Sirius pulled back from the kiss, breathing hard. Severus wasn't much better as he lay back down on the bed, pulling Sirius on top of him.
A finger to Sirius' lips stopped his talking. "Shh. Just lay here with me."
He let the other man pull him onto the bed, half-terrified by how Severus was acting. It wasn't like him to be this vulnerable. Sirius wasn't sure if it was because of the kiss or if he was in pain, but he would make sure that he was comfortable.
"I will," Sirius whispered into Severus' hair. "I'll stay as long as you want me to." He sounded so sappy, but Severus must have liked it because he got as close as he could to Sirius without climbing inside of him.
"Stay here forever."
Sirius didn't know if he had heard right, so he just held on a little tighter and followed Severus into sleep a couple minutes later.
Harry pulled his head back from around the door and looked at Remus.
"You were right, Remy," he whispered as he leaned against his lover.
"Then they're in there doing some*thing*?" Remus asked, wrapping his arms around the younger man. He felt Harry nod against his shoulder and his breath on his neck. "What?"
"Good. Padfoot was starting to get antsy."
Harry laughed. "The last time I saw him like that was after I fought with Voldemort."
Remus felt a shiver go down his spine. Even though the battle was a year-and-a-half in the past, it made him shudder to think that he could have lost Harry before ever finding him. He doubted that he and Sirius wouldn't have been able to go on if Harry had fallen that day, even if he had won. And himself.... It may have taken him a year to recognize his own feelings for Harry, but he knew that if the younger man had been killed in that battle, it would have been hard for him to go on. Harry was one of the reasons why Remus was fighting in the first place – he hadn't wanted the son of one of his best friends to have to grow up in a war-torn world.
"What are thinking about, Remy?"
He smiled at Harry. "You."
"Me?" Green eyes lit up. "You wouldn't have been thinking about our bed, would you?" He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
Remus chuckled. "No." Harry began to pout, so he added, "But it's an excellent idea."
Harry grinned. "I know. I also know for a fact that neither one of us has any papers to be grading and that we won't be needed until tomorrow at the latest as most of the students will be in Hogsmeade."
Remus looked at him. "Then what are we standing here for?"
Harry grabbed his hand and tugged on it, pulling Remus a little closer. Kissing him for a brief second, Harry started down the hallway. "Let's go."
"I have no problem with that," Remus replied as they went down the hallway.
Draco blinked at the bright sunshine coming through the door as it opened in front of Harry.
"Hi, Draco," the black-haired man greeted as he shut the door and crossed the room to the bed where Draco lay. "So, when's Poppy finally going to let you out of here?"
Draco heaved a put-on sigh. "Never it seems."
"Ah." Harry opened his bag and brought out a couple of books. "These are the last of the books you'll need for your DADA homework. Remus said that you'll have to use at least two in your essay, but the more references you use, the better it will be."
One blond eyebrow rose. "Is that a hint just for me, or for the rest of the students as well."
Harry directed him a Look. "Everybody, you idiot."
Draco scowled playfully. "Making fun of your students, now, Professor Potter?"
The black-haired man laughed. "Only you, Draco. I know that you know Remus wouldn't favor any student over another. I don't either, for that fact," he said, shrugging his shoulders.
Draco just eyed him before looking over the books. He knew that he would end up using all of them for his essay, all the while wondering if Harry had gotten them by himself or had asked Madam Pince to gather them together. He knew the other man wouldn't admit it, and since he was stuck in the hospital wing for at least another week, he couldn't very well go and ask the Librarian.
Instead of asking that question, he asked, "Did Professor Snape get off to St. Mungo's okay?"
Harry nodded. "Albus collected him, but both of them will be here later today. It seems there's been an interesting development between the potions master and the current potions professor."
Draco snorted. "Yeah, right, Harry. That's a good one."
Harry didn't laugh like he had expected. The blond eyed the man sitting in the chair next to his bed and saw that he was wearing a serious expression. "You're not kidding."
