A/N This story is a sequel to 77 Days and picks up where that
ends. Thank you to all who read and reviewed 77 Days. This ones
Remus Lupin and his partner Harry Potter apparated from the small cottage they had just agreed to share to the Order of the Phoenix headquarters where their friends were waiting to celebrate Harry's birthday.
"Are you sure this is necessary?" asked Harry petulantly, "it's not like it's a big mystery that we'd want to get out of this house."
Remus cupped his cheek and smiled "It's time to tell our friends, love. Just be glad it was Arthur that caught us and not Molly. They'll keep it quiet."
Harry nodded "I guess, but it was kind of hot sneaking around."
"Look at the bright side, we'll get much more time together now that we can be ourselves when other people are around."
With a smile and a steadying breath Harry opened the door and led Remus into the kitchen where everyone was gathered.
Harry had decided it was best just to take the direct approach.
"Uh, hello everyone. This has been the year of my life and Remus is the reason why. We're in love and we're moving into our own cottage. Before you say anything you should know that it was my idea in the first place and that he made me wait until I was finished school." There was total silence for a second or two. Ron opened his mouth but only got out an indignant "BUT HE'S" before a quick flick from Bill's wand silenced him.
"Don't want you to say something you're going to regret, little brother. Congratulations, gentleman. Is there a housewarming party planned? " Bill said as Fred grumbled something unintelligible and handed several galleons over to his twin.
The tension went out of Remus's shoulders as he replied "Not yet, we'll let you all know."
Harry surveyed the room looking for trouble spots. Molly Weasley was tense, but nodding quietly as Arthur whispered quietly in her ear. Hermione looked expectantly at Snape " Should we?"
Snape took in the room with a trademark glare and said, "Very well, I suppose a better opportunity will not present itself. Mr. Weasley has already been rather conveniently silenced. "
Hermione nodded and tapped her wand to the fourth finger on her left hand whispering "finite incantatum". The spell revealed a simple gold band with a beautiful ruby in the center. Ron shot daggers at Bill and started banging his fist on the table, while George sighed and handed the money back to his brother. Remus and Harry, thankful for the distraction, made their way across the room where Remus shook the potion master's hand while Harry pulled Hermione into an affectionate hug. He couldn't help himself from leaning down to whisper in her ear "Are you sure about this?"
"Yes, Harry. It was my idea in the first place too. "
"Good then. Congratulations."
"And you two! You know if things were different, I'd be quite jealous."
"You should be." Harry said with a smirk, causing Hermione to blush.
Their exchange was interrupted by Molly Weasley clearing her throat.
"Remus. Severus. I would like you both to join me in the drawing room for a moment. Minerva, we will be having words later."
Minverva eyebrows went up "Yes, Molly. I see that may be necessary."
"I think I speak for everyone when I say I'll be going out this evening then? " said Charlie.
There was a mumble of agreement as nobody was willing to get between the two formidable witches.
Remus nodded to Severus and squeezed Harry's hand before following the potion's master into the drawing room. Molly was waiting, wand in hand when the two men entered. Remus made himself comfortable on the sofa while Snape stood near the door with his arms crossed and his wand drawn.
"Madame Weasley. I am tolerating this little tête-à-tête because of Hermione's feelings for you and your family. My intentions are honorable. I did not abuse my position as her professor. Other than that we have nothing to say to each other. " Snape said with a scowl.
Remus sighed. "While I would have perhaps phrased things a bit more diplomatically I find myself agreeing with Severus." Seeing the look on Molly's face he raised a hand in an attempt to calm her. "Harry and Hermione are both of age. They are intelligent, strong, and loving people. They have made their choices and I hope you can accept that. Now, if you'll excuse me Harry and I are going home." He paused when he got to the door. "Home" he said with a smile exiting the room followed by Severus who merely rolled his eyes at the werewolf's sentimentality.
Later that Remus and Harry stopped at a muggle café for a quick dinner enjoying the anonymity it brought them. The waiter was a good-looking young man and Remus had to suppress a growl when he noticed the young man ogling Harry's backside as they were seated.
"What did Mrs. Weasley say?" asked Harry, ignoring how close the waiter was standing as he handed the dark-haired wizard a menu brushing his arm in the process.
Remus took a sip of water and said "Not much. Severus didn't giver her the chance."
"What did he say?" Harry asked, wincing at the very thought and sliding his chair closer towards Remus's.
"Just that since he hadn't done anything inappropriate it was really none of her business. I tried to soften the blow a bit, but mostly I agree."
"Oh." Said Harry. "I hope she can get over it. I think she was still hoping to set me up with Charlie."
"I'm sure once she's had some time she will be fine."
The waiter interrupted and took Remus's order he then turned to Harry and said snidely "And for your son?"
Harry glared at the waiter and then put on his biggest smile. "I'll just need an extra fork. We can share can't we Remi?" he said in as sappy tone as he could manage and taking Remus's hand in his.
"Of course, pumpkin." Said Remus, who had plenty of practice playing along with a straight face during his Hogwarts days. The waiter faltered a moment before muttering something that sounded like "whatever" and bolted for the kitchen leaving a snickering Harry behind.
