Disclaimer: We have no claim on Harry Potter nor any characters or locations thereof. We gain only amusement from writing this.
Warning: Destined mates, creature fic, angst from the puppies. After the last book only EWE and Sirius and Remus very much alive. Discussion on Snape's creature blood, shape-shifting. Remus and Sirius angst, Hermione friendship and mention/implication of Romione though there's no kissing or other stuff. Possible OOC but not too sure since a free and miserable Sirius probably acts differently than a confined and miserable Sirius. Dumbledore alive and kicking.
AN: Here we are with chapter three of soulsong. Thank you kindly for all your comments and feedback. It is all very, very appreciated and we treasure them. Hope you'll like this chapter as well.
Severus stepped out of the castle, his phoenix prodding him towards the lake. He paused when he saw Harry leaning against a tree looking out over the frozen water with a vaguely worried look on his face. Over the last few months he'd come to appreciate Harry's occasional sharp tongue, the shyness that would rear its head every now and then, and the warmth that the younger man gave away like it was candy to those who needed a smile or a friend. He'd also found himself thinking of Harry when alone in his quarters and watching the youth whenever they were in the same vicinity, watching the play of emotions and thought over the delicately masculine face. An attraction to Harry had snuck up on him until just a pair of nights ago he'd woken up from an intense and nigh embarrassingly arousing dream featuring Harry.
He was beginning to fall for Harry Potter and it was a bit confusing and made him feel terrifyingly vulnerable. Despite that, the worry on Harry's face caught him and he made his way over to stand beside the younger man. "What is flying through your mind?"
Harry startled at the sudden company but calmed the minute he heard Severus' smooth voice. The other man always made him feel better and it wasn't just the mate thing, it was the man himself. It hadn't taken long for Harry to fall toes over gob for Severus Snape but he still liked the fact that they were taking it slow. "Nothing in particular Severus, I'm just pondering things." He gave Snape a smile. "Sirius is hurting and he won't let me help. It is only getting worse and I can see him fading away. He keeps up a good act but he's not happy. Remus is hurting too and neither of them wants to tell me about it." Harry closed his eyes. "I hate it! Those two are my family, Sirius is my godfather, I am Teddy's godfather and right now I can't spend time with either of them...It feels like I have to choose between them and I can't do that. I love them."
Severus reached out and put his hand on Harry's shoulder. "I can tell you my suspicions about your godfather and Lupin, if you think it might help."
"Please tell me." Harry bent his head and rested his cold cheek on top of the hand on his shoulder. "I always value your input and I am stumped here. I want to help them but I have no idea how to do it."
"I'm not sure if you can, not in this situation." The older man let his phoenix rise and used his empathy to ease some of Harry's worry. "I suspect that Black and Lupin are destined mates and, if my memory is accurate, Black was Recognized and given an identification mark in fifth year, likely just after succeeding in transforming into his Grim form. I often watched the Marauders and there was one day after a full moon, though all three of the animagi Marauders were thrilled and likely about their forms, that Black was positively giddy and simply did not stop grinning the entire weekend, not until Lupin accepted a date from a Ravenclaw."
"Oh...Poor Sirius, you think he's been waiting all these years? Waiting for Remus?" Harry couldn't even imagine that kind of pain, if Severus was to reject him now and choose someone else Harry wasn't sure he could take it. "Why would Remus do that? Remus loves him, I know he does." Severus was right; this was something he didn't know how to fix.
"I can't fathom why. Some creatures and creature bloods choose someone not their mate because their mate has rejected them or because their mate is not of the proper sexuality to bond with. If a male creature's mate is a heterosexual male the creature will not approach for more than friendship and will find another to fill his more carnal needs but Black is far from being purely heterosexual. He's had a couple...dozen flings with both males and females but they only started in sixth year and only after Lupin dated some other Gryffindor for three days. I don't think any of Black's flings went very far though, he always had an air of frustration about him, not exactly the air a libertine carries."
Harry shifted and leaned his head on Severus' shoulder. His eyes went to Hedwig who circled the air above their heads lazily. "I suppose I could try to get them alone together, get them talking but what if I only make things worse? Teddy's in the picture now too. I don't know what to do." Severus was warm and safe and Harry did feel better just to be able to discuss things with him. Severus always listened and he always spoke his mind. Harry liked that. "I wish I could simply hit them both over the head and tell them to get a grip and seize happiness before it's too late but I doubt that would work."
