1 This is SLASH. Remus/Sirius slash to be precise.
2 Manipulative Dumbledore. I like manipulative Dumbledore. The man is a leading a war; he darn well should be manipulative. I dislike the idea he knew how the Dursleys treated Harry less than the idea he was too stupid to check up on Saviour of the Wizarding World and the home he personally selected for him.
3 This story is an AU and starts during the Christmas holidays in OotP.
4 This first chapter is more of a prologue and hasn't got much to do with warning 2 (but lots to do with warning 1).
6 Some derogatory language and some swearing.
1.The Minor Secret
It was three days after they had visited Mr Weasley in hospital. Harry had a strange sense of time suspended as they waited for Christmas and for Mr Weasley to grow stronger. Ron and Ginny were tense and Hermione was stringently comforting. Harry felt if he moved too loudly they might shatter into broken pieces so he avoided them when he could.
Mrs Weasley made him even more nervous. He recognised the stealthy sips from a quickly hidden glass and the excited and repetitive speech from his Aunt Petunia, just before she got vicious. Harry did his best to ensure he was never in the same room as Mrs Weasley.
Instead he spent time hiding out with Sirius, who was so excited about Christmas that Harry began to see why everyone made such a fuss about the festival. Sirius told him three stories about his parents at Christmas. Harry's favourite was the one with the enchanted mistletoe.
So when he spotted Mrs Weasley topping up her glass from an ornate crystal decanter, he rapidly decided he didn't want a snack and that he needed to talk to Sirius. Ducking out of the kitchen he hurried up the stairs. Listening carefully for a moment, he tracked Sirius to his bedroom.
He knocked and tentatively poked his head around the door.
"Can I come in?"
"Course you can Harry," said Sirius expansively, bouncing on his bed. Lupin, slouched against the desk, nodded his head.
"You're always welcome Harry."
"If he can put up with two old dogs reminiscing, eh Moony."
"Sirius Black, I am not a dog."
Harry giggled as his old Professor pouted reproachfully at his godfather.
"Sorry," said Sirius not sounding in the least apologetic, "I mean one old dog and one devilishly dashing young wolf."
"Sirius Lucifer Black."
Lupin threw his hands in the air. "Nothing at all. Now come in Harry, was there something you wanted?"
Harry stepped in and closed the door. "Not really. I was wondering if you could tell me the mistletoe story again? You never told me what my Dad did for revenge."
"Sirius," hissed Lupin suddenly sounding truly annoyed.
Sirius ran his hands through his hair. "It's a good story Moony. If you leave out the rat and leave out… that, there aren't so many left."
"We discussed this Sirius."
"No, you expounded at length. I wouldn't call it a discussion, myself."
Harry stared in disbelief as the two adults he loved best argued.
"I'm sorry," he said desperately, "I'll go."
"No," snapped Sirius and Lupin at the same time. They glared at each other for a long moment before Lupin dropped his gaze.
"Do whatever you want, Sirius, you will anyway."
"Harry deserves to know."
Lupin didn't say anything.
"I don't mind," said Harry, although he did really.
"Come and sit over here, Harry," said Sirius gesturing to the bed.
"Okay." Harry sat down, slightly nervous when Sirius shifted around to face him. Lupin sighed and came over to stand behind Sirius, resting one hand on his godfather's shoulder.
"Right," said Sirius, before wringing his hands and seeming to run out of words. Lupin sighed again.
"Harry," he said and Harry raised his head to look at him. Lupin squared his shoulders. "Harry, your godfather and I are in a relationship."
"You're queer," Harry squeaked in amazement.
"Yes," he said, voice tight with resignation. Sirius was looking down at his clenched hands, hiding behind his long dark hair.
"That's great," shrieked Harry, flinging himself at Sirius for a hug. Sirius wasn't expecting that and they would have tumbled off the bed if Lupin hadn't caught them.
"Well you took that well," said Sirius, sounding slightly stunned as he hugged Harry back. He flicked his hair away from his face and turned to grin at Lupin.
"See Moony, I told you it would be all right."
"Yes Padfoot, as always, you were quite correct," he replied dryly, ruffling Harry's hair with one hand.
"This is great." Sirius bounced excitedly.
"Well let the boy breathe."
Harry sat up, grinning madly. "So did my father know?"
"Of course Prongs knew. In fact it's all his fault."
"Careful Padfoot, you're going to get yourself into trouble."
Sirius coughed, "Sorry I mean, I will be forever grateful for James' intervention."
"So what did he do? Did it have something to do with the mistletoe?"
"Yes it did, your father got his revenge by getting us drunk one night."