"Nope," Harry said. "It seems that they're going to work on a relationship."
Draco began to wonder if he was trapped in a bad novel. The last he had known of Snape and Black's relationship was that they were willing to work together, but would rather not be in the same room as each other. If they were together like Harry said, it would take some getting used to. He certainly didn't want to *see* anything of it.
Shaking his head, he began to talk about the Transfiguration homework that Harry had given him the other day. Deep in a discussion over the legality of human transfiguration into inanimate objects, neither of them noticed the door to the side wing where Draco's bed was open.
Out of the corner of his eye, Draco saw a light flash and instinctively ducked it as it came closer. Looking up, a wave of terror filled him as he found his father standing at the foot of his bed. The older Malfoy's hair was disheveled and dirt was streaked across his face. The once rich robes he was wearing were in tatters.
"So, this is where you've been hiding, boy," Lucius snarled.
"Lucius," Harry sneered under his breath. "You have two seconds to leave before I take you out."
Draco sat up, surreptitiously pulling his wand from his sleeve where he kept it. "Wait, Harry."
The other two men in the room looked at him. Lucius was watching him with a knowing smirk on his face, while Harry looked at him, questioningly. Draco knew that his father was thinking that this would be just like the duel where he had 'killed' him almost two years ago.
"Who was that I killed, *father,*" he snapped at the older Malfoy.
Lucius laughed. "One of my better ideas," he said, casually holding his wand so that it pointed between Harry and Draco. "I must admit that getting Flint's boy to drink Polyjuice Potion to take my place was a brilliant idea. Though, I had no idea that you were with that fool Dumbledore."
Draco saw that Lucius had narrowed his eyes menacingly at the last sentence. This was what he had been trapped into thinking the last month or so since he had woken up. Now was his chance to tell his father what he had wanted to tell him since the middle of his fifth year.
"He's not a fool, Lucius." He knew he'd hit the man at the end of the bed in a vulnerable spot. Lucius had counted himself among the lucky ones of the Death Eaters for having the most intelligent child of the next generation. The older Malfoy had boasted Draco's progress throughout his schooling at Hogwarts – often taunting the others with his acceptance to Durmstrang and the American school of The Salem Institute, which took only the top students around the world. "Besides, anyone who sided with *Voldemort* has fallen from grace, including you. Where are your lands now, Lucius? What about all the money you took pride in having?"
Lucius scowled, his eyes meeting his son's.
"What about Hermione?"
Harry's quiet, loathing-filled question startled both Malfoys from their glaring match.
"Just who was it that you felt wasn't worth their life to play you in a battle to the death? Or even your wife?!"
Draco watched, wide-eyed, as the black-haired man's temper let loose. He'd never seen the former Gryffindor get so mad at anyone other than the Dark Lord, and that had only been once.
"Expelliarmus!" Lucius' spell caught both Draco and Harry off guard, and the older man smirked as he caught both their wands. "I suppose I could tell you, since after I tell you I'm just going to kill you anyway."
Draco glowered at his father and noticed Harry doing the same. Still, there was a calculating gleam in the green eyes of the man standing beside his bed.
"I'll start with Narcissa, then, since she is – was – your mother," Lucius began, throwing a glare at Draco. "The stupid woman didn't want you to become a Death Eater so soon. Her *baby* was too young, never mind that you'd been able to cast both the Cruciatus and Imperio curses since fourteen." The older blond laughed. "She learned just how powerful those curses really were."
In the bed, Draco felt a chill press along his spine. Why hadn't he seen just how cold his father really was? Growing up in Malfoy Manor, he'd noticed nothing like this. It made him wonder if his father had always been like this, but he'd been so wrapped up in his worship of his father that he'd been blind.
"And Flint's boy. Marius. He left the year before you started school, but he should never been in school at that fact. His intelligence was low enough for him to be sorted into Hufflepuff, a fact that embarrassed his father to no end. The only thing that ever made his father proud was that he managed to get rid of McGonagall once and for all."
