"You promise you won't distract them? You know what the twins are like, it doesn't take much."
Sirius kissed Remus on the forehead. Harry made a disgusted face. "Eww kissing is icky! I'm never going to do it." He squealed with laughter as Sirius picked him up and tickled him before planting slobbery kisses all over the little boy's face. "Make him stop! Make him stop!"
Remus just laughed. "See this is what I mean, you can't even walk up the garden path without creating a scene! How are you going to sit still for the entire morning?"
"Aww come on Remus. I was just teaching Harry a lesson. He'll soon change his mind about kissing." Then in a stage whisper he added, "I think Ginny likes him. You know what Potters are like with red-heads." Harry pulled tongues at Sirius who pulled one back.
"Which one of you is the child again?" Sirius glanced at Harry with a wicked gleam in his eye and Remus paled. Sometimes Sirius thought Harry knew his mind just as well as James had. "Oh no! Don't you even think-" His words were cut short as he was driven to the ground by Sirius and Harry who tickled him mercilessly. After a few minutes they eased up and released him.
"Both of you, clearly," Remus panted as he tried to regain his breath.
"Don't you forget it." Sirius smirked and pulled Remus to his feet. "I promise I will not distract them at all. I just want to see Professor Lupin in action. Ok?"
"Fine." Remus gave in. "As long as it's ok with Molly."
"You'd better teach something interesting. You know how easily I get bored."
"Isn't that what I was just saying to keep you from watching? Don't worry, I have to come up with some interesting techniques to keep the twins engaged, I'm sure they'll work with you too. I don't envy their teachers when they get to Hogwarts."
They paused at the door to the Burrow and knocked. Remus had been teaching the Weasley children along with Harry for a month now and Sirius knew he loved it. It was something the man never thought he would get the opportunity to do, and whilst he was not paid well, Sirius recognized that Remus was more than happy to accept the food Molly provided and free childcare for Harry whenever Remus and Sirius wanted some alone time instead of money.
So far they had only taken her up on the offer once: for the full moon. For the first time they had spent the night with both of them keeping their own minds. The wolf may have stolen Remus' body, but it no longer took away his sense of self. Whilst not perfect, it gave Sirius hope that one day in the future there would be a cure for Remus, but at least for now it was something monumental.
The door opened and Molly smiled at the two men and gave Harry a quick hug. "They're in Ron's room dear. Go and tell them to come down for morning lessons and I'll sort out some biscuits for you all." Harry happily complied at the offer of a morning snack and ran off up the stairs.
"Sirius wants to watch today if that's ok Molly? He's got time off work and just can't keep himself occupied so wants to bother me instead"
"No problem at all Remus."
Sirius huffed. "I can hear you, you know? I'm more than capable of looking after myself for a day. I just want to see you teach."
Harry returned with the other children who all rushed to greet Remus with big smiles on their faces. Children willing to do work? Remus must be something special. Well, Sirius knew that anyway, but he could not grasp how teaching could be anything but boring.
They settled in the living room, Sirius expected Harry to want to sit by him like normal, but instead he went over and sat with Ron and Ginny and chatted away about what he had been doing since they last saw one another. He was growing up, Sirius knew that. It did not mean he was happy about it. Before he knew it, Harry would be off to Hogwarts and then he would only get to see him in the holidays. As much as Sirius wanted Harry to go to Hogwarts and have the fun that he once had, he would still miss him.
After the biscuits had been eaten, Remus got out a selection of books for the children to choose from. Sirius watched enraptured at how Remus got the children to listen to him. They were offered the choice of what subject they wanted to study. Harry had wanted to learn Defence and the Weasleys had agreed.
"Ok, what do you boys want to hear when you've finished today's work?" Sirius watched as Remus addressed the twins. Identical grins appeared on both of their faces.
"Your best prank ever." One of them said. Sirius thought it was Fred, but he was not certain.
"Hmm, ok. Sounds like a fair deal. I suppose if you work well enough Sirius may tell you a story as well." The twins looked up at Sirius with hunger in their eyes. Sirius should have known Remus would be this crafty. Those boys would do anything for prank ideas.