Harry drooped a little, that didn't sound like fun to him.
"But that wasn't all," Sirius took up the story, "He waited until we passed out and then stripped off our clothes and put us to bed."
"The same bed," said Lupin.
"We woke up the next morning with hangovers from hell and neither of us could apologise fast enough."
"And your father was sitting there on his bed laughing his arse off."
"Moony! Such language." Sirius mock-scolded. Lupin cuffed him gently over the head.
"There's no other way to describe it Padfoot." He looked across at Harry and explained, "He was laughing so hard he actually fell off the bed."
"We figured something was up at that point. Unfortunately by then we'd completely given ourselves away. Your dad had a quick-quote quill and said he wanted to see some serious-snoggage or he'd repeat everything we'd said. And then he started to do so, complete with breathless, girly voices."
"I don't think I have ever been so excruciatingly embarrassed." Lupin was blushing. Harry noticed to his surprise even Sirius looked a bit pink.
"So I decided the bastard deserved some major payback," Sirius grinned.
"What did you do?" he asked eagerly.
"We snogged," said Sirius with great satisfaction.
"James ran out the room shrieking about his innocent, virginal eyes." Lupin was doing a bad job of hiding a smile.
"Fortunately your mum was there to look after him."
"I believe a certain amount of mouth to mouth resuscitation was required," said Lupin primly. He'd given up on trying not to smile.
"Although any points we gained from that were lost, when Lily said she wanted to know if she could watch us."
It was Harry's turn to go bright red.
"Sirius! That's Harry's mother you're talking about."
"Sorry." Sirius deflated so fast it made Harry bite his lip.
"It's okay. Just as long as it never happened or anything," he added hastily.
"No, no," said Sirius apologetically. "Didn't stop us teasing Prongs about it for the rest of year though," he grinned irrepressibly and Lupin hit him again.
"So that is the whole sordid story of how we got together. As Padfoot said, it was indeed all your father's fault."
"Hey!" said Sirius. Harry giggled. Lupin straightened up and suddenly looked a lot like a Professor.
"It means a lot to me, and I know it does to Sirius too," he looked down and placed his hand on Sirius' shoulder. Sirius reached up to cover it with his own. "That you've been so accepting of us, Harry. If you have any questions we'd be happy to answer them."
"You're like married, right?"
"Well," said Lupin carefully, "Two men can't get married but Sirius and I think of ourselves like that, yes."
"Good," said Harry firmly. He loved his godfather and he liked his Professor, he didn't want either of them going away.
"So, uh, if you ever did get the chance to come and live with me, you'd be living with Moony too. Would that be all right?"
"Of course," said Harry, confused Sirius felt the need to ask. "I like Professor Lupin."
"Hmm, you realise I'm not really your Professor any more? I'd be happy if you'd call me Remus, or Moony if you prefer it. You know it was your father who came up with the nickname."
Lupin nodded. "Harry, you've been much more accepting than I'd have expected from someone raised by Vernon and Petunia..?" he trailed off, the expression on his face gently questioning.
"You don't have to tell us if you don't want to," said Lupin, though Sirius looked like he wanted to protest.
"No it's okay, I'm just used to not talking about Uncle Hugh and Uncle Jack."
"Uncle Hugh and Uncle Jack?" Lupin exchanged a quick glance with Sirius and sat down on the bed.
"Yes, they were faggots too."
Both men jumped.
"That's not the politest term you could use," said Lupin sternly.
"Sorry. That's what Uncle Vernon always called Uncle Hugh."
"Well it's a very unpleasant term. Like mudblood."
"Oh, okay. I'm sorry I said it."
"That's okay, you didn't understand. But since you do now I don't expect to hear you using it again."
Harry's face must have shown his puzzlement because Lupin continued, "You can use the term gay instead." He smiled slyly. "It has the advantage of applying to Sirius in multiple ways."
"Assuming we can get him out of this blasted house."
"I thought you wanted us here?" demanded Sirius.
"I want you safe. Unfortunately this wretched mausoleum seems not to be answering the purpose."
"We'll talk about it later Padfoot. Right now I want to hear about Uncle Hugh and Uncle Jack."
Sirius' attention snapped back to Harry. "Yes indeedy. Is Uncle Hugh Vernon's brother?"
"Was," said Harry sadly, "He was sick for a long time and then he died."
"Oh Harry, I'm sorry." Sirius curled one comforting arm around Harry's shoulders. "Were you very fond of him?"
"I loved him," said Harry defiantly, "He looked after me."
"Well I'm glad someone did," said Lupin, "Seeing as Petunia and Vernon clearly failed dismally."