"Remi?" asked the werewolf with distaste.
"Pumpkin?" replied Harry.
"I suppose if we were trying for nauseating it was rather effective." Remus said, amusement lacing his voice.
"He deserved it." Harry said.
"It's hard to argue with that" said Remus "but that leaves me with two thoughts."
"What are they?"
"First, that this has not been a very auspicious end to your birthday. Second, that it's a good thing that Molly fed us two large meals today, since we are now left with only one dinner between us."
Harry chuckled at that "I'm not that hungry anyhow, and as for the first part; this morning more than made up for it. Especially since I'm going to use a charm to stick my fork to the table before we leave. "
"Harry!" Remus said, but he said nothing later that evening when Harry poked the tip of his wand out of the sleeve.
Remus and Harry spent the next week moving their belongings to the new cottage and making themselves comfortable. Harry was very enthusiastic about having a home to call his own and Remus was thankful for a permanent home after so many years of moving from place to place. The two made several trips into muggle London but tried to avoid Diagon Alley. The Thursday morning Prophet, however, proved that simply avoiding the Wizarding world was no longer enough.Boy Who Lived in Gay Affair with Werewolf Professor
Sources close to nineteen-year old Harry Potter confirmed this week that the Destroyer of Voldemort not only prefers men, but is involved with 39 year-old Remus Lupin, professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Mr. Potter was the top-ranked student in Defense Against the Dark Arts last year. Lupin is a known werewolf and was rumored to have been close friends with James Potter and convicted murderer Sirius Black during his own school days. It is unclear whether Headmistress Minerva McGonagall was aware of Lupin's illicit relations with his student. There has been no comment from the Hogwarts Board of Governors.
"Shit" Harry said, pounding the table and scaring off the owl that had delivered the paper.
"I knew this would happen. Why can't they just leave me alone?"
Remus lifted his head out of his hands and sighed. "I better floo Minerva and warn her. I can't say I'm surprised that Severus and Hermione aren't splashed across the front page as well."
"They don't sell twice as many copies of the paper when Hermione's name is on the front page. " Harry said bitterly, "Besides, most of the reporters at the Prophet had Snape for potions and are still terrified of him."
"I should write a letter to the editor.
My life is none of your business so please fuck off.
Sincerely, Harry Potter."
Remus stood behind Harry's chair and tried to rub the tension out of his shoulders.
"I know you don't want to hear this right now, but the only thing you can do is ignore it. Making an issue out of it will only keep you on the front page."
Harry nodded slowly "I know, I guess I still haven't given up on the idea of being just Harry, who doesn't have every detail of his life on the front page. This could be dangerous, promise me you'll be extra careful for a while."
The werewolf smiled "Constant Vigilance".
They spent the afternoon reinforcing spells on the cottage, answering floocalls from friends, and redirecting post from the wizarding world at large.
After a week of Howlers and scathing letters in the Prophet it was time for Remus to go back to Hogwarts and get ready for the upcoming school year. Harry would be staying at the cottage and apparating to St. Mungo's for his healer training.
"Do you have to go back so soon?" Harry asked petulantly, stacking shrunken boxes in one larger one for Remus to carry to Hogwarts.
"Yes, love. I have to get the classroom set up and talk to Hagrid about some animals I would like to use in class this year. It's probably a good idea to clear the air with some of the other staff members about what has been in the Prophet as well."
"I still wish you had let me make a statement. They make it sound like you were propositioning me over milk and cookies or something."
"Yes, I did the honorable thing and used tea and chocolates."
Harry gave him a sharp look. "I just can't stand the idea of people thinking that of you."
Remus sighed "Harry, the truth is I did get involved with student twenty years my junior. Now, it's true that you are no ordinary student, but that doesn't change the facts as outsiders see them."
"I guess. I wish we had few more weeks, but then I'd just wish we had a few more."
"I hope you always feel that way." Said Remus with a smile as he stepped in front of the floo.
Harry smiled too. "I'll write every chance I get. I love you, Moony."
"I love you too. Be safe and work hard." Said the werewolf tossing a handful of floo powder into the hearth and stepping inside saying "Hogwarts-Lupin's Office".
A week later Harry sat at his desk in the cottage and looked over the letter he had just finished.
How are you? How are your classes going? I hope the other teachers didn't cause any problems. I had an eventful first week at healer training. I had to use the cloak to get to the building, the reporters were camped out on the front lawn. Most of my classmates seem nice, if not a little put off by the harassment from the reporters. Luckily Terry Boot is in my class and he wasn't bothered by my personal life.
Harry snorted, remembering the conversation with his Ravenclaw classmate.
Boot had entered the room and greeted him with grin.
"Terry! Good to see you, mate. How's life after Hogwarts?"
The Ravenclaw smiled "Good, I've got a place of my own and a date with Susan next weekend."
Harry nodded "Sounds good."
Terry looked down and fiddled with the cuffs of his shirt "So, Harry….er, how are things going for you?" Harry had expected this, he knew that nearly all of his classmates both old and new would have seen the articles and letters in The Daily Prophet.
"Yes it's true, but nothing really happened until after I took my N.E.W.T.'s."
