When Remus came upon Harry the eighteen year old was sitting alone on the quidditch pitch, shivering in the late October air, his knees drawn up to his chin, staring at an indeterminate spot in the distance.
"Mind if I join you?" came a soft voice from behind. Remus Lupin had spent most of Harry's sixth year abroad in an attempt to keep other werewolves from joining Voldemort. Still he had not left Harry alone. After a visit to Privet Drive Remus and Harry began to exchange letters. Their correspondence helped them both deal with losing Sirius and brought them back to the familiarity they had shared in Harry's third year. The last thing Harry had wanted after losing his godfather was another parental figure so the two had settled into a sort of mentorship/friendship. After Remus was awarded the Order of Merlin for heroism in the war McGonagall had found no resistance when she hired him to teach DADA again much to the student's delight.
"It's okay, " said Harry "I'm sure you're busy". Remus mentally cursed the Dursleys again, after all he'd done the boy still felt like a burden.
"Never too busy for my …." Remus stopped, unsure how to go on "er, well for you Harry".
"It seems like you are the only one anymore. All Ron does is Luna" Harry said.
"Harry! That's not really appropriate." Remus scolded, but his eyes betrayed his amusement.
He was glad that Harry still had his sense of humor after all he'd been through.
"Sorry Remus" Harry said, "It's just that I…". Harry paused, he hadn't shared his secret with anyone, and was sorely tempted to tell the older wizard.
He had just started his seventh year and he felt so alone. Now that Voldemort was gone the wizarding world had collectively decided that love was in the air. Ron and Luna had paired off soon after the final battle followed quickly by Ginny and Neville. Hermione had been spending all her time in the dungeons working on some type of research project with Snape, although even Harry was starting to wonder if their relationship was more than intellectual. There was something else on his mind as well, but it was much more personal than the topics they usually discussed and he wasn't sure how the other man would react.
"Never mind" Harry said "I think I'm going to go back to the common room and study".
"Okay, Harry", Remus said " but if there is anything you need to talk about you know where to find me." As he watched Harry leave the pitch he noticed how much healthier the boy looked after spending his summer at the Burrow. He had one last growth spurt, and Hermione and Ginny took him shopping for clothes that actually fit. Come to think of it he was surprised that Harry didn't have a girlfriend, he was a rather attractive young man after all. He guessed that Harry was waiting for someone that would see past his scar. After all, Remus had only found one person in forty years that could look past his and he didn't really expect that to happen again.
Remus didn't see Harry again outside of a class until nearly a month later when Minerva summoned him to the infirmary.
"What's wrong?" he said as he stepped out of the fire.
Minerva shot a look at Harry that Remus knew all to well from his own school days. "Mr. Potter mistakenly felt that muggle boxing was an appropriate way to solve a dispute. You'd think that after seven years in this school he would at least have enough sense to fight with magic. However, he refuses to share the details with me. I thought perhaps he would be more forthcoming with you."
Remus sighed and took the chair next to Harry's bed. Once the headmistress had gone Harry said quietly " I didn't fight back at all. I could have hurt him if I used magic."
"Hurt who?" Remus asked.
"Ron" said Harry, his gaze hollow and his voice flat.
" Ron? Well, at least now I understand the black eye and you not telling the headmistress. But why?" asked the werewolf.
" I told him something and he didn't take it well."
"Apparently" Remus said, arching an eyebrow at Harry, "and what is it that you told him?"
"I don't want to talk about it" Harry said, looking at the other man appraisingly.
Remus smiled. "Harry, I know a thing or two about secrets. If you truly want to keep it to yourself I understand, but please know that there is nothing you could tell me that would change things between us."
Harry took a deep breath to brace himself "Remus, I think that I'm, well…..I like……….I'm gay." He looked up cautiously, but where he expected disgust he saw only confusion.
"Merlin, you really never knew did you?" Remus said putting a hand on the young man's shoulders, "Sirius and I didn't just live together, puppy, we were together." Harry blushed at the endearment while his teacher's words sank in.
"I didn't know. He didn't tell me. I'm sorry, it must have been so awful for you and I just went on and on about how I'd lost Sirius, but you ..I didn't know."
Remus tightened his grip and looked into Harry's eyes "Breath, Harry. It's okay. We just assumed you knew. I just wanted you to know you aren't alone."
Harry smiled, the first genuine smile Remus had seen in a long time "I know, thank you. Is that invitation to talk sometime still open?"
"Of course, anytime" the werewolf replied "and Harry? Ron will get over it, he just needs time. It took your dad a few days too." Lost in thought Harry simply nodded.
The following Wednesday was the first evening with no quidditch practice and Harry was headed to Remus's office for tea. Before he could knock the door opened.
"Come in, Harry"
"Hey Moony" Harry said looking around, " No creatures this year?."
Remus chuckled "The younger students did dark creatures last term. So, Harry, how are things going?"
"A bit better. It helped a lot to talk about things."
"I'm glad you're ready to talk about it. When did you realize?" Remus asked.
" Well, I didn't really think about stuff like that at all for a while, what with Voldemort and all. Maybe I should have figured it out when I didn't want Ginny " Harry said with a wry smile. The young professor just gave an understanding nod and Harry continued " Last summer, once I was having fewer nightmares the dreams started. I won't say it wasn't fun, I just expected more Ginny and Tonks and less Bill and Kingsley. Apparently I not only like men, but significantly older men as well."
Remus choked a bit on the last, but regained his composure quickly. Harry just grinned.
"What about you? When did you realize you liked blokes?" he asked. Harry couldn't help but notice the last year had been good to the werewolf. The Hogwarts houselves cooking had helped him fill out and the dueling practice had added back the muscle Harry had seen in pictures of a much younger Remus. The steady job and Sirius's will had taken care of the second-hand robes, and the constant companionship at Hogwarts had put the spark back in the man's eyes. In fact, Remus was looking better than Harry had ever seen him.
The werewolf snorted, drawing Harry's attention back to their conversation "Fourth year I guess. I just kind of ignored the whole subject until sixth year."
"What happened then?" Harry asked.
"Your mother decided to take matters into her own hands and charmed a classroom door shut with Sirius and I inside. When your father figured out what she was up to he came to let us out. He was a bit shocked when he found us snogging but he got over it pretty quickly."
"Merlin, mum was brilliant."
"Scary, but brilliant. How's Ron?"
"About the same, but at least he didn't tell anyone"
Remus nodded "Have you? Told anyone else I mean?"
"I felt better after we talked so I told Hermione, Ginny, and Neville. They took it really well. I think Neville is mostly relieved I won't suddenly decide I want Ginny. Ginny said she'd never heard something so good for her self-esteem. She also said that Ron didn't deal well when Charlie brought a guy home either, but he calmed down eventually."
"She just started talking about how nobody can ever pass judgement on who another person loves, and how appearances can be deceiving, and things like that."
Harry could tell from the look on the werewolf's face that he wasn't the only one who had noticed his best friend's time in the dungeons. "Sounds like Hermione's got herself a new project"
"Tell me about it! Or better yet don't, that's not a mental picture I need."
