'So anyway, I told Remus he's gone crazy and that's impossible. And it felt like a bit of a role reversal, because back in school, it was always Remus who said that, and James and I would go off doing those ridiculous pranks anyway. Mind you, they were very good pranks and-'
Sirius looked curiously as Harry tugged his sleeve and opened his mouth. Sirius rolled his eyes and broke off another crisp for Harry to eat.
'I shouldn't be feeding you stuff like this for lunch, you know,' Sirius commented, watching as his godson chewed enthusiastically. 'Remus would kill me. Not that his cooking's much better, but at least you used to eat what he made. You keep throwing away mine. For a baby, you've got some fine taste. I sh-'
Sirius sighed when Harry tugged his sleeve again, this time with a little exclamation of, 'Co!'
'Have you noticed how you keep saying things only halfway? Pads, Moo, T, Co – is this some kind of new generation shortcut thing, eh?'
Harry looked at him with an expression that clearly told Sirius that he thought his godfather was insane. The child looked at the telly where the soda advertisement was playing and then looked pointedly at Sirius, almost as if he was teaching Sirius to fetch the can from the fridge. 'Co,' Harry said slowly, enunciating every word so that Sirius understood.
'No,' Sirius replied firmly, changing the channel. 'You've got your milk. It's with a straw and everything, just like a big boy's.'
Harry looked at the milk packet Sirius had picked up from the grocery the other day. 'One Hundred Percent Nutritious Cow's Milk', it read, but of course, Harry didn't know that. He didn't know the calcium and vitamin value of 'One Hundred Percent Nutritious Cow's Milk', or that it cost Sirius a good deal more than the not so 'One Hundred Percent Nutritious Cow's Milk'. All Harry understood was that the little milk packet was definitely not the soda he wanted, and immediately decided scrunching up his face in preparation for one of his tantrums would be a good way to get what he wanted.
'No, Harry,' Sirius scolded in a low tone that Remus often used when talking to Sirius, 'No. Drink your milk, it'll help you grow.' Sirius frowned when his 'scolding tone' only got Harry's eyes to water. 'No,' he said firmly, looking away from those heartbreaking green eyes. 'Look, Padfoot's drinking his milk, too.'
Vaguely, Sirius wondered how ridiculous it looked for a grown man to be drinking children's milk from a sippy-straw. At least it made him a good role model for Harry, who stared contemplatively at Sirius for a while before conceding and reaching out a chubby hand for his own milk. He didn't like the taste, Sirius could tell, but as long as his godfather kept drinking, Harry dutifully kept copying.
'You know, this channel is terrible,' Sirius muttered through the edge of his straw. The packet was already empty, but he needed to keep it in until Harry finished his. 'I don't know why Moony insists on you watching these nuts. They're not even human! That's one's green, for Merlin's sake!'
'Fi,' Harry replied irrelevantly, holding up all his five fingers like the green-girl-monster-thing on the telly. 'Fi.'
'It's the red hair, isn't it?' Sirius asked, wiping Harry's mouth clean with his shirt sleeve. 'Potters have this thing for red-heads, you know. Your dad did.'
Harry grinned in answer, holding up five fingers again. 'Fi.'
'She's got you on a loop, lad.' Sirius charmed Harry's sticky fingers clean before he got stains on the sofa. 'I don't like her. Bit of a tramp, if you ask me. Look at that outfit she's wearing. Girls like that are trouble, mate. I know I can't speak much from experience, but your godfather knows best.'
Harry, for his part, didn't seem to think the green-girl was a tramp and clapped joyously when she counted (quite suggestively, according to Sirius) up to 'five, five bananas'.
Sirius wrinkled his nose distastefully. 'Now, if you were to get a girl like Moony…' Harry glared at his godfather balefully, so Sirius hastened to correct himself: 'You're quite right. A girl like Moony would be quite manly, and completely thoughtless, may I add. I mean, he absolutely abandoned me here…' Sirius sighed, lying back on the sofa so that Harry was forced to climb on to his chest in order to stay sitting. 'I know, I know, he said he'd be back soon, but I miss him, you know. And he just left like that, with a kiss. What am I supposed to take from that? I mean, that kiss could have meant anything. Harry, old chap, I need Moony advice…'
'Red,' Harry advised, patting Sirius's stomach reassuringly.
'Trust him, I know, of course I do,' Sirius agreed. 'I love him, you know. Like to a degree you'd think was pathetic and really, truly queer. You don't think your Uncle Padfoot's too queer, do you, Harry? You could take me to your mate's house or show me off to your girlfriend, yeah?'
Sirius sighed, ruffling Harry's hair affectionately. 'You really need to stop with the animal sounds, lad. It's Black. Like Sirius Black.'
The concept of entire words seemed difficult for Harry to comprehend, so Sirius let the matter drop. It had only been two days since Remus left without much explanation and a vague promise to return, and Sirius was feeling lonelier and more anxious than ever. It was difficult to take care of Harry alone, Sirius realised. There had been a lot of teamwork, a lot of taking turns, and allocation of jobs to make things easier on both of them. But perhaps the hardest part of it all was waiting. Waiting and not understanding exactly what Remus was up to and not being able to help. Knowing that he stood a chance with Remus now; that Remus was probably open to extending their friendship to something more; to take the risk of being with Sirius again - that knowledge was perhaps what drove Sirius crazy the most.
In the midst of the insanity of it all, all of Sirius's repressed feelings regarding Remus would resurface and allow him to dream and fantasize just enough, so that Sirius often found himself having elaborate and entirely ponce-y dreams. He would let himself indulge in the shower, after having tucked Harry to bed, imagining Remus's fingers wrapped around him and fisting him, until he would come with a groan and an empty realisation that his hands were far too broad to be Remus's.
Sirius was suddenly startled out of his lewd thoughts by a loud knock on the door, jumping a good foot in the air and frightening Harry who started crying.
'Didn't mean to scare you like that, love,' Sirius apologised, picking Harry up before picking himself off the sofa. Crumbs of crisps they'd been munching on felt to the floor and Sirius cursed when they dug into his bare feet, as he fumbled under the cushions for his wand.
The knock on the door turned into a bang, and Sirius wondered why the daft bastard outside couldn't just ring the doorbell instead of trying to break the Lupin Cottage's front door. No sooner had he though it that there was a loud crash and much louder cursing.
Sirius had to cover Harry's ears through some of the obscenities, as he rushed to the (now broken) front door. "Hagrid, what are you doing here?'
'Sorry, Sir'us. Guess I don' know me own strength.'
One look at Hagrid and Harry went from frightened sobbing to bawling his eyes out and trying to bury himself inside Sirius's armpit. Sirius supposed Hagrid's size could be slightly daunting – standing eight feet tall and just as wide. The massive, tangled whiskers across his face didn't help matters at all, but he did have a rather warm smile and even warmer beetle black eyes. Oddly enough, he smelled a lot like burnt pumpkin pie.