Draco thought he heard Harry growl, but he wasn't sure he heard correctly.
"And the Mudblood." Lucius smiled, a sight that made Draco shiver. "A stupid girl she was. I'm surprised that she managed to beat my *son* in most of his subjects up until fifth year, when the Boy Who Lived stole what should have been my son's spot at the top of the year away. Still, I managed to find the information that my son was actually alive, and her fighting was most invigorating. Fun indeed."
"You sick mother-fucker."
Draco's head whipped around to see Harry standing tall, his fists clenched at his sides. It was at this point he could feel the waves of disgust and hate flowing from his friend towards his father. It wasn't any different from what he was feeling at the moment, so he didn't think much of it until Harry shot out his hand.
Grey eyes widened as Draco watched his father fall to the floor, his body crumpled in a heap. Harry casually stepped over to him and plucked all three wands from Lucius' hands.
"How...?" Draco asked as he watched Harry walk to the door and open it.
Harry shrugged. "Let me get Poppy and Flora, and then we can talk, okay?"
Draco nodded. He figured he could wait a few minutes for the explanation. Besides, he really didn't want to be in the same room as his father any longer than necessary.
Half an hour after Harry had calmly told him that Lucius Malfoy was presently tied up in the Headmistress' office, Sirius whistled under his breath. He'd known that Harry had been powerful – he'd needed to be so to defeat Voldemort – but he hadn't really thought about just how much power his godson had.
It had shocked him when he had learned that Harry and Voldemort had brother wands at the end of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Now, though... it was taking a little longer for him to process the fact that the man he considered his son could do wandless magic – powerful wandless magic at that – better than some could with their wand. Harry had had to learn it, though, since he couldn't exactly use his wand against Voldemort, even when chances were that they wouldn't cast a spell at the same time they did in the graveyard in Little Hangleton.
Still, he knew that no matter what Harry did, he'd love him like he always had – from the time he'd first seen him hours after he was born, to the time when one of them died (which Sirius hoped wouldn't be for a long time).
As the impromptu meeting broke up, a knock on the door alerted the group to Dumbledore and Severus' arrival. Sirius tamped down the surge of feelings that erupted in his chest at seeing the other man. Still, he couldn't help the smile that spread across his lips as he watched Severus wheel himself into the room.
He waited as patiently as he could while the two men greeted the others, watching for his chance to steal the potions master from the room into a more private part of the castle so they could talk. Finally seeing his chance, he ignored Severus' protests for the five minutes it took for him to get them to a small room close to the potions classroom.
"What is all this about?" Severus asked as Sirius transfigured one of the stools in the room into something more comfortable to sit in.
Sirius grinned. "Is that any way to greet me after we don't see each other after three weeks?"
The other man gave an exasperated sigh. "I seem to remember numerous owls being directed my way while Albus and I were at St. Mungo's."
A shrug was the reply. "It's not like I didn't get the same." Sirius gave Severus a steady look. The lines that were usually around the other man's eyes weren't as deep as they had been. Either it was what they were doing at the hospital or what Sirius was saying in their letters – he personally thought it was the second reason – but Severus looked much better than he had at the end of the school year. The only other time he'd seen the potions master like this had been on the island over the summer. "Have you been able to find anything to help with the pain?"
Severus gave a curt nod. "We've tried several different potions, but most of them have such severe side effects that it usually isn't worth it at the end. I'm hoping that we'll be able to improve a couple of them, though, as they hold promise."
Sirius chuckled lightly. "Just in this for my brains?"
One fine, black eyebrow lifted, as if to question the fact that Sirius had a brain. It was times like these that made the animagus feel alive. Even though they were friends – and, even though they hadn't really discussed it, a lot more than that – they still argued quite a lot. He liked being able to see what Severus thought of things, and it made him look at the world differently than he had been. When they had both been younger, this situation would never had happened, and while Sirius knew he had been very immature, he knew Severus had been as well, though neither would ever admit it to the other.
