Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, that honor belongs to J.K. Rowling.
A.N. This idea popped into my head when I was reading another fanfic and it just poured out. I wrote the whole thing in one sitting. Warning: slightly AU at the end.
"C'mon Harry I know you can do it. Say 'Daddy'."
"No, no, Harry, ignore him. 'Padfoot' say 'Padfoot'."
The little boy stared up, wide eyed, at the two men huddled in front of him. Both were fighting for the dominant position in front of the boy, shoving and pushing as though they were still children themselves.
"Padfoot, I'm his dad, it's only fair he says my name first!" James said, shoving his taller friend out of the way so he could better coach his son.
"But, he likes me best," Sirius shot back with a little push, "genetics having nothing on character and personality, Prongs."
As the two bickered little Harry sat contentedly on the floor, stuffed dragon in hand, and watched curiously. The fighting was good natured but seemed rather rough, and it appeared to be escalating quickly. Through the door walked Lily, her arms filled with a laundry basket, she stopped for a moment to stare at the men, and then down to her son.
"Is Daddy acting crazy again, Harry?" She asked as she set the wash next to the group on the floor.
James's head snapped away from Sirius, "I am not mad, Lily, we are having a completely rational discussion."
"Say 'Padfoot,' Harry!" Sirius said quickly, taking advantage of the distraction Lily so unwittingly provided.
"Not fair! You can't just jump in when I'm talking to my wife!"
Lily rolled her eyes and took in a deep breath, "Are we still on about this? If Harry is going to say anyone's name first it will be 'Mummy,' right, Harry?" Harry let out a coo and waved his dragon around his head.
"Lily, I've been working on him for weeks, if he doesn't say 'Daddy' first then I'm giving up as a parent." James said seriously.
"See that's not fair, you can't coach him when I'm not around!" Sirius whined pitifully, "You get more face time than I do."
"What else am I meant to do while I'm cooped up here all the time, Padfoot?"
"You could help me fold laundry," Lily suggested, gesturing to the basket lying innocently on the floor.
"Would you say that was a friendly request or a 'James, get off your bum and do it' sort of thing?" James asked Sirius in a carrying stage whisper, causing Lily to smirk gently.
Sirius stared at Lily thoughtfully, dramatically stroking an imaginary goatee under his chin, "Hmm, most likely that second option, although anything's possible I suppose."
"I would love to help you, dear!" James said, theatrically jumping to his feet, "After all, who am I to leave a poor damsel in distress for any longer than need be?" He walked over and gave her a quick peck on the cheek.
"Don't look now, Harry they are being disgusting again." Sirius covered the little boy's eyes, producing a small giggle as Harry tugged at the hand to try and remove it.
"Well, now that he's out of the way," Lily said as she plopped down in front of Harry. "C'mon now, 'Mummy' say it, Harry, say 'Mummy.'"
"What you're just going to steal my spot?" James cried indignantly as he dumped out the wash and began folding a clean jumper.
Sirius smiled at Lily approvingly, "I knew I liked you, Lils. Pawning off the wash on your husband just so you can win the battle, a true maraudette if there ever was one."
"Thanks so much, Sirius. I do it all for you of course." Lily quipped as she started to mess around with Harry, tickling him to provide that breathless giggle and happy smile. "See, Mummy loves you the most. So say it, Harry. You know how, 'Mummy.'"
"Mummy does not love you most!" James called out, "Daddy plays with you the most."
"That is untrue." Lily said, wiggling Harry's feet as though to prove the point, "Mummy plays with you all the time."
"Well Padfoot plays doggy, Mum and Dad don't do that do they, Harry?" Sirius asked giving Harry a tickle to produce a giggle, "See he likes me best."
"Oh yeah, because all Harry ever wants to do is play with a massive grim." James said sarcastically.
"Don't knock it 'till you try it Jim."
"I have tried it, Pads. Remember our monthly romps through the woods? Or is that too forgettable for you?" James asked cuttingly as he threw another shirt into the basket, causing the fold to fall out a bit.
"Hey, I you're going to do the wash do it properly!" Lily reprimanded James leaning over to smack him on the leg.
"I'm doing my best, Lily. Really what do you expect of me?" James asked, putting on a faux innocent face as though to show his incompetence couldn't be helped.
"Oh, you are not. I've seen you fold plenty of jumpers in my day, James Potter. And you have just as much ability as anyone to do it well."
"Oh no, Mum and Dad are fighting. Quickly, Harry, say 'Padfoot' to cheer everyone up!" Sirius said, with an urgency reserved for such occasions as James and Lily's fake fights.
"At this rate his first word will be something completely unrelated." James said, "We seem to be getting a tad bit off track."
"I've been trying hard; you and Lily are the ones bringing up other things like the wash." Sirius said.
"Well we can't all be so single minded as you are, Sirius. Some of us do have other things going on in our heads." Lily said smugly.
"Ouch, you've wounded me. Protect me from your evil mother, Harry!" He cried and snatched the toddler off the ground to hold in front of him as a sort of shield. Harry didn't seem to mind a bit, squealing happily at the change in position. "Block the evil Mummy, Harry, her words cut me."