Remus opened the book and Sirius watched as he looked at the section they would cover today. Given how far through the book they now were, Sirius suspected Defence was more often than not the subject the children wished to learn. There was an odd expression on Remus' face that Sirius could not quite place and for a moment he was worried what the section held. It lasted only a brief time, soon replaced by a determined look that Sirius took to mean that Remus was working through something he did not want to. He watched as the other man summoned a piece of parchment and drew something on it before duplicating the image onto several other pieces: one for each child. All of the children were silent. They looked up at Remus with eager eyes as they waited to find out their subject for the day.
"Today," Remus started, "we will be looking at werewolves."
Sirius paled. Harry looked bored. The Weasley children looked wide-eyes at Remus with excitement.
"Cool!" Ron breathed. A wide grin spread across his face. "So much better than Hinkypunks."
Remus handed each child a piece of parchment. "I want to see what you all know first before I teach you some things. There's a picture of a wolf for you all. I want you to add to it and change it with all of what you know about werewolves, ok?" As Remus passed Sirius he gripped Sirius' hand in a gesture that told him that he was fine. Sirius did not have to worry. He relaxed and let Remus continue with his teaching.
Muggle pencils, felt tips and crayons were provided and the children scrambled to get them and start on their work. Sirius watched the looks of concentration on their faces with fascination. Something so simple kept them occupied and yet let them learn at the same time. The teachers at Hogwarts would have never thought of doing this to help them learn. He shuddered at the memory of being taught about werewolves by their Defence Against the Dark Arts professor. It had been their third year, a particularly bad year for them as their Defence teacher was not only a terrible teacher, but when he had taught them about werewolves he had focused solely on how to recognise and kill them. He had not taken his eyes off Remus the entire time much to all of the Marauders' discomfort. The teacher had been the focus of their pranks for the next few weeks until he started to teach something else.
Remus flicked through the chapter on werewolves for a while before standing before the children once more. All but Harry were starting to get restless having completed their drawings.
"Ok, I want a different thing from each of you. Harry, you can go last if you haven't finished." Harry just nodded and kept drawing. Sirius was curious to see what his godson had added to his picture. "Ladies first then, Ginny, tell me something you know about werewolves."
She stood and held up her picture for them all to see. Sirius could tell she did not know much about them as her picture still mainly looked like a wolf. "Erm, they have tufted tails which normal wolves don't." She said tentatively and looked at Remus for reassurance. He smiled at her and told her she was correct and she smiled back.
Next was Ron who said that werewolves had different eyes and again he was rewarded with being told he had got it right. The twins stood together and Sirius glanced at Remus when he saw what their pictures looked like.
"They have different snouts," Fred said.
"All the better to eat people with," George added showing off his picture that had been scribbled on with lots of red felt tip to represent blood.
"Well, yes, I suppose that can count as two things that are correct boys. Maybe less red next time though?" Remus said. Sirius could tell that he was flustered. "Werewolves do attack people if given the opportunity."
Harry was the last to stand. "Mine isn't finished properly." The boy said as he looked between Remus and Sirius. "I did the best I could though."
He held up the picture and Sirius could not help but smile. Harry had added many things to his picture. There was a full moon in the sky, he had added details to the wolf itself, and next to the wolf was a picture of a man.
"A werewolf is only in its wolf form one night of the month. The rest of the time they look and behave just like normal people." He pointed at various areas of his picture as he explained himself. "Werewolves are not allergic to silver, they do like to have their meat a little bit on the rare side, but they do not want to eat people unless they are in their wolf form. Even then, as long as they take the Wolfsbane potion, they will not want to because they can keep their mind. Well most don't anyway; it is very rare that a werewolf in human form would want to attack a human. Those are the werewolves that are dangerous. Only a bite from a transformed werewolf will turn you into one as well. Werewolves are normal people." Harry looked up at Remus. "Did I miss anything?"
Sirius was not sure whether he or Remus was more proud of Harry. They both knew he understood that not everyone would accept Remus, but had never really thought about what the boy would say if people were to talk about them in front of him.
"Thank you, Harry." Sirius heard the emotion in Remus' voice. "That was very good. For the rest of the morning we'll go over the information in the book and you can add everything you don't already have to your pictures."
Sirius sat content to watch Remus teach. He kept his promise and did not distract the boys and before he knew it, it was time for lunch. Molly had made food for him as well, for which he was very grateful.