Remus smirked, "well Miss Granger always liked a challenge"
The next time they had tea Harry arrived with a spring in his step that Remus was quite glad to see. He had brought along an advanced book on defensive charms he had found in the library hoping Remus would explain some of the more complicated.
"So" the werewolf asked " what has you in such a good mood?"
"Ron and I finally talked about things. He apologized for how he was acting and said he didn't care one way or the other" Harry said.
"I'm glad Harry," said Remus, " Do you think things will get back to normal between you two?"
"I think so. He was upset that he didn't know sooner, but I explained that I barely figured it out myself and I think he understood."
Remus smiled "He'll get used to the idea eventually. I believe you wanted me to go over some spells?"
Harry grinned and opened the book and they went through the pages together discussing which charms would work best for Harry and how they were done. Remus, as usual warmed right up as soon as he started teaching and his enthusiasm for the subject left Harry a bit overwhelmed as they ended their session. When it was time to call it night Remus gave Harry another book to study for next time and sent him on his way with an affectionate pat on the shoulder.
Harry found himself making excuses to drop into see Remus between classes and after dinner. He looked forward to their teas and talks and felt that when he was with the werewolf he could just be Harry and he didn't have to the Boy Who Lived or the Slayer of Voldemort. He was beginning to have feelings for Remus other than friendship, but he wrote it off as a crush like the one he had on Bill Weasley over the summer. Still, it had only taken him a month to lose interest in Bill.
A month or so later they were having their tea in Remus' quarters rather than his office. As the werewolf poured the tea he looked to Harry and asked " So what's next for you Harry? Aurors, Pro quidditch, the ministry? I'm afraid the Defense Against the Dark Arts job is not available."
Harry laughed. "I'm glad to hear that. I don't say you were the best teacher we had just because you look good when you blush."
"Oh look, there it is again."
Intent on returning to the original subject Remus asked, " do you have any idea what you want to do?"
Harry sighed "I'm sick of fighting, and I've got enough fame. I don't think a desk job at the ministry is really my style."
"No I don't suppose that would suit you" Remus said smiling.
"I think I'm going to apply for Healer training. I'd like to help people and at least then I wouldn't have suffered NEWT level potions for nothing. "
"I think you would make an excellent healer puppy, you are compassionate, intelligent, and everyone knows how good you are under pressure."
Harry's face broke into a wide grin "Thanks Moony, your opinion means a lot to me." Remus smiled too then and the two wizards continued to talk until it was time for Harry to return to Gryffindor Tower.
The rest of first term passed quickly and the winter holidays arrived. Hermione's parents had insisted she come home for her last Christmas in school much to her distress. Harry noticed that Snape seemed to be in a worse temper than he had been since the end of the war. Ron was also going to the Burrow for Christmas to meet Charlie's fiancee. Harry had been invited as well, but he didn't want to intrude, besides he was looking forward to spending Christmas with Remus. Together they had decided to stay at Hogwarts rather than return to Grimmauld place, as Hogwarts was a much more cheerful place to spend Christmas.
On Christmas morning Harry woke up to find the traditional pile of presents at the end of his bed. He had not thought to make definite plans with Remus this morning so he summoned Dobby, who arrived wearing mismatched jingle bell socks and a hat with a sprig of mistletoe attached.
"Happy Christmas Harry Potter! " The elf shouted, " What can Dobby get for Harry Potter this morning?"
"Happy Christmas Dobby. Would you please tell Professor Lupin that I will be down in a minute and then bring some breakfast to his quarters?"
"Oh yes Harry Potter sir" Dobby said disappearing with a pop. A few moments later he reappeared "Professor Lupin growled at Dobby, so Dobby got him some tea. Professor Lupin felt much better and said Harry Potter should come right down."
"Thanks Dobby, I forgot it was so early."
"Dobby is happy Harry Potter and Professor Lupin will have Christmas together." Dobby said and disappeared again.
Harry gathered up his gifts and the gifts he had bought for Remus and headed out of Gryffindor tower. Harry had spent quite a bit of time deciding what to give Remus for Christmas.
Part of the problem was that he was confused about his feelings. Remus was a good friend but lately, much to his embarrassment, his eyes had been drawn to the lean muscle of Remus's body and to the way he looked so many years younger when he smiled. Harry had finally accepted that he fancied the older man, but decided to keep it to himself for the time being.
He had not wanted to give Remus something too cold and impersonal for Christmas, but he was wary of crossing the line as well. Finally he decided to split the difference and bought a book on the history of defensive charms that Hermione had helped him pick out and a silver bookmark with a magical engraving of a dog, wolf, and stag that chased each other across the face.
He arrived at the other man's door to find that Remus had lit a warm fire in the hearth and Dobby had provided a breakfast feast fit for the entire Gryffindor boys' dorm. Remus was slumped in the corner of the couch with one had supporting his head and the other wrapped around a large cup of tea. "Happy Christmas Puppy, you do realize the sun will not be up for hours." Remus said darkly.
"Sorry, Moony. I guess I still get a little excited to have a real Christmas after all those years with the Dursleys'. " Remus's gaze darkened but he shook it off. "Well, those Christmas's weren't so great for me either, but let's forget about that and open our gifts". Harry tore in to his pile and his Weasley jumper, green with a gold H, over his head when he realized that Remus was holding a similar jumper in blue and gray with a bewildered look on his face. Harry grinned " It looks like you've been adopted too. "
"It would seem so." The werewolf said cheerfully pulling it over his head.
Harry opened his usual assortment of books, quidditch paraphernalia, and sweets and than eagerly snatched up his gift from Remus. They had saved each other's gifts until last as if by some unspoken agreement. Remus carefully and methodically un-wrapped Harry's gifts and was quite moved by the bookmark. "Thank you, Harry. It is beautiful" Remus said, his voice even hoarser than usual with emotion. Harry's face lit up at Remus' reaction to his gift and he tore into his own package with enthusiasm. First he found several books on healing, and then he pulled the last bit of tissue aside to find a beautifully bound journal with an incredibly soft cover. Harry slowly ran his fingers across the smooth white pages. "Thank you. " he said softly "It's perfect."
"It's spelled so only you can read it. " Remus said, "I've often found it helpful to put my feelings into words. It helps to keep things in perspective. "
Over Christmas dinner
Remus noticed that Harry was a bit distracted.
"What's on your mind, Harry?" he asked.
"Oh, nobody" Harry said quickly, but a blush stained his cheeks when he realized he had given himself away.
"Ah, so there is a new guy in your life?" Remus asked.
"Not new exactly." Harry muttered before changing the subject "So what do you of Puddlemire United's chances this season?"
Remus's excellent hearing had caught Harry's response and he was more than a bit distressed to feel a tinge of jealousy rise in his heart. He shook it off quickly however, and followed Harry's discussion of the new quidditch season.