Terry clapped him on the back and Harry relaxed "Glad things are working out for you. I always liked Professor Lupin, though apparently not as much as you did. I never know whether or not to believe the Prophet when it comes to you."
"Most people don't realize I was in contact with Remus during my fifth and sixth year. We got to be really close friends after the death of a friend of ours. Sometimes I don't know whether it is better for me when The Prophet gets it right or when they get it wrong." Harry said with a sigh. "After all, I don't think that my relationship is any more shocking than Mione and Snape."
Terry who had been sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup proceeded to spray a mouthful across his desk. "Granger and Snape? I mean he's not that bad to the Ravenclaws, but still. Damn. Did I miss a memo? Was I supposed to be making eyes at Sinistra or something."
Harry had laughed, but the entrance of a middle-aged witch in green healer robes had cut off further conversation.
Our program coordinator, Healer Moravian, didn't single me out at all but mentioned privately that she had known my grandmother Potter through her charity work for the hospital.
I miss you already and it has only been a week. I promised myself I would study this weekend, but can you come home next weekend? I wish I could see you right now. Are you preparing lessons, reading, or marking essays? I can almost picture you stretched out on the sofa in your shirtsleeves, your robes folded so neatly on the chair. I wish I were curled up on the couch with you. Kissing your lips, you neck, your chest… Damn it Remus, I'm getting hard just thinking about it. I best get back to work, I have Potions and Plant Pharmacology this term an you know how I struggle with that subject.
All my love,
The next day while Harry sat at the kitchen table with his training notes spread out around him he was interrupted by Marisol, Remus's owl who ate a good portion of his lunch and pecked him on the ear before flying away.
I began reading your letter during dinner, but at the end I had to tuck it away to finish in my chambers. You could give a man a bit of warning, you know. I suspect Minerva must have spoken to the staff prior to my arrival because the matter has not been brought up nor has their treatment of me changed. It is possible that Severus' slightly less miserable than normal demeanor has swayed some opinions as well. There have been looks and whispers from some of the older students but Ginny and Mr. Creevy have made short work of most of them. You have always had a way of drawing loyalties to you. I'm glad that Mr.Boot is in your class, I was hoping one of your D.A. people might turn up in your training, I fell better knowing you have an ally with you.
As long as everything goes smoothly this week I will be home for the weekend. I know that the long-distance relationship is less than perfect but it does give you time to study without distractions. I promise to make it up to you when I visit. I must get back to my grading so I will have the weekend free.
A quarter hour before Remus was set to arrive Harry was frantically pacing in the cottage's little kitchen. He had made dinner and brought Remus's old phonograph out from the bedroom to provide a bit of background music. He would stop moving at every sound, listening for the tell-tale woosh of the floo connection. Finally, when Harry was considering going to Hogwarts and dragging his lover home, Remus came through the floo brushing soot of his robes.
"Hello, puppy. Miss me?" Remus's words were cut off by Harry who had thrown himself into the werewolf's arms and pressed their lips together. When they had both caught their breath Remus smiled.
"I guess that is a yes."
"It's so quiet here, and I miss our teas."
"I know love, but it's only for a little while and I'll be home the whole summer."
Harry stepped back for a moment and a
thoughtful look crossed his face.
"Do you think I'm being ridiculous? I hate that I'm so bloody needy all the time. I'm nineteen years old, shouldn't I be able to stay by myself for a while without it being a big thing?"
"Harry, relax" Remus said softly. "It's okay to want to be around other people. I'd be worried about your stability if you were happy being alone all the time. It is a good thing to have some time to be comfortable by yourself, but that doesn't mean you can't want your friends around."
Harry's shoulders dropped and he
ran a hand through his hair. "Thanks. I guess I should make some
plans to see Ron and Hermione now that he's speaking to both of us
Remus smiled " That's a good idea. You know when we were first out of Hogwarts Sirius and I met your parents for dinner every Thursday. It really helped us stay in touch. Now, do I smell dinner?"
Harry pointed to the kitchen with a flourish "Right this way."
Over dinner the two men spoke of their respective classes and caught each other up on Order news.
When Harry began to serve the chocolate mousse he had made for dessert Remus put his hand over the younger man's to stop him. When Harry looked up confused the werewolf grinned wickedly and said "Let's take this upstairs shall we?"
A similar grin split the young man's face and grabbed the bowl and bounded up the stairs.
"Why didn't I think of that!" Harry said, placing the bowl on the bureau and shedding clothing as fast as he could.
"Experience is the best teacher." Said Remus, smirking.
"Then it's a good thing my best teacher is so experienced" quipped Harry, impatiently removing the other man's shirt.
Remus finished undressing and pulled Harry into bed with him taking a handful of the mousse along. The two men took turns painting each other in mousse and removing it with their mouths until they could wait no longer.
When they both collapsed exhausted and sated onto the mattress Remus pulled Harry close and sighed when the dark head against his chest. He smiled fondly, noticing that Harry was already close to dropping off "Sweet dreams, love" he said softly and heard a faint "Love you too, Moony" in return before closing his own eyes.
