Chapter 25

"I'm calling back to say
I'm home now, I'm coming around"

Tegan and Sara – The Con

A chill hung in the air, stiff in the early morning. Harry's eyes, veiled and dark before the dawn, reflected nothing, but Draco still looked deeply within, waiting for the sun's revealing rays. They stood outside in the vast tundra, silent and unyielding against the cold sting.

Draco reached out and took Harry's hand in his, squeezed, but there was no response.

To his right, Remus paced through the snow. He'd been doing that for a while, just walking back and forth, head hanging, shoulders slumped. Every so often he would punch his thigh or grip his fists. The snowfield became scarred by his progress.

Slowly the sky grew lighter and the sun peeked above the flat horizon. Draco looked back into Harry's eyes sand saw them water; his face scrunched trying to hold in his sorrow. He squeezed Harry's hand again, and this time Harry squeezed back.

"So many dead," Harry said, his voice dull and flat. "Dead…"

Remus screamed and fell to his knees; Harry stood by Draco's side and they watched on.

"Harry," Draco started, "shouldn't you go…" He gestured towards Remus. Harry looked at him like he wasn't exactly sure who Draco was or where they were. Then he stared at Remus pounding his fists into the frozen earth and finally the tears began to fall.

Draco did not know what to do.

"So, Sirius is gone?"

Harry nodded at Hermione and Remus said, "Yeah, he's gone. But at least he was there for a while, back from the beyond. He even had flesh, for a while." Remus lifted his hands and examined them like they were somehow precious.

"It was Scrimgeour, then?" she asked.

"Yeah," Harry answered. "He'd been taken over by the orb and had cursed most of magical Britain by the time we'd gotten it. We'll never know just how many, only what Kingsley told us. But after Sirius disappeared, with the orb and the other parts of the Staff, Kingsley and everyone else stopped fighting, released from the orb's dominance." He took a deep breath. He was happy that it was over, happy that he got a chance to see Sirius one more time, and as he looked on at Hermione, sitting up and listening to their stories in her hospital room, he was exceptionally happy that she was okay.

Then he looked over at Draco, sitting in a chair near the door, watching the Gryffindors talking. When he noticed Harry looked at him, Draco smiled.

Hermione reached out to Remus and Harry with her hands. "I'm really, really sorry that he's gone again." Remus nodded. Harry remembered his godfather's bright eyes and cocky attitude.

"But it was a gift really." Remus startled them all with his words. "I got to see him again and tell him how I really felt. It was a second chance and a part of me knew it wasn't anything long term. I knew it would be fleeting."

"Hey guys! Got lunch." Ron walked in with a huge shit-eating grin and bags of take-out. He threw the bags at Remus, Draco and then Harry and sat down on the edge of Hermione's bed and attacked her with his lips. He kissed her mouth, nibbled her ears and nuzzled her neck, all enticing happy giggles from his fiancé.

"Merlin, I'm so happy you're well again. I've missed you." The two sank into a heady kiss, and grinning, Harry cleared his throat.

"I would say 'get a room', but you already have one. Why don't we let you two have a moment and we'll come back later." He noticed they both ignored him and the three men left, chuckling.

They stood in the hallways of St. Mungo's, Mediwitch Periwinkle nodding at Harry and the others as she walked towards them.

"It is good to see you, gentlemen. It was quite a surprise to have Miss Granger awake this morning. Pleasant surprise indeed," she said and winked at Harry as she turned towards Hermione's door.

"Umm, Mediwitch Periwinkle…" Harry started, but before he could warn her, she popped open the door and after a shocked pause, quickly closed it again.

"Well, she appears to be feeling much better. I'll just come back in an hour or so," she said with a slight rose to her cheeks and waved at the men as she returned up the hall. Harry laughed, genuinely feeling better.

"Let's get out of here." The other two men looked at him. "Let's go to Hermione's." Draco grinned and Remus actually cracked a small smile as well.

"What are you going to do now that she's better? She's going to want her place back, you know," Draco said, his grey eyes sharp. Harry wondered just what he was up to.

"Yeah, I know. Maybe she and Ron will end up getting a place together and I can sublet." He hadn't really thought about what he was going to do when Hermione got better. That was the goal and the goal was attained and there wasn't anything else on the horizon. He didn't have a job; he hated his own place…

Then he looked at Draco, who smirked.

"Well, let's go there… we at least need to say good-bye to the place. I'd practically been living there myself," Remus said. Harry nodded, but continued to watch Draco. He couldn't take his eyes away as they walked towards the Floo centre.

Hermione's place was as they left it: papers scattered, books piled atop the tables, a set of bedding neatly folded on the couch. It felt like home. "Damn, I'm going to miss this place," Harry said, rubbing at the back of his head.

He and Remus shared a look. They had both tackled a lot in the past few months, both met a few demons and conquered them and found peace in the moments in between. Harry wished Sirius was still here for Remus, still here for him.

