes. Shock and terror was visible in his face, but then he heard the door open downstairs and Sirius' wails when he noticed James' body on the floor. Peter didn't hesitate, he picked up Voldemort's wand, threw one more horrified glance at Harry and transformed into the rat. He scurried out of the room.
The memory was over. The whole courtroom was still under shock of what they had witnessed. Dumbledore, who had seen it before, closed his eyes for a moment. Utter silence replaced the uproar from before. Not even Remus and Sirius had seen this before, Dumbledore did not let them look into the Pensieve.
"I have one final piece of evidence to show to the court. May I please call Mr. Ingram to the stand?" he said tiredly.
The judge approved and within a moment Mr. Ingram sat down in front of Dumbledore.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Ingram, thank you for coming to this hearing. I have here a letter, written by James Potter on the 25th October of this year and signed by himself and his wife. Do you recognise this letter, Mr. Ingram?"
"Yes, it was sent to me on the same date you just mentioned, Professor Dumbledore."
"Very well. Did you open it?"
"No, there was an instruction on the envelope that it should only be opened by you in the case of the death of both of the Potters. After I've heard of their deaths I took out their will and this letter and you opened it in my presence in your function of the executor of the Potters' will."
"Do you recognise the script as Mr. James Potter's writing?"
"I shall read it aloud to the court now. The letter says: "Dear Professor Dumbledore. If you are reading this letter then it means that both or all four of us are dead. We would like to help the investigation by giving you the information about our Secret Keeper. Right before we performed the charm Sirius convinced us that he was a bad choice and that we should switch to Peter Pettigrew instead. After a fairly long discussion we agreed to do this and called Peter in. Sirius left us after saying goodbye and Lily performed the charm right afterwards, using Peter Pettigrew as our Secret Keeper. We have decided not to inform anyone about the switch, but Lily and I have realised what this will mean in the case of a failure of the charm. Therefore, to protect our friend Sirius Black, we have decided to write this letter and send it to Mr. Ingram for safe keeping. Signed James and Lily Potter. Dated 25th October 1981."
After that the last doubting expression vanished from the faces of the Wizengamot members. Unanimously they voted to free Sirius from all blame and ordered the Aurors to do their utmost to capture Peter Pettigrew.
It was now two weeks before Christmas. Sirius and Remus had finally settled down a bit. Sirius was still busy at the Ministry. He was now pushed into the role of a lawyer for the prosecution, and it was for a good part thanks to him and Amelia Bones that all procedures were kept up, because Barty Crouch kept pestering them for a quicker preparation for all those trials that were now set up for all the Death Eaters that were caught. Some of them came by themselves, claiming that they had been under the Imperius curse. Sirius did everything, that he and Amelia Bones were on the panel to try Lucius Malfoy, when he came in. He was one of those people who spoke up and claimed to be under Imperius, a fact that made Sirius laugh straight out. Amelia had insisted to take over the judging, so the trial would be fair. She knew that Crouch was inclined to believe Malfoy. And she knew that Malfoy carried a mark on his arm that he didn't get because he had been forced to. She was going to appeal for the use of Veritaserum and that would tell the Wizengamot just how innocent Lucius Malfoy was.
All this kept Sirius very occupied. But he had time enough to arrange for Remus to get free access to his accounts for everything Remus needed for the family, himself or Sirius. And every evening when he came home he found something new to delight him about the house, the surrounding or the children. His first move was usually to the play area that had been set up for Harry in the living room. It was right by the big window and door to the terrace. During the day, when the sun shone, the play area could be extended to the outside, which Harry adored.
Sirius loved the children. Remus was sure that Lily and James would be happy to see that Sirius turned out to be a much more responsible father than he had been a godfather. As Harry's godfather Sirius had always claimed that he was allowed to simply spoil the baby and leave all the disciplinary things to his parents. Now he had to learn that he needed to watch out for Harry and Hannah. And that he would be one of the guys who had to say 'no' at times.
And above all the action at home and at the Ministry there was still the love he felt for Remus which he could not voice.
The last full moon of the year fell on the 19th December. Sirius took the next day off at work. He knew that Remus would need him as usual and there were the children. Perry came in the late afternoon to take over the little ones. Sirius and Remus sat on the terrace. They had warded the house off, so that Moony would not try to get in when he smelt the humans inside there. Padfoot nudged him away from the house as soon as the transformation was complete and they ran along the shore of the island, played in the small bit of forest they had on the northern end, just a copse of trees really, but it was enough for them to play hide and seek.
And in the early morning Moony dropped down, finally exhausted from his runs around the island. Gargle Island was just above two miles long and less than that wide. Moony ran around the island at least twenty to thirty times as he loped easily. He didn't tire fast either. Padfoot watched him for about half the time, sitting out the odd lap around the island. The trees were on a small hill, from where he could see practically the whole island and could watch Moony. Moony had recognised the island as his new territory. Woe to anyone who would try to set foot on this island when the wolf was out. They would have been shred to little pieces and eaten straight away.
But when Moony finally came to rest next to the huge black dog, he nestled close to the shaggy fur. He would lay his snout on Padfoot's front paws, which were stretched out in front of the dog. He'd lay nose to nose with the dog until he felt the moon set on the horizon. They could watch the moon when it was clear. And on this cool December night it was crystal clear. Moony lifted his nose and sniffed Padfoot. Then he licked Padfoot's snout tenderly. Padfoot reciprocated with eager licks of Moony's ears and face. Then he nudged Remus up and motioned to the house. They ran back to the terrace and Sirius pushed Remus onto the nest of blankets he had set up in front of the door. It had worked wonderfully on the November moon and Sirius intended to keep up the method until Moony knew the procedure and returned to the place by himself. Remus transformed and was out shortly after that. Sirius opened the door and levitated Remus, covered with a blanket, inside and up the stairs to his bathroom. The bathroom had been redecorated in the meantime and shone with a white enamelled tub, loo and sinks, white cupboards and dressers and brass handles and faucets. The magic mirror had a brass frame. The whole room was now tiled all over in pure white tiles. Sirius had ordered Kisty to let in a bath so it was ready for Remus. The house-elf had complied perfectly and Remus woke up when Sirius gently washed him clean, washed his hair and lifted him out of the water.