As the months passed Harry found himself spending more and more time in Remus's chambers. Sometimes they would talk and other times Remus would read as Harry did his homework. Harry had finally been able to talk about the Dursleys and how he was treated. After stopping Remus from going to Privet Drive and hexing his relatives silly Harry listened as the werewolf opened up about his own childhood and the isolation of his disease. The two men continued to draw closer and Harry felt like someone finally understood.
Remus's birthday fell the day after the full moon and even with the improved Wolfsbane potion he would spend the day sleeping in the infirmary. At sunrise Harry decided to visit the infirmary and found that his invisibility cloak was not in his trunk, instead there was a note.
Borrowed your invisibility cloak, hope you don't mind, but it's much easier to get around the dungeons that way.
Harry just shook his head and took out the Marauder's map instead. Remus had made a copy for himself earlier in the year, but he had let Harry keep the original as long as he promised not to leave the castle. The way to the infirmary was clear and Harry arrived to find Remus weak and sleeping. "Hey Moony" he whispered, pulling the blanket up a little further on the werewolf's chest "Looks like it wasn't too bad last night." Harry felt a warm feeling well up in his chest as he carefully took the sleeping man's hand in his. "Happy Birthday Moony" he said softly "I wish I could make today easier for you, but at least I can keep you company for a while." Harry sat quietly for a while his thumb gently stroking the back of Remus's hand. Every once and a while he checked the map, making sure he would not be caught wandering the castle. Just before breakfast the dot marked "Poppy Pomfrey" began to move towards the infirmary. Harry gently released Remus's hand and leaned down and whispered "I'll be back later" and summoning all his supposed Gryffindor courage kissed the other man gently on the forehead before scurrying out of the hospital wing. When Remus awoke several hours later he knew immediately that Harry had been there from the scent surrounding him and was filled with a warm feeling that he refused to think too deeply about, instead choosing to burrow deeper into the pillow and dream of warm hands and long talks.
When Gryffindor played Slytherin in quidditch Remus was right there in the first row with Ron and Hermione cheering for Harry when he caught the snitch. The Gryffindors celebrated long into the night and were not surprised when the headmistress showed up seemingly to shut the party down.
"Everyone to your dorm rooms" she said sharply "Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasly, Miss Weasley, Miss Granger, Mr. Longbottom –come with me. "
"It wasn't their fault ma'am " Seamus said, "The party was my idea."
"Mr. Finnigan I was not concerned about the party, but as you were so kind as to volunteer I am sure you and Mr. Thomas will make sure that this room is spotless before you report to breakfast this morning." McGonnagall said and motioned for the others to follow in her usual brusque manner.
The five young people knew better than to ask questions as they were led quickly through the corridors to the headmistress's office. They arrived to find several order members including Remus and Snape as well as Kingsley Shacklebolt. Harry knew something had gone wrong, the members of the Order at Hogwarts rarely met since Voldemort's demise. Minerva took her seat and nodded to Kingsley to explain. "There was an attack by some of the remaining Death Eaters at a muggle street fair outside of London. Aurors reported to the scene and were able to chase off the Death Eaters. Unfortunately Tonks was hit by several curses we have not been able to identify. She is at St. Mungo's now and it is unclear whether she will make it through the night. " A hollow silence followed the auror's report, until finally the headmistress found her voice.
"Thank you for coming, please keep us informed of Nymphadora's condition"
"Of course, Minerva. I'm headed back to the hospital now." Kingsley said stepping into the fireplace.
"If the rest of you will meet me back here before breakfast tomorrow I will update you on Nymphadora's status. For now you may return to your quarters." Said the headmistress.
As the group road the spiral staircase from the office Hermione was the first to speak. "I won't be able to sleep, I am going to the library for a while." She said quickly. Snape sighed "If you insist on wandering the castle at after hours, Her ..- Miss Granger, I will not be responsible for you meeting with harm. I will escort you to the library. " Ginny raised an eyebrow and mouthed "Hermione?" at Harry, who suddenly found the wall intensely interesting, and was relieved when Remus clamped a hand on his shoulder "Would you like some tea? I've got the new Honeydukes assortment as well."
Harry nodded "Yeah, let's go. " As they walked down the corridor Harry couldn't help but feel the lingering warmth where Remus's hand had been on his shoulder.
Harry was not the only one thinking about that touch. Remus marveled at the ease with which he could reach out to Harry. Casual touches were not a part of a werewolf's life. Of course during school it had been different, the marauders would slap each other on the back, wrestle, or slide an arm around one another's shoulders. Then had come his relationship with Sirius and all that came with it, but otherwise touch wasn't something he was accustomed too. It just seemed natural with Harry.
Neither man said a word as they entered the sitting room. Harry lit a fire in the hearth while Remus summoned some tea from the house elves. Harry who for lack of a better target had begun to pummel the throw pillow on Remus' sofa broke the silence.
"I can't do this anymore"
"It's never going to end"
Soon Harry's words became unintelligible while the tears streaked down his face. When it seemed he had mostly exhausted his anger Remus embraced the shaking young man from behind and pulled him close. Harry sagged against him fighting for composure. Remus sat on the sofa and pulled Harry down gently to sit beside him. "She's tough, Harry. She's got a good chance to fight this. Don't give up on her yet."
Harry took a few deep breaths "You're right. I know you're right. I just keep losing people. I just can't get my hopes up anymore. " The look on Harry's face broke Remus's heart. "Oh puppy, please don't say that. Hope is one of the most important things there is."
Harry sighed "I just thought it was over, I can't do it anymore Moony. We can't lose her. She's an amazing friend, she never treated me like a little kid. I don't know what George would do without her."
Remus pulled the younger man closer so Harry could rest his head on his chest and held him while he cried, "I know puppy, I know. She can do this, you know she can." They sat for a long time and Remus rubbed Harry's back until he looked down and found green eyes closed in sleep. Smiling fondly Remus slipped his wand out of his sleeve and with a muttered "Mobilicorpse" floated Harry in to sleep on his bed. He paused seeing how peaceful the young man looked, gently pushing some of his fringe out of his eyes. He turned to head back to the couch thankful that he could transfigure something more comfortable when a quiet voice said "Stay, moony. Please."
"I'll be in the sitting room." Remus said gently.
"No, stay here. I don't want to be alone." Whispered Harry.
"Okay, puppy. I'm not going anywhere," the werewolf said as he slid off his shoes and arranged himself on the edge of the bed. It didn't take long for both men to fall into the best night's sleep they'd had in a long time.
Remus woke very early the next morning to the feeling of something warm and solid draped across his chest. Harry was sleeping peacefully, oblivious to the worry that had plagued him the night before. Remus couldn't help but think how nice it was to be close to Harry. Harry's shirt had slid up just a little exposing a stripe of smooth skin contrasting with the dark of his denims, and without thinking Remus reached out and lightly ran his fingers across it. When Harry shifted he came back to himself and pulled his hand away quickly as if it had been burnt. He mentally berated himself, what was he thinking. This was a Harry. Harry was so easy to talk to, Harry had such a big heart, Harry who made him feel wanted and special. He shook his head, he had to get rid of those thoughts. Harry was James' son, Harry was his student, and Harry would only ever think of him as a friend. Knowing that someone would certainly notice if Harry was not in his bed this morning he shook the boy's shoulder gently.
