I have sent this chapter off to my beta Poison Pineapple, but decided to post it here unbeta'ed as this is one of the few HP sites in which I can. I will be posting the beta'ed version Ao3 and Granger Enchanted. I own nothing and make no money.
"Don't wanna go!"
Remus looked at his son's defiantly set features with exasperated affection. His hair had turned a turnip shade to match the color swiftly suffusing the little boys face. He heaved a sigh before saying, "Teddy, your Grammy has been looking forward to your visit all week long." Hoping to appeal to his son's better nature he added, "Do you really want to disappoint her?"
Remus saw a flash of uncertainty in his son's eyes, but it was quickly dispelled by a renewed grim determination. As if to emphasize that determination, he crossed his tiny arms over his chest and stated, "No, but I still don't wanna go."
The harassed father sighed tiredly again before sitting down on the bed next to his fuming boy. The little begger sure was being stubborn. Remus' lips twitched into a small, sad smile. When Teddy was like this, he reminded him so much of Dora. That woman had been the epitome of stubborn, and nothing and no one could sway her from her purpose when she'd set her mind to something. Thank, Merlin she'd been as stubborn as she had been, or the little lad with his red-hued head turned resolutely away from him would not exist.
It would have been a tragedy of sorts because his son had been his salvation, and he would be forever grateful to the wonderful witch who'd given birth to him. Thinking of Dora was still painful Remus couldn't deny it, and he missed her every day, but it was no longer the debilitating ache it had once been. Time and Teddy had taken the initial sharp sting of her absence from his soul. Besides, who could be miserable with the likes of Sirius around to liven things up?
Harry – the ever doting godfather – had been another source of comfort but in an entirely different manner. He'd been invaluable in giving Remus much needed rest in Teddy's infant days. Those days, those long lonely days (and nights) when Remus barely functioned due to Dora's absence had been trying. Harry had been a bloody godsend; feeding and walking the floorboards with Teddy while he whimpered and wailed. Colic Molly had called it, but Remus himself had thought it more likely that the child had been feeling the effects of losing the warmth and tenderness of his mum.
Remus lightly tugged on a wayward tuft, and when his mulish son didn't jerk away, he ruffled the fine, soft tresses so like his own. Speaking quietly, he asked, "What's wrong? Why don't you want to go? I thought you always had a good time at Grammy's."
"I do," Teddy huffily agreed, and then added, "but, I'll miss 'Mione."
Remus' forehead creased into a worried frown. This was not good, not good at all. At first, Remus hadn't been at all concerned by Teddy's growing attachment to their female housemate. Of late, Teddy had been getting more and more proprietary of her time and attention. It was sweet and really cute to see, but alarming when one thought about the inevitable repercussions. Hermione was such a warm and loving woman, so Remus couldn't fault Teddy on his staunch devotion to her. The entire household had gotten a lift from her presence. She was an out-and-out amazing witch in countless ways. Still, it unnerved him a bit at just how doggedly devoted his son had become. Hermione, incredible though she was, was bound to leave Grimmauld one day; it was inevitable. The aftermath of her departure was something that Remus had come to dread because his marvelous, sweet boy was going to be heartbroken.
Remus knew that for the benefit of all that he held dear that he should discourage this flourishing attachment. He just couldn't bring himself to do it. Teddy had known only Andromeda as a steady female influence in his narrow little life. Dora's mum had done everything in her power to maintain close ties with her grandson. Unfortunately, it couldn't compete with the daily impact of Hermione Granger. Teddy absolutely worshipped the ground upon which she walked.
"Listen, my lad," Remus began, trying to sound somewhat stern, "You're going to your grandmother's and that is final."
Teddy – arms still defiantly crossed – turned to his father and with touching vulnerability asked, "Can 'Mione come too?" It took Remus completely off guard. "She tells the bestest stories, dad! Not only that, when she's done she stays till I fall asleep. Sometimes she sings to me; her voice is so pretty. Don't you think 'Mione's pretty, dad?"
Remus, who was still trying to process his son's stupefying request, managed to utter confusedly, "Yes, yes, I do."
"I'm gonna marry her someday," Teddy proudly announced, smiling widely.
Ruffling his hair affectionately, Remus asked with a grin of his own, "Don't you think you're a little young to be thinking of marriage?"