Lily couldn't help but laugh at the man. "You are ridiculous."
"See what she does, Harry? And to think you'd ever say her name before Padfoot's." He put a particular emphasis on his own name, as though to subliminally message the child into repeating it.
A knock sounded from the door and all three adults' heads snapped in the direction of the entryway. Sirius set Harry down and positioned himself between the child and the door. James dropped the shirt he was folding and grabbed his wand from the couch where he had left it. He cautiously walked into the entryway, his wand pointed steadily at the door. "Who is it?"
"Remus Lupin, we met in our shared dormitory when we were eleven. You, James, told me the location of your house and invited me to come over whenever I could in order to "decrease the utter boringness" of your existence." Came the calm reply from the other side of the door.
James grinned and his wand fell slightly, though stayed aloft cautiously, "Remus!" He opened the door and let in the other man.
Remus walked in, looking weary as usual but smiling broadly nonetheless. "Hello, Prongs, I wasn't doing anything and thought I'd come by and see you all."
"You have good timing, Padfoot's here too." James said as he led the way back into the sitting room.
Lily and Sirius smiled up from the floor, both of their positions had relaxed as soon as they heard Remus speak from outside the door. "Hey, Moony!" Sirius said waving energetically.
Everyone stopped still and turned towards the toddler smiling happily from the floor, his arms extended towards the man at the door opening and closing his fists excitedly.
"Did he just-?" Sirius staring dumbfounded at the boy.
"Moo'y!" Harry repeated impatiently.
"He did." James replied solemnly, also slack jawed and stunned.
Remus was smiling brilliantly, any sign of wariness washed from his face like a flash. "Hey there, little Harry!" he quickly strode across the room and pulled the boy up into his arms. "Yeah, Uncle Moony's come to play with you!"
"That is so unfair." Sirius said, flopping dramatically onto his back. "A whole afternoon of coaching then Moony walks in and boom! Instant results!"
"Yeah just rub that salt in some more." Sirius grumbled.
"You're upset over an afternoon? I've spent weeks on the kid." James huffed angrily as he resumed his post next to the laundry basket and pushed his face into a clean shirt despairingly.
"You were so close to 'Mummy,' Harry. So very, very close." Lily sighed, her previous speechlessness deserting her in favor of resignation.
"What can I say; I've made quite the impression on him." Remus said, still grinning like a fool and cuddling with Harry. He sat on the sofa and held Harry in front of his face, "who's your favorite Harry?"
"Right! And who is the very smartest marauder in the whole world?"
"Right again, Harry! Smart and adorable." Remus said.
"Stop showing off, Harry, you'll give Moony a big head." Sirius said grumpily, "who has a big head, Harry?"
"Right, Harry! Aren't you a clever boy?" James said smugly poking his tongue out at Remus, who promptly returned the favor.
"You're just jealous." Remus said, his smile not faltering a millimeter.
"Damn right we are." Sirius muttered darkly.
Lily slapped him lightly on the arm, "Hey! Now that Harry's talking no swearing. We do not need him spouting off bad words everywhere."
"Yes, Lily." Sirius sighed, "I apologize, just ignore me Harry. It's not as though you seem to say anything I want you to anyway."
"Someday, Padfoot . Someday he'll listen to you." Remus said.
"Merlin, I hope not." Lily shuddered just thinking of what Sirius could end up teaching her child.
"What are you implying Lily?" Sirius asked, affronted.
"Oh you know just what I'm implying."
Years in the future a similar battle was occurring, but this time the boy had blue hair and there was only one warrior. "C'mon, Teddy say 'Mum.' You are plenty big enough to say it."
Tonks looked imploringly at the little boy as he stared back, blowing bubbles and smiling happily. "Just one little syllable, that's all I'm asking for."
The blank stare continued, happy oblivion written on his face.
"Dora!" a voice cried from the other room, "Have you seen my jumper?"
Tonks sighed, "Why do you expect me to keep track of your things, Remus?"
He poked his head into the room and grinned, "Because you do such a wonderful job at it, dear."
"Well, I do not know where you've gone and put your jumper. You'll have to find it all by yourself."
"Bit tetchy are we?" Remus asked, fully entering the room and walking over to lay a hand on Tonks' shoulder.
"I am not. It isn't my fault you lose everything. Right, Teddy, it's not Mum's fault Dad can't find anything to save his life."
"Dad!" Teddy repeated.
Tonks' jaw dropped, "Are you bloody kidding me?"
Remus on the other hand grinned. "Yes, Teddy very good! You are so big now!"
"Tonks dropped her head into her hands. "That is so unfair."
"Don't feel bad Dora, I just have that effect on children. They can't help but try to talk to me." He smile broadened at the thought of a similar scene so far in his past, a happy time, even in war. But then again, this was a happy time in his life as well, as happy as anyone could possibly get.
AN: I hope you enjoyed it! Please leave a review and tell me what you think.