'Never mind the door,' Sirius said, raising an eyebrow as Hagrid put the door back in place as if he hadn't just shattered the hinges seconds ago. 'Why are you here? You're not supposed to come until tomorrow. I get to keep Harry till Sunday, Dumbledore said.'
'Change of plan, it seems,' Hagrid explained, 'Dumbledore sent me a letter today, says he had an unexpected visit fr'm Lupin and he seemed right persistent, too.'
'Moony? Is he here? Did he come with you?' Sirius asked anxiously, trying to look past Hagrid's enormous form to see if Remus was perhaps hiding behind his ragged fur coat. Even Harry, who had been crying steadily, piqued at the mention of 'Moony' and looked around curiously, as if expecting Remus to jump out any second.
'He's not here,' Sirius replied, disappointment sinking in. Remus would keep his promise, Sirius knew that, but it didn't stop Sirius from getting slightly morose or wondering if that kiss had really meant anything. 'Why didn't he come back?'
'He set off today. 'Xpect it'd take some time,' Hagrid assured warmly, tickling under Harry's chin with a large finger. 'I got strict instructions from Dumbledore teh take yer two teh yer new home. Yeh can leave yer things and all, we'll send them through later.'
'What?' Sirius's grip on his wand tightened. 'What are you talking about, Hagrid?'
Hagrid frowned. 'Lupin didn't send yeh any letters? 'Bout giving the house away teh Natasha Lupin and shiftin' out teh Surrey?'
'Surrey?' The place seemed to ring a bell with Sirius, but he couldn't quite place why. 'I-I don't think I understand quite, Hagrid. Right now, everything you're saying is sounding right dodgy, to be honest. So, it'd be great if you could identify yourself , right now.'
Hagrid sighed exasperatedly. 'Rubeus Hagrid. I got me a dog: Fang, but secretly always wanted the have a pet dragon. Dumbledore's the greatest man alive, and he says teh me that if Lupin and Black find the need teh take care of young Harry, then they need the shift to Surrey. That's all I know. He gave me a letter teh give teh yer, but only after I take yeh there.'
Sirius's grip on his wand didn't loosen, but he offered his and Harry's hand when Hagrid took out an old can of lentil soup that was obviously a Portkey. There was a pull below his navel and Sirius felt Harry's cries heighten, as the child dug deeper into the comfort of Sirius's t-shirt. Sirius almost felt sorry for his poor godson; it seemed that today was destined to be a traumatic day for Harry: what with a giant showing up on their steps, his first turbulent Portkey ride, and of course, Sirius's refusal to give into Harry's demands of soda.
Once the nausea-inducing spinning had stopped, Sirius was eternally grateful for Hagrid's enormous arms shooting out to support him because he was well about to topple over with Harry into the dumpster nearby.
'Ta, mate,' Sirius said, straightening himself and patting Harry on the back to get him to stop crying. Quite a few people were looking into the alleyway curiously, their eyes first darting to Sirius and the crying child in his arms, and then quickly moving away when following Hagrid's enormous and protective shadow over them.
Hagrid glared at the nearest passerby, before pulling Sirius by the elbow out of the dark alley and into the main street. The first thing that probably struck Sirius was the rows upon rows of identical houses. All of them had the same triangular dark roofs and pasty, almost yellowish outer walls; there were neat gardens out in front with similar and well taken care of rose bushes. One of them, in an effort to perhaps outdo the rest, had even gone to the lengths of installing a rather gaudy blue garden fountain.
It looked like the most mundane sort of suburbia imaginable.
'Tha's the one, over there,' Hagrid said, ironically pointing at the house with the garden fountain. 'Tha's yer new home.'
It was nothing extraordinary and definitely nothing like the Lupin cottage, which had been personally decorated by Mrs. Lupin herself and always had treasures like old rickety swings and climbing vines. The curtains weren't flowery back at the Lupin cottage either, and Sirius nearly blanched when he saw the enormous pink flamingo peeking out of the neatly trimmed bushes.
'Merlin,' Sirius whispered as they walked to the front door and saw the welcome mat in the shape of a rather colourful rainbow.
God had quite a sense of humour, it would seem. Even for a ponce like Sirius, Little Whinging seemed incredibly queer.
'I'm telling you, Albus, I don't know anything about it! I don't understand why you continually persist on the matter.'
Remus's hand faltered from the doorbell.
'Horace, please do not lie to me. I feel this matter might be of grave importance, should you reveal the appropriate details. I cannot discover the truth until then.'
Remus's last guess had been right after all; Dumbledore was at Professor Slughorn's house, quarrelling from the sounds of it. Remus wondered what 'matter' they were discussing about and what could possibly be so difficult to reveal for the old Potion's professor. After all, back in school, Slughorn never turned Dumbledore down, so why now? And why did he sound so jittery and…ashamed? At least that's how Slughorn's tone of voice sounded to Remus.
'It's irrelevant, Albus. You're over assuming as usual. A Horcr-'
'It seems you have a visitor, Horace.'
Remus jolted away from the door just as it opened, and only then did Remus realise that he'd been listening quite intently to the heated conversation between the two Professors with his ears pressed firmly to the door.
'Come in, Remus, my boy.'
Remus blushed scarlet at having being caught and tried not to look at either of the Professors in the eye, should his guilty conscience get the better of him. 'I didn't mean to eavesdrop, sir,' Remus muttered as he eyed Slughorn's rather atrocious chaise lounge before taking a seat.
'It's quite alright, my boy. Do have some tea. You look exhausted.'
'Thank you,' Remus said politely, when Slughorn pushed a cup of warm tea in his hands. The old Potions professor seemed almost relieved by Remus's presence; his small eyes gazing upon Remus thankfully, as he purposefully fished the biscuit tin to lay out all the chocolate covered ones.
'I gather by your appearance that perhaps you've been looking for me?' Dumbledore asked, gazing intently at Remus through his half moon glasses.
Remus nodded, taking a sip of his tea and realising Slughorn had put in way too much sugar in his haste. 'I have, Professor. The letters I've sent you keep coming back because you keep travelling from place to place. The owls couldn't keep to your pace, so I decided to try instead.'
Dumbledore hummed and folded his hands on his lap. 'And this visit is about young Harry, I assume?'
'Yes,' Remus replied, not at all fazed by Dumbledore's foresight. 'Yes, it's regarding the guardianship of Harry. Professor, Sirius is willing to do as you say because he believes that it's the only way to protect Harry, but I don't think limiting ourselves to only one solution is the right way to handle the situation.'
Dumbledore's eyebrows rose in shock and even Slughorn shifted uncomfortably in his seat.
'I apologise, sir, for being so brash. But I do believe that the reason Sirius was chosen as godfather was because James and Lily believed that he could protect Harry, no matter what the circumstances.' Remus sighed, taking another sip of his tea out of habit and grimacing at the overly sweet taste of it. 'I've done a little bit of research, sir, and the people living next door to the Dursleys have a certain penchant for grandeur.' Grandeur was not quite the word, if Remus remembered the pink flamingo, but it was perhaps the kindest way Remus could put it. 'A little push in the right direction, a win in a muggle lottery, and that house would be conveniently vacant.'