Remus could only smile and whisper a "Thanks, Paddy," before he was asleep again. Sirius put him to bed and covered him up. He pulled the curtains on the windows closed and left the ones on the bed open. Then he bent down and kissed Remus on the forehead.
"Rest well, love," he whispered.
Then he left the room to see that everything in the house was okay.
When Remus woke up a few hours later he had a faint memory of the kiss. He closed his eyes and wondered if that had been reality or if it had been a pleasant dream. He got up and dressed, then he turned up in the living room, where he found Perry still around.
"Hi Perry. Where's Sirius?"
"He went out. Told me he'd be back by lunch time."
"Oh – good."
Sirius had just helped Perry with the children at breakfast, then he left and went to Hogwarts. He didn't go to see the headmaster though, he went to see Poppy. When he came into the hospital wing and found her in her office, she jumped up.
"Sirius! Is something wrong with Remus? Does he need me?" she asked anxiously.
"No, he's fine, Poppy. I need you though, just for advice. Are you very busy right now?"
"No, it's quiet. Just one Ravenclaw boy with a flu. What can I do for you?"
"I know that you are not prejudiced against homosexuals, so I thought you might be the best to ask for advice…"
"Come, sit down here and tell me. Are you gay, Sirius?"
"I think so… I'm in love with a man anyway."
Poppy started to smile. She meant to know the direction this conversation would be taking. She thought back for a moment and remembered that she had hardly ever seen Sirius paying mind to the gaggle of girls that used to gather around him, trying to catch his eye. His grey eyes had usually only followed his friends and more so a particular friend. 'I should have known,' she thought.
"That alone doesn't make you gay, just in love, Sirius. And that's a wonderful thing."
"I suppose it is. But how do I tell him? I don't know if he swings this way…"
"Is it Remus, dear?" Poppy asked softly.
"Did you ever see him with a girl that was more than just a friend?" she asked on.
Sirius shook his head.
"You know, even if he doesn't feel that way, I don't think that Remus would think less of you if you told him," she suggested.
"I'm scared like hell that he calls off our friendship. I've just lost James, I can't lose Remus, too," Sirius said in a tight voice.
"Yes, I can see your point. Would you like me to visit Remus and carefully bring the topic up? He might tell me how he feels."
"That's kind, but I think, I should do this by myself, Poppy."
"Very good. Set up a dinner for only the two of you tonight, after you've taken Harry and Hannah to bed. Make it very romantic and tell him. The two of you, like all parents, still need a life for yourselves, in spite of the children. It's Christmas in a week. Get him a very romantic present. And then talk. I do think, he won't turn you down, you know… even if it should not be in a romantic way, he loves you very much."
"Thanks, Poppy. Yes, I know he does. I love him beyond anything and I'm so glad he's there. For the children he didn't even have a problem giving up his job and putting himself at 'my mercy'. You know how much he hates being dependant. He's practically handed himself over to me."
"I know. But if he says he loves you back, then it won't be because you support him, Sirius, if you're afraid of that."
"And, Sirius – there is a very helpful spell that you might need soon. I use it when I need to give someone a massage. It's 'lubricus'. You can personalise it with a flavour of your choice. Remus always loved eucalyptus."
Now Sirius broke out laughing. He hugged Poppy tightly. No one apart from himself knew Remus the way Poppy did. She had become a bit of a surrogate mother for Remus since his parents had been killed a year ago. All registered werewolves were under a kind of guardianship and once no living relatives were around, a person was chosen either by the Ministry or by the werewolf. Remus had plucked up all of his courage and had asked Poppy to become his guardian. Poppy had agreed right away and the Ministry had approved of his choice. Sirius liked her a lot and would get her counsel almost as often as Remus got it. When he left her on this day, Poppy was quite hopeful that Remus would find a safe haven for a long, long time. She hadn't told Sirius that he would run in open doors. When he had turned down her offer to talk to his friend and do it on his own she had been happy. She suspected that Remus felt the same, but would never speak up, because he was too shy in these things.
"They will be perfect for each other," she thought.
Sirius returned home and reached it just in time for lunch. Perry ate with them still and left as soon as the children were down for their afternoon naps. Remus went back to his room for another nap as well, which gave Sirius time to plan the dinner. He asked Kisty to make something regular for Harry and prepare the dinner for himself and Remus for an hour later.
"I want a table with the Sèvres china, Kisty, decorated with fitting flowers. It's roses on the plates, isn't it?"
"I is thinking so, master. I is checking quickly…"
Kisty vanished and returned with one of the lovely hand-painted plates. There were whole bunches of purple roses on them.
"Okay. So – purple rose petals on the table with lots of greenery. We'll serve a nice lamb roast, okay? That's what he likes most. With fried potatoes and green beans. I'll pick one of uncle Alphard's best wines. The lead-crystal wine and water glasses will do fine."
"What kind of entrée?" Kisty wanted to know.
"Okay. Salmon and toast for entrée, then a first course with a mixed salad, with some fried bacon cubes and croutons, then the lamb roast and chocolate cake for dessert, you is saying that he likes chocolate, isn't you?" she asked.
Sirius looked at her, pleased to bits. The little creature seemed to have cottoned on already. Sirius nodded.
"Yes, that would be perfect. Then a nice mocha to finish off."
Sirius went to his room for a little nap on his own. His heart pumped hard and he was excited. Poppy didn't need to tell him straight out, Sirius had felt that she knew something already. Maybe the glances he had felt and seen from Remus really meant the same as he meant when he looked at Remus?
"I shall see tonight…" Sirius muttered.
Kisty went to pick up the children from their afternoon nap. She set up Harry to play in the kitchen and supervised him, played with him a little when she got around next to her cooking. She left him for only short moments to set the table. She would feed Harry in the kitchen tonight, to leave her masters time for themselves.