Remus and Harry had managed a few weekend visits during the fall, but were relieved when the Christmas Holidays came and they had some time together at the cottage. They spent most of the days leading up to the holiday enjoying each other's company and helping Hermione with the final details of her wedding.
On Christmas morning the Remus and Harry woke slowly and kissed slowly for a while before getting washed and dressed. They were due at the Burrow for Christmas Dinner, but decided to exchange gifts before hand. There was not much surprise this year as they had decided together what they would buy. It was not legal in the Wizarding World for two men to have a bonding ceremony, but both men had given up on the uselessness of a Ministry decree long ago. Each man opened the small box from his lover to take out the plain gold band. The two men stood facing each other and Harry took the older man's hands in his.
"I love you" he said, taking Remus's ring from him and slipping it on the werewolf's finger.
"I love you too. " Said Remus, placing the younger man's ring on Harry's finger. The two men kissed softly and smiling, apparated to the Burrow.
The couple was relieved when Molly greeted both of them at the door with an embrace to demonstrate she had gotten passed her objections to their relationship as long as Harry was happy. After exchanging gifts the couple sat down to Christmas dinner with the Weasleys, Hermione, and Snape. Remus could tell that Harry was happy to have his family's acceptance and he was beginning to feel at home himself. He schooled his face to a pleasant smile when Molly began on the topic of grandchildren, although he thought that Hermione may have noticed his discomfort.
The Granger/Snape wedding was planned for New Year's Day and took place at a magically warmed garden at Hogwarts. Only the couple's closest friends had been invited, as the groom would have preferred a quiet trip to the ministry office and neither had family that had survived the war. Remus stood for the groom and Ginny stood for the bride. Hermione looked elegant in simple white robes and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when she walked down the aisle escorted by Arthur Weasley.
Remus and Harry ate, drank, and danced far into the night, long after the bride and groom had left for their honeymoon in Greece. They were some of the last to call it a night and retired together to Hogwart's guest chambers which Minverva had offered them after insisting they had drank to much to apparate safely. The next day they once again retreated to their cottage to make the most of their last few days of holiday.
By the middle of March Harry was spending every free minutes studying for his training courses. He often wrote or flooed Remus after dinner and the settled in to study until the wee hours of the morning. The night before, halfway through a paper on the medicinal qualities of asphodel he realized that he had left one of the books he needed in the student lounge. He had forced himself up very early to go in before his classmates and retrieve the book. As he rounded the corner to St. Mungos he heard voices behind him. "Well, well, well if it isn't the pouf who lived" said a large man dressed in tattered deatheater robes. His companion roared with laughter "Where's your disgusting half-breed of a boyfriend now, Potter?"
"Expelliarmus!" Harry shouted, but the men had been expecting that and blocked it easily. The larger of the two men punched Harry solidly in the abdomen driving the air out of his lungs before he pushed him roughly to the pavement. "Not so tough now without all those red-headed blood traitors to protect you."
"Accio Potter's wand" said the tall one, and gasping for breath Harry was not able to keep his grip. The first man straddled Harry and covered his mouth as he leaned down and whispered in his ear "Hmm, since you like sucking cock so much maybe we should see if you're any good at it." Harry started to thrash harder trying to throw the man off of him but his attacker just laughed and started to open his robes.
"Somebody's coming" shouted the tall man, and the one holding Harry down cursed loudly. "Dammit, I don't want no trouble with the aurors. Let's take care of him and get out of here." The last thing Harry saw was a black boot right before it connected with his head.
Remus was teaching NEWT Defense class how to create a patronus, or rather teaching it to the ones who hadn't already learned from Harry, when Minverva McGonagall entered the room her face drawn.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but this class is dismissed. You are to go directly to the library and study under the supervision of Madam Pince. Any student not following those directions will be cleaning with Mr. Filch for a week. " The students scattered quickly, darting quick looks at the headmistress in an effort to figure out what is going on. McGonagall surveyed the room and said "Miss Weasley you may stay." It was then that fear replaced confusion and the werewolf paled and staggered towards the nearest chair. "Minerva?"
With the exit of the last student the headmistress's face softened considerably and she crossed to where Remus was sitting.
"Remus, listen. It's okay. Harry was attacked, but he's alive. He was only a block away from St.Mungo's and when he didn't show up for training Mr. Boot went looking for him. He's stable but unconscious. Emmeline is working on him and Kingsley is standing guard"
Throughout the conversation Remus had just stared blankly at the wall, his hands shaking his lap. When Minerva was finished Ginny put an arm on his shoulder and said firmly "Come on, Professor. We need to go. He'll want to see you when he wakes up."
Remus nodded and took the portkey that the hospital wing kept for St.Mungo's from Minerva. All three felt the familiar tug and reappeared in the lobby of the hospital. A rather tired looking young healer Remus vaguely recognized as a former student led them up to a closed ward where Kingsley greeted them. "Nobody has tried to get in. He's still out of it. Tonks is still working on the scene. "
"I need to see him." Remus said, voice so hoarse he could barely be heard.
"Of course, Remus. Severus will cover your classes for as long as you need. I must return to Hogwarts. Miss Weasley, I trust you can notify the appropriate people and keep them from making nuisances of themselves?"