'I understand that, Remus, but-'
'Please, sir,' Remus interrupted. 'I understand that we can't offer blood protection like the Dursleys, but it can be arranged. Harry can be left with the Dursleys when Sirius and I go to work in the morning, and if something should happen then it isn't exactly a far distance to walk or even apparate. Mrs. Figg can keep us in touch with the wizard world if needed, as well.'
'It's risky,' Dumbledore protested, though his face clearly said that he was willing to listen to Remus's proposal and even consider it.
'We're both familiar with the muggle world, so we can blend in with ease. Harry won't know anything until he's eleven; till then everything can be kept a secret from him. There's no need to expose him to magic if we agree to give up our wands.'
'And the two of you are comfortable with this?'
Remus hesitated, wondering if Sirius would concede to giving up his wand, a wizard's most primary tool. It would be like giving up your right arm, especially for a pureblood wizard like Sirius, who had been taught to rely solely on his magic and nothing else. 'Yes,' Remus replied firmly, 'yes, I believe so. Sirius can go to extreme lengths to protect Harry, I know that. Even if it involves giving up magic for the rest of his life, Sirius will do it.'
Dumbledore nodded, his brows furrowing in deep thought. 'And what of you, my boy? As he grows, Harry will begin to question your monthly disappearances. It will be difficult to hide from a child's inquisitive mind. How will you heal your wounds without magic or even without being noticed?'
'I-' This was the part Remus had been afraid of. The very reason why he hadn't told Sirius of his reasoning or asked him to come along. Sirius was clever, he would have found the loop hole and then quickly figured out how Remus was going to compromise for it. Sirius would never allow it, if he knew. 'Perhaps my being there isn't quite as necessary,' Remus replied after a long time, gripping at the flowery couch handles a little too tightly. 'My lycanthropy holds me back, but I don't see a reason for Sirius not to be able to take care of Harry on his own. They don't need me there…'
Harry squealed as Sirius sped up, taking a purposeful sharp left turn into the parking lot. They were lucky they hadn't been caught speeding. It wouldn't be worth it anyway, Sirius thought. Paying a fine for something that wasn't even the bike's full potential; driving at high speeds on the roads when Sirius and Harry could be flying at high speeds in the sky, and pretending to plunge to their own deaths before pulling a Wronski Feint.
Sirius sighed dejectedly and parked his bike in front of the supermarket. 'Bit small, innit, lad? Ah, well, man's got to eat.' Sirius noticed a group three teenage boys sniggering at them and scowled, looking down at Harry accusingly. 'You're making a real joke out of my image, Harry, did I ever tell you that?'
Harry blew a deliberate spit bubble and pulled at the buckle strap securing him impatiently. The two of them really did look ridiculous. Well, Sirius did at least. He had his tough black bike, his wicked leather jacket and studded collar strap. He had the perfect rugged chin and gracefully unkept hair.
And then he had a drooling one year old with an overlarge helmet, strapped with Velcro to his chest.
'Can't wait till you actually have legs instead of mushroom stumps,' Sirius muttered grumpily, freeing Harry and setting him on the ground. 'Now, don't go off on your own. You have to hold Padfoot's hand, so those boys can make fun of us a bit more. Bad boy gone to the seed, they probably think. Bloody gits.'
'Pads!' Harry tugged at Sirius's hand insistently, trying with all his might to pull Sirius inside the supermarket. 'Pads!'
'I don't believe that's necessary, Albus,' Slughorn replied before any of them could talk any further. 'Young Lupin can always transform elsewhere. I believe you still have your family cottage? And excuses are not very hard to come up with, no? Mr. Lupin seemed to have quite a wide range of them back in Hogwarts…some which he used not to join the Slug Club.'
For the second time in an hour, Remus felt himself blush crimson. It was always nice to know that Slughorn had considered Remus worthy of being one of his members, especially since he favoured only students who were likely to succeed or had rich and powerful families. Still, the Slug Club hadn't quite been the most happening of groups to be in, especially when you were a Marauder and too busy being dragged into (unwillingly, of course) possible mayhem.
'A lot of wizards seek refuge in the muggle world. I don't see why these two should be any different. Lupin seems to have figured out how to protect Harry while maintaining the blood protection. Surely Albus, you of all people, could arrange something.'
'Oi, that's Lily's horse faced sister, innit?' Sirius asked Harry, backing out slightly to hide behind the shelf and trying to peek at her without looking too much like a stalker. 'Merlin, look at that child she's carrying! It looks like a walrus of some sorts!'
Petunia Dursley was as stick thin as ever, a horrible contrast to the young boy seated in the shopping cart. He looked about Harry's age, perhaps a few months older, but the boy could easily outweigh Sirius himself. Sirius remembered Lily mentioning the child's name once; something awful like Dumbo or Tartley or something.
The child already had a good two chins, wobbling every time he took a bite of the candy bar in his hands, smearing chocolate all over his mouth and making a colossal mess of his hands and clothes. Not that Sirius blamed him. If he was dressed in an orange jumper with pompoms and a matching hat with rabbit ears attached to them, Sirius would probably do a lot worse than stain them with chocolate. Petunia Dursley didn't seem to mind though, cooing over her child and muttering something that Sirius couldn't hear but somehow always elicited one word out of the young Dursley:
'What a brat,' Sirius muttered, looking away. 'I can't believe I have to send you to her for babysitting every morning once I start work. I bet he can't even stand with all that fat hanging off of him. We should give him a push and watch him roll sometime, eh, Harry? Get a good laugh out of it.' Sirius turned to grasp Harry's hand again and found himself reaching for air. 'Harry?'
'I can't thank you enough, sir. I-If there's anything I can ever do for you…please…'
Dumbledore smiled kindly. 'Tell me, my boy, what do you know of a Horcurx?'
Slughorn stiffened in his seat and looked from Remus to Dumbledore nervously. 'Albus…'
'Horcrux?' The word seemed familiar, perhaps something that Remus had heard in passing but never quite learned or found out about. 'I don't know much, Professor, but I'm sure it'll be in the library somewhere…I mean, Madam Pince would always know…'
'I'm afraid the pages have been conveneintly ripped out, and there are very few books that discuss such a thing.' Dumbledore must have noticed Remus's look of confusion and elaborated, 'It's an ancient, forbidden magic. Many have even forgotten about it and there are risks that most people are too afraid to take.'
'I don't think I understand…' Remus replied, frowning and wondering why Slughorn was appearing so uncomfortable all of a sudden and if that's what the previous argument had been about.
'Nor do I,' Dumbledore admitted, helping himself to the chocolate biscuits that had lain forgotten for so long. 'But in time, perhaps we all will. Tell me, Remus, do you really think Voldemort is dead?'
Remus blinked at the sudden change in subject. 'I'd like to, Professor, but if I did, it would only be wishful thinking. Voldemort, he was too powerful to be destroyed this easily.'
