A/N: Originally posted at LiveJournal's rs_games for the 2010 round. Go Team AU! In response to prompt 22. I think there are a couple points where the tenses get a bit uneven - I wasn't sure if I was going to do it in present or past until right at the end. My apologies. This story contains mentions of past drug use and randy teenagers. You have been warned.
Going on Fifteen
"Harry has a girlfriend."
Harry's supposed to be going upstairs now to put away his things. Remus picked him up at King's Cross for Christmas hols a couple hours ago and then took him for lunch. Usually it's Sirius who comes to get him. They have strict rules. Now he's allowed to talk to Ron and Hermione about Remus, but no one else. Remus was his tutor, he's supposed to say. Old family friend. He's not supposed to say that Remus lives with him and Sirius and shares Sirius's bedroom and always has.
The law that says that gay wizards can be in the Aurors, even the Medical Corps, already got rejected by the Wizengamot twice. So he's never ever to say that Remus is like a dad to him as much as Sirius is. Or that Remus is maybe a bit more like a mum, because his friends' mums were the ones that stayed home with them when they were little like Remus did with Harry.
Remus was the one to pick Harry up at the platform today. He didn't explain properly why Sirius couldn't come, but it was something to do with work, which means someone probably got hurt and the Auror Medical Corps got called in - and if Remus won't tell him, it means it was probably something especially gruesome.
He hadn't seen Sirius on the platform when he'd done it. If he'd known he ought to be looking for Remus instead, he wouldn't have been caught. He hadn't even been sure Remus had seen because he hadn't said anything all through lunch.
"Harry has a girlfriend," Remus says in a hushed voice, but Harry can still hear him from the bottom of the stairs. He shouldn't eavesdrop, but it's about him, so he has a right to know what they're saying.
He can tell Sirius is startled by the news even though he can't see him. "Did he tell you that?"
"No. I saw them kissing on the platform." Remus chuckles. Harry doesn't see what's so funny. It wasn't like they'd been full on snogging in front of everybody's parents! It had only been quick. "He's quite the gentleman," Remus goes on. "He helped her get her luggage off the train."
"Who is she?" Sirius asks.
"I didn't get an introduction," Remus says. There's something a bit hard and hurt about his voice. It's not like Harry could introduce her, it's against the rules, but he doesn't think the bitterness is directed at him anyway. "Chinese girl carrying Ravenclaw Quidditch gear - she's their Seeker, isn't she? We've got game programmes about the house somewhere, I'm sure we can find out her name..."
Ron says sometimes that it must be pretty cool having two blokes for parents instead of a mum and a dad. Ron says that because he reckons his mum is a bit crazy and always in his business. Harry ought to tell him that Remus and Sirius are just as meddlesome as anyone's nosy mum.
"I remember her," Sirius says. "Quite a good flier. Not a match for Harry, mind, but then you don't see many teenagers who are..."
"Quite pretty too." Harry isn't sure what to make of the tone of Remus's voice. While it's always easy for Harry to tell what Sirius is thinking from the look on his face or the way he speaks, Remus is never so expressive. Harry wishes he could see his face, to see if he can make sense of the strange tightness he hears, but if he pokes his head around the wall that separates the sitting room from the stairs, they might see him and stop talking.
"Don't start that now..." Sirius warns. "He's got good sense for his age."
"I don't find that the least bit comforting. Good sense for a teenage boy is hardly the same as good sense."
Sirius chuckles. "He has better sense than we had. How about that?" There's a pause and then Sirius's voice is more serious when he adds, "He's fourteen. Whatever he has with that girl, I'm sure it's perfectly innocent."
Remus sighs. "I suppose I think of us at fourteen and ... well, I worry."
"I take exception to that." Sirius's voice has that tone he gets when he's teasing. "We weren't so bad at fourteen. It was fifteen that really killed us. And sixteen. Dear Merlin, we were all a mess at sixteen."
"Are you telling me the worst is still to come?" Unimpressed. That's one expression Remus does do very well, and Harry can almost see the way one of his eyebrows arches up. It's the look he gives Harry and Sirius all the time when they find a way to skive off helping clean the kitchen after dinner. "I find that less than comforting."