The headmistress nodded and was gone with a crack.
Remus couldn't help but think how young and small Harry looked when he was asleep in the hospital bed. As various magical monitoring devices clicked away overhead he settled into the chair next to the bed taking one of Harry's hands in his. He had a vague memory of Harry doing the same for him after a particularly unfortunate transformation. "Oh puppy, I don't know if I can go through this again. You need to wake up, love. I need you. We all need you. " He said smoothing Harry's fringe back from his forehead.
When Hermione entered the room the next morning she found Remus asleep, his head resting on the side of Harry's bed still holding the unconscious boy's hand. She gently shook the man's shoulder "Professor, Remus. Wake up. You should go get something to eat. I'll stay with Harry for a little while." As soon as Remus regained awareness his head snapped around to the sleeping figure in the bed. "There hasn't been any change" said Hermione gently "He hit his head on the curb in addition to any spells his attackers used. Healer Vance said if doesn't wake up within 48 hours the injury to his brain may be more serious than they can detect right now."
Tears slid down Remus's face, and he pulled their joined hands first to his lips and then tight against his chest. "I can't leave. I wasn't there and look what happened."
Hermione shook her head "It's not your fault. I'm going to go and get you something to eat."
"Thank you" Remus said softly and went back to talking quietly to the figure on the bed.
Remus figured that Harry now had about 24 of the 48 hours left to wake up. He couldn't even handle the thought that the Harry that wakes up might not be "his Harry". That Harry could have survived so much only to be hurt by nothing more than a couple of street punks only fueled his distress.
Healers, nurses, and members of the Order came and went but Remus's attention never wavered from Harry. By late afternoon a small crowd had gathered in the waiting room closest to Harry's ward and after being assured it could only help Remus had stretched out on Harry's bed and was telling him old Marauder stories Harry had now heard many times. A light groan filled the room and Remus froze, watching intently for any change in the younger man. Harry's eyes shot open and he began to fight off imagined attackers. Remus put his arms around Harry shouting "Harry! Harry! Stop! You're safe. It's me. " The younger man stopped fighting and looked around gasping for breath before breaking down into sobs when he realized he was alone with his lover.
"Oh god, Remus. It was awful. They were going to….. If someone hadn't come close he would have….. Oh god. Oh god. I'm so useless. I can't even fight off two wannabe deatheaters."
Remus held the young man close, rubbing his back "It's okay love. You're safe now. It's not your fault. It was two on one and you are alive. That's all that matters." The werewolf was crying as well and gently rocking back and forth with Harry in his arms. Harry was awake and lucid, anything else they would deal with together.
"Harry, listen. I have to get up for a minute. There is a bunch of people who have been sitting out there since you came in. I need to let them know you are okay and Healer Vance needs to check you over. "
"Okay. You're coming right back though?"
"I won't be gone a minute and I won't let anyone else in but the Healer for now."
Emmeline Vance's scan had revealed no lasting damage to Harry's brain, but thought it best if he stay in the hospital for a few days so he could fully recuperate before going back to class. Healer Moravian had stopped by to tell Harry not to worry about the classes he was missing and Kingsley had questioned him about what he remembered from the attack. When everyone else had finally cleared out of Harry's room Remus stepped up behind him and put his arms around the younger man's waist. Harry immediately tensed and Remus dropped his arms and stepped back immediately.
"Oh Harry, I'm so sorry I wasn't thinking. I should be more careful" said Remus sadly.
"NO!" Remus was taken aback at Harry's forcefulness. "I can't stand you walking on eggshells like I'm some injured animal. Just act normal, I know you won't hurt me, I just need my body to remember that."
"Whatever you need, love, but give yourself a break. A bit of a rest doesn't make you weak."
"I know, Moony. Let's just get some sleep okay?"
"Sure. Nox." Remus said settling into the bed next to Harry's.
When Remus woke up in the morning he was pleasantly surprised to find Harry had moved to his bed during the night and was sleeping soundly in their usual position with Harry's head resting on the werewolf's chest. Not wanting to disturb his partner the older man just shut his eyes and went back to sleep.
Harry was doing much better physically and emotionally, though he was sure he would be in much worse shape had his attackers not been interrupted. He had several long talks with Tonks who as an auror often counseled female victims until they could be referred to more specialized help. It was only two days after the full moon when the healers agreed to release him and a slow moving, but mostly recovered Remus came to help him pack his things and floo back to the cottage. Before the two men could leave the hospital Emmeline Vance caught up to Remus. A new patient had arrived at the hospital after being bitten by a werewolf and the Healer thought that Remus would be the perfect person to talk to them. Remus agreed but said he would return after seeing Harry back to the cottage.
When the two men returned to the cottage Harry pulled Remus into the living room and said "I wasn't able to show you your birthday surprise in the hospital."
Remus smiled. "The best gift I could ask for is being able to spend some extra time at home with you. I will have to go back in a few days."
"Just have a seat, I'll be right back." Harry said. He went into the kitchen and concentrated on his animagus form, just like he had done in his lessons with Minerva. In the blink of an eye Harry was gone an in his place sat an exceptionally large black kneazle. He gave a quick purr and swipe of the tail and padded into the living room to greet Remus.