Harry went to the refrigerator and grabbed some drinks: pumpkin juice and pop. Remus cocked an eyebrow at the pop Harry poured into a glass.

"Sorry," Harry said and then returned to the kitchen to set the kettle to brew. "English breakfast, I know, I know." Draco laughed and sat down at his chair at the table, Remus sat in his and Harry pulled out his own. It felt like old times; not that long ago.

Silence descended on them.

"Remus," Harry began and the older man looked up at him. "I've been thinking. I don't have a job anymore and really, I don't want to work for anyone either. I don't know what I want to do. So, I was thinking of opening a shop." Remus frowned at him. "I'm just not sure what kind. Any suggestions?"

"Well, there are always books, tried and true," he said with a self-deprecating smile.

"I personally like the club idea, myself," Draco suggested. He still had that glint in his eyes. While Harry and Remus felt contemplative, Draco just looked amused at something. His own inner secret.

"I was thinking spell development, but on a personal level. Kind of like the twins' joke shop, but with more household spells. Maybe even have a section of things that every pureblood knows about but that Muggleborns would be clueless about." He shrugged as Draco laughed at him.

Remus hummed in thought. "Actually, that sounds like a good idea, Harry. You could maybe even have classes."

Harry nodded eagerly, he hadn't thought of that and the idea of having something new to work on was very welcome. Plus, he'd always liked teaching. The kettle began to whistle and Harry rose to putter around making the tea. "So, Remus," Harry said, returning with the cups of tea and ready to drop his big question, "Will you help set it up and run it with me?"

Remus' eyes grew and a thousand emotions flittered across his face. "Oh come on," Harry cajoled. "You're an excellent wizard. You grew up in a mixed household so you know the things that Muggle raised wizards, like myself, need to know. And I will need the help once the shop is open. Plus," he added, looking hard into Remus' eyes so he could see that this wasn't charity or pity. "Plus, I really like working with you Remus, we work well together, and I don't want to lose that."

Remus' Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed, then he nodded his head. He nodded it so vigorously his hair quivered and his grin stretched so wide his face looked like it hurt. "Harry, I would love to run a spell shop with you." And he stood and Harry stood and the two men embraced, slapping each other's backs and laughing.

When they parted Harry turned to Draco who was sipping at his steaming cup. "And you… I was hoping… I know you have Rain and everything, but… being a pureblood you could really help out and…" Harry stumbled over what he was saying even as what he said to Remus came out so easily.

"Harry," Draco said, taking pity on him. "I would love to partake in your little shop." He winked. "However, I was thinking—" His eyes darted over to Remus and he made a mental decision. "I know that Hermione's has been a home to you and that you don't want to go back to your own flat. I would like to offer my place for you to stay, for as long as you want. I too," he looked down at the table, oddly shy, "have grown used to your presence and would be disturbingly at a loss if you weren't around."

He put down his tea cup and then looked back up at Harry. Those eyes flashed and Harry reached for him and pulled him close. The two men kissed, passion flashing in Harry's veins burning away all uncertainty. From the side he heard Remus say, "Well, on that note—I shall be in touch, Harry. Please enjoy yourselves."

Neither man noticed as Remus left the flat.

One Year Later

The bell rang and Remus glanced up from a large burlap bag over-stuffed with dragon egg shell shards he was reorganizing into smaller packages.

"Hello, Remus," Kingsley said with a broad grin. He held a large sack in his arms. Remus noticed the tired look that had swarmed about him like a hundred angry bees was slowly easing away.

"Kingsley, welcome. How are you today?" he asked, setting aside the multicoloured shells and walking up to the counter.

"Oh fine. Just here for some more Whittaker's Powder. Can't find it as good a quality anywhere else…" Remus raised his eyebrows and tilted his head at Kingsley. "Not that I've been looking," Kingsley hastily added.

The bell rang again and the bright light of the early afternoon shimmered on the glass door as it opened, letting in Hermione and Ron.

"Really, Ronald, I don't think that Ginny would appreciate such a thought. It isn't like she wants recognition just because she is dating Hannah Abbott. Put down that Pride Flag. Really," Hermione ranted and Ron looked sheepish. Kingsley and Remus shared a look.

"Hey there," Remus greeted. Kingsley smiled in welcome.

"Hello, Remus. Kingsley," Hermione said as Ron enthusiastically waved a rainbow coloured flag. Remus noticed it was missing one of the blue stripes.

"What is that?" Remus asked and Hermione rolled her eyes.

"It's a flag," Ron said, waving it again as he smiled deeply. "Ginny's gay!"

Kingsley's eyebrows rose. "Didn't see that coming," he said with a deep chuckle.

"He found out Ginny was dating a woman and now he's all excited he has a lesbian in the family, like he's trendy now or something," Hermione said with her perfected eye roll. "It isn't like you don't already have a gay best friend, and she's really bisexual. Oh, Remus, do you think I could get some unicorn blood from you." She batted her eyelashes at Remus, which only made him laugh more.

"Hermione!" Ron said. "Are you flirting with Remus for unicorn blood?"

