Song: Then – Brad Paisley
Rating: T
Genre: Romance/Family
Relationship: Remus/Hermione
Summary: He'd have happily spent a lifetime on her front stoop; kissing her until death did them part.


He watched her from his perch on the porch swing, swaying back and forth, eyes never leaving her form as she ran in circles, chasing the little boy that eluded her grasp with giggles that had his parent's hearts swelling. Her answering laughter made his gut clench, had him leaning forward in his seat, elbows resting on his knees. Was it really so long ago that he'd doubted this? Years spent convincing himself he'd gotten it wrong until that fateful date he arrived at her door and let go. Moony crowed with excitement; finally, he would have his mate. Hermione Granger, such an incredibly brilliant witch. But young, far too young for an old werewolf like himself.

She proved him wrong on that front.

Once upon a time, he'd been lost, jaded, ready to die in a war and be received by the friends he so missed. But he lived and they won and as the years would go on he found the desire to simply die faded and instead the want for something more began to eat at him. He pushed it away; he couldn't have it. But there she was, smiling at him as if she had all the answers, knew all his secrets, and he was scarce to find a breath that would sate his aching lungs. She walked past him, her scent lingering in his nose long past when his eyes could no longer see her. Moony was loud, aching to have her, frustrated with Remus for not doing what was needed.

He spent weeks toiling over all the ways and reasons it was wrong but then… He was standing in front of her door, knocking, and she answered with that kind smile of hers, the one that reminded him he was no monster, not to her. Words were lost on him but Moony was quick to ask for what he wanted, instead of taking as he'd been so inclined in the past. A date; that night, dinner. He spent an hour fussing over his wardrobe and laughed to himself as he imagined all the ways Sirius would make fun of him for his behavior. He settled on a set of robes that weren't as shabby as the rest and that she'd once told him set his eyes off nicely. He nearly talked himself out of it six different times before he finally picked her up and apparated them to a nice restaurant.

There was wine, conversation of everything under the sun, and sweet laughter that made him feel whole again. When he relaxed he found the feeling of awakening. Just watching her, the flush that crept up her neck, the way her lashes fell against her cheeks as she smiled reverently. He swore he'd never felt so full as he had in that moment. He dreaded the end of the night, never wanting their time together to end. But as he walked her up the cobblestone path to her door, he knew the only way it would continue is if he let it. She turned from the door, looking up at him so becoming, smiling gently as the wind whispered locks of her frenzied hair against her face.

He might've taken a minute or forty-five simply gazing at her, working up the courage, and she never once hastened him. Finally, with Moony encouraging him on, he let out a shaky sigh and then… He kissed her.

She let out a whimper of pleasure as their lips slanted together and that one, sweet noise convinced him entirely. He had her pinned against the door, one hand tangled deep in the recesses of her hair while the other swept up her spine. A grin quirked his lips as she shivered, arching into him, her lips parting on a gasp of pleasure. She tasted faintly of the red wine they'd been drinking, but more so of heat and comfort, love and deep abiding friendship. Her fingers tightened around the front of his robes, dragging him against her tight.

He'd have happily spent a lifetime on her front stoop; kissing her until death did them part.

However, as air became a necessity and the hour grew late, their mouths slowed, lips still meshing in slow, lingering kisses before finally stopping entirely. Her head was lolled back against the door, his forehead pressed to hers, their breath mingling together between them. He nibbled her lower lip, unable to stop himself, his tongue soothing it moments later.

She smiled, her lips upturning in a show of true content.

Her soft hand crept up to his face, cupped his cheek, thumb spread beneath his eye tenderly. "Silly werewolf… Waiting so long…" she murmured dazedly.

He chuckled under his breath. "Never again, Cub."

She licked her lips, eyes fluttering as if the taste of him lingered. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

The rising laughter of his son drew him from his thoughts and he focused once more on the happy duo running rampant in the backyard.