When Harry woke up and realized where he was his cheeks glowed in embarrassment, yet he couldn't help but think how nice it was to be close to Remus. His feelings for Remus had become stronger since the holidays. Remus was so easy to talk to, Remus was so strong, Remus made him feel wanted and special. He shook his head, he had to rid of those thoughts. Remus had been friends with is father, Remus was his teacher, Remus would never see him that way.
"Harry you have to go back to your room. People will be looking for you."
"I won't be able to sleep 'till we hear something about Tonks." Harry said.
"I know, but go and rest. Get washed and dressed and I'll see you in Minerva's office in a few hours. " Remus said as he walked the young man to the door of his rooms.
"Okay. And Moony? Thanks." Harry said and jumped forward giving Remus a quick peck on the cheek before darting out the door.
Remus was left staring after him, his hand resting on the spot where Harry had kissed him.
Later that morning they again assembled in the headmistress's office. Nobody looked like they had gotten much sleep and nobody spoke while they waited for Kingsley to come through the fire. Harry stood in front of Remus and leaned into the touch when the older man placed his hands on his shoulders to comfort him. Finally the hearth shone green and the auror came through looking exhausted but much more relaxed. He didn't waste any time. "She's going to make it., " he said and paused while a whoosh of collectively held breath filled the room. Ginny let out a squeal and without even thinking Remus reached out pulled Harry close for a brief embrace earning a grin in return. "She will be in the hospital a while. Some of her wounds were cursed against magical healing, but everything will heal. "
Minerva smiled "Thank you. Please send our best wishes to Nymphadora. As for the rest of you I believe you have classes to either teach or attend. "
"Yes, ma'am" they chorused and filed out. Minerva shooed them out, except for one "Remus, a moment please".
"Of course, Minerva. What is it?" Said Remus calmly.
"77 days until this group of seventh years finish their education. " Remus was confused. Was there a problem with his lesson plan? He was sure he had covered everything she had outlined in their beginning of term meeting. …. Bloody Hell! Did she mean Harry? Did she suspect something? If it had been Albus he would have known before he did how he felt about Harry. Hell, the meddling old coot would have found a way to force them together at every turn until something happened. But this was Minerva, certainly she would have his hide if she even suspected. He then realized the answer was staring him in the face. Quite literally, as he had come face to face with Albus's portrait, which only winked and strode out of the frame. Ah, and this was Minerva's way of warning him not to cross any boundaries.
No problem, really. After all, he thought to himself, it's not like Harry would want a old werewolf anyhow. We're just friends, yes that's it, just friends. "Don't worry Minerva, nothing will distract the students until they have taken their NEWTS. "
Well, he thought, if he was going down, ooh, definitely the wrong choice of words, he might as well take Severus with him.
"I feel safe in suggesting the same holds true for the potions class as well. " At that he was sure he saw the corners of her mouth quirk up. Bingo.
"I'm glad to hear that Remus, I expected nothing less. You may go. "
"Thank you Minerva."
That evening, as soon as dinner was over, Harry made his way to Remus's chambers and embraced the man as soon as he entered. "You were right, she'll be okay. Thank you."
"I'm glad I was right." Remus said as he released Harry.
"I ran into Hermione when I went back last night," Harry said.
Remus immediately tensed "Was she waiting for you? I don't want you to get trouble!"
Harry put up a hand "Moony, relax. She was on her way back to her room too"
"Ah well at least she won't say anything to Minerva" said the older man as the tension left his body. The headmistress hadn't stepped in yet, but a piece of information like that would likely not be well received.
Harry bit his lip, not sure whether to continue " Do you think…….I mean, I got to know Snape a bit last year, and I know he wouldn't pressure her, but Hermione isn't exactly shy…….."
Remus shook his head " I wouldn't worry Harry. Severus is quite rigid in many ways, I doubt he would have a physical relationship with a student."
Harry nodded thoughtfully and slid closer to the other man on the couch so that their thighs touched. "And what about you? Are you rigid?"
Remus stood up quickly, his heart pounding in his chest and moved across the sitting room to stare out the window. Harry stood as well and moved to stand behind him
"Despite everything you've been through you are one of the kindest men I've ever known. You know what it's like to have huge parts of your life determined by something that happened before you were even old enough to understand what was going on. You knew exactly what I needed to hear last night. Waking up in your arms, it was amazing."
Remus struggled to control his emotions, as that now familiar warm feeling welled up.
"Harry, I won't lie to you, last night I felt something I haven't felt in a very long time."
"I've never felt this way" Harry said softly placing his hands on the older man's shoulders and turning him so that they were face to face. "Nobody else knows me, the real me, except you."
"Harry " Remus said almost too quiet to hear as he reached out and brushed Harry's cheek with this thumb. That's all it took and with a slight tilt of the head their lips met. Both were timid at first but soon Remus's hands had found the smooth skin under Harry's shirt and Harry was running his hands through graying hair. Remus gently slid his tongue across the dark haired man's bottom lip and Harry moaned pulling him closer.
The werewolf tensed at the sound and gently pushed Harry away. Both men were flushed and panting, Remus's hands still resting lightly on the small of Harry's back.
He closed his eyes and shook his head, "Harry, we can't do this"
The green-eyed man shook his head and gently lifted Remus's chin so he could look into his eyes. "Moony, if you don't want me just tell me. I will be disappointed but I will understand; But please if this is about the age difference, or the werewolf thing, or my dad don't say it. He would have wanted me to be happy, he would have wanted you to be happy. Let me make you happy. "
"Harry, of course I want you. You're amazing, but all those things are real. I'm 20 years older than you, I turn into a dangerous dark creature once a month, I was involved with your godfather. I am your teacher. " And the headmistress will have herself a nice werewolf skin rug if I touch you before you finish school Remus finished silently.
"Since when have either of us followed the rules?" Harry asked.
"Please Harry, I need some time to think. Just go get some sleep and we'll talk soon."
It was going to be a very difficult seventy-seven days.
Harry wished for a more definite answer, but knew it wasn't fair to argue now. "Okay, okay " Harry gently lifted Remus' chin so that they are eye to eye. " Don't beat yourself up over this, If I can get rid of Voldemort I can handle your decision as long as it makes you happy."
Remus smiled softly and pulled Harry into a hug "Goodnight Puppy".