Remus looked up a bit startled when the large feline landed in his lap.
"Well, hello there little one. Are you my surprise? I wasn't aware that Harry wanted another pet."
Remus was a bit surprised, usually animals weren't friendly to him at first because he smelled like a predator to them. He gave the kneazle's head a pat.
"Do you have a name, girl?"
"Sorry, sorry, boy. Good boy."
The kneazle purred and rubbed itself rather aggressively against Remus's lap.
Remus froze for a minute, understanding dawning on his face he picked up the kneazle and looked into the bright green eyes "Harry?" he asked shyly.
The kneazle jumped back to the ground and Harry willed himself back to Human form.
Remus chuckled. "You know, you would think I wouldn't fall for the stray animal bit the second time around. Although you are lot lighter climbing on my lap then Padfoot was."
"They didn't tell you first either?" Harry asked with a grin.
"Nope. Although at least this time I didn't give myself a headache trying to figure out how a stag got into our dorm."
"What do think?"
"I think I'm very lucky to have you. Your form is beautiful, we'll have to find a proper nickname for you."
"I'm glad I finally got it."
Remus smiled, and pushed himself up off the sofa.
"I knew you'd get it. Now, I best go back to St.Mungos and talk to Emmeline's patient before it gets too late."
"Okay, I'm going to take a long shower and have something to eat that isn't hospital food. Love you, Moony"
"Love you too, I'll see you in a bit." Remus said, as he stepped back towards the fireplace.
When Remus returned a few hours later he was visibly shaken and Harry put the tea on while his partner settled on the couch.
"What happened Moony? Did you talk to the person?" Harry asked gently.
Remus just sighed, "Her name is Simone and she's only five years old. She's a very smart little girl, but I don't know if she understood everything. I don't think I did at that age."
immediately understood Remus's behavior.
"Five years old?" asked Harry " How are her parents?"
Remus's sadness flashed quickly and he spit out his answer "Gone. They dumped her at St. Mungo's and disappeared. The hospital doesn't know what to do with her. She can only stay in the children's ward for three weeks. After that if her family doesn't come forward they might release her where the feral packs roam for the full moon"
Harry sighed and leaned into Remus's side. "There has to be something but I'm still too exhausted to think of it tonight."
When Harry came downstairs after waking to find himself alone in bed he found his lover sitting in his usual chair and staring sadly at the fire. Harry put a hand on the other man's shoulder.
"Still thinking about Simone?"
Remus looked up with a thoughtful expression "Harry have you ever thought about having a family?"
Harry settled himself on the edge of the chair and paused for a minute to collect his thoughts. "I've never let myself. First I had no idea what family was, then it was too dangerous, and well, it's not like it was going to happen the usual way." Harry paused and looked at the older man. "It's been the same for you hasn't it?"
"Yes." There was a long pause "but have you wanted to be a father?"
Shaking off the last bits of drowsiness Harry finally caught up to the conversation. "You want to adopt Simone, don't you?"
"I can't let them release her to the packs, and I can't say I never thought about what it would be like." Harry sighed and perched on the arm of Remus's chair.
"Of course we won't let them do that. I don't know why we didn't think of it sooner. Although, a werewolf and his nineteen-year-old gay lover are hardly what the ministry will consider ideal adoptive parents. Maybe it's time to use my influence, being Harry Potter has to be good for something. "
Remus smiled but shook his head.
"Well, in this case the child is a werewolf and the parents are a Hogwarts professor and the Man Who Killed Voldemort….but it doesn't really matter. Harry, have you ever met the head of Wizard Family Services? "
"Then it's about time you were introduced to Andromeda Tonks."
Harry slid down on Remus's lap and said, "Well, in that case it looks like we're all set."
Remus turned and cupped Harry's cheek. Hope was shining in his eyes.
"Are you sure you are ready for this? Please think carefully. Don't let me push you."
Harry shook his head "I'm not sure anyone's ever ready really. My father was the same age I am now when I was born, he managed. If you are anywhere near as good a father as you are teacher then we have nothing to worry about."
Remus smiled "I would feel better if you at least slept on this. This is a huge decision and if you don't want to do this right now I will understand. Maybe there is someone else in the Order that will take Simone. I was going to speak to Minerva tomorrow morning, why don't you take some time to think and we'll meet for lunch and talk about it. "
"Okay, it's a date. Do you mind if I go with you to Hogwarts? I'd like to talk to Hermione, she always sees things I don't."
"That's a good idea." Remus said, and the two men once again headed to bed together.
The next morning the lovers parted ways at the castle entry hall. Remus headed to the headmistress's office, while Harry went to visit the new Mrs. Snape in the dungeons. Harry knocked hesitantly on the door. It was still very strange to visit Hermione in the Potion Master's quarters. Hermione greeted him warmly and led him into the sitting room, which to Harry's surprise was decorated in deep blues and warm creams.
"Really Harry, did you think I would let him keep all that ghastly green and silver?"
"I should have known."
"Not that I'm not happy to see you, but what brings you to the dungeons so early?"
"I need to talk something through and you always catch the things I don't."