Guilelessly, Teddy informed him, "Mrs. Weasley said she wants me to marry, Victoire." Remus' eyebrows shot up. This was news to him. "I heard her telling Fleur it would be an eye-deal match and that our children would be mensely gifted."
Would Molly never tire of her matchmaking ways, Remus wondered, annoyed that she was already trying to pair off his only child and with a Weasley no less. Personally, Remus had nothing against being tied by marriage to the Weasley clan, but it was far too early to be contemplating such things. They were children for Merlin sake, and Remus was bound and determined that Teddy get the full childhood experience. There would be no growing up before his time, not the way Hermione and the boys had to do!
Screwing his face up into a look of disgust, Teddy continued, "I don't wanna marry her. She's always following me round and pesterin' me. She's no fun at all!" Scrunching up his nose, he added, "She smells funny too."
Remus chuckled. Although Victoire was only five years of age, she was a true daughter of Fleur. Not only was she the spitting image of her blonde beauty of a mother, but she was every bit as feminine and girly. Just recently she had discovered the joys of perfume.
"You can put all thoughts of matrimony aside, my lad," Remus declared with a grin. "It will be a good long time before I'm ready to give you up to someone else regardless of whether she smells good or not."
Looking up at his father with solemn blue eyes, Teddy asked, "Do you ever think about getting married again? Mrs. Weasley says you ought to." Damn that Molly! Had the woman no sense at all? "She says you're a fine wizard, and it's a shame that you're stuck here with Sirius." Cocking his head to the side, Teddy asked, "Doesn't Mrs. Weasley like, Sirius?"
Again, Remus was taken off guard. Molly was usually able to keep her disdain of Sirius well under wraps around others. Either she was talking considerably too freely when Teddy was about, and he'd picked up conversations not meant for his young ears, or his son was intuitive beyond his years. Remus carefully and thoughtfully put together as diplomatic a response as he could muster.
"I wouldn't say that Mrs. Weasley dislikes Sirius…"
A barking laugh from the doorway drew both occupants notice. "Come now, old boy, we both know the batty harridan loathes the very air I breath."
"Sirius," Remus warned while casting a quick glance at his son who was looking at Sirius with far too many questions in his eyes.
"What?" His friend demanded with false innocence as he leisurely strolled into the room. "You know as well as I do that the Weasley matriarch only tolerates me because of Harry. Not only that, ever since Hermione's come to us that interfering, prune-faced cow has been plotting a way to get our girl to take back her wastrel of a son."
"Sirius," Remus rasped out again. Although, his oldest mate spoke the truth, he firmly believed that running each other down would help no one.
Leaning with casual elegance against the wall, Sirius replied with a glint of humor in his eyes, "As you wish, Moony. I do feel I must tell you that this soft spot you have for dear, dear Molly not only grates on my nerves, but churns my stomach to an alarming extent."
Instead of answering Sirius, Remus turned a smiling visage to Teddy and suggested, "Why don't you go to the library and gather a few books to take with you. You know Grammy enjoys reading to you."
Arms still crossed, Teddy hopped from the bed, huffing petulantly, "She's not as good at it as 'Mione." Stomping away he continued to mutter quietly about the ways and whys that Hermione was superior in every way to that of Andromeda.
"He sure has got it bad," Sirius remarked with a fond smirk. "Not that I blame him. Hermione is awfully remarkable."
"Yes, he does and yes, she is," was Remus' low, too serious reply. "I'm worried that after she's gone, Teddy will take it badly."
Hitching up a dark brow Sirius asked, sounding amused, "Planning on throwing her out, then?"
"Of course not," Remus scoffed. "The benefits of her presence here with Teddy have been incalculable. She's opened up all whole new world for him."
Shrugging, Sirius pointed out, "That's the case for us all. She's been a breath of much needed fresh air barring the nasty circumstances which brought her to our humble abode."
"Regardless of how wonderful it's been," Remus argued, "I'm concerned for Teddy's well-being once Hermione gets herself together and then leaves us."
Nodding his head, Sirius answered sounding conciliatory, "I get that, mate honestly I do, but don't you think you're borrowing trouble?"
"Perhaps," Remus conceded slowly before adding, "Even so, there will come a time when Hermione will get over what happened with Ron and take up with some other, more deserving wizard."