Remus snorted.

Hermione turned to Ron, eyes wide. "Of course I wasn't flirting with Remus, Ron!" She reached up and kissed her husband. Then in a low voice she said, "The blood here is taken from willing unicorns, not forced. It makes for better healing potions… not that I would use blood stolen from a unicorn… that just isn't right."

"Speaking of gay best friend, where are Harry and Draco?" Ron asked, looking up from his wife with a happy grin. His arms were wrapped tight around her and she rested her head on his shoulder. Remus couldn't help but be happy to see them together. It'd taken a while for Hermione to get her life back together after months in that magical coma, but she was back; her department reinstated her, she married Ron, and the two now stopped by Spellworks and Magicpots in Diagon Alley every few days. As unexpected as it was to Remus, it had become their new gathering spot and Remus never felt more connected to his friends than he did these days.

"In the back. Though, if you do go back there, be careful. They're researching hovering charms. They saturated their shoes and more often than not, come crashing down with no notice," Remus said, arms crossed as he leaned against the counter.

Hermione's eyes lit up. "Oh, sounds interesting," and she left through the back door calling, "Harry, Draco, I'm coming through." Soon after there was a loud crash and Harry yelled, "Draco, you okay?"

Remus couldn't help but laugh and soon Kingsley and Ron joined him.

"So, looks like business is going well," Kingsley said as he eyed the counters and shelves full of a collection of marvellously practical items any witch or wizard would find handy.

"Oh, it is going very well," Remus nodded. He enjoyed running and owning Spellworks and Magicpots with Draco and Harry. The arrangement worked well for them all.

"And your book?" Kingsley asked. "How is that doing? I've read it and thought it was rather good. You did cover some very simple stuff, though, but I guess that was the point."

Ron walked over to a shelf and picked up a set of buttons complete with a small skein of thread and a needle. "What's this?"

"Self threading stitching kit," Remus said. "And the book is doing well. You wouldn't believe how many letters we get from Muggleborns thanking us. The purebloods take so much for granted. Our other book for the other half is going to be finished soon. One for purebloods to understand Muggleborns, modern Muggleborns, not those old fashioned texts as dry as Binn's lectures."

Kingsley clapped him on the shoulder. "I'm proud of you, all of you," he said, a small, thoughtful smile setting on his lips.

"Kingsley! Ron!" Harry burst out from the back room followed by Hermione and Draco. His hair stood on end and black smudges covered his face.

"What happened to you?" Ron asked, setting down the stitching kit.

Draco rolled his eyes. "Harry decided to try some special propulsion spell along with the hovering charm on the boots, and let's just say it needs a bit of reworking." Harry turned back to look at Draco and just beamed. Remus' heart twinged… just a bit.

"Why don't you close up shop early and let's all go to Rain," Ron suggested. Every face in the shop took interest in that. Harry turned to Remus and gave him an eager look.

"What do you say, Remus?" he asked. Somewhere along the line, Remus ended up running the 'business' side of the business, though Draco did enjoy helping with the finances when he wasn't buried under his club's paperwork.

He tried to look stern, but then gave up under the five sets of eager eyes. "Okay, fine. Let's go." Harry jumped slightly and hovered a few seconds before he touched down again.

"Oh no," Draco said, shaking his head. "You are not wearing those boots out in the street. Who knows what might trigger you floating up to the moon."

"But," Harry began, so joyous and youthful, "I'll be a hit on the dance floor!" The years of anger and frustration could not stand up to the happiness he had with Draco.

Draco shook his head. "No, don't you argue with me."

"Fine," Harry said with mock annoyance and left for the backroom again. Draco looked around at the crowd and shrugged. Remus laughed, it was all so very normal.

He helped out the last few customers in the shop, telling them they were closing early for a very important celebration, and then they were ready, Harry standing in his usual trainers—not quite so fancy—firmly settled on the ground.

As Remus locked up, everyone gathered in the street, chatting amongst themselves. He turned the key, setting the wards, and took a moment to look into the shop. This was his. Sure he shared it, but it was his, as was his life, and he was happy.

Above the register hung two large portraits. One of them of Harry, Hermione and Ron, designed from a photograph of them straight out of Hogwarts after Voldemort had been destroyed. Remus could see the tired look in each of their eyes even as they smiled in relief for the camera. It was a moment when each of them knew they would survive the world, where they accepted that they were heroes and realized they each had a future.

The other portrait was also painted from an old photo. It was a photo Remus had looked at every day for years after Harry had been orphaned. Now it was a portrait and the people within smiled at him with joy.

His own eyes, younger but hopeful, gazed at him. Around him were Sirius, James and Lily. Peter was not included in the portrait, though the little rat was in the original. It was better this way, and as he stared at the Sirius in the portrait, the portrait Sirius wrapped his arms around the portrait Remus and the two smiled at each other.

Remus didn't regret anything. Life was hopeful and he had no more shadows to fear. He turned his back on the shop and the portraits and walked out into the sunny day.

The End.