"Perhaps not but it would be wonderfully amusing." Severus gave in to his desire to to touch more fully and allowed his arm to slip around Harry's shoulders, bringing him more comfortably into the curve of his body. "Black is good at masking his emotions to those who don't look close so I doubt Lupin has noticed that his mate is in pain. Actually with the way Lupin avoids Black I can nigh guarantee it. He doesn't see that he's causing his mate pain and on top of that Lupin is annoyingly good at controlling his own emotions and more his wolf. Perhaps you should enlist Miss Granger and Mr. Weasley to plot some way of getting Lupin to realize how Black is feeling. The three of you have uncanny success at the impossible."
"Why professor Snape, are you encouraging me into mischief and shenanigans?" Harry gave him a teasing smile and cuddled into the warmth of his body. "It's a good idea though, better than any I've had lately and I'm sure the three of us can manage to plan something...I only hope it will work."
"You don't need encouragement to get into mischief, it finds you regardless but yes I certainly do hope you have success. Black's sulking is depressing even me." It was a gentle tease, meant to lighten the atmosphere. Secretly he did wish for Lupin to pull his head out of his arse because it was actually painful to see his old nemesis so...lifeless. He'd not responded to one of his barbs in a solid week and even Albus was getting concerned.
"Mmm, I hope so too." Harry looked up at the older man. "How are things with you then? I hardly see you now with all the end of terms essays and tests." Harry bit his lip. "I miss you." He'd never been a coward and he would not start to be one now.
Severus' hand lifted to stroke through the soft black hair of the younger man. "It's been...irritating. All my time taken up by exploding cauldrons and idiots who write their pathetic, badly thought out essays in their house color of ink. It's only a handful in each class who retain the intelligence to write in plain black ink. Yellow ink on parchment for Hufflepuff, I dread the Hufflepuff essays." He closed his eyes and let his creature out to play a bit, allowing it to brush up against Harry's mental shields but not letting it dive past them. "It devours time I would much rather spend working on potions or in worthwhile company," a slightly firmer tug on Harry's silky soft black hair conveyed just who that worthwhile company was. "I truly hate being a professor."
Harry chuckled at the yellow ink; even he had not sunk so low as to use red ink on any of his essays. The soft brushing against his mind made him tingle all over and Harry could feel himself growing warm from the inside out. "Quit then. Do what you love Severus, you don't owe anyone anything and you should do what you like. I don't like the thought of you being unhappy."
"I had intended to tend my resignation this summer; unfortunately I was unable to do so while recuperating. As I am under contract I must complete this school year unless Albus fires me," he snorted, "which would happen when hell freezes over. But my resignation letter is already written and a replacement found so as of June first when the little dunderheads board the train, I will resign as Potions professor and set up my own personal experimental lab. I may even do something out of character to celebrate my liberty from dealing with snot-nosed students."
"Something out of character? Oh I want to witness that." Harry's voice was filled with amusement as he pictured all thoughts of images of Snape being out of character in his head. "Hogwarts will be empty without you and I am sure you will get a fair share of surprise visits from Dumbledore no matter where you go but I'm glad that you're going to follow your heart. Life is much too short to spend it being miserable."
Severus shuddered at the thought of Dumbledore popping up unannounced, "That, Mr. Potter, was absolutely cruel to mention. I like to ignore the fact that Albus is, for some ungodly reason, fond of me as it has rarely done much beyond annoy me. I will miss Hogwarts herself but not the throngs of pubescent dunderheads. There will be another Potion Master teaching, one who actually enjoys the vocation and shall do a better job than I. What of you Harry? What do you wish to do after graduation?"
Harry was grinning wickedly; he knew the Dumbledore comment would take. He also knew that no matter how much Severus grumbled he was fond of the old coot. "Believe it or not I'm going into politics." He laughed when he saw Severus' expression. "Not like that...I'm going to study and then I'm hoping for a behind the scenes job at the Ministry. I want to work for the rights of creature blooded. It's a new age now and it's time for new rules. Remus had the best grades of anyone when he left Hogwarts and he hasn't been able to get a job despite of that...Even now he's simply an assistant librarian. He has so much knowledge and people don't want to use it because he's furry once a month. I don't want Teddy to grow up in that world. No one should have to hide or repress who they are."
"That certainly is true and yes, it is past time for change though with Kingsley as the new Minister I rather think that change will come more easily now than it has in the past. You've chosen an admirable career with that bleeding heart of yours. Which university are you leaning towards? Oxford, Edinburgh, Trinity, or one in another country?"