"Ah-ha," Sirius exclaimed, pointing an accusatory finger at best friend. "You do think Hermione deserves better than that aimless twat. I knew it."
Remus ran a hand through his overly long hair, before replying, "I've got nothing against him per se, but yes, I do believe Hermione does deserve better than the likes of Ronald Weasley."
Pouting slightly, Sirius asked, "Why didn't you ever say so? I've walked around for years citing the whys and where-to-for's of the heinous tragedy of the relationship between the two, and you've acted as if they were meant to be. Hell, you've even told me to shut my trap about it, and all along you've been against it?! Why didn't you say something?"
Remus wished Sirius would let it drop. He'd already exhausted his somewhat low energy forces on trying to convince Teddy to go to Andromeda's. The full moon was only a few days away, and tiredness was one of the symptoms of the impending transformation. Remus didn't want to hash this out now, but when Sirius got hold of a notion he was like a dog with a bone.
"I suppose," Remus began reluctantly, "I was just trying to support Hermione's choice. She's my friend, Sirius and as much as I might have disagreed with that choice, I still felt I owed that much to her."
Sirius remained silent, but gave Remus a hard look that spoke volumes.
"The Weasley's aren't bad people," Remus pointed out reasonably before saying, "That's not taking into account that they might have spoiled their two youngest a tad." Sirius snorted. "Believe me, if I thought Hermione would have paid my reservations any mind, I would've have offered my thoughts on the matter."
Nodding his head thoughtfully, Sirius replied ruefully, "It is doubtful that she would have heeded your warning; that girl's as stubborn as a testy Hippogriff."
Remus laughing answered back, "As you have had every reason to know. Personal experience with Hermione's temper and stubborn ways seem to be your lot in life."
Chuckling, Sirius asked, "Can I help it if she's a perfect object to tease? She's loads of fun to mess with, and besides, I think it cheers her up to let loose on me. I don't take it personally. How can I when I set out to rile her?"
Shaking his head from side-to-side, Remus said in bemusement, "You sure do have an odd way of bringing her out of her slump I'll grant you that. Still, I'm going to have to agree with you because I also think Hermione secretly enjoys all the conflict you precipitate." Changing the trajectory of the conversation, Remus inquired, "How's Harry?"
Sirius' face twisted into a frown. "Well, as you know, he only comes out of his room when Hermione's either out of the house or in her own bedroom. I'm worried about him, mate. He's been moping for days, and beating himself up endlessly over his argument with Hermione."
"They've had their issues over the years, and managed to get passed them," Remus remarked casually. "Has Harry confided in you?"
"He has." Sirius admitted.
"And?" On seeing his friend's serious expression, Remus quickly added, "If Harry's asked for your confidence on the subject, then I completely understand. I apologize for prying."
Quirking an eyebrow, Sirius answered, "He hasn't asked me to keep silent on it. I'm just concerned that what happened might have irreparably damaged their friendship."
Remus' own eyebrows shot up at this shocking statement. "Maybe not," he answered back in an attempt to lighten the solemnity of the situation. "Hermione has a remarkable capacity to forgive those who are closest to her heart. Harry certainly falls into that category."
"True," Sirius agreed. "Let's see if you still believe that after I've told you what he's done."
Remus listened intently as Sirius laid it all out for him. It hadn't been a significant revelation to hear that Harry'd been harboring a long-standing crush. However, he let out a groan of disbelief when his best mate got to the part where Harry had told Hermione that Ron's indiscretion hadn't been a one-off; that he'd been cheating on her for years.
"How in Merlin's name could Harry have been so stupid," Remus bit out, torn between exasperation and anger at the young man.
"He said that part slipped out in the heat of the moment," Sirius explained. "I realize what he's done is horrible, but I can't help but feel sorry for the lad. He's truly repentant and fears that Hermione won't ever forgive him."
Clicking his tongue, Remus answered back, "He could have just told her of his crush and left Ron out of it."
"He could, and should have left Arthur's moronic offspring out of it, "Sirius agreed. "Unfortunately, it's too late for could've and should've."
Sighing, Remus said, "He may have made a significant misstep, but I can't fault Harry on his crush." Sirius' brow shot up again. Flushing slightly, Remus retorted defensively, "What? I'm not blind you know, and I admire many of Hermione's fine intellectual attributes." The Animagus dropped his eyes to the floor but couldn't contain his satisfied smirk. "It isn't as if you haven't noticed her either, so you can quit with the smirking."