"A couple of the doctors think that my spinal cord wasn't as severed as they thought," Severus suddenly said in the comfortable silence that had settled over them.
Sirius perked up. "So what does this mean?"
Severus looked away briefly. "I don't know. The pain has gotten worse in the last week, however, so either they are right or there is something else wrong with my legs and the nerves in the rest of my body are getting the message."
Moving the couple of inches to Severus, Sirius rested a hand on the other man's arm. "I'll help as much as I can, Severus. You can count on that."
A hand crept over his own as the other man replied. "I know."
Harry hummed quietly, trying to not wake up Remus. It was rather strange to wake up on Christmas on his own. On Christmas at the Dursleys, Aunt Petunia had only woken him up so that he could cook breakfast as she and Uncle Vernon had fawned over Dudley and his presents. And during his years as a student, it had taken Ron shaking him awake for him to realize just what day it way. Even last year, when Harry had his own room, his best friend had tugged the blankets off him, telling him to get a move on it so they could open presents.
This year, however, he was determined to make this the best Christmas he'd ever had. Remus' present had been bought and wrapped more than a month ago, but Harry had wanted to do something special to go with it. Enlisting the help of Dobby and a few other house-elves, he had gotten together a nice holiday breakfast that the two of them would share – Sirius telling him earlier in the week that he would be with Severus and some of the other teachers who regularly stayed for the holiday.
Just as he finished setting up the last of the decorations, a sleepy, pleased sound came from the direction of the bedroom door into the large living area of their rooms. Looking up, Harry had to smile at the picture Remus made. The other man's pajama top was half un-buttoned, just enough to make Harry want to finish the job, but not just yet. The blond-brown hair was in a tangled mess around his ears, the grey streaks seeming to disappear into the mess.
"Happy Christmas," Harry greeted him as he walked over to give his lover a hug.
"Happy Christmas." Remus wrapped his arms around Harry in answer. "What's all this for?"
Harry pulled back. "I wanted to show you a little extra loving this morning, as well as not having to go down to the Great Hall for breakfast. Flora already promised that if any of the students who remained for the holiday would be directed to her if they had any problems, so we have most of the day to ourselves. Sirius and Severus will be joining us for dinner. If you'd like," he added.
Remus nodded. "You've been planning this for a while, haven't you?"
Harry smiled at the pleased tone of Remus' voice. "Yes," he said emphatically. Pulling away, he led Remus to the table, directing him to one of the chairs.
Next to both of their plates were their presents but one, the one from Harry to Remus, which was too big to put on the table. Remus smiled at the sight, making Harry glow slightly at the sight of it.
"Shall we?" Remus asked as he lifted one of the covers on the food. "Oh! My favorite!"
Harry nodded. "They're all your favorites," he said. "And since most of them are my favorite breakfast foods, I think it'll satisfied both of us, yes?"
Remus laughed. "Definitely."
Soon, though, both of them had full stomachs and were eyeing their piles of presents. Deciding that he would save Remus' for last, Harry pulled out his present from Ron. Finding the enchanting figurine of a stag and lily twined together, Harry looked up to see Remus smiling at his present from Albus – a signed copy of his new book: Hogwarts, The Unauthorized History. Harry felt a bittersweet emotion run through him. He was happy that his former Headmaster had finished the book he'd been secretly working on up until the war had restarted, and sad that Hermione would never get the chance to read *this* book about Hogwarts. Mentally shaking off the feeling, he dove back into the pile, finally ending up with Remus' gift to him.
The medium sized box was wrapped in prancing reindeer, their antlers tangled in Muggle Christmas lights. Slowly untying the bow, Harry looked up and smiled at Remus, who was doing the same to the present Harry had gotten him.
"Should we go on three?" Remus teasingly asked when he noticed Harry looking at him.