'Yes, I agree.' Dumbledore chewed thoughtfully, seemingly lost in his own theories and perceptions.
'Do you believe he'll come back?' Remus asked, breaking Dumbledore from his thoughts.
Dumbledore smiled mysteriously and helped himself to another biscuit. 'Only time will tell, Remus, my boy. But perhaps, the true question is, will you come back? After seeing the true horrors of war, are you willing to fight for the Order once again at such high costs?'
'I've never turned you down, Professor,' Remus replied, holding his head high. 'My father believed it and so do I; we need to sometimes sacrifice ourselves to protect the people we truly care for.'
Slughorn laughed bitterly. 'He isn't talking of your life, Lupin. One can simply tell by your face that you hold many things in higher regard than your own skin…'
It sounded a bit hypocritical coming from Slughorn, who was known to care for only his own skin and how to keep said skin safe from harm using any means possible. It also served as a bit of a blow in the head to Remus who suddenly understood what 'high costs' Dumbledore had been talking about and for the first time, hesitated. Slughorn was wrong of course; there weren't many things that Remus held at a higher regard than his own life. There weren't many; just two. And they weren't things, but people…
People like James and Lily. Like Peter and his parents.
How much was he willing to lose exactly? Remus didn't seem to have an answer.
'Harry! That isn't Moony! Harry!'
'He's yours, I gather?' The man smiled, looking pointedly at the child clutching his trouser leg and screaming 'moo!' quite happily on top of his lungs.
'Sorry,' Sirius panted, prying Harry off with difficulty. 'I think he recognised your coat. His Uncle Moony has one just like that.'
After a lot of struggling, Harry seemed to have realised that the man in front of him wasn't Remus and twisted to look at Sirius with large teary eyes. 'Moo…' he whimpered, sticking out his bottom lip. 'Moo…'
'No, that's not Moony, love,' Sirius explained patiently. 'See? His hair's different…and his eyes are blue…and Moony's a lot taller, isn't he?'
Harry looked ready to cry, so Sirius quickly grabbed a colourful box of crackers off the shelf and shoved it into Harry's hands, thanking all the Gods for making children so easy to amuse and giving them short attention spans.
'Harry, is it? How old is he?' The man asked, ruffling Harry's hair.
'A year and some,' Sirius replied casually. 'He's been driving me crazy all day, so I thought I'd take him out for some fresh air. Didn't think he'd assault anybody…'
The man laughed. 'I've got two teenagers in the house, so I don't really see you fit to complain. He's a cute little fellow, I'll tell you that. Looks like his mum, I'm guessing?'
'He looks like his dad actually.' At the man's puzzled expression, Sirius conceded to open up a little bit. 'I'm his godfather. I take care of him now…'
The man looked down, obviously uncomfortable and confused as to what to say. 'Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed like that.'
Sirius shrugged awkwardly, pretending that the sudden pang he felt in his chest was just his imagination. 'I should be going…er…naptime and all that rubbish. I'll see you around, yeah?' Sirius gave the man a weak smile, before taking Harry's hand once more. 'Come on, love, let's go.'
Harry looked at Sirius, then at the man whose name they still didn't know and Sirius currently felt too uncomfortable to ask. Harry seemed to be almost contemplating something complicated that only his child-like mind could understand. Finally, after a lot of staring, Harry tugged the edge of the man's long coat.
'Moo,' he protested, pulling at the coat again, almost as if he expected the man to take it off. Sirius wondered if Harry actually believed that the man somehow knew where Remus was or had stolen the coat off of Remus. 'Moo.' Harry looked at Sirius, head tilted to the side in a confused, dog-like manner – something he'd definitely picked up from his godfather.
The man laughed again, looking down fondly at Harry. 'This Uncle Moony must be some great chap.'
Remus wished he'd written down the address. The house was harder to find than he'd initially thought; all of them seemed to be alike and identical in every possible way. He'd assumed the fountain and pink flamingo would remain in the garden, noticeable by anyone with an eye; but it seemed that Sirius had thrown the hideous garden pieces away. In the dark, there was no possible way he could see the name plates clearly, and he wasn't going to risk being accused of burglary by peeping in through the windows at two in the morning.
Remus huffed, blowing out cold air as he pulled his coat tighter against his body. The snow had settled deep here in Little Whinging, and Remus only wished he'd thought of warmer clothing. It seemed that everything was going awry tonight, and if his luck continued at this rate, it was possible he wouldn't find Sirius and Harry any time soon.
Remus felt like he was going in circles with nothing distinguishing one house from another. And then he saw it:
An old rickety swing, frozen and creaking from the cold like the joints of an old man. It was a garden swing, once black but now chipping in several places and looking an age-old metallic. The sort women liked in their jewellery. It was Remus's old swing from the Lupin cottage.
Remus laughed, suddenly feeling very carefree and practically running and sliding through the layers of snow and slippery ice. 'I finally found you, you bastard!' The cold was sharp and biting, striking his cheeks and nose pink as he ran, but there was an unexpected rush of adrenaline now, a tingling feeling in his chest that grew and grew as he got closer. He couldn't explain his excitement or sudden joy at spotting the right house; just that he needed to run there and reach as fast as he could.
Remus skidded to a stop, nearly falling over and grinning like a lunatic, as he raised his fist to knock.
The door opened even before his knuckles touched the wood.
Sirius was standing there in his pyjamas and panting fast, as if he'd been running a marathon and back. His eyes were wide with disbelief as they roamed over Remus's face, almost unable to comprehend Remus being there at the front step of their house this late into the night. One of Sirius's hands were clutching tightly at his heart as he steadied his breathing…
'I haven't showered,' Remus said, breaking the tense silence between them, 'for five days.'
Sirius blinked, once, twice, before moving aside to let Remus in. 'You'll need to give up your wand first…'
'Yeah,' Remus said, wondering why only a week of absence was making things so awkward between their lifelong friendships. 'Yeah, it was part of the agreement with Dumbledore, wasn't it?' He fished out his wand from his pocket and handed it over to Sirius, who nodded.
Remus watched in awe as Sirius unwrapped the band-aid around his thumb and pressed the wound tightly to open it up again. At the first sign of blood, Sirius immediately pressed it against the wall right beside the door. Remus was going to ask what the hell Sirius was doing, when he saw a sliver of light and then literally by magic, a small compartment appeared where the wall had just been.
'It's a blood seal,' Sirius explained, stashing Remus's wand inside with his own one. 'Only you and I can open it in times of emergency. It can work in any part of the house; Dumbledore arranged it to be re-locatable.'
Remus was impressed by the old Professor's vision, to say the least.
'Bathroom's upstairs, to your left.'
The first thing Remus noticed about the house was the mismatched furniture. There were pieces he recognised from both the Lupin household and Sirius's old flat. There were a few new ones as well, or perhaps Remus had just never noticed them until now. Either way, despite being from various places, everything seemed to go perfectly. Then again, Sirius's knack for home décor shouldn't have come as that much of a surprise, since being born to the Black family came with having good taste. Even back when they'd shared an apartment, Sirius had had a good eye; unfortunately, most of that eye had been covered by strewn clothes, food cartons, and other bachelor messes.