Grinning widely, Sirius drawled, "She's easy on the eye and I've always enjoyed looking at pretty things. I'm also not denying that there's more to her than that fabulous bod." He tacked on after observing Remus' censorious glare. "Fact is, I've been waiting for you to declare your intentions."
Remus couldn't have been more startled than if Sirius informed him that a cure for Lycanthropy had been discovered.
"The only 'intentions' I have for Hermione is of the friendship variety!"
"Come on," Sirius good-naturedly answered back, "My beady eyes aren't the only ones following her about. You've also made it a habit to go lurking around Teddy's bedroom door at night after you've been banned from the room by your son. On top of that, you sit with her in the library for hours on end."
"She tells fascinating bedtime stories," Remus defended himself. "As for the library, well… we like to talk about the books we're reading. It's nice to have someone to discuss such things with because Merlin knows you haven't cracked a book since our school days."
"Whatever," Sirius dismissed his accusation airily. "You'd better make your move soon because a woman of Hermione's caliber won't be free for long."
"I wouldn't dream of 'making a move' on Hermione," Remus refuted. Blushing once more he added hesitantly, "It would be far too soon for that, and she's highly vulnerable at the moment. It would be immoral to take advantage of her fractured state of mind and emotions."
Frowning, Sirius pointed out, "Your gallantry – while gallant and completely in tune with your nature – could end up being your undoing. I have it on fine authority that more than one eligible wizard either has plans or is formulating a plan on winning our girls' affection."
Remus wasn't too surprised to discover that other wizards were interested in wooing the charming witch. What did shock him was the fact that they were actually going to make their intentions known to her. Clearly, they weren't as concerned at the indelicacy of such a move at this point in Hermione's life as he was.
"Yes, really," Sirius shot back snarkily. "Whilst Harry was pouring his heart out to me on the events that precipitated Hermione's latest crying spree, he let slip that Hermione has had coffee very recently with Viktor Krum."
"Oh," was all Remus said, sounding dejected.
The only person, who seemed to have been oblivious to how much the famous Seeker had been gone on Hermione all those years ago, had been Hermione. If he were back, what chance did an aging werewolf have against a familiar fancy?
"Did I happen to mention that I had a drink or two with Amos Diggory last week," Sirius asked, adding to Remus' confusion. It was difficult enough trying to process the information on Viktor Krum. Continuing on, Sirius explained, "I hear from Amos that his outlandishly handsome son has all ready made a move on Hermione. Just the usual flirting and chatting her up here and there for the moment. By all accounts – Amos' that is – Cedric plans on asking to be her escort at the upcoming Ministry soiree."
Remus' breath escaped him in a long rush. "That's it then, I mean there was very little hope to begin with, but with Viktor and Cedric making a case for Hermione's hand; what chance does an old wreck like me have? Then, there's Harry. It's clear that he'd like to alter their platonic relationship, and I certainly wouldn't want to stand in the way. Quite honestly, they make terrific sense."
Rolling his eyes, Sirius chided gently, "I'm thinking that owl has already flown the Owlery. Besides, you have plenty to recommend you, and you've got to stop worrying about other blokes; including Harry. If you honestly have feelings for Hermione, you can't let yourself be put off by some ridiculous sense of chivalry, or some batty notion that you're not worthy."
Slowly, Remus got to his feet. Then countered with a wry, "What about you, Padfoot? All of this teasing, and picking on Hermione, remind me of our Third Year when you played all those awful tricks on Athenia Olymprius." Sirius' dark brows drew together tightly in annoyance. "You weren't fooling either James or me with all that nastiness and constant belly-aching about her either. You wanted her to notice and like you." Ignoring his friend's death glare, Remus continued, "You've been doing the same sort of thing with Hermione."
Crossing his arms over the wide expanse of his bare chest, Sirius answered defensively, "Hermione is fun to tease.End of story. Perhaps my stint in prison has stunted my emotional growth." Remus' face twisted into a slightly sad smile. Put out by this, Sirius blurted out sarcastically, "So, go ahead and alert the Wizengamot and perhaps they'll throw me back into Azkaban for using such infantile tactics to gain the attention off a pretty witch."