When the time came, Remus helped her feeding Harry.
"In the kitchen? Aren't we eating in the dining room today?" he asked, astonished.
"Master Sirius says that today only little master Harry eats in the kitchen, you is eating in the dining room later…" Kisty explained.
"Oh. Wonder what he's up to…"
Sirius fed Hannah her bottle and just smiled. The little one was quite content and would only ask for more food once more in the evening. Harry, who was on his legs most of the day, would sink into his bed no later than something after seven. He usually slept easily after that. Some time in the past three weeks Harry had stopped asking for his mum and dad. For the time being he seemed to forget that he had a mum and a dad and just accepted Pafoo and Moo'ey.
Sirius took him to bed. Once the baby was sleeping, he went to his room to quickly brush his hair and dab a bit of cologne on his face. He went back down and looked at the clock, which showed half past seven. 'That gives us half an hour for the aperitif,' Sirius thought and went into the living room. Remus sat on his usual space on the sofa and read.
"Little one asleep?" he asked, looking up.
"And fast. He's so sweet when he's sleeping, Remus."
"That he is," Remus confirmed smiling.
"Can I tempt you with a drink, Remus?"
"What are you up to tonight, Sirius? Dinner just for us two only at eight, now you offer me a drink?" Remus asked, just a bit suspicious, but amused at the same time.
"Can I? Vodka sour…"
"Good choice, mate…"
"Well, I do know your tastes by now."
Sirius mixed the drinks and handed one glass to Remus. They clinked the glasses.
"Cheers!" Remus said.
For a moment they sipped quietly. Sirius sat down next to Remus and asked:
"What are you reading?"
"'A Treatise of Elven Magic'. I'm not sure what to think of it, seeing as this is all more a myth."
Sirius nodded. Leave it to Remus to read this kind of stuff. And the book was rather thick, too.
"Filius recommended it, said if it wasn't true it was quite well invented. I tend to think it's mostly not so well invented. But I'm almost done with it anyway," Remus said cheerfully.
For now he was ready to mark his place and put the book down on the coffee table. Sirius, quietly sipping his drink, followed Remus' every move with his eyes. He looked tired still, but that was mostly because the transformations were so painful and hard and because Moony would not be still for most of the night.
"Remus, were you ever in love?" he asked out of the blue.
"Strange question, coming from you, Padfoot. Why?"
"Were you? Or are you?"
"I know love, Sirius. Are you?"
Sirius looked into Remus' eyes. They widened a bit and the candle light reflected in the amber Sirius loved so much. He nodded. Remus' eyes dulled. He lowered them and looked down into his glass. All spark seemed to have gone out of him. Sirius noticed it well and waited for a moment.
"Who is she? Do I know her?" Remus asked in a very low voice.
He didn't see Sirius' big smile.
"Remus, you know them very, very well. I say them, because it's not a she, Remus. I'm in love, deeply in love, with the most wonderful person I've ever had the luck in my life to meet – that would be you…"
A slight blush rose on his cheeks and Remus felt himself heat up at the same time. Did he just hear Sirius say he was in love with him, Remus? His eyes shot open again and he looked up.
"M.. me?" he croaked.
"Yes. You. Is that so hard to believe? You are beautiful, you have the biggest heart anyone can have, you practically spell love and you are the air that I breathe. Without you I'm nothing, Remus. You're my conscious, my knowledge, my love."
Remus beamed and said:
"Will you shut up with your sweet talking and kiss me already, Padfoot?"
Sirius looked at Remus again and barked a laugh.
"Should have known that this brings the imp out of you, love," he said, leaned in and met Remus' very ready lips. Their arms went around each others' shoulders and suddenly they couldn't be close enough.
When they parted, Remus looked into Sirius' eyes and noticed how the grey in them swirled and how they shone. He sighed and took possession of these soft lips again immediately. Sirius pulled him close and over to himself. Remus shifted and landed on Sirius' lap, straddling him and pressing himself as close as he possibly could. They let go again and Remus leaned his head on Sirius' broad shoulder. He sighed again, very happily and caressed Sirius' neck and throat. Sirius held him close and rocked him tenderly.
"I love you, Remus. I have for quite a while. I could hardly sleep lately, because I wanted you so much."
"I know the feeling. I've loved you for so long, Sirius. And I tried so hard not to let you know, because I thought you would never feel the same way, never! I was so scared of losing you. Even more these past few weeks since James and Lily died. You're the only one I have left who's close, besides Poppy."
"You'll never lose me now, Moony."
"I'm happy now, Padfoot. – Do we go over and eat? I'm bloody hungry."
"That was my line, Moony. I suggest we go, if we don't want to let a good dinner go to waste."
"It smelt wonderful when I fed Harry in the kitchen before. How typical of you to set this up with a dinner…"
"Dear old Alphard loved his food, believe me. That's why he chose a house-elf with exceptional cooking skills. And I actually thought to speak up only afterwards…"
Remus got up from his lover's lap with a tiny bit of regret. They crossed through the swinging doors to the dining room, where Kisty really had set up a wonderful table for two. The white damask shone brilliantly and the decoration of dark pink rose petals and candles looked very nice. Sirius had decanted a bottle of finest Bordeaux wine for the main course and cooled a perfect Chardonnay for the entrée. He poured a glass of the white wine for each of them, just as Kisty served the salmon.
They found their easy companionship again over the food and talked about everyday things, but more than once either of them put his hand on the hand of the other. Kisty had changed the large table into a smaller round table and seated them next to each other.
"I so look forward to the days when we can see the sun rise in this dining room and enjoy breakfast to it," Remus said dreamily.
"Yeah, me too. It was lovely last summer."
They took their good time for this dinner. In the past week they had shared the meal with Harry and had Hannah around as well. They would share their meals with the children again from on the next day, so they cherished this chance to be alone together. Remus thought that his life couldn't have taken a turn for the better than that. He had already been very happy when they set up household on the island, but now… he threw a sideways glance to Sirius. Sirius noticed, looked back and both leaned in for another kiss.
