Title: As It Should Be
Word Count: 2036
Pairing/s/Characters: Remus/Sirius; John Lupin
Summary: "John Lupin had expected it, had been waiting for it ever since he caught Remus sneaking soiled sheets into the washing machine when he was thirteen and, at his wife's amused insistence, had sat him down for a halting talk about the birds and the bees."
Notes/Warnings: Written for CutePoion1235 for her donation for help_haiti. I hope you like it, hon.
Disclaimer: This fiction is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and affiliates. No money is being made and no offense is intended. Characters are of legal age for sexual situations.
John Lupin had expected it, had been waiting for it ever since he caught Remus sneaking soiled sheets into the washing machine when he was thirteen and, at his wife's amused insistence, had sat him down for a halting talk about the birds and the bees. He didn't know who had been more embarrassed, him or Remus, and when it was over, they had promised, with an awkward laugh, to never, ever speak of it again.
Looking at Remus now – four years later - as he laughed in the back yard, John Lupin realised that he was going to have to break that promise. There were things that needed saying again because his son had fallen in love.
Love was something that Remus, more than anyone, deserved. His life was so difficult, but he was so stoic, so mature and accepting. When John and Catherine Lupin had despaired with each new scar, Remus had comforted them; when they grew frustrated at the latest failed 'cure', Remus had shrugged and hugged them and told them to stop wasting their money. Remus bore his burdens without complaint and did it with more grace and dignity than any seventeen-year old should possess.
Remus – their gentle, kind Remus - deserved so much love, but John had always known that finding it wasn't going to be easy for his son. He had expected to hear of crushes well before now, but Remus was frighteningly good at hiding himself, his feelings. There could very well have been that hollow ache of longing in his chest, that feeling of butterflies taking flight in his stomach, and John would not have known.
But this – there was no hiding this.
John had been watching the four boys horsing about in the back yard, laughing softly at their antics, when he saw it. Saw the way Remus' eyes softened, the way his smile changed, the way he looked at the other boy as if he was the sun and the moon and the entire universe rolled into one. The unrestrained love and affection in that gaze had made John stop in his tracks, feeling as though a bucket of freezing cold water had been dumped over him. This was not the expected first crush, this was love – pure and true and unmistakable – and John couldn't stop the stinging in his eyes as he watched Remus playfully tackle the dark-haired boy to the ground.
'Life is so hard for Remus already,' he thought despairingly. 'Why has fate been so cruel as to allow him to fall in love with Sirius Black?'
He had heard the whispered conversations about girls and sex late in the night when the boys thought he was asleep, and Sirius' apparent experience and nonchalant attitude had always concerned him. A boy with so little respect for women, or for himself, was not who John considered the most appropriate choice for a best friend for his son. But he trusted Remus. His son was usually a good judge of character and would defend his friend to the death, so he kept his opinion of Sirius Black to himself, knowing that to voice his reservations would only cause tension between himself and Remus. But he had resolved to keep a close eye on the two together... otherwise he might not have seen the look.
He was distracted for the rest of the day, Remus and his friends poking gentle fun at his absentmindedness during dinner when he poured gravy into his coffee mug. The boys scarpered back to Remus' bedroom after helping Catherine with the dishes and John found excuses to be wandering past the room throughout the evening. He quietly watched as they played Exploding Snap then chess, the usually silent house full of teasing and laughter, before Catherine hustled them off to bed for the night. Remus seemed normal enough, looking up from the chess board and smiling at John each time he peered into the room and huffily responding, 'Peter is – as usual!' when John inquired who was winning the game.
He went to bed with the heavy weight of worry in his gut. It wasn't that Sirius was a boy... Yes, it was unexpected and, okay, John would have preferred that Remus' life wasn't going to be any harder than it already was simply because of who he loved, but John was nothing if not adaptable.
No, it wasn't concern about Sirius' gender that was keeping him awake. There was an ache in his heart because as closely as he had always watched Sirius, he had never seen him look at Remus the way Remus looked at him.
John sighed and glanced at the clock, groaning when he saw it was after midnight. 'Warm milk,' he muttered, hoping the hot drink would help him forget his worries.
He pulled on his robe and pushed his feet into his slippers before tiptoeing past Remus' room and down the stairs. As he reached the third last step, he became aware of hushed voices. He stopped abruptly, wondering if he should go back upstairs for his wand when he recognised Remus' low chuckle.
Bloody hell! He nearly gave me a heart attack.
John was about to move down the final few stairs when he heard a soft moan. He frowned; had Remus hurt himself? But then another moan reached his ears, this time louder and accompanied by a breathy gasp that could in no way be mistaken for one of pain.
John carefully leaned forward until he could see two shadowy figures outlined against the window, and he bit back his own gasp of surprise at the sight of his son kissing Sirius Black with a passion and desire that took John's breath away. And even more startling, Sirius was kissing back just as desperately, his hands twined in Remus' hair as he pushed him back against the kitchen counter.
As he watched, stunned, Sirius pulled back and buried his face in Remus' neck, his voice muffled. 'I've missed this,' he murmured breathlessly. 'I've missed you so much.'