Harry smiled. "Let's go at our own pace, shall we?" He couldn't wait long enough for Remus to unwrap his present – he was nervous at the reaction he would get. Throwing caution to the wind, Harry ripped the paper off his present and lifted the lid. Inside was a silky, dark green shirt. Lifting it out, he saw that the neckline was low. Low enough for the bite mark Remus had given him in late May to be seen by the world.
He knew what this meant. Lifting his eyes from the shirt, he saw that Remus was waiting anxiously for his answer. Feeling his eyes fill with tears from the love sweeping through him, Harry gave a watery smile. "I love it," he whispered, sure that he wouldn't be able to speak louder than that.
Remus smiled back, a tentative one that made Harry's heart ache at the sight of it.
"You going to open mine?" he whispered, hugging the shirt to his chest.
The other man looked a bit startled as he turned back to the half-unwrapped box beside his chair. Remus took a deep breath and finished tearing the paper off and threw open the top flaps. Harry knew that inside was another, smaller box and grinned when Remus tossed him a reproving look at the new present.
"Open it!" Harry encouraged, almost bouncing in his chair in anticipation of what Remus thought of what was inside that box.
Remus sent a sly look this time, and slowly taking the plain, gold wrapping paper off. Harry scowled at him as he managed to get it all off and carefully lifted the hinged top...
...Only to slam it down.
The younger man sucked in a breath at the incredulous look on Remus' face. Carefully setting his new shirt next to his plate, Harry rose from his chair and made his way to Remus, kneeling in front of him.
"Remus Lupin, will you do me the honor of being my husband? To be my lifemate?"
Harry was surprised when he saw tears in Remus' golden eyes.
Smiling, Harry moved closer and wrapped his arms around the other man's waist. "Yes, thanks to our Minister. The two of us have been working on this for a couple of months, and it was passed last month."
"So that's where you went that one weekend," Remus said as he opened the box again and took out the golden band that lay inside, its face etched with small leaves in which laid tiny ruby flowers. "You said you were getting my Christmas present."
Harry nodded. "I was." He got off the floor and turned the ring so that Remus could read the inscription Harry had gotten on the inside of the band.
Remus sucked in a breath as he read the inscription.
Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds...
It was from his favorite sonnet by Shakespeare – 116. How had Harry...?
Looking up at Harry, he couldn't do anything more than smile, even as he felt tears fall from his eyes. He didn't know what he'd done to deserve such a beautiful soul as Harry, but he would make sure that he would give everything he had in return.
"Yes," he said. "Yes, I will be your husband as you will be mine, my lifemate, my partner."
Lifting up his face, he placed a reverent kiss on Harry's lips, which returned it softly.
Sirius grinned at the audience that had gathered in the Great Hall. The crowd was chattering excitedly, waiting for the event that had been almost six months in the making. He was quite glad that it would be over in thirty minutes, as Molly Weasley had been very much the slave driver this past week. He loved the woman dearly for everything she had done to help Harry, but he didn't want to see her for a while as he recovered from the frantic pace she had set seven days ago.
His eyes swept over the crowd and stopped at Severus, who sat in a chair in the front row. Next to his chair were a couple of crutches, his robes hiding the braces on his legs that he now wore. It had been a long, hard six months since Christmas, when Severus had been given the news that he may regain partial use of his legs. His body had healed itself enough to give him some movement and feeling in his lower extremities – which both of them had gladly demonstrated the night before, when they had celebrated their engagement in the big bed Sirius had claimed for his bedchamber.
But for now he couldn't think of that as he saw the spell Albus sent to the instruments in the corner to begin the music. Next to him, Remus shifted slightly, whether it was in nervousness or happiness, Sirius didn't know. His best friend had expressed both when they had been talking earlier in the morning, when it seemed like Remus was about to toss his cookies. Both of them were dressed in navy blue robes, Remus' trim being a bright green, and Sirius' maroon.