"I love you, Sirius," Remus said quietly.
"You don't even begin to know what that means to me, Remus. I love you, too."
"Are we becoming as sappy and romantic as James and Lily now?" Remus tried to make a joke.
"I hope so. Always envied them for what they had, to be quite honest."
"Yes, it was special. Who would have thought it would only last so short?"
They both sighed.
Kisty brought the main course. The roast was perfectly crisp and they both sniffed the wonderful scent of rosemary and garlic.
"Mmm, that smells nice, Kisty! I'm sure it's perfect!" Remus said, beaming.
He started to serve Sirius and himself a nice big plate full of the roast, the potatoes and the vegetables. There were steamed green beans, carrots, some fennel and leaf spinach, the latter nicely mixed with fried bacon cubes and onions.
And Remus was certainly completely taken with the dessert when Sirius served him with a thick slice of a wonderfully rich chocolate cake. Remus was all smiles and when they finished their meal with the coffee he sighed, leaned back in his chair and patted his belly.
"That was the Christmas feast taken ahead, love… I'm sure it made Kisty happy to cook this," he said.
Sirius looked thoroughly content that he was able to see his new lover so happy. He kissed him. Remus looked up at him.
"And what now?"
"Want to dance some of this away?" Sirius asked.
"Jolly good idea…"
Sirius pulled Remus from his chair and over to the living room. He started some music and pulled Remus into his arms. They started to dance in slow motions through the spacious living room. Remus stumbled over one of Harry's toys that was strewn across the room, but Sirius caught him deftly. They grinned. And then laughed.
"That kills a bit of the romance if you step on the toys of our children," Sirius said.
"On the contrary, love, it makes it precious! As you just said, they're our children now…"
Sirius had done it unconsciously, and it gave him a pang of guilt when Remus pointed it out. But he knew, that they would have to live with this guilt. He buried his face in the crook of Remus' neck while they moved. He breathed in his scent and snaked his tongue out to lightly lick away the salt on the skin of his lover. Remus let out a small whimper. Sirius felt himself grow very, very hard, but he could also feel the reaction from Remus, which reminded him that there was still a lot they had to discover together. They found together for another long and deep kiss.
Just as they thought about going to bed they heard Hannah cry for her bottle. Remus smiled and said:
"I'll take her."
He summoned a bottle from the kitchen, warmed it up and went upstairs to pick up the baby. He sat down on a rocking chair with Hannah, offered her the bottle and watched as she began to suckle eagerly. He still felt sorry for her.
"Not the same nice way of consuming your food as with your mummy, isn't it, love?" he said softly.
But Hannah had adjusted and accepted the food. When she let go of the nipple of the bottle Remus put it away and lifted her up. He held the baby very close and made slow circling movements on her back until she burped. Then he kept rocking slowly until the baby fell asleep again.
"There's my little girl," he cooed and gently put her back into her crib.
Remus got up and almost bumped into Sirius leaning on the doorjamb. Sirius caught him again and smirked.
"Are you going to make that a habit?"
"Forcing me to catch your fall, love…"
"It's not as if I did that deliberately, Sirius. Honestly."
Sirius just grinned, put his arm around Remus and steered him right into his bedroom. Remus went without hesitation. He wasn't so sure what to expect, but he was ready to explore the uncharted territory.
All of a sudden Sirius realised that this would be the very first time he was going to make love to someone. At school he had experimented some, but never really went far. And once they had left Hogwarts behind it had been work and the war. It was still work and the war, but he now realised that there were more important things and they were best kept right here in the home, in his heart and with this man in his arms. Everything seemed to fall together now, all the pieces seemed to fit all of a sudden and with the filling of the picture came peace. Outside the remainder of the war could storm, but in this haven they were making for themselves they would be protected by the magic of the island and their love. Sirius closed the door most of the way. They didn't have to fear any of the children walking in on them, they were both still too small and too nicely asleep. Sirius and Remus kissed and started to undress each other, again without any hesitation at all. It all seemed so natural, seemed to be what they had both waited for.
Remus kept his eyes open. He couldn't get enough of the sight of his new lover. Slowly piece for piece of their clothing landed on a pile on the floor, mixed up, but neither cared very much as they continued to peel everything they wore off. As skin became visible their caresses caused them to shiver. Sirius pressed himself to Remus and undulated lightly with his hip. Remus moaned.
"Oh, that feels good," he said, whimpering for more.
Sirius breathed deeply and audibly. He continued to caress Remus and felt Remus' hands on his own skin.
"Yeah… feels definitely perfect, just don't stop," he replied.
It was Remus' turn to press against Sirius' body. They felt each other completely naked now. They continued to kiss, again and again, more and more hungry for each other. Breaths became shorter, they could hardly concentrate on coordinating their motions as they tried to do too much at the same time. In they end they collapsed on the bed and crawled on properly before falling over each other again.
They had to catch their breaths. Remus looked at Sirius. He gently caressed over his side, then followed the curve of his hipbone inward. He felt the skin underneath his fingers twitch and Sirius' moans grew more and more frequent. There was a prominent bush of curly black pubic hair that formed a small pelt and ended in a long line of fine black hair up to the navel. Sirius had very little body hair besides that. But Remus immediately liked to bury his hand in that black bush just above the cock, which was now bent upwards, heavy and hard. It emitted a lot of heat, too. Remus was delighted, when he found that the size of Sirius' cock seemed to fit perfectly into his hand. He closed his fingers around the shaft and slowly started to move up and down.
"Nnnnggg!" Sirius made loudly.
"Yeah," Sirius was able to press out.
Remus was curious and continued to do to Sirius what he liked to do to his own cock occasionally.
"Oh Merlin, this feels so much better than it ever felt when I did it…" Sirius screamed.
'Wow! And it's just because I'm doing this?' Remus wondered.