The house was a lot bigger than Remus was used to as well. It had a living room, dining room, more kitchen than he or Sirius would ever need, and three massive bedrooms. The one in the middle, Sirius had made into a nursery, Remus noticed as he walked across the hallway. The room looked like it had only recently been painted and sparsely had any furniture at all except a crib and a few boxes lying around. Surprisingly, the crib was empty and Remus found young Harry slumbering peacefully in the next bedroom in what Remus assumed was Sirius's bed.
Old habits die hard, Remus thought, walking into the bathroom and starting to peel off the wet layers of clothes hugging his body.
It felt fantastic to finally be able to take a shower. Remus hadn't been lying when he'd said that he hadn't washed in five days. He'd managed a few cleaning spells and uneven shaving these past few days; nothing to boast about but just enough to keep flowers and animals from dying in his wake.
'I bought some clean towels and clothes. We haven't unpacked everything, so you'll have to wear my pyjamas for a while.'
Through the curtain, Remus could only make out Sirius's silhouette, nervously shifting from foot to foot before taking a seat on the toilet. 'Is it alright?' Remus asked uncertainly, sighing as the hot water washed away the lingering cold. 'I mean, living here as a muggle. Hiding things this way from Harry…'
'It's the best way,' Sirius replied, his voice sounding hoarse from sleep. 'Dumbledore's right. Harry doesn't need to grow up with the burden of being The Boy Who Lived. It'll just get to his head and he's a good kid, you know.'
Remus hummed as he poured generous amounts of kiwi-scented baby shampoo into his palm (Sirius didn't seem to have any other kind). 'He still sleeps on your bed…'
Sirius sighed. 'He didn't the first two days, but then he started looking for you and I told him you weren't there. I guess somewhere in his little head he thought I was going to leave, too, so now he keeps bringing himself to my room.' Sirius laughed, a hint of pride seeping through his voice. 'You should have seen him last night, Moony, he levitated himself out of his crib, all the way to my bed…completely asleep! It scared me out of my pants!'
Remus laughed, wincing as he got shampoo suds in his eye. 'He missed me,' he said, almost disbelievingly. Remus had never thought Harry was attached to him as much; Sirius was the godfather after all and he was the one who could turn into a big black dog whenever needed. Remus was the uncle who made bad lunches, and made up horrible stories with Harry's dolls, and gave better piggy back rides on the advantage that he was taller than Sirius.
''Course he missed you, you prat!' Sirius scolded, though without malice. 'I…I missed you,' he added, a little more softly.
'You kissed me, Moony. You kissed me before you left and I haven't stopped thinking about it ever since. It has to mean something!'
'It does,' Remus replied, closing his eyes, so that he didn't have to see Sirius's slumped figure. 'It did mean something to me, but Padfoot-'
'Why is there a 'but'?' Sirius shouted, standing up. 'Why does there always have to be a 'but' with you?'
'Because I need to know before I hurt myself again!' Remus yelled back, suddenly having the urge to hit something. 'I need to know if you really mean this, or if you're just trying to hold on to the past! If you just want to be in love and not actually in love!'
'What's that supposed to mean?' Sirius asked, his voice going dangerously low. Even without looking, Remus could tell that Sirius's fists were balled up tightly and he was shaking from controlled rage.
'Look at me, Sirius, just for once, look. I know it hasn't escaped you that I'm a werewolf and this definitely isn't the first time that my lycanthropy has played a part in us drifting apart. No, listen to me,' Remus said sternly when he could hear Sirius beginning to protest. 'I've forgiven you for all of it because I know that you really do care. I know that, Sirius, but what I truly need to know is if you can accept this. If you're really okay with my being a werewolf because I can give up my life for you, Padfoot, but I can't change who I am.'
'I know that, Moony,' Sirius replied, his voice softer now. 'I know that and I don't want you to change.'
'Mean it, Padfoot,' Remus said quietly, bowing his head and letting the water flatten his hair into his eyes. 'You've made promises before and broken them, and I've always forgiven you for it. I always will, no matter what you do, but…but if you…if you leave me again, Padfoot…I-'
'I'm not leaving you!' Sirius cried vehemently, pushing the shower curtains open, to Remus's surprise. Sirius noticed his little outburst none too sooner and quickly looked away from Remus's naked body to the ground, his face alternating between different shades of red. Sirius coughed uneasily. 'I don't know what to say to convince you, Moony, and you know what an idiot I am. I never learn, but you could always er…hit me up the head or something when I do…you know…fuck up.'
There was a period of silence between them when nothing could be heard except the sound of running water and their heavy breathing. Sirius was fidgeting on his feet, his hand still on the curtain as if wondering if it would be appropriate to close it now, while his eyes fought not to look at Remus. It was odd to see Sirius Black so shy…
Remus smiled and reached out a hand to cup Sirius's cheek gently. Sirius shivered but still kept his face resolutely turned away, so Remus pulled him closer by the chin instead, forcing him to look. 'Padfoot…' Remus whispered, before bending down slightly and pressing his lips to Sirius's.
There was a muffled gasp and suddenly, they were both pressing against each other hungrily. Sirius gripping Remus tightly at the waist, shoulders, chest, his hands slipping and sliding against wet skin as he struggled to pull Remus closer. Remus's own hands were frantic in their pace as he pulled at Sirius's shirt, popping a few of the buttons in his haste and pushing down the threadbare trousers to squeeze his arse firmly. As all the intrusive clothing fell away, Remus only had seconds to realise that Sirius had been sleeping in Remus's pyjamas the entire time, before Sirius was climbing into the shower with him and grinding their pelvises together in a desperate dance.
Their kissing was getting frenetic now, sloppy with their teeth clashing against one another and tounges curling and exploring. Even during their short, needy gasps of breath, they kissed – they kissed collarbones, jaws, necks. Their hands wandered over every inch of skin they could find – chest, hips, thighs – until finally Remus's hand drifted down to touch forbidden skin, his fingers probing in ways that made Sirius's back arch and his teeth dig into Remus's shoulder from pleasure.
Remus turned Sirius around, so that they were chest to back, pushing Sirius until he was leaning against the cold tiles and bracing himself with his hands, making lustful sounds of need and want. For a moment, Remus watched mesmerised as hot water pounded over their heads, washing away the almost numbing cold of the tiles they were pressed against. There was warm mist collecting around them, so that the only thing Remus could see was Sirius and the tantalising way streams of water ran down every dip and contour of his back, as the muscles underneath flexed and contracted impatiently.
'Moony,' Sirius groaned, his lips pink from the heat and their aggressive kissing. He was panting heavily, resting his forehead against the wall as he pushed back toward Remus, inviting, encouraging him; shamelessly showing how hard he was and how much he wanted Remus.
'I love you,' Remus said softly, kissing Sirius's shoulder before burying himself to the hilt, deep enough to feel every shudder of pleasure that ran through Sirius's body, every moan and vibration, every wanton arch and plea to move.