"Goodnight Moony".Remus spent a long time after Harry left just thinking in front of the fire. He had not expected to find another person who would want him not in spite of what he was but because of everything that made him who he was. And that it was Harry - beautiful, brave, sweet Harry made it all the more unbelievable. He wanted to spend as much time as possible with Harry, to take care of Harry, and he could finally admit to himself that he wanted to strip Harry down and taste every inch of that quidditch toned body. He just had wait until Harry was finished with his NEWTS. Harry made his way back to Gryffindor Tower under the invisibility cloak that he had quickly retrieved from Hermione after waking up with Remus. His heart was beating out of his chest and his stomach felt like a pack of Cornish pixies was running loose. He hadn't planned to act on his feelings but he just couldn't lie to himself or Moony anymore. Remus had become more than a mentor, more than a best friend, and he had deserved to know how Harry felt. The kiss they shared had left Harry weak in the knees and convinced him that Remus at least returned some of his feelings. He did not want to make Remus uncomfortable or cause any problems for Professor McGonnagall. Maybe he would suggest to Remus they place a hold on their relationship until he was finished his NEWTS.
Harry was determined to be patient and wait until Remus was ready to talk to him. He knew that the older man had much more at stake in pursuing their relationship than he did and he knew that Remus would not enter into a relationship with him lightly. Harry was glad of that, he wasn't looking for a quick fling with the older man after all. He had plenty of opportunity for flings if that was what he wanted. He wanted to build something real with the werewolf, and he hoped that he had made that clear. Two days after the kiss Remus's owl Marisol swooped down to him at breakfast and presented him with a note.
Please meet me in my office this evening after dinner.
Throughout the day Harry watched the clock, feeling that this was the longest day of classes he had ever sat through. He didn't have DADA that day which was probably for the best. Things were bound to be a little awkward between them until they sorted out how they felt about each other. He shoveled in his dinner at a pace to rival Ron then gathered his bag with the invisibility cloak folded at the bottom and headed for Remus's office.
When Harry arrived the door was open, so he knocked on the doorframe and stuck his head in " Remus? Are you here?"
"Over here" said Remus from the bookcase, which was blocked from Harry's view by the open door. "I'm glad you're here. Close the door and have a seat so we can talk."
Harry nodded and in a fit of optimism put a locking and silencing charm on the door before taking one of the wingback chairs next to the fire.
Harry decided that since he had pushed the issue in the first place he should start talking.
"Look Moony, I'm sorry if I put you in an awkward position. I felt like I couldn't keep my feelings hidden any longer. If you don't want a relationship with me I will understand." Harry said his shoulders slumped.
Remus smiled "It was a little awkward, me being your teacher and all, but I'm glad you told me. And Harry?" The younger man raised his head and looked expectantly at the object of his affections. Remus took a deep breath " And if I do want … no, not if, I do want a relationship with you, what now?"Harry's face split into a wide gin "Really?". The werewolf nodded, his own smile almost as big as Harry's.
"I was thinking about this, and I don't want to see you attacked, in the press or otherwise. I really don't want to wait but I think it would be better if we more or less just continued our friendship until I'm finished my NEWTS, " said Harry.
"I'm rather relieved you feel that way, I was going to suggest the same thing. Although, it's not my reputation I was worried about. The press are going to have a field day." Remus said.
Harry shrugged "Luckily, I stopped listening to what they had to say, good or bad, years ago."
"Now comes the hard part."
Harry's confusion showed on his face "What's that?"
"I have to keep my hands off you for the next couple months."
Harry smirked "And here I thought you were Mr. Self-control."
Remus just smiled "Why do you think it's taken so long for something to happen?"
Harry blushed, "I really need to go study for my transfiguration exam. Tea tomorrow?"
"Absolutely" Remus replied.
next evening found both men seemingly back to their routine teas.
Harry arrived at Remus's chambers after dinner with one of the
books Remus had leant him earlier in the year, hoping something
constructive to do would ease the tension at delaying a more physical
relationship. He arrived to find Remus sitting comfortably on the
sofa, a cup of tea already in hand. Harry fixed his own cup from
the tray that Dobby had left and Remus motioned for him to join him.
Harry smiled and dropped heavily onto the cushion next to Remus just
close enough so their knees occasionally brushed together.
"I was thinking about you all day, I've never been so thankful for loose fitting robes. Ron kept asking what I was so happy about, but I think he's about the last person I should tell. Not that I want to tell anyone." Harry said. Harry noticed the pained look on the other's face and rushed to explain.
"I'm so lucky to have you. I'm just worried that being involved with me is going to make you a target for the remaining deatheaters, not mention to my crazier fans. If you're having second thoughts about getting involved with someone like me.."
Remus looked sheepish. "Harry, stop. You're probably right about going public. What exactly do you mean someone like you? Someone strong, caring, and good looking? "
Harry blushed "Okay, okay. Now let's get back to the need for loose fitting robes" he said with a smirk.
"Harry! We are supposed to be taking this slowly."
"Oh, well, I can go as slow or fast as you like it" Harry said suggestively, running his hand up Remus's arm.
Harry shrugged. "Give me a break, I'm 17. I've got to try. "
Remus groaned "I think we should look at that book you brought before I break my promise to Minerva."
"She knows ?" Harry asked running his hand through his hair anxiously.
"She knew before we did. I think a certain portrait is acting as her informant. She's taking it well, but that's only because she has a soft spot for both of us; not that she'd admit it." Remus said fondly.
"At least tell me you ratted out Snape." Harry said.
"Well" Remus said mischievously "I am a marauder after all. I could tell by her expression she already knew. I expect Severus was given the countdown talk as well."
"Brilliant" Harry said. "I think we can control ourselves a while longer. Now, when is the best time to use this shield." He said drawing Remus's attention back to the book. The two men discussed defense tactics until it was time for Harry to leave. Remus pulled Harry into a tight hug and held him for a moment before kissing his forehead lightly and sending him on his way.
The next several weeks passed in much the same manner. Harry would meet Remus for their usual teas and they would sit close on the sofa, just barely touching, and talk. Sometimes Harry would be the one to flirt and sometimes the werewolf would be the suggestive one.
One Friday night Harry found a note on his pillow that read:
Tell your friends you don't feel like going to Hogsmeade tomorrow and meet me by greenhouse 4. Wear the cloak.
Harry smiled, he didn't mind missing the Hogsmeade trip. In fact, he had been wishing he could spend the day with Remus rather than trailing around after Ron and Luna or getting stuck in the bookstore with Hermione. When he had said as much to the older man Remus had only smiled and said they'd have to see.
The next day was beautiful, warm and sunny with just a hint of a breeze and Harry smiled as he pulled the invisibility cloak on over his t-shirt and khaki trousers. Carefully making his way to greenhouse 4 he stopped in his tracks when he saw Remus waiting for him under the pretense of examining some of the more vicious members of Sprout's garden. The werewolf was dressed in faded jeans and a white button down shirt and adjusted one sandal while absently brushing his honey colored hair out of his eyes. Harry was nearly drooling, and his heart warmed to see the other man look so young and carefree. He walked quietly up behind Remus and whispered in his ear.
Remus turned his head and gave Harry a soft kiss before motioning for him to follow. They walked in silence for several minutes until they came to a small clearing. Remus removed a tiny picnic basket from his pocket and enlarged it with a flick of his wand.
"You've been so patient. I thought we deserved a proper romantic afternoon." He said pulling a soft blanket out of the basket and spreading it on the grass.
Harry blushed, "It's brilliant."