He concentrated more on the head now and felt Sirius buck against his hand. There was enormous heat now and all of a sudden there was a lot of moisture. Sirius let go with a scream and his head dropped on Remus' arm, that still rested under his neck. He moaned softly as long as the ejaculation lasted. Sirius caught his breath.
"Gods, Remus, that was… I've never felt anything like that before!"
"Never? All I did was masturbate you, love…"
"Yeah, but it being you is making all the difference."
"I love you," Remus whispered.
"I love you, Moony. Let me give this back to you…"
Sirius started to explore Remus' body now. There was a bit more body hair. First of all there was an even thicker pelt of pubic hair than Sirius' own. It was now mostly covered by a thick organ, not particularly long, and a bit crooked, but with a nice, big head crowning it. Sirius carefully pulled back the foreskin and bent forward to give it a little lick. He had always been curious about his own cock, now he could find out just how Remus' organ tasted. And he loved it. Remus leaned back on the bed. He nearly jumped into the air when he felt Sirius' lips nibbling along the shaft of his cock and then holding it, so he could wrap his mouth around the head.
"Mmm," Sirius purred and the vibration nearly brought Remus over the edge already.
But Sirius didn't let him come all that fast. He wouldn't let Remus go inside of his mouth deeper than the head, because he already felt like he had to gag, but he could suck on the tip of the cock. And did that with abandon. Remus yelped a couple of times, when Sirius' teeth accidentally scraped his sensitive skin, but over all Remus loved the experience and vowed to give that to Sirius as soon as he could. But for now he drowned in the feelings that Sirius' ministrations elicited in him. Remus moaned again. And felt himself come.
"I'm coming, Siri…" he warned his lover.
"M-mpf…" Sirius just made and gave the cock another lick.
He sucked again and this time the suction actually brought Remus to his orgasm. He cried and shot his seed into Sirius' mouth. Sirius didn't think, he just swallowed what came out. And found that he didn't mind the taste at all.
Remus caught his breath again. He agreed with Sirius that a loving partner made all the difference and that this was way better than any kind of masturbation.
Sirius crawled up and kissed him again. Remus turned back to Sirius and returned the kiss, then he said:
"Could we sleep? I'm still quite tired…"
"Yes, of course, my love. Let me just pull up the covers."
The morning came and met the two lovers entangled in each other and thoroughly happy.
Sirius was woken by the alarm clock. He turned it off and looked around. Remus slept next to him, pressed tightly to his side. Sirius smiled and kissed him awake. Or fully awake.
"Good morning, love!" he said.
Remus stretched and beamed at him. Then he slung his arms around Sirius and kissed him back.
"Good morning, Siri. Have you slept as well as I have?"
"I suppose. Never slept so well in the last few years. I was out like a light."
But they started to get up to go about their daily tasks. Sirius went to the shower, got dressed and was found in the dining room a while later where Kisty had their breakfast ready. Remus, still in his dressing gown, brought down Harry and Hannah. Harry already crawled down the stairs on his own. He ran into the living room and waited for Remus to push open the door to the dining room. Sirius lifted Harry into his high chair and they started to eat their breakfast.
Once Sirius had left after breakfast Remus started to rummage through the house for Christmas decorations, but didn't find anything. He asked Kisty to mind the children for two hours. Then he flooed to the Diagon Alley and went to Gringotts. With the money he got he went to do some of his Christmas shopping. He got the decorations and a clock for the wall, which would become their family clock. And he bought his gift for Sirius with money he had fetched from his own vault. There wasn't time for a very elaborate gift as Christmas was in four days already, but Remus found a lovely necklace with a small heart in gold. He bought it. Then he returned home to find Harry running all around the living room playing broom ride. Remus put his things on the floor and caught the little one in his arms. He lifted Harry up and kissed him.
"Hello, my little Marauder. You look quite busy, don't you?"
"'Lo Moo'ey," Harry chirped.
"It's very nice to hear you talking, Harry. What say you, will you help me with the Christmas decorations?"
"'Mas?" Harry asked.
"Christmas, Harry. You don't remember last year's Christmas, it was your first and you were just a little older than Hannah is now."
"Wha' do?" Harry asked, when Remus put him back on the floor and turned to his load of bags.
"First we set up the Christmas tree I bought, Harry. I need to change some of the furniture around…"
Remus pushed some of the furniture out of the way and minimised it, put it on some other piece of furniture and had a nice, clear space for the Christmas tree. He brought the little tree out of his bag and fished for the stand to put it in. He pointed his wand at the stand first and said:
He placed the stand and enlarged the Christmas tree again, then he set the tree up. Harry watched every move he made and clapped his hands when he saw the big tree.
"T'ee!" he called.
"Yes, Harry, it's a tree. A fir tree to be precise. Now let's give it some lovely decorations."
Once the tree stood where Remus was happy with it he banished all the decorations he had bought for the tree onto it and in the end added the candles. Finally he lifted Harry on his arms again and said:
"Now we're going to add the top, Harry, will you help me?"
Harry nodded eagerly. Remus took the top from the box and held Harry's hand. Together they pushed it on the tip of the tree and then Remus stood back.
"What say you? Nice?"
Again Harry clapped and nodded. Remus grinned. He cleared the boxes away and started on the decoration of the rest of the ground floor. Harry followed him around and Remus had to take great care not to tread on the little boy.
"Tomorrow is Saturday and we'll go shopping for your Christmas presents, little one. I'm sure this year you'll already know better how to open yours. That'll be fun, you'll see."
All day Remus was dancing around the house, decorating and looking forward to Sirius' return from work. Sirius got home quite late, but Remus wasn't worried anymore, he knew that there was lots to do to prepare those trials. He knew it would loosen up a bit in a year or two. Sirius flooed in at dinner time. He looked worn out. Remus embraced him.
"You look terribly worn, love. Hard day?"
"That's the first name. Malfoy's lawyer is trying to bring up witnesses you wouldn't believe. I have yet to meet one that wasn't bribed or bullied. We keep rejecting them, but his tactics are mainly aiming at blocking our capacities, so we won't really get on with the preparations. But we've set up the trial for mid-January now. Once a trial is set it can only be postponed once."