"Really? You think it's admirable? I was sure you were going to say something about hero complex and the need for crusading." Harry had been fully ready to hear that from Severus and to be proven wrong made him melt a little inside. "As for university I'm not really sure yet. I've looked at Oxford but at the same time I've been thinking about Notre Dame in France or the University of Rome. I've never been out of the UK...I suppose it will all come down to where you'll be." Harry held his breath after saying that...He knew they were taking it slow but he couldn't see himself being away from Severus either, not for years of school.
Severus' phoenix released a wild trill of joy that he was certain Harry would have heard and even the human side was nigh thrumming with satisfaction. The professor continued to pet the younger man's hair. "Are you considering France and Rome solely because you wish to see more of the world Harry? Because travel is generally what summer is used for. I have to go to several places this summer for potions ingredients, if it is travel you would like to experience you are welcome to accompany me."
"I would love to go with you Severus...And yes, the urge to see the world has a lot to do with why I've been looking at schools abroad. They both have excellent programs though. I'm not completely shallow." He leaned into Severus' touch like a snuggling cat. "Traveling with you sounds much, much nicer than any of my plans though."
"It will be good to have company. Some places will be obscure and some quite urban but I do believe you'll enjoy it and find it beneficial to your ambitions as many of the ingredients I will be getting come either from the creatures themselves or in the case of plants, creature-bloods who grow or hunt them out. If you would take a suggestion for which university, I would suggest Trinity. Oxford is geared more towards muggle and wizard relations laws and Edinburgh more towards defense masteries. Trinity's wizarding curriculum however is closer to what you'll be seeking and as it's in Ireland the creature-blooded prefer to attend there so you'd gain better understanding of others aside from weres, vampires, elves, and phoenixes."
"That sounds exactly as what I'm looking for. I will definitely look into it and see if I even have a chance at getting in...I don't have Hermione's grades you know." Harry smiled at him. "Speaking of grades, I better get back to the castle and finish my own essays...Including yours I may add before they won't even let me graduate." Harry didn't want to go, didn't want to go back to Hogwarts and deal with the weird tension between Sirius and Remus. He wanted to stay right where he was, in Severus' arms but he knew he couldn't. There was no escape from reality, besides he needed to talk to Hermione and Ron and come up with some sort of plan for the two surviving marauders.
"Perish the thought." Snape gently brushed his hand over Harry's. "Go inside and get warmed up, foolish man. You were out here for who knows how long without casting a warming charm."
"I forgot." Harry shrugged and stepped away from Severus with reluctance. "And then you came and warmed me up." He smiled and brushed a few wayward snowflakes from Severus' hair. "Don't be a stranger now." Harry whistled for Hedwig and when the snowy owl had landed on his arm Harry started to make his way back to the castle.
Severus chuckled and shook his head, watching Harry disappear within the castle. He closed his eyes and lifted his face to the sky as snow began to drift down. The flakes landed on his skin in small chilly shocks as he savored the warm contentment he felt at the moment and knew it was because of Harry.
Sirius walked along the outdoor path from Hagrid's hut. The half-giant had needed some help with the hippogriffs and as hippogriffs seemed to like Sirius, only slightly less than they did Harry, he'd gone to assist the huge man and been reminded that Hagrid was more perceptive than most gave him credit for. He'd expressed his worry for Sirius and told him to let Remus know that he was hurting. Sirius had refused to do that, citing that Remus didn't want him and he wouldn't burden his mate with the knowledge that it bothered him. He sighed and stepped over a large root when something caught his ears and he looked up, searching for the sound. Another sniffle came from his left and he walked over to peer behind a tree and found himself gawking at Teddy Lupin crying behind it, his hair a mournful gray.
The animagus looked around to see if Remus was around or Minerva, who was supposed to be looking after the little boy but when he saw absolutely no one he moved to crouch in front of the toddler. "Hey little man, what's wrong?"
Teddy sniffled and looked up at the man. He remembered the doggy, the doggy man used to laugh and make fart noises on his tummy but now he never laughed and his daddy always got quiet and sad after seeing him. "I gots lost." Fresh tears spilled over his chubby cheeks. "I was outside with Minnie, wanted to build a snowman but then thewe was a squiwwel and I followsed it and poof I was all on my own...No Minnie...No daddy and no squiwwel." Teddy hiccuped and inched closer to Sirius. "I want my daddy doggy man."
"Oh hey, come here," Sirius' voice was soft and warm and he picked Teddy up, holding him close and casting a warming charm about the boy when he felt how icy cold Teddy was. He ran his hand over the gray hair. "I'll bring you to your Daddy little man; he should be in the library round about now."