Remus chuckled "I can't take all the credit, I thought I had some pull with the house elves, but that Dobby would do anything for you. "
"We go back a long way." Harry said rifling through the picnic basket pulling out chicken sandwiches, crisps, and two bottles of butterbeer along with several pieces of fruit. They both enjoyed the weather as they ate their lunch, legs brushing together. Remus pulled two chocolate bars out of his robe and handed one to Harry who said " You know, the first time I we met you gave me chocolate. You still take care of me. "
"Hopefully that job is going to be easier from here on out" Remus teased, running his fingers affectionately through the messy black hair.
"I hope so. I only have one more big adventure planned and the Headmistress has agreed to help me. " Harry said with a sly smile. "I've asked Professor McGonagall to teach me to be an animagus so I can be with you on the full moon. "
"Harry, I'd love to have you with me, but please be careful. I'm relieved for many reasons that you have asked Minerva to help you. I must confess that every time you show maturity like that it makes me feel like less of a dirty old man."
Harry gave him a sharp look "You are not old, and I don't want to hear anything about this being dirty. " He moved closer and put his arms around the werewolf. " I love you. That makes it right."
Remus pulled Harry closer, his eyes shining " I love you too" he said kissing Harry soundly. Harry smiled and breaking off a small piece of chocolate pressed it against Remus's lips. He took it in, gently licking the remnants off of Harry's fingers. The werewolf copied the gesture, finding his own fingers sucked lightly into Harry's mouth chocolate and all.
"You've still got some chocolate on your fingers" Remus said in a low voice, clasping his hands around Harry's wrist and slowly licking the younger man's fingers. He sucked them in and out of his mouth, smiling wickedly around the digits as they penetrated his mouth. "Damn, you're going to drive me nutters" Harry muttered, pulling their clasped hands in his direction and licked and sucked the werewolf's fingers as he deftly slid onto the other man's lap. Dropping Remus's hands he used his own to undo the top two buttons of Remus's shirt, sighing contentedly as strong arms pulled him closer. Their lips met softly at first but soon Harry felt Remus's tongue glide across his lower lip and he groaned softly as he parted his lips and felt his love's tongue stroking his own. Remus slowly ended the kiss, but continued to hold Harry close. "I think we should probably head back to the castle now" said Remus. Harry nodded "Ron and Hermione will be back from the village soon. Thank you, Moony, the picnic was brilliant."
"You're welcome love. Now if you'll excuse me there is a cold shower calling my name."
"Me too" agreed Harry as he placed the invisibility cloak over his head and walked towards the school.
Weeks of close contact had left both Remus and Harry a bit at odds. Harry had taken to running every morning to work off his excess energy. Seeing him leave the common room one morning Hermione had declared exercise good for the mind and joined him. Harry, as in most things related to Hermione this year, chose not to think too deeply about her motivations and was happy for the company.
A few weeks before the end of term Remus was summoned to Minerva's office and was very worried. He and Harry had no indication that anyone else had recognized their relationship for what it was, but he was rarely called to see Minerva with such short notice. As he passed the gargoyle he squared his shoulders and braced himself for whatever was coming. When he entered he found the headmistress sitting at her desk holding an envelope with a large smile on her face. "Relax, Remus. I just got this letter for Mr.Potter from the St.Mungo's healer training program and I thought you might want to deliver it yourself."
Remus smiled "I take it you already know that it's good news?"
"Healer Vance brought it through the fire herself. Not that there was any doubt."
"Thank you, Minerva. I'll take it to Harry right away."
Remus bounded up the stairs to Gryffindor Tower like a man ten years younger. They were nearing the end of term and soon he and Harry could be together for real. He rounded the corner and stopped dead. Harry was standing in one of the hallway's alcoves, his arms wrapped around Seamus Finnigan as he whispered into the Irish boy's ear. The older man's heart lept to his throat. This wasn't right. Harry was his and he was Harry's. Distress quickly turned to resignation and the letter he'd been so happy to deliver drifted down at the younger men's feet as he walked away ignoring Harry's frantic calls.
Harry looked up from Seamus' shoulder when he felt something hit his feet. "Shit!" he said as he took in the look on Remus' face and the werewolf's quickly retreating back. He realized what it must have looked like and called after the other man but Remus didn't stop. He took off after the other man but Remus turned a corner and seemed to vanish. Harry knew there must be a secret passageway that wasn't on the map but he didn't have the slightest idea where it might be. He decided to give Remus a moment to cool off while he checked on Seamus and got the Marauder's map from his trunk. Seamus was a bit confused about what had happened, but was too caught up in his own problems to give it too much thought. Harry took him back into the common room and dumped him on Colin Creevy before going up to his room. A quick check of the map showed Remus in an abandoned fourth floor classroom. Harry raced up to the room and after a few calming breaths knocked on the door.
"Just go away Harry. I really don't want to see you right now." Remus didn't sound angry, just sad and tired, which worried Harry much more.
"Please let me explain, it's not what it looked like." Harry said.
"I'm not naïve enough to fall for that Harry. Look, I understand, you're 17. You didn't want to wait. You got tired of the old man. Whatever. Just don't make it worse. "
Harry sighed "You've got it all wrong, please just let me in."
"Finite Incantatem" Remus said softly and Harry pushed the door open to find the werewolf sitting at a dusty old desk with his forehead resting on his folded hands.
"Moony, please. It wasn't like that. Seamus is straight. He proposed to Lisa Turpin who he's been dating since the summer after fifth year and she said no. Her parents don't want her to marry a half-blood. He's a mess, he needed a friend, that's all. It's you that I love. If you don't know by now that I don't think of you as an old man, that I want you, and that I will wait as long as we need, then I don't know what else to say. "
Remus sighed " I'm an idiot."
Harry released the breath he didn't know he'd been holding and gave him a grim smile "Pretty much. "
"Can I still be your idiot?" the werewolf asked.
Harry walked around the desk and put his arms around the older man's shoulders. "Just try to get away."
"No kidding. Sometimes I'm sorry I gave you back the map." Said Remus with a snort, "Did you at least open the letter?"
Harry started searching his pockets, "Oh hell, I forgot all about it!" he said. Finally he pulled it out and unrolled the parchment. As he read a smile crept over his face. "I'm in! Moony, I start healer training in September!"
"That's wonderful, Harry. I'm sure Hermione will have a study schedule for you all worked out by then."
Harry laughed and pulled Remus close. He hugged the werewolf fiercely and gave him a soft kiss on the lips before the two men made their way to dinner.
When the night of the leaving feast finally arrived Harry was a whirlwind of emotions. He was sad about leaving the only real home he had known to move to Grimmauld Place, but he would finally be able to be with the man he loved. After the usual festivities Harry carefully made his way to Remus's chambers. They may no longer be student and teacher, but neither were they ready for everyone to know about their relationship. Remus was waiting when Harry whispered the password and entered. In two strides the men embraced and Remus murmered in Harry's ear "Congratulations, love, your parents and Pads would be proud. I'm proud." Harry swallowed the lump in his throat and thanked Remus softly before claiming the man's lips in a searing kiss. "I'm not your student anymore. " Remus grinned and allowed his hands to trail down to Harry's backside as he deepened the kiss until both men were flushed and gasping for breaths. Harry grinned and started to undo Remus's buttons, when a hand came up to stop him. "Harry, wait " said the werewolf "are your friends going to Hogsmeade to celebrate tonight?"
