Immediately Post-War. Remus survives the final battle, he and two-month-old Teddy move in with Harry at Grimmauld Place. HP/RL slash featuring aggressive!Harry and insecure!Remus. Rather fluffy, for me. I just don't know what got into me today.
Come Find Me
They had decided to wait until after the memorial service before moving everything into Grimmauld Place. The suite of rooms with a shared bathroom that was to be theirs had to be cleaned out and repainted first, anyway.
Harry had considered hiring someone to do the renovations but Ginny suggested it would be a good distraction for him, for all of them, to do something productive in the wake of all the tragedy.
She was right, of course. She's often right. Most mornings, she, Ron, and Hermione would floo in from the Burrow and they would peel, sweep, paint, hammer nails, and screw in bolts. They did almost all of it the muggle way, and no one ever asked why.
Of course they couldn't ask Remus about colours because if he knew the effort they were putting in he'd outright refuse to accept it. Because it's Remus.
Usually after lunch, they were obliged to shower, throw on one of the many black robes they each owned now, and attend another funeral. Sometimes more than one in a single day. Then they would drink until Harry could barely floo himself home.
Molly Weasley was keeping everyone in the brood close, and every day she sent the others to remind him that he was 'always welcome' and really, he 'shouldn't be in that big old house all by himself.' He sent his regrets. Mercifully, no one questioned him.
By the time Tonks' funeral rolled around, the rooms were finished: paint dry, crib assembled, self-sterilizing bottles, formula, and binkies filling a whole cabinet in the kitchen.
Harry sat with Teddy in his arms, watching the receiving line at the end of the service. It was oddly reminiscent of their wedding, he thought absurdly. Long before the last mourners had made their farewells, Teddy had fallen asleep on Harry's shoulder, his hair a shock of messy brown the way if often was when his godfather held him.
Harry closed he eyes and hugged the little creature close to him, smelling the soft, fine hair. He would be two months on Tuesday. He still smelled like a newborn, though. That precious little life in his arms - it was the only thing that could bring Harry out of the daze of grief and loss.
It was nearly midnight when they finally flooed home. Kreacher had already retrieved Remus and Teddy's belongings, such as they were, and brought them to their new rooms. Harry took the baby from Remus and began to lead the way up the stairs. Remus seemed to be in such a fog, Harry was reluctant to do more than put them both to bed. He could show them everything in the morning.
He placed the baby gingerly into the bedside cradle, on his back. No blankets or pillows to risk suffocation. Remus sat on the side of the bed and watched with a dazed expression. Harry turned down the bed around him. Remus smiled weakly, his eyes clouded and dull.
"Thank you Harry," he said, beginning to slowly untie his boots.
"It's fine, Remus. Look, diapers and a changing table are over there," he indicated the far wall. "Bathroom's through there," indicating the door. "I wasn't sure where to keep the bottles, so I've put some here, with formula, in a cold drawer by the bed. The rest are in the kitchen."
"Thank you, Harry," the words were barely a whisper. Harry forced a smile.
"I'll just be across the hall, ok? If you need anything, just… you know. I don't sleep that well anyway, so if you want me to help, I can, ok? Just ask."
Remus nodded and collapsed onto the pillow, one hand resting on the edge of the cradle.
"Goodnight," Harry whispered.
Remus smiled and nodded, closing his eyes. Harry stared at them and felt his chest clench, and then a wave a something like longing wash over him. He snuck out of the room and closed the door as quietly as possible.
Three hours later, tiny wails echoed through the old house, and Harry sat upright. The crying didn't last long. He could hear gentle murmuring coming from across the hall, feet shuffling, drawers opening, and finally the bed creaking, and the notes of a quiet lullaby. He fell asleep again.
Three hours later, crying. And again the murmurs, the padding feet, the creaking bed, the singing.
Three hours later: crying, murmuring, padding, singing.
But then he heard a creaking on the stairs, followed by his own grumbling stomach. By the time he arrived in the kitchen, Remus was making tea. He looked over bleary-eyed and smiled weakly. He was still in his robes from the night before.
"Did we wake you?"
"Which time?" Harry asked, smiling, and shuffling over to the cold cabinet.
"I'm sorry," Remus started, but Harry cut him off.