Teddy sighed in relief at not being alone any longer and he buried his ice cold little nose against the warm skin of Sirius' neck. "You'we nice doggy man. Why don't you smile and why don't ya ewer visit Teddy?" He clung to the tall man like a monkey, afraid that if he let go he would be alone and lost again. "My daddy has bad dweams sometimes...He calls out fow you, do you know how to make monstews go away? Is that why he calls fow you?"
Merlin it was like being kicked in the gut and Sirius had to swallow down tears. As much as he wished that it meant Remus missed him, he knew it was probably just the wolf and Remus never let the wolf out or listened to it, ever. Moony wanted him but Remus didn't. He smoothed a gentle hand down Teddy's hair though as they walked into the castle. "I used to scare monsters away for your Daddy until he was strong enough to scare them away too. You know how sometimes you dream about things you remember? That's probably what your daddy's dreaming about then." He kissed the top of Teddy's head. "I'll try and visit you next time you're with Aunt Minnie if you want Teddy-Bear."
Teddy nodded. "I'd weally like that." The sad gray of his hair was slowly melting away into soft brown and Teddy yawned against Sirius neck. "Daddy looks at youw pictuwe and cwies," The words were mumbled silently. "He doesn't cwy when he looks at mommy's pictuwe."
"Teddy! Teddy where are you?" Remus's voice was loud and on the edge of cracking with panic. He tried to follow his son's scent but the snow was distorting things, making the scent hard to track. His heart had stopped when Minerva had rushed in and told him that she'd lost Teddy and now he had run out in the snow in only his shirt and trousers. He couldn't lose his son, he just couldn't, he would never survive it. "TEDDY!"
Sirius heard the faint sound of Remus' panicked voice and turned, carefully schooling his features to keep them from showing the pain Teddy's words had brought up before he called out, knowing the other man would hear him just fine without having to shout. "Over here, I've got him Remus."
Remus came tearing through the snow and held out his arms, his eyes glowing amber and hair standing on end. "Oh thank Merlin! Thank you so much for finding him Pads, thank you." He took Teddy from Sirius' arms and hugged him tight, pressing kisses to every patch of skin he could reach. "Oh Teddy I was so scared, are you okay? You're not hurt are you?"
"Nope, not huwt. I was sad and scawed but doggy man found me and he made the monstews go away." Teddy snuggled up in his daddy's arms. "He said he'd take me to you daddy and he did."
"Thank you." Remus said again and pressed his lips to his son's hair. "I cannot thank you enough."
If Sirius had the energy, he'd have been angered by the fact that Remus thought he had to thank him for caring for Teddy, for a child he considered family and, if Remus hadn't ignored the mate recognition from the start, might have been his own son but he just didn't have the energy left to get angry anymore. Especially not with Remus calling him Pads when he'd not been Moony's Pads since Remus had chosen Dora and the thrill he'd felt when Remus had brushed against him when he'd taken Teddy. It was painful but he wouldn't show it. "It's fine, I found him while heading back from Hagrid's." He reached out, careful not to so much as ghost a touch against Remus, and ruffled Teddy's hair. "No more chasing squirrels unless your Daddy or Aunt Minnie are right there chasing them too okay Teddy-Bear?"
"Kay, I pwomise." Teddy gave him a tired smile and snuggled closer to his daddy and closed his eyes.
The wall was still there between them and Remus hated it, he would do anything to have Sirius back. He missed the other like one would miss air. He did notice that Sirius went out of his way not to touch him and so he took a step back even though his entire being screamed at him to step closer instead. "Right...Well thank you anyway. I should probably get this little one inside and into a warm bed." Remus' eyes lingered on Sirius before he lowered them to the ground and turned away to take his son inside.
"Right. Take care Remus." Sirius watched Remus slip inside and trembled for a moment before he suddenly shifted into Padfoot and took off like a huge black streak to run off a little of the agony in his chest. He knew that Remus missed him but he only missed a pack brother, that's all. That's all he'd ever been in his mate's human mind, a brother, a friend. He dearly wanted to howl for his mate, to give in to his instincts to call out in his loneliness, but he wouldn't, he refused to give that much of his feelings away when he know Remus would hear it. He was already in pain; he didn't need his mate assuring him of always being friends and making it worse.
To be continued…
AN: Thank you for reading; we would absolutely love to hear what you think of our story. See you next chapter.