"Don't even joke about such a thing," Remus remarked emphatically, horrified at his friend's suggestion.
"Then don't go about feeling sorry for my past plight, you dunderhead," Sirius shot back acidly. "It's quite disagreeable as I've put that part of my miserable life behind me."
"You brought it up," Remus pointed out with a slight edge of amusement.
"Yes, well, I'm a dunderhead too," Sirius muttered absently. "Truth is Hermione wouldn't look at me as any anything other than the ultimate wayward Marauder with a Peter Pan complex."
"Peter Pan complex?!" Remus blurted out, eyes widening is astonishment. "Where in Merlin's beard have you heard the notion of a Peter Pan complex?"
"I do read occasionally, y'know," Sirius bit out waspishly. "Bit difficult not to when Hermione leaves piles of her books wherever she pleases." Remus was struck speechless. "I may have flipped through a few; purely out of curiosity, and only a snippet here and there. I don't plan on making it a habit, nor do I have ambitions on taking over as the resident swot." Cocking his head to the side, Sirius added derisively, "You and Hermione have that title down in spades, so no fear there."
"Padfoot, you never cease to amaze," Remus said, laughter glinting in his light blue eyes. "With all this Peter Pan business I'm going to assume that you're of the belief that Hermione would prefer to mother and or discipline you versus snog you senseless."
Glancing down at his crossed ankles, Sirius replied sounding morose, "That about sums it up in a nutshell."
"Would you want to snog her," Remus asked, curiosity piqued. "Because it sounds as if you would like to."
Sirius hesitated for a moment, then spoke slowly and softly, "Don't be daft, of course I would. As well as being easy on the eye, she's got tremendous wit and is one of the few people that can intelligently keep up with my bawdy repartee." Grinning in a devil-may-care manner, he flippantly tacked on, "She even manages to make be blush every now and again. Who wouldn't want to snog such an enchanting combination within an inch of her life?"
"Agreed," Remus returned readily. Giving his friend a calculating look, he commented, "You're still quite good-looking, you know." Sirius flipped his shoulder length hair back from his face pretending to preen. Remus ignored the self-satisfied gesture. "You've also got a well-maintained form along with considerable charm and charisma."
Sighing dramatically, Sirius struck another pose before bemoaning plaintively, "I know. It's a curse I shall have to bear till the end of my days, no doubt."
Laughter bubbled up from Remus spilling over into uncontrollable guffaws interspersed with breathy wheezing. It took a few minutes to catch his breath, and when he did, he chortled jokingly, "You might want to work on your self-esteem issues, mate. It isn't good to be walking about with so low of an opinion of your own self."
"My ego takes plenty of beating at the tiny, exquisite hands of Hermione Granger, thank you very much." Narrowing stormy, grey eyes, Sirius spat out, "Hermione, unlike Molly, does it with good intentions; she's out to save my sorry soul. Molly's just a right royal bi…"
"Sirius!" "Remus cut him off frantically as Teddy's light brown head popped round the corner of the doorway. Sirius bit his lip in vexation, and was clearly frustrated at having been forestalled. Fortunately, good bloke that he was, he remained silent out of respect for Teddy's delicate ears. "Ready to go," Remus asked, wondering why his son was hovering half in and half out of the room.
"Spect so," Teddy answered back, reluctance at leaving still gracing the features remarkably similar to his mum's. "Just gotta put my books in my trunk." So saying, Teddy gave a giant heave, and it was then that Remus understood his son's dilemma. Huffing and puffing the tiny boy pulled and pulled until the sack, which must have been carrying a heap load of books, finally made it past the doorway.
"I hope you left at least two books in the library, sport. Otherwise, your dad's going to be miserable the entire week-end."
Sending Sirius a scathing look, Teddy informed him haughtily, "Mione says books aren't just paper and words. 'Mione says books are friends too, and since I can't take 'Mione with me I'm gonna take some other friends to keep me company. It's so I won't miss her as much." Teddy's lower lip began to tremble in an alarmingly familiar way, and then he admitted in a choked voice full of unshed tears, "I don't think it'll work though. I'm still gonna miss her something frightful."
Sirius and Remus shared a helpless, concerned glance; both knowing that, without a doubt, Teddy spoke aloud the words that all the residents at number 12 Grimmauld Place had been harboring in their hearts.
I hope you enjoyed!