"I very much doubt he's going to experiment with hard drugs or get a tattoo on his arse."
Harry's heard them argue about drugs before. He has very vague memories of going to stay with Remus's mum in Yorkshire for a while when he was very little because Sirius was 'ill'. He was eight when he found a small bag full of what looked like funny floo powder in Sirius's shoe. Remus had sent him to his room, but they didn't put up a silencing spell, and he'd heard when they'd had a huge row that night. They didn't row very often. Squabble, maybe, but not proper rows like that one. Remus was always a good listener, but that night he'd shouted over Sirius every time he said he just had it, he hadn't used it. Stop lying. Harry and Remus stayed home that time, but Sirius was in hospital for nearly a month.
He doesn't really want to know about the tattoo on Sirius's arse.
"You did a fair bit more than experiment with drugs," Remus says. And his voice has that tightness to it again, the way it sounds when it almost seems like he's got some kind of emotion in his voice, but Harry can never tell quite what emotion. "And the tattoo on your arse wasn't the only one you had by the time we left school."
"And Harry isn't going to do drugs and he isn't going to come home covered in ill-advised tattoos. He's a good kid."
Remus doesn't answer for a moment. Then, "I recall that I did quite a brilliant impression of a 'good kid' at one point."
There's a heaviness to Sirius's voice, like he's tired. "Let's not, okay? Harry's not you. He's got a solid idea of the distinction between sex and love."
"And he's got a pretty girlfriend," Remus says, like that proves something. "And he's fourteen, and if it's not on his mind constantly right now, it will be soon."
Suddenly Harry feels horrified. Because they're talking about ... that. About Remus and that, and even worse, about him and that. And it was embarrassing enough when Sirius sat down and tried to explain to him, using all the correct medical terminology like Harry was one of his patients, just where babies came from and how important it was to love someone before you had sex, to wait and be ready. Harry wasn't even sure what being ready meant, but if it warranted that huge, embarrassing discussion, he thought it was probably more than having dreams about Cho and waking up a bit sticky.
It is on his mind pretty constantly, but he's never done it. And he definitely doesn't want his parents talking about him thinking about it or doing it.
"He's not you," Sirius is saying, "and he's not me. He's a good kid. He's a happy kid. He doesn't have to get high or shag every bloke or bird who'll have him in order to feel good about himself."
Harry can hear them shifting on the sofa. And then Remus asks, in a voice so soft Harry almost can't hear him, "You really think he's happy?"
"Yes." Sirius doesn't hesitate. "But I think if you fret this much over him growing up and learning to make his own choices, you're going to give him a complex he never would've had otherwise."
Remus sighs. And then everything goes very quiet. Too quiet for too long and Harry almost thinks they've gone to the kitchen except he would have heard them get up and walk away. He peeks around the corner into the sitting room. Sirius has his hand on Remus's cheek and they're kissing - not really moving at all, just leaning in toward each other with their eyes closed and lips gently pressed together.
And when Remus pulls away, Harry doesn't think he's ever seen him show that much emotion on his face - just for a second. And then it's gone and Remus suddenly turns and looks at Harry peering around the corner and cocks his head to the side. Like he knows Harry's been listening.
"Things all put away?" he asks.
"Almost," Harry says.
Sirius gives him a wide grin. "Well, hurry up. I was thinking curry for dinner, d'you think?"
"Brilliant," Harry says.
Remus is still giving him an odd look, but all he says is, "I'll floo for the curry. You finish putting your things away and both of you get washed up." He rests his hand on Sirius's shoulder for just a moment, then gets up and heads for the floo.
Sirius comes over to the stairs and doesn't say anything when he can obviously see that none of Harry's things have made it up to his room.
"So, how's fourth year so far?" he asks as he ruffles Harry's hair and picks up his Quidditch bag. "Not spending all your time skiving off to play Quidditch and snog pretty girls, are you? That's fifth year business, you know..."