"Why aren't you talking to Remus about this? "
"We already talked, but he's worried I'll make my decision just to make him happy, so he wanted me to take some time to think."
Hermione flopped onto the sofa and pulled Harry down beside her. "Okay, what's going on?" she asked.
"When I was in hospital a five year old girl came in that was bitten at the full moon. Her parents took her to St.Mungo's and left her there. Remus wants to adopt her."
"Her parents just left her there! That's horrible. They can't be hard to find. They can't get away with this." Hermione declared, pacing the room.
"They're gone Hermione, probably living as muggles. Kingsley looked. "
"Oh, well then. You said Remus wants to adopt her, what do you want?" she said. Harry thought about his answer as she summoned a house elf and asked for some tea 'if it wasn't too much trouble'.
"I would like a family, I just never considered it this soon. I want to say yes, but I just keep thinking: is it weird that my life would be settled so quickly?"
"Harry, you are thinking like a muggle. You'll only be in your thirties when Simone is out of Hogwarts. You'll have about eighty years to do anything you want, you don't have to do everything right now, plus you will have your family around you while you do it. Sure, it might take some getting used to having a daughter who is only 15 years younger than you are, but I think you'll make a good dad. Normal is over-rated, just look at my parents. And just think, with Simone you won't be Harry Potter, you'll just be daddy."
Harry smiled "I like the sound of that. See, that's what I mean. I didn't think that far ahead. Plus, she's already five so I don't have to worry about late night feedings and diapers."
Hermione smirked "No, just a really hyper puppy once a month."
"I hadn't thought of that either, but in that respect there is no better place for her than with us. You know, when you smirk like that you remind me of your husband." Harry teased her.
"Don't start down that road."
"There is another reason we'd be good for Simone on the full moon. I was in the hospital for Remus's birthday so I only just got to show him, but….." Harry stopped talking and concentrated, in the blink of an eye and the large black kneazle stood in his place.
"Harry! That's great! Awww, look you still have green eyes and a little patch of white fur on your forehead."
Having had enough of being "cute" Harry changed back. "I'll have you know I am much larger than the average kneazle, and we have very good instincts."
"Yeah, well just keep your "instincts" away from Crookshanks!"
"Hermione! That is not a image I needed, thanks."
"Oh, relax. So is there anything else you want to talk about?"
Harry smiled. "No I think we covered it, and it's almost time for me to meet Moony at the Three Broomsticks. Thanks, Hermione. It helped a lot."
Harry felt a great weight off his shoulders as walked to the edge of the grounds. He decided to apparate to the pub, as he was still uncomfortable walking alone after his attack. His time in the hospital had helped him accept what had happened but he was still jumpy from time to time and careful not to take unnecessary risks. He arrived at the Three Broomsticks with a pop and found Remus already waiting at a corner booth, anxiously running his fingers through his hair.
"Expecting a date?" Harry asked with a grin.
"Yes, but you can have a seat till he gets here." Remus said with a tight chuckle.
Harry sat down across form the older man and took a deep breath. There was no point in beating around the bush and making Remus sweat it out.
"I talked to Hermione this morning and she helped me sort out my feelings about being a father right now. I think we should adopt Simone."
Remus let out a long breath and smiled "You're certain?"
He couldn't help but worry that he had been pushing Harry despite his efforts to the contrary.
"I am. Hermione helped me see that I was letting what I thought was being normal get in the way of what I really want. I want a family. With you."
Remus's face lit up and Harry knew for sure that he had made the right decision.
"Oh, but there are a million things to do!" Remus said, taking a quill and parchment out of his teaching bag. "We have to figure out where we are going to live during the school year, and how we are going handle her education, and make arrangements for the full moon."
Harry laughed and put his hand on Remus's. "Calm down, we'll figure it out. There is one thing I insist on, love."
Remus paused and looked up at the younger man with a nervous smile "What is it, Harry?"
"If we're going to adopt Simone then we need to change my living arrangements as well. I can't be a long-distance father. We all deserve better than that."
"You're right, love. I'm glad you feel that way. I'll speak with Minverva. I'm sure we can work something out."
"Well then" Harry said, "We have tons of things to do. We best get started."
A floo call to Wizard Family Services established that due to the special circumstances Remus and Harry would be able to file for joint adoption of Simone and Remus would be named as her foster parent until the process could be completed. Andromeda Tonks was happy to help and was relieved that one of her most difficult placements had been resolved so well. After all, from a practical point of view there were few better placements for a juvenile werewolf than with a responsible adult werewolf and a healer. The actual adoption itself would take a matter of weeks assuming no family of Simone's was found.
Arrangements were made throughout a series of meetings the next day. Simone would stay at Hogwarts with Harry and Remus during the school year and would be tutored by a young woman from Hogsmeade. The castle was able to magically enlarge Remus's quarters to add room for the whole family including a bedroom and bathroom for Simone. This arrangement provided several advantages including access to other children, a fully qualified medi-witch, several willing baby-sitters including the Headmistress, and access to Severus Snape who was working on modifying the wolfsbane potion for use on such a small child. Harry would be able to apparate from the school gates to the hospital for his training. During the summer they would stay at the cottage.