One of Sirius's arms reached behind to pull Remus's head into a rough kiss. ''S been too long,' he groaned against Remus's lips, laying soft kisses, his tounge reaching out to taste the water droplet collecting on Remus's upper lip, the dip of his chin, between the creases of his lips. 'It's only you like this…only you…'
Remus kissed him again, the hand not holding Sirius's tightly by the hip inching downwards; caressing Sirius's stomach with light teasing touches before daring to go further, wanting to make it as good for Sirius as it was for him, as tight and hot, and hard, and fast.
Sirius's hand stopped him, entwining their fingers together just above – tantalisingly close, just inches away from Remus's touch. 'I'll come,' Sirius breathed, tightening his hold on Remus's hand as Remus pushed in just there, again and again. 'Kiss me.'
Neither of them lasted long after that, or maybe they'd just lost track of time between each kiss and every delicious thrust. Sirius came first, calling out Remus's name as he clenched around him, pushing Remus over the edge with nothing to hold their buckling knees but the wall. They were still pressed flush against one another and the wall, their heads rested beside each other against the cool, condensing tiles, and heartbeats and sharp breaths drowning out the sounds of running water in the bathroom.
Remus kissed Sirius's shoulder softly before attempting to move away, but Sirius held on to him from the back, keeping Remus deep within him and as close as humanly possible. 'Stay,' he breathed, eyes closed and panting as the water washed away the remains of their deed. 'Just stay with me…'
'Mornin',' Sirius whispered, kissing Remus lightly on the forehead. 'Sleep well?'
Remus groaned and kept his eyes tightly shut, unwilling to wake up so early in the morning despite the seductive smell of tea wafting under his nose. 'Go away,' he muttered, swatting the air in hopes of hitting Sirius sometime soon. 'Still sleepy…' Remus snuggled deeper into his pillow, one of his arms still trapped underneath two stones worth of baby.
Sirius laughed, pressing his forehead to Remus's, and the idea that all of three of them smelled like kiwi suddenly struck Remus as very odd and silly. Were two grown men allowed to smell like fruit? No, the irony wasn't lost on him either.
'I made breakfast,' Sirius sang, as if Remus couldn't smell the burnt toast. If Remus knew Sirius well enough, he'd probably tried to cover up the burnt bits with insane amounts of jam or marmalade.
'The sun isn't up yet,' Remus protested, though he knew that Sirius had already shooed off what remained of his sleep with his bloody sunshine attitude.
'It's ten in the morning, Moony, the sun's been up for ages. I just didn't open the curtains yet,' Sirius replied, kissing Remus's cheek, his forehead, his eyelids…
'Bloody Dursley woman,' Sirius mumbled into the sleep warm skin of Remus's neck. 'Like a fucking hawk, peeking out of her window into everybody's business. Wish I could throw something at her face…'
Remus chuckled, using his un-trapped hand to comb Sirius's bed hair with his fingers. 'We'd give her quite a fright, wouldn't we?'
'We would,' Sirius agreed, and from the mischievous tone of his voice, Remus could tell that he was considering it as an option. 'But then all the ladies would be scarred for life. You should see all the free pies and cookies we got, Moony. Poor little, single Sirius Black, sacrificing so much to take care of his godchild. With you in the picture, they'll just eat us up…there'll be swarms on our front door offering their sympathies.'
Remus snorted, well able to tell that Sirius enjoyed the attention more than he was letting on. Well, the attention or the pies. Sirius always did have an affinity towards pie. 'Andy and my aunt volunteered to visit after full moons, didn't they? Probably could pass off as our girlfriends or something…'
'Oh no, Moony, I couldn't even consider a relationship with Harry so young,' said Sirius in a mock worried tone. 'He's my first priority now, and his Uncle Moony would agree.'
'Prat,' Remus scolded, lightly hitting Sirius on the bum.
'I have to admit, Dumbledore did a top notch jobs on our muggle passports and credentials. We even have university degrees from places I've never even heard of.'
'Dumbledore didn't do it…Dung did,' Remus replied, shivering when Sirius bit into his collarbone. 'Did a bloody good counterfeit, too, though it shouldn't come as a surprise. Anything illegal is Dung's specialty. Even changed the records at the universities listed, in case our employers decided to look back for something.'
'Employer,' Sirius laughed lightly. 'I finally get to see the police station without the bars, eh, Moony. Chief of Investigations or some shit like that. And you…' He poked Remus in the ribs playfully. 'Kindergarten teacher? You can't even handle Harry on your own. How are you going to teach other sprogs their letters?'
'Oh shut it,' Remus poked back. 'Don't you see Dumbledore's brilliance in these jobs? You get firsthand information about everything going on outside, any odd sightings that look like Dark Magic and you'll know.'
Sirius looked up in surprise, obviously never having considered the possible reason Dumbledore had assigned them these positions. 'I see, so once Harry's in school, you get to keep an eye on him. In case something happens…'
Remus nodded, tucking Sirius's hair behind his ears. 'There was one other thing he mentioned…I walked in on the conversation actually, but Padfoot…do you know what a Horcrux is?'
Sirius blinked, sitting up so that Remus's hand fell away to the bed. 'Horcrux? No, I don't think so…but it…'
'Sounds familiar, doesn't it?' Remus finished, gently prying away his hand from underneath Harry and sitting up. 'That's what I thought, too, but I can't quite place it. Dumbledore said it might be important to Harry's future, though I didn't really understand what he was saying. He reckons Voldemort might come back at some point…'
Sirius shifted uncomfortably and was almost about to say something, when their tense conversation was interrupted by Harry's happy cries of 'MOO!', as the child launched himself into Remus's lap, bouncing up and down.
'Hello, my love,' Remus laughed, throwing Harry into the air and catching him again with a kiss to his nose. 'Uncle Moony missed you terribly.'
Harry giggled childishly as Remus blew a raspberry into his belly.
'He's got oatmeal for breakfast today,' Sirius said, beaming as he watched the two of them play and fool around. 'Why don't you feed him today? He always ends up spilling most of his food on me, anyway…'
Remus nodded, smiling, but as soon as he reached for the bowl of oatmeal on the tray, Harry howled like a possessed child and pushed Remus's hands away.
At Remus's questioning glance, Sirius grinned sheepishly. 'He hates my cooking, but it's good for him! That green bird on the telly said it's full of fibres and you put some sugar into it, and it's perfectly edible. Look, just eat a bit of it, and he'll follow.'
Remus looked down at the bowl of oatmeal reluctantly. It wasn't that the oatmeal itself looked poisonous, but in all truth, Remus himself hated oatmeal. His mother had always force fed spoonfuls of it when he was younger, with empty promises of chocolate bars or new toys. He looked at Harry, who was looking at Remus with wide, fearful eyes, almost as if warning Remus not to eat it.
Remus held his breath and swallowed a mouthful.
And Harry vanished.