Harry nodded "Yeah, so?."
"You should go with them. You only finish school once."
When Harry began to protest Remus raised a hand to stop him "I haven't given you your gift yet." He said placing an envelope in Harry's hands. Harry opened it to reveal a rental notice for a beachside cottage starting the next day. "Nobody will think it's that strange that I'm taking on a trip to celebrate. We'll have a couple days to ourselves, I know you've never been to the beach."
Harry again launched himself at Remus "Brilliant!" he said using his position to grind himself against the other man's thigh until Remus pulled him off. "Harry, we've waited 77 days, surely we can wait one more. I promise that tomorrow night I will make love to you, but I want it to be special and I want to take my time. I really do think you should spend tonight with your friends."
"I know you are right, one more day won't matter, but I want you so much. "
Harry was lead over to the couch and gasped as Remus knelt in front of him with a new glint in his eye "I imagine we can compromise" Remus said unfastening Harry's fly. Harry gasped as he felt the wet heat surrounding him and moaned running his fingers through his love's hair. It did not take long before Harry was babbling nonsense words with an occasional "oh god", "Don't stop", and "fuck, yes" thrown in for good measure. Remus hummed once and Harry was undone, one drawn-out moan signaling his release. Remus smiled and slid up on the couch next to Harry, pulling the younger man close and kissing him softly on the forehead as Harry 's breathing began to even out.
"Oh, wow" Harry said softly.
Remus smirked "Looks like there are a few tricks left in the old wolf yet."
"I'll say" said Harry "That was unbelievable"
"That, love, was just the beginning" said the werewolf, "now I believe you are late for a party?"
"But what about you?" Harry asked
"I'll take a raincheck, just the taste of you and the look on your face will be enough to tide me over until tomorrow. Have fun, and be careful."
Harry thought the cottage was just right, cozy and comfortable. Remus suggested they go for a swim first and Harry eagerly agreed, not wanting to spoil his love's plans for the evening. The water was warm and the area right around their cottage was deserted giving them some much-needed privacy. They played in the water for a while, especially enjoying tackling each other into the surf and then spread out a blanket on the sand letting the sun dry them off. As evening approached Remus leaned close to Harry and whispered "I'm going to shower and start dinner, why don't you wait half an hour or so and then get cleaned up yourself."
Harry smiled and nodded, stretching out in the sun once again, his forehead resting on his crossed arms.
Harry entered the to the smell of fresh lobsters cooking on the stove. Not wanting to distract Remus from the task at hand he called out a greeting and slipped up the stairs into the bath. After peeling off his swimming costume he got the shower going and washed all the sand and salt away trying not to be nervous about what would happen later. Drying off he looked carefully at his clothing choices. For a moment he considered wearing only a dressing gown but thought better of that as it would be more fun to have Remus undress him. Instead he chose a pair of black trousers and a close fitting emerald green shirt. When he came down the stairs he stopped dead at the sight before him. The cottages small table was laid out with a white tablecloth and beautiful china flickering in the candlelight. More importantly Remus Lupin was standing casually in the doorway wearing tan suede pants and a silk shirt in a soft cream color. His silver hair was tied back with a thin strip of leather. Harry stammered a greeting and moved across the room taking the older man in his arms and kissing him soundly. "You look amazing love." Harry said, embracing the werewolf before taking his place at the table. "That shirt of yours is going to make it very hard for me to concentrate on my dinner. " said Remus taking his seat as well.
The two men talked casually as they ate, occasionally getting caught up in each other's eyes or holding hands across the table. Once Remus cleared the table with a flick of his wand he walked to Harry and took the younger man's hand. " Harry, I love you. I would very much like you to come upstairs with me, but if you would rather wait longer I would be happy to spend the evening in another fashion. "
Harry smiled "I have waited seventy-eight days, more if you count getting up the courage to tell you how I feel. I don't intend to wait one more."
Remus led Harry up the stairs to the larger bedroom and the sight took Harry's breath away. In the middle of the room was a large four-poster bed covered in soft royal blue sheets with rose petals sprinkled across the foot. The room was lit by a dozen candles charmed to float over their heads and soft music was playing in the background. Remus smiled shyly " I told you I wanted it to be special."
Harry cupped Remus's face and gently ran his finger across the werewolf's cheekbone "It's special because it's you." With that Remus scooped Harry up in his arms and deposited him on the bed. "I want you to relax and let me take care of you tonight" Remus said sliding Harry's t-shirt over his head. Before Harry could protest Remus silenced him with a kiss. " You will have plenty of time to return the favor, so to speak, in the future."
Knowing that arguing with something he didn't really oppose in the first place would be pointless Harry leaned back against the pillows and let Remus take over.
For the second time in his life Harry Potter woke up to the feeling of being wrapped around a warm body. This time, however, Harry knew exactly where he was and who he was with. This time he merely sighed contentedly and burrowed closer to his lover. When he woke up the second time it was to find Remus smilng down at him planting soft kisses on his cheeks, forehead, and lips. "Good morning, puppy. How do you feel?"
"Amazing. Okay, a little sore, but it's a good sore" Said Harry.
"I'm glad" said Remus "You won't always be sore, it just takes getting used to."
"I really like the thought of getting used to that. You just get comfortable, I'm going to make us some breakfast."
They passed the remainder of their holiday in much the same way as the first day with plenty of time for swimming, sunning, talking, and sex. Both men were reluctant to return to Grimmauld Place and neither was happy about continuing to hide their relationship, but they both knew it was for the best right now.
It took about a week for the newness of living together in Grimmauld Place to wear off and the two men to fall into a routine. Remus had moved out of the bedroom he had shared with Sirius and into a previously unused room on the third floor. These days the old house was bearable and that particular room had been newly outfitted in blues and creams. When they were alone in the house Harry stayed in that room as well though he kept another room on the second floor for appearances. The two men fit together very well. Both were good cooks and took turns making suppers and both were accustomed to picking up after themselves. Harry was actually starting to think something positive came out of the Dursleys. Most days they could be found in either the library or the garden. Remus would work on his research while Harry worked his way through the reading list for healer training.
The last few days of July had been very hectic and Remus and Harry hadn't gotten a single minute alone. The Weasley family had come to stay at Grimmauld Place for Harry's birthday bringing Hermione and Neville with them. The house was once again full of people and Harry was once again sharing a room with Ron. Harry was determined to spend some time alone with Remus. He waited until Ron's snores filled the room and snuck out into the hallway and down the stairs to Remus's room. Closing the door behind him he quickly cast locking and silencing charms and slid into the bed. Smiling like the cat that got the canary he slid up against the other man and planted soft kisses on his neck and jaw. When he pushed himself up to meet the werewolf's lips he was pleased to find warm amber eyes staring back.