'I've been right here,' Remus whispered, his hands sliding from Sirius' hips up his back to tangle in the dark hair at Sirius' nape.
Sirius raised his head, shaking it vehemently. 'It's not the bloody same,' he hissed irritably. 'Can't touch you in case they see, can't kiss you, can't wake up in bed with you all hard and ready next to me...'
John mouthed, 'Fuck' under his breath, and closed his eyes tightly. This was not a conversation he should be eavesdropping on and, as the unmistakable sound of lips meeting reached his ears once more, John crept back up the stairs. He carefully slipped into bed, trying not to jostle Catherine, then lay awake until he heard footsteps and whispering as Remus and Sirius came back up to bed. He strained his ears to hear their quiet conversation.
'Can't we just tell them?' Sirius murmured.
'I don't want to hurt them,' Remus whispered back. 'They put up with so much... having a werewolf for a son is bad enough, but a gay werewolf...'
John's stomach twisted unpleasantly. Remus really thought having him as a son was a chore? Children weren't supposed to try and protect their parents. It should have been the other way around and John felt incredibly sad that Remus felt he had to take on such responsibility.
'They love you,' Sirius hissed, his voice leaving no room for doubt, and John felt a thrill of gratitude for the other boy for his unqualified faith in Catherine and himself. 'They would want you to be happy.'
There was a pause then Sirius asked uncertainly, 'You are happy, aren't you? With me?'
'God, Sirius,' Remus murmured then there was a dull thud and the faint sound of a muffled moan.
John winced a bit, mental images of Remus pinning Sirius to the hall wall flooding his mind. He might not be opposed to the idea of his son loving another boy, but he really didn't need to hear a demonstration of that devotion.
Catherine stirred beside him and John held his breath. This was not how he wanted her to find out about Remus' preferences. Once she'd settled once more, he slipped out of bed and walked quietly to the door, cracking it open a little. Remus and Sirius were still in the hall and, after a quick glance, John averted his eyes, trying to erase the picture of Sirius Black's hand delving beneath his son's pajama bottoms from his head.
He pushed the door open a little more then cleared his throat softly. He almost laughed at how fast the boys leaped apart, keeping his eyes on their faces and not on their feeble attempts to hide how the kiss had been affecting them.
'Dad...' Remus gasped, eyes wide and, to John's consternation, frightened. 'I... we were just...'
John smiled gently. 'I'm not so old that I don't know what you were doing, Remus,' he whispered, the light streaming through the window from the half moon allowing him to see the flush that stained Remus' cheeks. 'I just think you should reconsider doing it outside our bedroom.'
'I... I...' Remus stuttered, then Sirius – overconfident, brash Sirius – took over, reaching out and clasping Remus' hand tightly in his own.
'I love him, Mr Lupin,' he said with a quiet conviction that made John's breath catch. 'We're not just mucking around.'
John caught Sirius' unwavering, unapologetic gaze and, with that one glance, some of the tension inside him eased. Because in those self-assured grey eyes, John saw the same unerring love and devotion that he'd seen in Remus'. Sirius Black truly loved his son. He gave Sirius a nod then his eyes flicked to Remus who, although still fearful, met them determinedly.
'I can see that,' John conceded with a grudging smile. 'I'm not going to pretend it wasn't a... surprise, but you're both of age, and you have the right to love who you love.' He grimaced then shook his head. 'Just please try not to... show your affection so... enthusiastically right outside my bedroom door at one in the morning.'
Sirius snorted softly, attempting to hide the smirk that threatened to twist his lips, but Remus just stared. 'Dad, are you... you're okay with... this? With us?'
John could see the insecurity in the blue eyes that were so much like his own, could see Remus' knuckles whitening as his grip tightened on Sirius' fingers. 'As long as you're happy,' he said gently, 'I'm happy.'
Remus made a strangled noise in his throat and threw himself at John who chuckled as he hugged him in return. 'Do we need to have another talk?' John murmured in Remus' ear, feeling himself turn red when Remus pulled back.
Remus stared at him in horror then glanced at Sirius before turning back to John, his eyes fixed on a point past John's shoulder. 'I... no,' he whispered, rubbing nervously at the back of his neck. 'We... um... kind of figured it all out and... well...' He made a dissuading gesture, his face burning. 'I think this might not be... um... your... area of expertise.'
John gave a little cough as he nodded. 'Yes, you...er... might be right there.' He gave Sirius a little wave then clapped Remus on the shoulder. 'You should both get some sleep,' he said brightly, relieved that this awkward conversation was coming to an end. 'I'll see you in the morning.'
Sirius high-tailed it back to Remus' bedroom with a muttered, 'Goodnight', but Remus lingered in the hall. 'Dad?' he said tentatively, and John arched an eyebrow in silent question. 'Thanks.'
John nodded then asked softly, 'Do you love him?'
Remus smiled a smile that John had never seen before. A contented, satisfied smile that reached his eyes and made them shine with happiness. 'I do,' he whispered before following Sirius into the room.
John heard the muted click as the door closed then smiled to himself as something inside him unknotted. 'Then all is as it should be,' he murmured before heading back to bed.