Sirius groaned exasperatedly. 'Not again. Like I didn't have enough trouble last time…'
Remus blinked at Sirius with confused amber eyes. Obviously, Harry vanishing was quite a normal thing when Sirius made breakfast.
'Come on. Let's get him before he hurts himself,' Sirius muttered grouchily, throwing a robe towards Remus. 'Come on, quickly!'
Grabbing his tea to wash down the taste of Sirius's disgusting oatmeal, Remus followed his lover as he stormed down the stairs, obviously in quite a temper. Sirius threw open the front door, marching outside with his arms crossed above his chest in a way that reminded Remus of his own father whenever he was about to be told off severely for licking off all the chocolate cream from the biscuits again.
'Harry, you come down here right this minute!' Sirius screamed, and Remus nearly fainted when he walked out to see exactly what Sirius was shouting at. 'Harry, I'm telling you to come down before you catch a cold!'
Remus rubbed his eyes dizzily and looked up again. Yes, it was true: Harry was sitting on the roof, quite happily playing with snow collected there from last night.
'HARRY!!' Sirius roared, scaring Harry out his playful reverie and sending him into a crying fit, complete with tears and snot running down his nose steadily. 'Oh, for Merlin's sake, stop crying like that, boy! You'll slip!' Sirius's loud and brash tone, unsurprisingly, did not calm Harry down the slightest.
'Er…Padfoot…' Remus tried, looking from Harry to Sirius uncertainly, wondering if perhaps just bringing a ladder from the garage would be a smarter idea that to watch Sirius scolding the child silly. 'Padfoot…your hair…it's er…blue…'
'What?' Sirius cried, outraged, his hands immediately flying to his precious hair. 'Again! It takes an entire day to wear off. I can't believe- HARRY!!
Remus shifted awkwardly, before deciding that perhaps just fetching a ladder would be much wiser. They were attracting a lot of stares from the neighbours, most of whom were watching with incredulous expressions. One of them passing by looked at the two of them and then at Harry, her eyes looking ready to pop in horror.
'Harry! You bring your diapered little arse down here right now, so that I can spank you to next week!'
Remus smiled weakly at the woman and tried to shrug as if a one year old on top of the house roof was completely normal. 'Kids nowadays, eh?'
Sirius peeked at Remus through the corner of his eyes, wondering exactly why his lover had insisted on picking him up from work when he could easily have used the bike. Something about respect and reputation, Remus had mentioned, but Sirius had tuned himself out for most of the lecture. Mainly because he believed Remus just wanted to check out Sirius's new workplace at the station. It was much cooler than a kindergarten after all.
'Moony, I've been thinking…' Sirius started.
'Don't stress yourself too much,' Remus replied, not even bothering to take his eyes off the road to look at Sirius. 'You might have an aneurism, and then what would I do?'
Sirius pouted petulantly. 'Don't make fun of me when I'm being serious, Moony!' When Remus chortled at Sirius's unintentional pun, Sirius punched him in the arm lightly. 'Moony! Listen!'
'I'm listening, love,' Remus laughed, planting a quick kiss on Sirius's cheek. 'Go on.'
Sirius huffed. 'I've been thinking about the whole blood protection thing. I mean, don't you think there should be a way we can replicate the same thing maybe?' At Remus's look of confusion, Sirius tried to explain better. 'What if we used Petunia's blood and made seals around the house in every corner, Moony? Do you think it would work?'
Remus frowned. 'Seals? Runic symbols you mean?' He stopped the car at the corner and turned in his seat. 'I see, you want to substitute wand magic with Lily's blood magic, and channel it through Runes to magnify the protection around our house! Each Rune would signify a certain type of protection, or we could even use the same one repeatedly to amplify what we have. I mean, it's technically not physical magic, so we're not breaking our promise to Dumbledore, but it's just enough.' Remus rambled, having caught on to Sirius's idea quick enough. 'Padfoot, that's brilliant! I'd have never thought of that!'
Sirius grinned. 'Really? I thought you might actually be angry with me for suggesting something like that.'
Remus raised an inquisitive eyebrow. 'Why would I be angry?'
'Well…we are going to need Petunia Dursley's blood for it…' Sirius reasoned, an impish glint already forming in his grey eyes. 'And I know the perfect way to get it without her ever knowing!'
Remus was convinced Sirius had brainwashed him somehow because half an hour later, they were trying to break an entry into the local hospital. More specifically, into a room Sirius just happened to know contained blood samples and reports of those being tested. It was all just a coincidence of course that Sirius also happened to know that the none of the required nurses would come barging in on them since they were on a convenient coffee break. Remus didn't even want to know how Sirius knew that Petunia Dursley had gone to take a blood test recently.
'Padfoot, this is daylight robbery! Quite literally!' Remus screamed/whispered. 'It's illegal! We can't just barge into the hospital like this and steal! It's…it's-'
'It's fine, Moony,' Sirius reassured with a smirk that Remus had quickly learned to associate with trouble and mayhem. 'We're just going to look through the labels, pick up the vial with her name on it and leave as if nothing happened.' His kissed Remus's nose tenderly. 'Don't worry so much. Your lovely hair will go grey.'
Remus huffed and was about to complain further, when Sirius let out a silent shout of triumph and waved a test tube that was labeled in large black letters: Mrs. Petunia Dursley.
'Look, here's a copy of her report, too,' Sirius said excitedly, opening said report and leafing through it as if it contained the latest gossip on her. 'They haven't filled it in completely…couple more tests left I think. Moony, do you happen to have a pen on you?'
'Sirius this is wrong!' Remus protested, absent mindedly handing over the pen in his shirt pocket. 'We're not even supposed to be here, and we're definitely not supposed to be looking through confidential files.'
'How do you spell Hemorrhoids, Moony?' Sirius asked, obviously not paying attention to Remus's self righteous ramblings.
Sirius rolled his eyes exasperatedly. 'Oh fine, Syphilis it is then,' he said, bending down to write into a blank space on the report, perfectly and Marauderishly copying the doctor's handwriting on top.
'Padfoot, you can't be serious!' Remus cried out, instantly regretting the pun when Sirius shot him an obnoxious grin. 'You're incorrigible!'
'You love me,' Sirius replied cheekily, pulling Remus by the hand. 'Come on. We don't want to get caught now, do we?'
'That's the last seal,' Sirius told Remus, putting his brush down and watching as the Runic symbol momentarily glowed gold, then settled back to its original reddish brown colour of dried blood. 'We can bring Harry back from the living room now. Before he gets addicted to that show…I swear he has a crush on that green bint.'
Remus rolled his eyes and pushed the sandbox (now completely snowed in) back in place, hiding the seal away from inquisitive eyes. Neither of them knew if the Runic symbols would actually work; there was no way to test them, but they knew that it was better to be safe with Harry than to take chances. Besides, Sirius's ideas were rarely ever a failure, especially when Remus improvised. That's how it had been back in school, at least.
'I wonder what Dumbledore would say about all this,' Remus murmured. 'I mean, we don't even know if these runes work…and well, if Harry were ever to discover them.'