Finally all the arrangements had been made and the day came to bring Simone back to Hogwarts. Harry had moved his things into their new quarters at Hogwarts earlier in the week and they had spent several days outfitting Simone's room with help from Ginny, Hermione, and Minerva. The little girl's room now held a cheery white dresser, wardrobe, and canopy bed while the soft furnishings were a quiet shade of pale purple. Harry and Remus left the castle grounds and apparated to the Ministry building where Andromeda was waiting with Simone. When they entered the Wizard Family Services office they found Andromeda watching Simone as she played with two stuffed dragons. The little girl's long brown hair had been carefully arranged into two pigtails and tied in navy ribbon to match the small robes she wore. Both men smiled and Remus crossed over and crouched in front of the little girl.
"Hello, Simone. Do you remember me? We talked in the hospital right after your accident."
"You're a wolf like me," whispered the little girl.
"That's right! You are a very smart little girl. Mrs. Tonks said that you need somebody to take care of you so I would like you to come and live with me and my friend Harry."
The little girl began to speak again very softly and Harry had to crouch down in order to hear what she said.
"Mrs. Tonks said that my mommy and daddy went away because they couldn't take care of me anymore but that you are really nice and you can be my new daddy."
Both men tried to keep their faces neutral when Simone mentioned her parents; they still hadn't been able to find any of her family.
Remus matched Simone's quiet tone. "I know how to take care of you because I'm a wolf too, and Harry is learning to be a healer so he can fix us up when we change back into people."
Simone looked at Harry, and he couldn't help but think the spark in her eye reminded him of Hermione.
"Are you a wolf too?"
"No, I'm not, but I can turn into a cat so I can play with you when you are wolf. Would you like to see?"
Simone looked at him warily, her doubt showing clearly on her tiny features.
"Okay" she said with a nod. "Show me."
Harry concentrated and soon the black kneazle was nuzzling Simone's hand and the little girl smiled.
Remus smiled and said "You'll have to help me think of a name for Harry when he's a kitty and we'll give you a name for when you are a wolf."
The little girl nodded and Harry changed back.
Andromeda smiled. "Simone, do you think you are ready to go with Remus and Harry now?"
The five-year-old appeared to be thinking very hard.
"Will I have any brothers or sisters?" A choking sound came from Harry's direction and Remus just raised an eyebrow at Harry before answering Simone.
"No, you will be our only child, but we live in a school so there are other kids around. "
Simone seemed to consider this. "So I won't have a mommy?"
Remus ran a hand through his graying hair. He had hoped they would be able to avoid the mommy issue for a little while.
"No, you won't have a mommy. You will have two daddies, an Aunt Hermione, an Aunt Ginny, and an Aunt Dora, plus a Grandma Molly and Grandma Minerva. There are a whole lot of people that are very excited to meet you." Remus said.
"I guess that's okay, Mommy always made me clean my room." She said with a sour face.
Harry snickered. "That will be Remus."
"Hey! Lets leave your housework issues out of this."
Remus's teasing was interrupted by a small giggle from Simone. Both men smiled at the little girl.
"If I have two daddies what do I call you? I can't call you both daddy, that would be silly," said the little girl confidently.
Remus smiled, the two men had discussed this particular issue at length.
"Well, if it is okay you can call me Daddy and him Harry. "
The little girl seemed to think for a moment before smiling "Okay, Daddy."
It looked like Remus was too busy basking in being "daddy" to move things along, so Harry stepped in.
"Anything else you want to know?"
"Nope, can I ask more later?"
"Sure can," said Harry picking up the small bag of things Simone had acquired during her stay at St. Mungos. "Ready to go home?"
"Okay, but somebody is going to read me a story later."
Remus beamed. "It's a deal. You know, I think you're going to get along very well with Aunt Hermione."
The small family flooed back to Hogwarts from the ministry and Remus and Harry took a very excited Simone on a quick tour of the castle and the grounds. They finished their trip by showing Simone her new room. After she had examined every corner and every object to her satisfaction she flopped into a small white rocking chair and looked up at her guardians.
"I'm tired, can I have my story now?"
Harry crossed over to the small bookcase and picked out a wizarding picture book called "Too Many Nifflers".
"We can read this once you are in your pajamas and ready for bed." He said, feeling very parental.
"I can do it myself." Simone declared, pulling a pink flannel nightshirt Molly had sent along with her to her bathroom.
"Okay, don't forget to wash your face and brush your teeth" said Remus as the door closed. The werewolf turned to Harry.
"You know, that was one of your favorites too. I used to read it to you when I babysat" he said motioning to the book the younger man was holding.
"That doesn't disturb me as much as it probably should" said Harry with a smile. "It's not going to stay this easy is it?"
"Oh, I doubt it," said the werewolf, "I'm sure she is going to have some uncomfortable questions about us and about her parents eventually. "
Harry nodded. "We'll get through it."
A few minutes later the little girl came out, dressed and ready for bed.
"Okay Harry, I'm ready for my story now."
Harry took a deep breath "Once upon a time…"
It didn't take long before Simone was fast asleep. As her new guardians stood in the doorway to her room watching over her Harry realized that what he had was so much better then normal.