Before he knew it, having dinner at the Weasleys' became a weekly event. Harry and Remus spent most of their weekdays there, except when the full moon interfered. Even then Harry would spend the night so that Remus would no longer have to be alone as Sirius could be with him. The friendship between not only the children, but the adults grew and although Sirius and Molly would often clash with what information Harry and his friends should be allowed to have and when, they still respected one another as they knew that they both only had the best interests of the children at heart.
They had yet to meet the elder Weasley children who had spent their holidays at Hogwarts, Sirius suspected to give their parents a bit of a break from having all seven of them in the house, but as summer approached and Remus' own lessons got fewer and farther between, the children were coming home.
Sirius had to admit that he was rather interested to find out what the elder Weasley children were like. He knew well enough now that the children tended to go one of two ways. Either pranksters like the twins or more reserved and thoughtful like Ginny. Bill would be off out into the world on his own soon and Sirius wanted the chance to meet the boy who not only had held the Head Boy position, but wanted to work as a curse breaker. Sirius hated to admit it, but he felt as though in another life they would have been great friends at Hogwarts; he sounded similar to James.
As he and Remus got ready for the night at the Weasleys' where they would first meet Bill, Charlie and Percy, Harry babbled excitedly. He was eager to meet the other children as well since Ron told him many stories about how cool they were, especially Bill and Charlie. Percy seemed to be the somewhat white sheep of the family who actually studied and had no interest in pranks or anything well... interesting.
When they arrived outside of the house, Harry did not waste a moment and had flung open the door with a shout of "Ron!" as he went.
"How many times do I have to tell him not to treat it like it's his own house?" Remus grumbled good-naturedly as he knocked on the open door. "He gets it from you, you know."
"Nah, he gets it from James," Sirius said as he grabbed Remus' hand and pulled him through the open door into the kitchen to greet Molly. "From Lily he understands that you don't barge into peoples' bedrooms without knocking. Something that she really should have made James understand, or don't you remember? Not too early are we Molly?"
"No, not at all. Just in time to set the table." She pointed at a pile of dishes and cutlery as she finished the food and Sirius levitated them onto the table into the correct places.
Soon enough all of the children were at the table. As always Arthur had been sent to fetch them. Percy was the last to arrive. Apparently he was doing his Hogwarts' work only a week into the holidays. Sirius did not understand this boy at all.
As Percy came down the stairs, Sirius noticed a change in Remus. The other man looked at the boy with a look of complete confusion on his face. Before Sirius could ask what was wrong Remus had spoken.
"No Remus, that's Percy."
"No Sirius, he's holding Peter!"
Sirius took a look in the direction of Percy where he now saw the rat that squirmed and wriggled in the boy's grasp.
Sirius lunged. Molly screamed. Harry stared.
When Molly realised that her guest had not been trying to attack her son, but instead was only after their rat, the screaming stopped. However, the shouting started.
"What do you think you are doing Sirius?" Molly shrieked at a pitch Sirius had not thought humanly possible.
Sirius stood with the squirming, biting and scratching rat clamped in his hands. The look on his face was one of pure hatred. Percy had not moved from the bottom of the stairs and looked as though he was going to faint on the spot.
"Peter!" Sirius ground out. It was not in answer to Molly, just in acknowledgment that it truly was his ex-friend and once fellow Marauder. "Did you really think you could hide from me forever?"
Sirius heard Remus ask Harry to take the other children out of the room before he attempted to placate Molly and Arthur. The words came to him as though he was submerged under water: faint and garbled but he could still hear them. Remus was asking how long they had had him and did they not find it strange a common garden rat was still seemingly in the prime of heath given its age. Sirius just thought that Peter had gotten fatter. Never could help himself when food was involved.
"Erm, Sirius? We should probably turn him back. It will help you look less crazy because you're currently mumbling to a rat," Remus whispered to him.
With a nod, Sirius took out his wand and both he and Remus cast the spell together. What once was a rat began to grow. It shifted and twisted and assumed the form of a man. Sirius' hand was still clamped firmly on the back of his neck.
"Peter," Sirius and Remus said.
"S-s-s-Sirius... R-r-Remus." Peter stuttered, not meeting either man in the eye; instead he looked around frantically for some way to escape.