"Hello, love" Harry said with a smirk.
Remus smiled " I figured you'd find a way down here eventually. I suppose all that sneaking around you did at Hogwarts paid off after all."
"Well, at Hogwarts I had help from the best" Harry said sliding the thin t-shirt over his lover's head.
"True" said Remus as he undid Harry's jeans pleasantly surprised to find that was all the younger man wore. With a growl he pinned the dark haired man to the bed and began to run his hands over Harry's body.
"Wait!" Harry panted as he reached for the waistband of Remus's sleep pants "I want to see you, touch you.".
Remus was happy to oblige and soon the two men were skin to skin exploring each other with their hands and mouths. As things progressed both were thankful for the silencing charms.
Later that evening Harry slipped out of bed quietly to avoid waking his lover. More to the point he had to be careful not to wake any one else in the house. Rather than light his wand he crept to the door and used the sliver of light streaming in from the hall to dress. Just as he pulled his jeans over his hips he froze. The light had disappeared from the doorway and he looked up to see Arthur Weasley, also frozen, standing in the doorway.
"Harry? What in the bloody hell is going on here?"
Harry forced himself to look up at him, not quite able to meet his eyes.
"Mr.Weasley, please, just listen" Harry pleaded. The look on Arthur's face flashed from to disbelief to concern and settled on anger. Harry couldn't breath, his heart was beating out of his chest. He knew there was no point in lying. It was rather obvious what had been going on.
Arthur placed one hand on the doorframe and inhaled deeply as if to steady himself. His first instinct was to go and retrieve Molly, but he thought better of it. He loved his wife, but if he was having trouble controlling his temper he knew she would likely do something she'd regret later.
"Go to your room, Harry", Arthur said, the words forced out through a clenched jaw.
"No", Harry said quietly moving between his friend's father and the bed. "You have to know, he didn't do anything. It was me. I wanted him but he refused to start anything until I finished school. I kept trying. I'm in love with him…..and he needed somebody" Harry had become more desperate as he went on, his voice cracking with emotion near the end, his breath coming in ragged gasps.
"Harry, stop. I can't talk to you about this right now. Please just go, don't make it worse."
"Okay, " Harry said finally, " I'll leave for now."
"We WILL talk about this in the morning, Harry"
Not bothering to retrieve his shirt Harry took one last look at the man sleeping peacefully in the bed.
"I'm sorry Remus" he whispered as he slipped out the door.
Remus Lupin woke slowly, knowing his bed would be empty, but wishing he could wake up and hold Harry just the same. Forcing one eye open he took in the occupant of the chair and sat up quickly now fully awake. Arthur Weasley was sitting in the chair, as he had been since he'd sent Harry away a bit before. His arms were crossed at this chest, and his glare was fixed on the now rather nervous werewolf. Remus blinked.
"Is Harry okay?" he asked timidly.
Arthur stared at him "Is Harry okay? Is Harry okay! Harry is barely 18 and carrying on with a man old enough to be his father" Arthur's voice continued to raise "You apparently think that is just fine, but you'll have to excuse me if I disagree!" The werewolf took a deep breath and spoke quietly, his eyes fixed on his lap. "Do you think I haven't thought about that? Do you think that I don't worry about hurting him? It tears me apart. "
"I need him, I love him, Arthur. Harry and I started getting closer after Sirius died, through letters and then when I went to teach at Hogwarts"
"Wait! How long has this been going on!"
Remus sighed " Please calm down Arthur, I know you consider Harry one of your own, and I'm more thankful for that then you can know, but I'm trying to explain. Harry was so alone. He needed a friendly ear. "
"I see, an ear was it? And exactly when did other body parts get involved? "
"Arthur, it wasn't like that."
"You had a responsibility to that boy!"
"Yes, to take care of Harry and see that he's happy! He is happier now than I've ever seen him."
sighed "Okay, if you aren't doing anything wrong, why have you
kept it a secret."
With a sad smile Remus said "Harry approached me last spring, but we agreed to delay a relationship until he was finished at Hogwarts. It was Harry that wanted to keep it quiet. He is so tired of the headlines and of having the entire wizarding world know every detail of his private life. He was worried it would make me a target."
Arthur looked thoughtful "I suppose that makes sense. I just don't want to see Harry hurt."
"That's the last thing I want too." Remus grinned. He knew how to convince Arthur he had only the best intentions towards Harry. He handed Arthur a slip of paper with an address " Arthur, will you apparate to this address with me, I think there is something you need to see. "
"Okay, " said Arthur, "but if you don't convince me I'm going to have to tell Molly what's going on."
Remus cringed slightly at the thought " Fair enough, let's go."
With a faint pop Arthur found himself standing next to Remus in front of a cozy looking cottage on the edge of a field. "Where are we?" Arthur asked, " This place looks slightly familiar."
"It might, " said Remus "We're not that far from the Burrow."
As the two men approached the door the werewolf tapped it with his wand and they entered a comfortable sitting room. "Lumos"
Arthur took in the burgundy sofa, the two simple wooden desks facing each other, and finally the photos mounted on the wall. The wall above the fireplace was covered in photographs. Harry, Ron, and Hermione waved from several frames each one of them showing the friends at a different age. In some James and Lily Potter held a small bundle and in others Sirius Black was making faces or shadow antlers behind James's head "What is all this?" asked the redhead.
Remus smiled " This" he said quietly " If he agrees, that is, is Harry's birthday present. A home. Our home." Remus led Arthur through the rest of the house pointing our various touches he had added to make the house a home.
"Well, you've certainly got me convinced" Arthur said with a chuckle "let's go back before we miss breakfast."
Harry visibly tensed when Arthur and Remus entered the dining room. He was confused when Arthur put his hand out to stop him from getting up but was reassured when Remus put a hand on his shoulder and whispered "Happy Birthday, love" in his ear. Once everyone had finished his or her breakfast Ron and Hermione convinced Harry to open his presents. He got the usual assortment of quidditch paraphernalia, sweets, and books including three that Hermione had found on famous Healers. When all the papers had been cleared away he felt familiar warmth on his shoulder once again.
"Are you ready for my gift, Puppy?" Remus asked, " At least now you can apparate legally."
Once again two men appeared in front of the small cottage on the edges of Ottery St. Catchpole. Harry began to ask what was going on but Remus silenced him with a kiss and led him to the front door.
"Close your eyes and take my hand" said the werewolf one hand taking Harry's and one using his wand to open the door. He carefully guided Harry into the sitting room and helped him find a seat on one of two overstuffed armchairs by the fire. Kneeling in front of Harry he took both the younger man's hands in his and said, "Open your eyes." Harry did and looked around both amazed and confused. "Remus? What is this?".
He looked Harry in the eye and said "Harry, I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I was hoping we could make this our home."
"It's perfect. " Harry said, his eyes shining as he looked down at his lover. "I love you Remus. When can we move in?".