"Catch him, Remus! He's a wild animal on the loose!" Hermione cried gaily.

Running headlong for his father, Jacob Sirius Lupin leapt up into the air, arms out, fully certain his dad would catch him. And, as expected, Remus caught him mid-air easily, drawing him into his lap and wrapping his arms tight around the wiggling, laughing boy. "What are you, wild beast?"

Giggling madly, Jacob shook his head. "I'll never tell!" he exclaimed.

"I'll slay you myself, I swear it!" Remus cried, grinning as he began tickling his young son.

"No! No! Cheater!" Jacob laughed, squirming. Laughter and stunted breathing mixing, he held his arms out wide. "Mum! Save me!"

Tapping her chin thoughtfully, Hermione shook her head. "I don't know… You were wild and unmanageable… Might be best to leave you…"

Nearly out of breath from laughing so hard, Jacob thrashed his head back and forth. "I p-promise I'll be good!" he called out, grinning widely. "The best werewolf in all the l-land!"

"Whaddya say, Cub?" Remus asked her, lifting a brow. "Should I let him go then?"

Pursing her lips to hide her smile, she finally nodded.

Remus let their son go free and with a bubble of giggles, he hopped off his dad's lap and then shrieked, "Gotcha!" before running off down the porch.

Chuckling to themselves, Hermione and Remus watched him go before she took a seat next to him.

Wrapping an arm around her shoulders he bent his head to rest against her own. "Long day, love?"

"He has more energy than a horde of hippogriffs after a ferret…" she murmured.

He snorted. "If he weren't so brilliant, he'd be easier to subdue," he agreed.

"Mm, yes, but then he wouldn't be our son…" She nuzzled his neck affectionately. "And what a shame it would be not to have such a cunning little werewolf as my own…"

He grinned, turning his head to look down at her adoringly. His large hand encompassed half her face as he swept her hair from her eyes and stroked the shell of her ear lightly. "If ever there was such a time as that, I would've been a terribly foolish man."

Her lips quirked. "We all make mistakes… It's fixing them that makes the difference."

Sighing, he held her tightly, closing his eyes as he breathed in her so familiar scent. She was his whole life, his whole world; she and Jacob were everything to him. He couldn't imagine a different or better life as this. Sighing sleepily, she wrapped an arm around his waist and snuggled against his chest as if it were her personal pillow. As the sun crept low over the landscape, he listened to her heart steady and her breathing even out. His fingers ran endlessly through her hair, tangling in curls. He imagined one day all her luxurious brown hair would be grey and her skin would wrinkle with age, he only hoped he sat next to her here as he did now, to hold and love her just the same.

"And I thought I loved you then…" he murmured thoughtfully.

So many and yet so few years ago when her tender smile made his heart jump, he'd known love for the first real time. But it compared nothing to now, when she lay in his arms as if he could keep all the darkness of the world at bay. Their wedding bands glinted in the fading sunlight and their son's loud footsteps could be heard coming back around the porch with all the negligence of a boy who feared nothing and only sought freedom and laughter. As he came around the corner, he spotted his mum fast asleep against his dad and he gave quiet a try as he crept closer.

"She's asleep again," he murmured to his dad.

"'Fraid you tired her out," Remus replied jovially.

He chewed his lip, reminiscent of his mom when going over some dilemma or another. "Dad?"

Remus nodded at him to continue.

"D'you…" He looked away at the yard they'd just been running through. "D'you think the baby will get all her attention when she comes?"

He smiled slowly. "Your mum has enough attention to go around, I assure you."

Jacob nodded, mouth hesitantly curling in a smile. "Yeah… I thought so." And with that, he was off again, running about in chaotic youth.

Content, Remus sat back in the swaying bench and held his wife as he watched the sun set on another day of a life he'd once thought he never deserved. But now, he knew… The life he'd always been meant to live was here with Hermione. Destiny was not to be fought or ignored and who was he to question what was so obviously kismet?