"It's fine. It's like that every night?"
"You should let me help," he said, throwing bacon and eggs into pans on the stove.
"No, Harry, it's ok. You've done more than enough." Harry frowned but said nothing.
They ate quietly, made a second pot of tea, read the obituaries in the Prophet. At length Remus stood up. "I'd better get a shower while I can," he said, smiling ruefully.
Harry had just reached the landing outside of Remus' room the next time Teddy woke. His hair was blond and his eyes a haunting silvery-grey. Harry stepped up and reached to take him but Remus swooped in, and with practiced efficiency, changed his diaper, prepared a bottle with one hand, and began rocking him in the chair in front of the window.
Harry sat at the foot of the bed and watched them. The morning light shone through the sheer curtains. Remus' sandy-brown hair was streaked with grey at the temples, now, and there were dark circles around his eyes. He looked older, but no less handsome, than he did in pictures from the First War. And rocking the baby like that, his features were softer.
When Teddy was full, and burped, Harry reached out for him, and decided it was time for the tour.
"You've seen your rooms, I guess. I didn't know what colours you would want, but I figured that blue was restful."
The bed was a mahogany and the carpet and curtains were midnight blue. They had painted the walls a pale ivory, and the sheets were light blue silk with a dark blue comforter. A dark wood rocking chair sat by the window on the far side of the bed. Another wall featured the door to the bathroom and a changing table. On the side of the bed closest to the door was the cradle, and the bedside table with the cold-drawer full of bottles and formula.
"Have you seen the nursery?" he asked, and Remus looked up, frowning and shaking his head. Harry turned to the baby in his arms, who was experimentally chewing on his fingers, "Daddy hasn't seen your room yet, has he? Would you like to see your room?" The baby giggled and his hair turned bright orange. "It's through the bathroom."
He opened the door, and Remus let out a gasp, "Harry, you… you didn't have to… do this…"
"I wanted to," Harry answered simply.
The room was painted in a pale yellow, with impish little dragons in bright colours loping along a papered border at the ceiling. The carpet was a soft blue. One corner of the room was lined with bookshelves stocked with muggle and wizarding children's books. In another corner stood the crib, with yellow sheets and a bumper that matched the border on the walls. Above the crib, wooden cut out letters in matching colours spelled out 'Teddy.' The curtains, the same soft blue as the carpet, were pulled back to reveal a view of the garden below, where a swing-set and a sandbox now stood.
"I figure," Harry began, nervously filling the silence, "once he sleeps through the night, you can move the rocking chair over here," indicating a circular rug in front of the window, "and the changing table here," indicating a bare stretch of wall.
He turned around to see that Remus was fingering the comforter hanging over the edge of the crib. "Harry, I…" he started, his voice wavering slightly, before he finally collected himself and whispered, "thank you."
Days and nights started to blend as Harry got accustomed to the rhythm of a two-month-old. Teddy was alert for about half-an-hour at a time, a few times a day. The rest of the time he cried, ate, pooped, or slept.
Remus went for three days before he finally broke down and accepted Harry's help with the changing and feeding.
The first time, Harry had woken up before the crying even started, accustomed by then to the routine. He slipped quietly into their room, just as the wailing started, and reached for the baby before Remus managed to sit up. He bustled over to the changing table, cast a lumos, and did his best to change a diaper in the dark. He wasn't as fast or efficient as Remus, having much less practice, but he managed. Thank gods for cleaning charms.
When he returned to the bed, baby still crying, Remus had already prepared the bottle. Harry took it and sat down beside him on the bed. The baby calmed as soon as he started sucking down the sweet milk. Remus sat next to them, and together they watched Teddy drink, and drink, his eyes slowly closing, until half the bottle was empty and the nipple slipped from his tiny, slackened mouth. Harry did his best to burp him, but in the end only Remus could manage it.
"The trick is to rub, not pat," he said, laying the baby down in his cradle before collapsing back onto the pillow and pulling up the covers again.
Harry resisted the urge to crawl in beside him, instead rising and walking into his own room, to slide into his own, cold bed.
After that night, they started taking turns. Teddy was still up every three to four hours, and every other cry was Harry's. At first Remus would wake and watch, but after a week or so, he stopped sitting up, and Harry grew to enjoy the quiet moments in the middle of the night when it was just him and Teddy, rocking gently.