"I hope you had a better day – wow! That looks great!"
"Yes, I can safely say I've had a better day than you. Went shopping for that stuff in the morning, then had the fun of setting it up with a curious toddler in tow. It's been fun. Harry's vocabulary has increased by half a word."
"Half a word?"
"'Mas. He can't say Christmas yet."
"Oh, I see."
"And now I've finally had a little time to care more for the little Miss Marauder. She's been a bit neglected while I was decorating, but she protests so little for attention that I have to remind myself she's there at all. She's getting lovelier every day, don't you think?"
"James all over again. She's even got his eyes."
"But she'll get her mother's hair, I think. It's not as black as Harry's."
Sirius finally kissed Remus. They held onto each other for a while. Remus lost himself in the kiss and his tongue duelled with Sirius' for a few minutes. Both felt their bodies react at once. When they let go, Sirius said:
"It's amazing what you're doing to me, Remus! Let me go and get out of these robes and wash off the day's trouble."
"Fine. Dinner will be ready when you come down."
Remus had to give Hannah her bottle and then take her to bed. He waited until the baby was fast asleep, before he went back down. Harry was already quite tired. Remus lifted him up and said:
"As soon as Siri joins us we'll have dinner, Harry, then you can go and sleep. You've had a very busy day today!"
Sirius returned to them just a few minutes later. They sat down at the dining table and Kisty brought the food over. Sirius filled Harry's plate and helped him eat. He got a few bites of his own food between Harry's spoonfuls. Harry only started to learn to eat properly and his way of using cutlery wasn't quite up to speed yet, but Sirius tried to be patient. Remus helped from the other side. Once Harry stopped eating, Remus cleaned him up with a quick spell. Harry stayed in his high chair for another while and watched his guardians. Sirius could now concentrate on his own plate. He didn't talk much while he ate.
"I thought we could go shopping for the children's Christmas gifts tomorrow, Sirius," Remus said.
"Yeah. We'll do that. We can talk about what to get them tonight…"
After dinner they both brought Harry up to his bed and when he slept they checked on Hannah quickly before heading back down to the living room. Remus snuggled up to Sirius who pulled him closer. They kissed for a while.
"We idiots missed out on all of that and could have had it for so long…" Sirius moaned.
"Better late than never."
"Right you are. So what do you think we could give to Harry?"
"No broom yet," Remus said.
Now it was Sirius' turn to laugh. He admitted:
"Even I know that, love. But what about a Quidditch mobile for Hannah?"
"Mhm, I'm sure she'd enjoy that. And some books for both of them. I think, Harry would be ready for some building blocks…"
"Sounds like a good idea."
"For the rest we can just let ourselves be inspired at the shops. Should we take them along? Or take them to Poppy for the morning? She wouldn't mind watching them for a bit, I'm sure."
"If she is up to it, we could give them to Poppy, else we take them along. While one of us goes to the toyshops the other can go to Florean Fortescue's with them…"
"Bit difficult to order for them when no one can see them…" Remus said.
"Shucks. Well then, we can always decide that only one of us goes. And gets some ice cream from Fortescue's to take home."
"Might be better. I'll stay home this time if you want. Or, if we go while they're napping, we can leave them to Kisty."
"Yes, I think, she could watch them for an hour or so. No one can floo in without the password."
"And one can't apparate. We'll still have to do something about these wards so we two can actually apparate."
"There you have a job, Remus. That's your forte."
Remus smiled and kissed Sirius again. Sirius looked down on him and said:
"We'll have to reorganise my room since it's becoming our room now…"
"You don't have to redecorate, love, I like it as it is."
"Just set up a larger wardrobe and bring over your dresser…"
"Speaking of your room, err… our room… how about going there now?" Remus asked.
"Do you have something in mind?" Sirius asked back.
"I think, our cocks do…"
Remus ground a bit against Sirius' crotch to let him feel his erection. Sirius didn't protest at all. After all they were normal, healthy twenty-two year old males and their hunger for each other had only just been wakened.
"Yeah, let's go upstairs."
They found the room again, threw off their clothes, found the bed again and found the pleasure from the night before again. More uncharted territory was discovered and explored. Sated and tired they fell asleep and only had to get up once to give little Hannah another bottle to sustain her for the rest of the night.
The next day Sirius went to the Diagon Alley to do the Christmas shopping for the children. And he went to get a nice gift for Remus. He found some interesting books and finished his shopping trip at a jeweller's where he bought a ring for his lover. Sirius took his time in choosing and finally his eyes fell on a golden band with a row of tiny rubies embedded into the metal all around the ring. He liked it most and bought it.
Sirius returned home and went to show Remus all of his purchases apart from his gifts to his lover. He also dropped a wonderful silk scarf on the table and said:
"That's for Poppy."
"You're giving Poppy a Christmas gift? That's nice of you…" Remus said, smiling.
"Yep. A gift, which will also be a message for her. She'll love the message, I'm quite sure."
"That sounds rather intriguing. And you're teasing me with it!"
"She'll certainly tell you one day. As for now it's between Poppy and myself, I'm afraid," Sirius continued to tease Remus while he wrapped Poppy's gift and called for his owl to send it to Hogwarts. They also sent another few little gifts there, mainly for Albus and Minerva. Remus of course had a little gift for Poppy, too.
"Well, that done, let's wrap the stuff for the kids. Look at the mobile I found for Hannah! Isn't this great?"
On the mobile there were a couple of Quidditch players, all of them seemed to be Chasers, flying around and passing the Quaffle back and forth. Remus grinned and said:
"I'll keep watching it if they ever miss catching the Quaffle!"
Sirius grinned. Then he brought forth another gift for Hannah, a cuddly stuffed wolf that kept growling unless Sirius squeezed and hugged it. Remus grinned.
