Sitting on the park bench, sun warming his skin, Sirius watches Harry carefully as he builds a sand castle with another child that looks to be his age. The war may have ended months ago, but being out in the open, so exposed, leaves Sirius wound a bit too tightly. He wonders if it'll ever go away—the agitation. If it doesn't, Sirius worries he'll end up like Moody. And that, most assuredly, is someone Sirius never wants to become.

He supposes the real threat is over now. Voldemort is gone—has been since that October night—and most of the Death Eaters have been captured and are awaiting trial. If all goes well, they'll get an eternity in Azkaban for their endeavors, and Sirius will no longer have to look out for them. Judging from Harry's early start to his terrible twos, Sirius is going to have his hands full, with the grey hair to prove it. The last thing he needs is murderers on the loose.

As he watches Harry babble near-incoherent instructions to his little friend, Sirius considers how far they've come in these few months—Ministry trials and dangerous threats, tears of a little boy who just wants his mum and dad and the nightmares that come with them. They carry their scars—Harry's literal and his own much more figurative—but Sirius has the sense that someday they'll be as close to normal as they'll ever get. And it's the promise of that day that Sirius strives towards each morning.

"Chatting up the single mums?"

Looking over his shoulder, Sirius meets Remus' eyes, glistening with mischief. He can't quite stop the grin forming on his lips and decides to play along with this little game.

"Loads. I've already got three fellytone whats-its. They're desperate for me, Moony."

"Three fellytone whats-its?" Remus asks, feigning astonishment as he takes the seat next to Sirius. "You don't say. I wonder if they know that you have no idea what a fellytone is."

"Shove off. I know what it is." Sirius points across the playground to one of the mums. "See that one? We're going out tonight."



In reality, he's never talked to the girl in his life. But it's a good time, playing this little game with Remus, and Remus doesn't mind. Because the truth is, he's going to be going home with Remus and Harry soon. They'll have dinner like a proper family before Harry is bathed and put to bed. Then, he'll snog Moony on the couch—they have such little time nowadays with an almost-two-year-old controlling their lives—and they'll likely fall asleep before they get very far.

Because it's not just himself, alone, that has moved forward but he and Remus together. It's been a slow work in progress—platonic even in those early days—but they're striving towards something promising. They've not shagged yet, not really done anything more than kiss and rub up against each other—and even the latter is a new development. Somehow, though, it feels like just the right pace.

"What about me?" Remus asks.

"You'll mind Harry, of course."

"I can't persuade you to change your plans?"

Sirius smirks, looking on. "What kind of persuasion are we talking about, my dear Monsieur Moony?"

"Only the best kind, Monsieur Padfoot."

"Well, on that note," Sirius says, winking.

He stands and calls for Harry, who looks positively mutinous at the prospect of having to leave his sand and friend so soon. Sirius senses the struggle ahead of him and is slightly relieved to see Remus walking ahead to retrieve their charge.

And it's strange now, thinking how he used to fear this—committing himself to Remus, tying himself down with a sprog. If he's perfectly honest with himself, he's never been happier with his love life than he is now. Maybe the war changed him, or pseudo-parenthood, or falling for his partner-in-crime. Maybe the reasons don't matter. Maybe he should just be content with the little life he and Remus and Harry have made for themselves from the rubble of the past.