Teddy had woken and it was Harry's turn to take him, but as soon as he picked the baby up he knew something was wrong. The little body, always warm like a tiny oven, was hot to the touch, and the wand-light revealed flushed cheeks and dry lips. His diaper was dry, too, and he cried at the cold of Harry's hands on him.
"Remus, Remus," Harry shook his shoulder to wake him.
"It's Teddy, I think he's sick." Remus sat up then, fully awake.
They arrived at St. Mungo's fifteen minutes later.
"Really, Harry, you don't have to come," Remus was saying, but Harry just rolled his eyes and grabbed the first nurse he could find.
They asked the paediatric healer on-call a million questions before she finally sent them home with a bottle of potion and a binky-applicator.
"He'll be just fine," she said, patting Harry on the shoulder as they approached the floo. "He's lucky to have two such devoted parents."
Harry stammered to correct her and shot Remus an apologetic look. He was surprised, though, to see that Remus looked… sad.
"I'm sorry about what she said… I probably shouldn't be so… it's not my place… " Harry stammered as they stepped out of the floo at home. "I just… I want to help…"
"You are," Remus nodded, and carried the baby upstairs to their bedroom.
Lying alone in his cold bed across the hall, Harry tried not to think about it. Remus obviously wished Teddy did have both his parents. And Harry was woefully inadequate to fill Tonks' shoes.
"I'm not going," Harry said firmly, trying to keep the anger out of his voice. They were sitting in his kitchen, again, having this conversation, again, like they had nearly every day in the three weeks since his 18th birthday.
"But Harry—" Hermione started again, but he raised his hand to cut her off.
"No. I'm not going back. It's over. I'm staying here. Remus and Teddy need me."
"Remus, of all people, wouldn't want to be the reason you failed to complete your education," she continued, and Harry rolled his eyes and drank from his tea. "Besides, I'm sure he can manage, he's a grown man."
"So am I," Harry answered simply.
After a pause, Ginny finally spoke up. "I'm happy for you," she said, ignoring Hermione's scowl and Ron's confusion. "Really," she added, touching his arm and looking him directly in the eye. Harry blushed, but he was pretty sure no one else in the room had understood.
"You're sure you'll be alright? You don't want me to call Andromeda?"
"We'll be fine," Harry tried to sound reassuring. His first forty-eight hours of sole-parenting duty.
"Because she can take him, you know, it's no trouble."
"You can't expect her to take him every single month."
"I can't expect you to take him, either. This is too much," he said quietly, and Harry felt a pang of guilt. It's true, he had no right to expect Remus to trust him with his child like this. To elbow his way into their lives.
"If you're not comfortable with me keeping him–" he started, but Remus cut him off,
"No, no it's not that. You're right, I'm sure you'll be fine," he said, laying his hand on Harry's shoulder, and it lingered there before he pulled it away too quickly, as though it burned.
"See you in the morning," Harry said, watching him go up the stairs and into the warded attic room where he spent his transformations now. Without Snape's wolfsbane, they had to rely on locks and wards to keep them safe.
After he had locked and warded the attic room from the outside, and put up muffling charms, he fixed himself a cup of tea, and went to see after the baby.
Teddy was five months old now, and he usually only woke up once during the night. His hair was a sort of silvery grey at the moment, as it often was as the full moon. They had decided to disrupt Teddy's routine as little as possible, which meant that Harry would sleep in Remus' bed for the night.
The pillow smelled like Remus' shampoo, and spilled formula, and baby-powder. Harry breathed deeply. The mattress had acquired a Remus-shaped impression where he slept. Harry slipped into it and found it strangely comforting. He fell asleep listening to the muffled howls from upstairs, hoping the wards would hold.
Harry woke up before Teddy, and crept out of the room to go upstairs and unlock the attic. A gasp escaped him when he opened the door. Every full moon until now, Remus had insisted Teddy stay with Andromeda and Harry had been shooed away to the Burrow. He'd never seen Remus immediately after a transformation, and the sight was horrifying.