"Growling her into cuddling? Honestly, Padfoot…"
"It was the only wolf I found. I thought I might tamper with the charms a bit. I don't really like the growling either. Unless it's you that growls, of course…"
Then they turned to Harry's gifts. Sirius had bought some simple toys for one to two year olds. There was a bag full of the wooden building blocks Remus had wanted to give Harry. And there was a wooden model of the Hogwarts Express. And there were half a dozen books for both children.
"I can't wait for them to be old enough to read them stories," Remus said dreamily.
"They'll never leave your lap!" Sirius prophesised, grinning.
"Well, I don't think I'd mind that," Remus admitted.
"But I would. As your lover I have at least a part time right to your lap!" Sirius protested.
Remus laughed again.
The weekend was spent playing with the children and making love in Sirius' room. The early darkness made it easy to put the children to bed, they went to sleep and apart from the late night feeding for Hannah they slept through the night.
Monday Sirius had to work again, but he would be off on Tuesday as that was Christmas. On Monday night there were a couple of owls with gifts for the children from the people who knew where they really were. The media attention was starting to wind down a little as there were new events to talk about, mainly the many captures of Death Eaters and the many trials that were coming up.
Sirius sighed, when he put the paper down on Monday night. Remus was back to worrying about him, but mostly because he had so much to do.
"How many cases are you working at now, Sirius?" he asked.
"Don't ask, love. It just reminds me of the mountains of paperwork in my office. Fourteen! And I have to keep them all apart. They're almost all alike!"
"My poor baby…" Remus cooed and kissed Sirius.
"You wouldn't happen to know a remedy?" Sirius asked.
"I might. But you will have to come up to our room so I could apply it…" Remus promised.
"Really? Lead the way!"
Remus and Sirius went up to their room and undressed.
"Lie down on the bed on your belly, love…" Remus ordered.
Then he straddled Sirius and said: "Lubricus." His fingers were coated in a nice smelling oil, which he started to knead into Sirius' skin. He was not quite finished when they were both so hot for each other that Sirius said:
"I'd like you to use that charm for something else…"
"You mean…?" Remus pointed to his cock.
"Yes. Don't you want to complete our love-making?"
"Yes, of course I do… I was only waiting for you to say something."
"You don't always have to wait for me to say something, love…" Sirius said, getting more serious all of a sudden.
"I know. It's just… it's all so new still and I feel like I don't know how far I can go."
Sirius turned around and pulled Remus into a hug.
"Be more forward with me, love. I don't care how held back you are with others, but don't hold back when you deal with me, okay? I love you, Remus and I want to make love with you."
Remus almost cried of happiness. He kissed Sirius again and admitted:
"I'm so glad we're talking about it. And you're making me so happy, love."
"Take me, Remus, make me yours, claim me!"
"I will! What's the best way to go about it?"
"Do we need books, Moony?"
"Wouldn't mind them at all…"
"Poppy recommended that lubricus spell, to make penetration easier, I suppose."
"Okay. Since neither of us ever cared to check the details I'll just see what I can do…"
Remus lubricated his hand again and spread the oil, which was now faintly smelling of musk, on his cock. He also spread a liberal amount on Sirius' opening, just for good measure. Then he suggested:
"Either you turn to your side or on your belly, love, or I won't get there…"
"Side? Sounds okay. I think, I'd feel closer to you this way."
Remus waited for Sirius to turn around, then he crawled in behind Sirius, picked up his cock and pressed it against Sirius' opening. Everything was nicely oiled, but it took quite a shove to get Remus inside. And of course Sirius paid the price of their inexperience, because his muscles held tight and when Remus penetrated it hurt Sirius more than just a bit. He cried out. Remus winced.
"I hurt you, don't I?" he asked.
"Hold still, please – just for a while…" Sirius pleaded.
"I'm pulling back! I don't want to hurt you, love!"
Sirius gritted his teeth and replied:
"Just hold still for a while, I'm getting used to it…"
Remus followed the order, just stayed the way he was until he felt Sirius relax. Sirius breathed deeply, then he said:
"Okay, the pain's gone. I'm fine now, love. But I feel that there's something we're missing…"
"You mean we should check some books after all?" Remus teased.
"Might give us an idea," Sirius mumbled.
Remus caressed his belly and pulled Sirius close. He leaned over Sirius' face and kissed him. Sirius kissed him back and when Remus started to move inside of Sirius he moaned softly. Remus himself felt like he'd gone to heaven. He started to thrust, slowly at first, but with the growing lust his movements became faster, jerkier. He started to pump Sirius' cock while he thrust into his lover's arse.
"Oh, darn it, Sirius, this is so good! Oh Merlin, this is good! I'm going crazy here, it's so good…"
Remus kept muttering while he pushed. He felt Sirius getting closer to his orgasm and not long after that he felt the stream of semen leaking from Sirius' cock and that sent him over the edge, too. Sirius screamed.
"Remus! Remus, I'm coming, oh Merlin, I'm coming, oh my, oh my…"
Remus let go and tumbled into that delirious feeling that was his orgasm. In the past nights he had reacquainted himself with it and learned to know new dimensions of it by being gifted his orgasms by his lover. Remus collapsed behind Sirius and sobbed into his neck, he felt so good. Slowly he pulled back out of Sirius, but it still hurt Sirius a lot again. Sirius turned on his back, Remus fell onto him from his side. He buried his face in Sirius' shoulder.
"Damn, that was great. Could have done without the pain at the start, but the rest… fabulous, Remus!"
"I've hurt you…" Remus was still not over that.
"Just for a moment, love… maybe we're missing something, it's not supposed to hurt, now is it?"
"I don't think so… I'll find something to read it up…" he promised.
"I just didn't want to wait anymore, love, I wanted to feel you inside of me. And it was worth it…"
Remus smiled and kissed Sirius again. He was relieved that Sirius was okay and that the pain hadn't lasted.
"Don't you think we're educated enough to find out what we're doing wrong?" Sirius asked.
"Well, my 'educated' guess is that it has to do with the muscles. They tensed up when I tried to penetrate. Maybe they need to be relaxed somehow," Remus volunteered.