'We'll deal with it then,' Sirius replied gruffly. 'It's for his own good, and if the Runes don't work, then we always have our wands. I don't think it should be too much of a problem.'
'Hm, guess not.'
'You're fretting over what Dumbledore said…' It wasn't a question. Sirius knew Remus too well, knew his moods, his feelings, and sometimes even what he was thinking. 'Stop it, Moony,' Sirius scolded, 'Voldemort isn't coming back…not anytime soon. He's a shadow of his former self…nothing more than a fragmented soul. There isn't much he can do…'
'I know that,' Remus snapped. 'It's something else he said…like if I lost som…never mind. Forget it.'
'I miss being Padfoot,' Sirius muttered, getting up and throwing all the equipment they'd used in the rubbish bin, except the book on Runes they'd used as reference. 'Things are so much simpler and Harry likes him, too.'
Remus sighed and smiled to break the tension between them. 'You know the rules. At least I won't have to deal with your fleas.'
'Oi, that was once!' Sirius cried, face heating up with embarrassment. 'Why can't you let it go?'
Remus dodged Sirius's mock punch and ran into the house to fetch Harry. Only to be met by a snowball in the face when he finally came back out, with their godson dressed like an enormous potato.
'Oi!' Remus yelled, dodging the second snowball, but getting hit again in the chest by a third one. 'No hitting women and children!'
'You're right,' Sirius laughed. 'Move away, woman. This fight is between me and Harry.' Looking at Remus's incredulous face, Sirius burst out laughing, clutching his stomach and doubling over from the funny of it all.
'Why you little…' Remus deposited a squealing Harry into the garden swing, before running to pick up pace and bounding Sirius over with his entire weight. Sirius only got to respond with a surprised 'oof!' before Remus pinned both his wrists and straddled his thighs to keep him from moving.
'Sneaky bastard,' Sirius whispered, bringing his face closer to Remus and baring his teeth in displeasure in a way his Animagus counterpart would have. 'I'll get you for this, you know. Don't think you can get away this easy.'
'Sure, Padfoot, whatever you say…' Remus replied smugly, illustrating exactly how much control he had over Sirius by tightening his hold on Sirius's wrists. 'Everyone knows I always win in the end. You're mine, after all,' he joked, pulling at the leather collar on Sirius's neck.
Sirius raised a smug eyebrow and licked up across Remus's cheek. Immediately, Remus let go with a horrified, 'ew, Padfoot!', giving Sirius the perfect opportunity to flip their positions and pin Remus to the ground instead. He gave Remus a naughty grin and licked up the second cheek, just for fun and to make Remus squirm quite pleasantly underneath him.
'So, what is it you were saying, my love?' Sirius asked cockily. 'Something about me being yours, is it?' He chuckled softly and nosed away Remus's scarf to kiss the skin there. 'Looks like the tables have turned, my dear Moony.' He kissed higher, leaving a rapidly cooling trail over Remus's already pink skin.
'Padfoot, we're out in the open,' Remus protested, as Sirius's hands forced Remus's arms around his neck so that they were laying on top of each other without an inch of space in between. 'Remember Petunia and her lovely habit of spying?'
'It's too dark to see anything,' Sirius replied huskily, more concentrated on the patch of skin below Remus's ear than their surroundings. 'We blend in with the snow anyway…'
'Mm…and Harry?' Remus tried, wriggling under Sirius experimentally to see if he could get out.
Sirius looked up just long enough to check on his godson. 'He's having a hard time trying to make the swing move,' he replied and before Remus could laugh or protest any further, Sirius captured his lips in a heated kiss.
1 - An impelling force or strength
2- An essential element; a deciding point, fact, or consideration; an essential or influential circumstance.
3- It is an abstruse speculation, but also of far less moment and consequence of us than the others. --Bentley.
Yes, this is the end of Momentum. I hate to say it, but it had to happen sometime and I didn't want the story to drag. It took a bit of time but this is the longest chapter I've ever written. And look, I kept my promise and gave everyone a happy ending with slight hints of the future, of course…which no one really knows…ahem. So, yes, the pups are in love and Harry still speaks cow and in monosyllables, but they're finally a family and the boy will learn eventually. Imperfect and silly, but that's how we like them.
So I should first thank everyone who has stuck by me this long. I hope I replied to all your reviews and didn't miss anyone, and I'll miss you guys horribly, horribly so. This might be the end of Momentum, but hopefully, I'll come back with another plot bunny and meet you all again soon. So, cheers and now I shall go into a corner and cry…ahem…oh yeah, anonymous reviewers:
Katefish: Hope you liked this chapter, since it had a whole lot of fluff and Harry-Remus-Sirius interaction. Since it's the last chapter, I just wanted to make it a lot of fun and show how they could have lived happily ever after in the end. So, cheers to you my dear, for sticking out so long! Miranda: Er, I guess I did end up putting the three of them together. I was aiming for that actually and I hope you didn't hate it too much. It was a nice mushy ending, wasn't it? Erm..sowwie. green9721: Well, I'm just glad you gave Momentum a try really, and even more glad that you actually liked it. It's come to an end with this chapter but I hope it was just the right mix for you and the right amount of happy. Katshi: Ah, yes, the angst has come to an end, along with this story. But I have to thank you for reviewing and reading this far, and I hope the last chapter didn't disappoint. Cheers, luv. the person who left a dash; Lol…well, your reviews are as delightful and glorious as usual. I did add a bit more than a kiss this time. Thought I should give my readers a bit of a read before finally ending it. Oddly enough, I've never actually thought of my characters as complicated or anything. In fact, I don't notice half the things you just told me about my writing, so I honestly think you're overshooting with the compliments but I'm not complaining since I love getting them. Lol…self centered as I am. Cheers darling! Azrael: Thank you, my dear. To be honest, when I read how you formally started your review I thought for sure it was going to be a flame. Lol, sorry about that. But thank you so much for the lovely words and I hope even to this end, my story hasn't fallen flat. Ainek: Well, this is the end, my friend, and I hope you enjoyed it. Sirius did deserve more punches in the last chapter, I admit, but Remus has never been the overtly violent type to start with, especially with Sirius. Of course it takes more time to restore trust, but I guess I tried breaking that barrier little by little with each scene, and you'll see that even then, Remus has his qualms about Sirius though he's willing to give this whole thing another chance. Anyway, thank you so much for reviewing my story so frequently. Miss you loads, dear. Jay: I guess your wish came true. Of course you knew it beforehand that I was going to make the pups keep Harry. You were just playing along to keep me happy, weren't you, you sly reviewer you! Mk: You have hoped and I have granted. Lol…yes, so the pups are back together, Harry is with them, and everyone is living in blissful winter wonderland. It is my perfect ending and I hope you liked it just as much as I did when writing it! Madeofmay: I updated again! And this isn't going to be the last time I update, though it is the end of Momentum. I'm glad I at least got to hear your voice before I finished off with this story. Cheers to you, luv!