Without a second thought, he summoned Kreacher and sent for a basin of hot water and a pile of wash cloths, and began to wash off the blood and heal the wounds scattered across his body. Remus' skin was raw and he moaned as though every muscle, bone, and sinew ached. The blood masked his nakedness, and when it was washed away, Harry covered him with a blanket and helped him to his feet. Gingerly they made their way downstairs. He put Remus in a guest bed, and went to check on the baby.
Harry spent the day with Teddy, trying to stay quiet. Remus didn't emerge until late into the evening, long after Teddy was asleep.
Harry had just lain down and closed his eyes, when the door creaked open and soft feet padded into the room. Harry sat up, and moved over as Remus came to sit on his usual side of the bed and peered down at the sleeping infant. He lay down on the pillow, and Harry moved to get up, but Remus reached out and stopped him with a gentle touch to his leg. He didn't turn to look at Harry, and he didn't say anything, but his hand remained on Harry's leg, so Harry stayed. And when Remus' eyes closed again and the soft sound of his breathing evened out, Harry lay down beside him, close but not quite touching except for the limp fingers of Remus' hand on his knee. His chest clenched and he lay there wondering what he was doing.
By the next full moon, Teddy had moved into the nursery crib, though he still woke up in the middle the night most nights.
Harry lay awake in his own bed that night, listening to the muffled howls from upstairs and wishing he could do more than provide a locked cell for the man who shared his home.
The following morning, before Teddy woke, Harry snuck up the stairs with warm water and hand-towels to clean and heal his wounds, and help him down the stairs and into his bed. Teddy spend the day with Andromeda and Remus slept until well past dinner time.
Teddy had been down for a few hours and Harry had just finished cleaning the kitchen and folding the laundry, and finally retreated into his own bed. Lying in the dark, he heard the creal of his door opening and feet padding softly across his floors. A whoosh of cold air against his back, the weight of a body on the mattress beside him, the brush of cold hands and a cold nose against his back. Harry tried to remain still, terrified that if Remus knew he was awake, it would scare him away.
Remus came back again the next month, and slept beside him in the nights following his transformation. Harry never asked him why, or whether he wanted to stay.
And then, one night, a cold hand passed over his waist and wrapped around him, pulling him close against the warm body behind him, and he felt warm breath against his ear. He shivered, and pressed closer. Remus tucked his knees behind Harry's and Harry realized with a jolt that he was still naked. The thought made him dizzy, his heart was pounding in his chest. Soft dry lips began to press against his neck. He turned, seeking out the warm mouth behind him, and whispered, "Remus…"
Remus froze, eyes open, a look of panic on his face, and immediately he moved away, muttering,
"Harry, Harry I'm sorry... I'm so sorry…"
And before Harry could reach out to him, he slipped away into the darkness.
Harry was trying to feed Teddy his carrot-mush, most of which was ending up every where but in his mouth, when Remus emerged the following morning. Harry felt him standing in the kitchen doorway, watching him with Teddy, and decided he wouldn't say anything. Obviously Remus had been disoriented last night. He was missing his dead wife. Best not to bring it up, make it worse.
Harry turned and said, "good morning," and indicated the tea and the paper, then moved Teddy into the playpen by the window, before fixing Remus' breakfast. Remus moved in a daze the way he usually did in the first few days after his transformation, but seemed otherwise the same as usual.
It wasn't until Harry put down his plate of bacon and eggs that he laid his hand on Harry's wrist and caught his eye. A burst of something like electricity shot through him at the touch, followed by a wave of guilt. Harry tried his best to suppress both.
Remus started to say, "I'm sorry about last night. I… I was…"
"Confused…?" Harry offered. That was not the worst thing. 'Mistaken' might have been. Or 'immediately filled with shame and regret,' that would probably have been worse.
"Yes," Remus nodded, staring into his tea.
Harry took a deep breath a gazed over at Teddy, cheerfully grasping at the mobile hanging over his playpen. He steeled himself to ask what he needed to know.
"Confused because you thought I was her? Or confused because you knew I wasn't?"
Remus frowned thoughtfully, as though the distinction hadn't occurred to him until now.
At length he offered, "I don't know."
"Ok," Harry nodded, and tried to smile.