The music began and Sirius watched as the doors opened to reveal his godson, resplendent in golden robes trimmed in a bright green that mirrored his eyes. Beside him, Ron Weasley walked down the small aisle between the audience, wearing the same golden robes trimmed in maroon – even though he'd complained about the color.
Finally the two men had stopped, Harry claiming Remus' hand as soon as they turned towards Albus.
"Dear guests, we are gathered here to see the joining of these two wonderful men, Remus James Lupin and Harry James Potter, as husbands and lifemates."
Sirius kind of tuned out at that, remembering the uproar Harry had stirred up when he had showed up for lunch Boxing Day, wearing the shirt that clearly showed the bite mark Remus had given him. If the mourning from those holding out hope of nabbing Harry had been bad before school had started the past September, it was nothing like what followed the news that came out December 27th. Sirius had gotten quite the kick out of the entire situation.
As he watched his godson and his best friend be bound together, Sirius smiled at both of them. He thought back to a year ago, when they had first gotten together and how lonely he felt. Quickly looking over to where Severus was sitting, he held back his grin at the thought that he wouldn't ever be lonely again, now that he'd found somebody of his own to love and care for – even if the knowledge that if somebody had told him twenty years ago that he'd end up with Severus would have been told to go directly to St. Mungo's and do not collect 200 galleons. It was quite amazing how the world really worked.
Harry couldn't stop smiling. Beside him, Remus was talking quietly with Albus as they watched the guests begin to take their leave. The ceremony had been wonderful, even if he'd gotten the feeling that Sirius wasn't paying all that much attention. He couldn't blame his godfather for that, though, not after learning that he and Severus had gotten engaged the night before.
Looking over at the guests, he was surprised when he saw Ron and Draco talking very seriously over in a secluded corner. It wasn't all that unusual to see them together, but they tended to stick to general topics when around others. But still, Harry thought he could see something there. Draco was almost healed from his ordeal with his father in November, and Ron had finally gotten past all the emotions from Hermione's murder. Harry knew he would never stop loving her, even after her death, but he could see that he was beginning to care for the blond man he was talking to. It was time, and what better way to heal than to be with each other?
A tug on his hand brought him back to the man next to him.
Harry smiled and nodded. "As ready as I'll ever be," he said, giving his husband a slow kiss. In the background, he could hear a couple of hoots – the Weasley twins, no doubt – but couldn't be bothered by it.
He was finally home.
AN: Whew! It's done! I didn't think I'd ever get this chapter done – between recovering from the flu and then mandatory overtime at work, it seemed as if the world was conspiring to never give me time to sit down and write.
I had thought of breaking this up into two chapters like I had originally planned, but couldn't seem to do it. It all fit together so nicely (at least in my book).
I did some research on injuries like the Severus had and found that often times there is some feeling that eventually returns when the spinal cord is damaged. Sometimes the body will try its best to heal itself.
As for Ron and Draco, I may write their story, but I may not. If you would like to write it, let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org (but if you write, let me know it's about Love Bite or I won't read it *mutters* stupid junk mail....)
The Red Dragons Order: here you go!
AllAboutMe: Thanks! Happy reading!
Mystica: Thank you! Sometimes Drugs are good – except when you can't get the top off and have to go wake your sister so you can take them. Heh. Anyways (never mind me, antibiotics are still making me weird) I hope there was enough of Harry and Remus in this chapter. And while Siri is with Sev here, they weren't quite cooperating at the beginning of this chapter... And they want to keep fighting, but I won't go in that direction. *g* Another sweet, and sappy, chapter. About your Discworld fic, I've been meaning to ask you – what is Discworld? I've found that mentioned a lot, but I am quite out of that loop.
TommyBoy1822: Wow! All those capital letters! *grin* Thanks!
Moonlight: Thanks! Sev can use his legs, but he won't walk normally.
(no name left): Thank you! Just this little bit left, though.