"Pervert!" All three men looked up in shock at Molly. "He slept in a bed with my son for years! Pervert!" She advanced on Peter like a tigress whose cubs had been threatened and before anyone could stop her she had slapped Peter soundly. To avoid her doing it again, Remus had stepped between them.
"Molly, look there are many things Peter has done wrong in his life that he really needs to be punished for, but he would not have harmed Percy. Percy was the one who kept him safe."
"I don't care what you think! He still slept in his bed!" Arthur who seemed to have regained his sense pulled Molly towards him.
"Let them explain, Molly? We don't even know who he is."
Although Molly looked in no mood to agree to listen she did not try to strike Peter again. Peter cowered against Sirius in an attempt to avoid Molly's wrath. When Sirius realised what the man was doing he shoved him roughly forwards whilst still keeping a firm hold of him.
"This thing is the reason Harry has no parents," Sirius snarled. Peter shook his head wildly. "You can't deny it Peter. We know it was you. I was the one who switched with you!"
"H-h-h-he m-m-made me. He was pow-powerful S-sirius. You don't understand."
"What is there to understand Peter? You sold us all out for a year. You tried to poison our minds against one another. You led him right to them. We would have never betrayed you like that. We would have died for you."
"Th-they a-a-accepted me," Peter stuttered. "They didn't leave me out."
"Leave you out? You got your best friends killed because you felt left out? Merlin help me Peter, if I did not have Harry to look after you would be very, very dead by now. We never left you out and that is a piss poor reason for siding with VOLDEMORT!"
"Uncle Remus?" Sirius' head snapped up to the door where a mop of untidy black hair and green eyes hidden behind glasses was peering through the crack. "I heard shouting. Can we go home now?" The small boy moved to stand next to Remus and clutched at the sleeve of his robes. "Who's he?"
"H-h-Harry, you look so much like-" Before Peter could finish his sentence a flash of red had cut him off and he slumped in Sirius' grasp.
Sirius looked in shock at Remus who although he had not moved, had his wand out or uttered a sound had stupefied Peter. "He had no right." Was all Remus said before he strode over to Sirius and kissed him on the cheek. There was a dangerous glint in his eyes that Sirius had never seen outside of the full moon. "I'm taking Harry home. Deal with all of this and join us soon, all right? It was nice seeing you Molly, Arthur, but I need to take Harry home now. I'm terribly sorry."
Sirius watched as Remus scooped a protesting Harry up into his arms and left.
"Don't suppose you know any Aurors who could come and deal with this?" Sirius asked as he let go of the unconscious man who fell unceremoniously to the floor.
When Sirius finally made it home, he headed straight for the bedroom that he shared with Remus. Only instead of finding Remus waiting for him he found an extra guest. Remus had always been very strict about Harry sleeping in his own bed, no matter the nightmares he had. It was only on a very rare occasion that Remus would let Sirius win the argument and let the frightened boy stay in their room. So when Sirius opened the door to find Remus protectively curled around Harry he suspected that Harry was not the only one who had needed the comfort.
Sirius dressed for bed quickly and slipped under the covers on the other side of Harry. He wrapped his arms around both of them, but the touch caused Remus to stir.
"Life in Azkaban. There's going to be a trial, but it looks like it's just a formality. I'll have to testify."
"Are you and Harry ok?"
"I tried to explain more about what Peter did, why you were upset, but it's a lot you know? He was worried about you. He doesn't like to see you upset or angry."
"What about you?"
"I just want it to be over now. Everyone else got to forget the war when it ended. Not that I'd ever want Harry to be with anyone else. I want us to be a nice normal family that doesn't have to still live in fear. Well at least I want to be as normal as a werewolf, the boy who lived and the remaining member of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black can be."
"So, not very normal then?"
"No, I guess not. Do you think this will change anything?"
"In what way? I suppose we could always move now. I think Harry is as safe as he's ever going to be. No Peter out there anymore. No Voldemort. No Death Eaters willing to break their cover."
"So it's over?"
"I think so."
"Good. We can look for a new place in the morning then. I'm running out of space for my books in the spare room and Padfoot needs a garden to run in."
"Then that's what we'll do." Sirius smiled and, for the first time in years, let himself relax.