Christmas at Burrow was overwhelming as always. They flooed over for Christmas dinner around one on Christmas Day. In attendance were Bill and a heavily pregnant Fleur, Charlie and his boyfriend, Percy and his girlfriend, George, Ron, Hermione and her parents (newly retrieved from Australia), Ginny, Dean, Luna and her father, Neville and his Grandmother, Andromeda Tonks, and other assorted Order members who came and went.
Despite the crowd, Fred and Arthur... and Tonks... were conspicuously absent.
Amidst dinner, games, crackers, presents, and an impromptu Quidditch match, it was utter chaos. Unfortunately Teddy, at 8 months, wasn't able to sleep through the noise anymore. Hermione and Fleur fawned over him until he was so cranky that no one but Remus could settle him. Eventually they put him to sleep in a crib upstairs.
Once the crowd had thinned, and people had spread out between the den and the kitchen, Harry found Remus seated in front of the fire with Ginny.
He was about to walk up, but stopped himself to listen in the doorway, unobserved.
"He's so young," Remus was saying.
"He's not much younger than she was," she answered, smiling.
"Yes, but this is... different..." He shrugged, and then added under his breath, "I wouldn't even know what to do."
"I'm pretty sure he would, though," she smirked, and Remus blushed. He took a large swig from the glass in his hand and at length he turned back to her,
"Can I ask you something?" She nodded. "How can you be so sure? I mean, he's never said… he's always been so discrete… I would never have thought..."
She smiled, "I dated him. Believe me, I'm sure. What's more: he's sure."
"But what if I'm not… sure...?"
"Well you won't know if you don't try, right?" she answered cheerily, and got up to fetch herself another drink. Harry stood watching the man in front of the fire, puzzling.
They flooed home earlier than most, citing the baby, and making several rounds of farewells. Remus, as always, insisted Harry needn't leave so soon on their account, and Harry, as always, ignored him and came home anyway.
Harry tucked Teddy into his crib and closed the nursery door just as Remus was coming up the stairs laden with gifts from the party. Their eyes met, and Harry braved a smile,
"Happy Christmas, Harry."
Harry moved to help him and together they managed to drag all of the baby clothes, charmed rattles, and animated story-books into a corner of Remus' bedroom, before they collapsed onto the foot of the bed. Harry looked over at Remus, marvelling at the hard line of his jaw, and the way the moonlight lit up the grey along his temples.
Remus turned toward him and met his eyes. They stared for several long seconds and Harry felt an ache in his chest and it was almost too much to bear to sit there beside him.
Remus turned away first, saying, "Harry, I… " but he didn't finish.
"It's ok." Harry tried to sound relaxed, patting his knee in a gesture he hoped was reassuring, not intrusive. He moved to stand up, his fingers withdrawing from Remus' leg, when a cold hand caught his and pressed it down again. He sat and looked again at Remus, searching his eyes for a sign, for permission, for something.
But he was too impatient to wait. Instead he brought a hand up to rest on Remus' cheek, brushing a lock of his fringe out of his eyes before cupping his stubbled jaw and running a thumb over his soft bottom lip. Remus' eyes closed then, and a hand floated beside Harry's face as if he wanted to, but was afraid to touch.
The hand dropped limp in his lap, and Remus sighed, and Harry sighed, too.
He moved to go, but then turned back and leaned in close enough to brush against Remus' ear and whispered,
"Come find me."
It wasn't until three days later that Remus finally came to him. Harry hadn't been in bed more than a few minutes before he heard the door creaking and soft footfalls across his floor. A rush of cold air as the blanket was lifted; the warm weight of a body sliding in beside him.
He turned and moved closer to the warmth, hands gliding over wiry chest hair and broad, sloping shoulders, lips brushing over rough stubble until he found a warm mouth. He ran his tongue over a soft bottom lip. Remus gasped and Harry pressed their mouths together, gently probing, his hand running up to brush his fingers over the soft hair at the back of Remus' neck, pulling him closer, and suddenly Remus was kissing him back, his hand running over Harry's shoulder, stroking down his back, and Harry moaned and rolled them over, settling between Remus' legs and kissing down his neck and along his collarbone. Both men were wearing pyjama bottoms, but Harry hesitated to remove them just yet. Then Remus began rutting up against him and he felt the hard line of his arousal against his belly. Immediately he lined his own erection up with Remus' and thrust. Remus groaned and bucked his hips, his fingers grasping at the waist of Harry pants, tugging on the silk, and in a fumble of fingers and fabric, they were freed.