Harry blinked. "They wouldn't let me talk about him." He felt himself dissolving into his frightened seven-year-old self. "They said he was bad. They wouldn't let me see Uncle Jack."
Sirius' arm tightened and pulled until he found he was sitting on Sirius' lap. Lupin pressed close from the other side wrapping his arms around them both.
"We want to hear about him and Uncle Jack," said Sirius, "They must be good men if you loved them."
"They were, they were." Harry could feel tears starting to trickle down his face but he was too upset to care. "They looked after me. Aunt Petunia didn't like having me in the house so I stayed with Uncle Hugh. He said he loved me."
"I'm sure he did Harry," said Sirius.
"He always tired and often he couldn't get out of bed but he used to read to me. He'd come to the park with me and Uncle Jack but he had to stay in the car so he didn't get cold. Uncle Jack used to let me sit on his shoulders when my feet got tired. He made me a birthday cake, all the middle slid out but it tasted really good. And they bought me presents. Aunt Petunia wouldn't let me take them back to Privet Drive, she said they were contaminated."
Sirius swore viciously. He pushed Harry into Lupin's arms and stalked about the room.
"I'm sorry," said Harry into Lupin's shoulder.
"Sirius calm down, you're frightening Harry."
"I'm not frightened," said Harry, wishing his voice hadn't wavered.
"I'm sorry Harry, I'm not mad with you. I'm mad with that bitch who calls herself your Aunt. Lily had to have been adopted, nothing else explains it."
"Sirius Black, that doesn't sound like someone calming down to me."
"It's all right," said Harry, "I don't know why I'm so upset. Uncle Hugh died a long time ago."
"How old were you?" asked Lupin gently.
"Seven. Uncle Jack cried. Uncle Vernon said he was a sodding pansy and he wouldn't let me stay with him. He shouted and shouted until all the neighbours came out and they shouted at Uncle Jack too."
"Sirius!" said Lupin sharply.
"I'm going to get us something to drink," said Sirius in a strangled voice and then the door slammed.
"I didn't mean to make Sirius mad."
"He's not cross with you, Harry, don't worry."
"I'm not a sodding pansy."
"Of course you're not Harry but I know you miss your Uncles a great deal. It's okay to cry if you miss someone."
Given permission Harry suddenly couldn't stop the tears running down his face. Lupin's arms tightened around him and they started to rock slowly. Harry wanted to stop crying but somehow the tears just kept coming. His throat clogged up with sobs and he started to cough. Lupin didn't say anything; he just stroked Harry's back with one large hand. Harry snuggled closer and concentrated on the feeling of comfort.
The door opened and he heard Sirius say, "Here we go, three hot chocolates, with whipped cream."
Harry sniffed frantically and swiped at his eyes. Lupin handed him a tissue.
"Just a minute Sirius."
Harry blew his nose and scrubbed at his face. Lupin vanished the soggy tissue.
"You'll do. We'll have that hot chocolate now please Padfoot."
A large mug, festooned with cream and coco powder floated over Harry's head and hovered just in front of him. Harry carefully threaded his fingers through the handle. As he took its full weight, hot chocolate slopped over the sides, splattering on the carpet.
"Don't worry about it," said Sirius, coming over to sit on the floor by Lupin's feet. "The carpet's self cleaning and if it can deal with blood it can cope with hot chocolate."
"Your family knows the most charming spells," said Lupin.
"Don't they just. If you're looking for something really fancy there's a disembowelment hex on the back door to the library that will strangle you with your own entrails."
"Urgh, gross," said Harry, he really didn't want to think about that too closely.
Lupin groaned, "Didn't we decide not to tell the children about the more vicious enchantments on this house of the damned?"
Sirius looked up, his grey eyes wide and surprised. "That's one of the minor ones Moony, honest, at least it kills you." He turned his attention to his hot chocolate, taking a sip and then licking off his ridiculous, whipped cream moustache.
Lupin sighed so heavily that Harry could feel him shudder.
"What?" asked Sirius.
"I - There's cream on your nose, Paddy, you look like a crumple-horned snorkack."
Sirius rubbed his hand across his nose and wiped his hand on his robe. Then he smiled up at Harry.
"So kiddo, you want us to look up your Uncle Jack for you. I bet he'd love to see you."
"Really?" asked Harry eagerly.
"Padfoot you can't guarantee that," warned Lupin.
"I think you'll find I can." Sirius sounded so firm it made Harry jump.
"You'll never change will you," Lupin scolded but his voice was warm with an emotion Harry couldn't quite place. "At least ask the poor bugger first."
Harry's godfather just grinned.