"Yeah, you might be on to something there…"
Sirius turned to face Remus and started to caress him again. He kissed Remus and let his hands wander all over his body. Remus relaxed and just felt. Sirius cast the Lubricus spell himself now and moved his hand between Remus' legs. Remus, now lying on his back, spread his legs almost instinctively. Sirius probed with his finger around Remus' opening now and spread more of the oil there. He pressed a little and his finger was inside.
"Yessss," hissed Remus.
"Good? Doesn't hurt?" Sirius asked.
"Good. Doesn't hurt," Remus confirmed.
Sirius continued. He pushed a little against the muscles until he felt them relax a bit. He was able to go in with a second finger. Now he started to push around a bit. Remus moaned in a low voice.
"That seems to be the trick, love," Sirius finally remarked.
Remus made it more easy for Sirius to reach him and pulled up his knees. All of this experimenting had given Sirius' cock the first impulse it needed, now Remus turned around, so he could give Sirius' cock the push to harden completely. He grabbed it and squeezed it lightly until Sirius started to thrust into his hand.
"Wait! You're supposed to do that somewhere else, Siri!" Remus chided.
Sirius stopped. He pressed Remus back on the bed and returned to what he was doing before, relaxing Remus' muscles and then he thought aloud:
"Can we do this like that? You on your back? What do you think? – If I lift your legs and your lovely little arse a bit…"
Sirius positioned himself on his knees and lifted Remus' legs over his hips, then he grabbed his cock and probed at the now well lubricated and well relaxed opening. He pushed slowly inside. Remus closed his eyes for a moment.
"Oooh, that is home," Sirius moaned.
"Come on inside, love, this feels great!" Remus replied.
Slowly, Sirius started to move and found no great resistance. He hit the rectal wall and now Remus screamed and shocked Sirius to the marrow of his bones. He wanted to draw back, but Remus just held on to him with his legs like clamps around his sides.
"Don't you dare retreating now, push, Sirius! Please!" Remus screamed.
"There's something you're hitting and it's just simply unbelievable… it feels so good! Yes!"
Sirius continued as asked. He felt so good it almost made him come too early, but he was able to hold on just long enough for Remus to reach his climax before he came. Both were now pleasantly exhausted and collapsed in a heap on their bed.
"That felt so, so good, love," Remus whispered.
"I just hope that the silencing charms held and we haven't woken the children," Sirius worried.
"I'd have heard them crying if we did, Paddy."
"Yes, you're probably right about that. But I'm really tired now, how about some sleep?"
"Mhm, I'm tired, too. Thanks for that, Sirius."
"Any time, Moony…"
Remus lazily groped for his wand and pointed it at themselves and the bed and said:
They were nicely clean again. Remus put out the lights, dropped his wand back on the nightstand and turned to Sirius, who was already half asleep. They kissed for a while, then they went to sleep.
In the morning Harry woke them when he called for them:
"Pafoo! Moo'ey! Pafoo! Moo'ey!"
Remus heard him and tried to disentangle himself from his lover's long limbs, but managed to almost fall out of bed. He pushed and shoved at the big body and cried out:
"Sirius! Move! I need to get up, Harry's calling!"
Sirius, only half awake, turned onto his back and Remus was free enough to get up. He just quickly went over to the nursery and greeted Harry:
"Good morning, Harry! It's a bit early, come cuddle with us in our bed…"
He picked the little boy up, changed his nappy and took Harry over to their bed. Harry was delighted and dove into the chaos of blankets and limbs to look for his godfather's head.
"Pafoo!" he cried.
"Yes, my little Marauder?" it sounded from somewhere under the blankets.
Remus grinned. Clever little Harry.
"Yes, Harry, it's Christmas today. In a while we'll all go down and look at the presents under our tree. You'll find a lot of things there, Harry!"
An hour later they were all four in front of the big tree, sitting on the carpet and looking at the candles burning on the tree. Sirius and Remus sang Christmas carols. Hannah was on Sirius' arms and beamed up at him. Harry looked from Remus to Sirius, then back to Remus and clapped his hands, sometimes he threw in a squeal or two.
He crawled closer to the tree, but Remus caught him and said:
"No, Harry, there are candles burning, that's getting dangerous. Why don't I get one of your presents for you?"
Remus summoned a gift for Harry and one for Hannah. They started to open a lot of gifts from all of their friends. Looking at the mound Remus felt warm and happy, knowing that they had lost a good many friends in the war, but that there were still quite a lot of them around. They would have to invite some of them for dinner in the new year, he thought, we need to hold on to our friends.
It was an exhausting day, as there were a few calls through the fire and a lot of owls who brought greetings. Harry played himself tired twice over with all of his new toys and little Hannah enjoyed some cuddling time with her godfathers. Sirius fell asleep on the carpet with the little one in the crook of his arm. Remus rushed to the cupboard to get the camera out. He took a few pictures of the two sleeping peacefully on the carpet.
Sirius and Hannah were still sleeping on the carpet and Harry was taking his nap up in his bed when Albus Dumbledore came for a visit. Remus looked up from his position next to Sirius and got up when he saw Dumbledore coming through the fire.
"Hello, Albus! Merry Christmas!"
"And a merry Christmas to you, too, Remus. It seems like you're getting comfortable here…"
Remus looked lovingly down on his mate and confirmed:
"Yes, Albus, you could say that. We mourn a great loss, but we have found love and a family instead. It's been like Christmas coming early this year!"
Albus looked at Sirius and baby Hannah.
"We'd better let them sleep. I just wanted to see how you are all doing, but I think I already know. Please give my regards to Sirius when he wakes up."
"I will, Albus. And please extend our best wishes to Minerva and everyone at Hogwarts…"
"I will, Remus. Have a very pleasant evening."
And with that, Albus vanished back through the fire. Remus sat back down and looked at his lover again. He fingered his new ring and thought of its significance. It was a promise for a future together.
"My family," Remus sighed.