Harry settled himself between Remus' legs again, sitting back this time and grasping Remus' cock, stroking slowly, firmly. Remus thrust up into his hand, his eyes closed and Harry was struck by how much younger his face looked just then.
Harry whispered a cleaning charm and dragged two spit-slicked fingers down over Remus' perineum to run gentle circles around his wrinkled entrance, before scooting back and leaning down. He pushed Remus' legs up and apart, and leaned in to lick broad wet strokes over his hole. Finally he drew a finger down again and pressed gently, and then Remus was bearing down against the pressure and whimpering softly, and when Harry breached him with first one, then two fingers, probing in search of that pleasure point inside him, Remus gave a low, feral growl, and Harry couldn't wait any longer.
He summoned a jar from the bedside table and slicked his aching cock, brushing it across Remus' entrance, but Remus tensed, and scrambled away from him, eyes wide and face flushed even in the darkness.
Harry backed away, sure he'd spoiled his chance, but wanting to be reassuring.
"I'm sorry, I should've…" he began, but Remus cut him off,
"No, no I… I want to, I mean… I think I do… I've just never..." He said, quietly, looking away.
Harry smiled. "Tell you what, I'll go first, shall I?"
And without waiting for an answer, Harry moved toward him, kissing him and pressing him back down onto the bed, then sat up and grasped his cock again. He ran his still-slick fingers back toward his own entrance, closing his eyes and holding his breath as he breached himself. He looked up to see that Remus was watching him wide-eyed, and he smiled as he slipped a second finger in, curving his back to fit them far enough and thrusting them slowly in rhythm with the hand still stroking Remus' cock.
Finally he removed them and leaned forward to capture Remus' mouth as he climbed up to straddle him. Slowly, he lowered himself onto Remus' shaft, allowing his muscles to relax and adjust, pulling him in until Harry was painfully, but pleasantly, full. Remus groaned at the pressure, and Harry began to move, slowly at first, then more forcefully. It had been months for him, and his thighs were quickly sore, but all he minded was the expression of intense pleasure on Remus' face, and the sharp bursts that jolted through him when the angle was just right. He was already teetering too close to the edge, and he had to grip the base of his cock to keep himself from coming. Finally, he felt Remus' strong hands on his hips, stilling him as he thrust up, and Harry felt himself filled with his hot seed.
Before Remus could protest, Harry pulled off of him, and began probing Remus' entrance again. He prepared him slowly and methodically, counting on Remus' post-orgasmic haze to relax his muscles and his inhibitions. When he couldn't wait another second, he sat up and pressed against that tight, virgin entrance, then leaned forward to kiss Remus deeply as he slowly, carefully entered him. Remus gasped and Harry struggled to hold still as the muscles of pure, wet heat rippled around him.
He breathed slowly, and gradually Remus relaxed, but still he waited, until Remus growled low into his ear,"move." And he did.
It took Harry only a few thrusts to find his prostate, and when he did Remus actually cried out and bit the side of his hand, "gods… what is... oh, oh…. fuck yes." Harry looked down to see his cock was fully hard again. He thrust faster now, driving deeply. He would have liked to last longer: too soon he felt his orgasm rolling over him and he reached down to stoke Remus as he released everything, all of himself, into the man beneath him, this man who shared his home, and his life, now. A minute later Remus came, again, and they rocked gently, riding out the pleasure until it was too much.
Harry collapsed and barely had the presence of mind to mutter wandless cleaning charms on both of them before he rolled off and lay down beside Remus, who was still panting.
A whispered, "wow," floated over to him through his haze.
He chuckled, "yeah."
They were silent for a long time, until Remus began, "Harry, I… what does this...?" but he didn't seem to know what to ask, or how.
Harry merely kissed him and pulled the covers up over them before rolling onto his back to sleep.
"Teddy'll be up again in three hours," he said, "it can wait."
Remus chuckled and rolled over on this stomach, but he reached out and wrapped a hand around Harry's upper arm, and Harry smiled, pressing into the touch. They fell asleep almost instantly.