This is basically a companion piece to Sirius the Godfather and the Troubling Times of Parenthood. If you haven't read that, I suggest you look it up, although you need no knowledge of that to enjoy this.
This is a very very very very late birthday gift for my dear friend haybarry82. I hope it ends up being worth the wait.
The Yule had brightened up the musty cracks of Grimmlaud Place. Even the dust in the curtains and the things that went bump in the night seemed cheerier. Grimmlaud's residents seemed to be especially wrapped up in the season. Remus had greated them at the door, a cigar between his fingers and an undone tie around his neck. An easy smile was on his face, making him look years younger, a red and green ribbon tied around his honey-blond ponytail. Harry grinned as he was pulled into the werewolf' side for a hug. His jumper smelled of Christmas roast and wet dog, but Harry supposed that was to be expected when living with Sirius. After a few seconds, Remus pulled away to greet the Weasleys and Hermione, who had an armful of half-Kneazel and some ancient text that only a Hermione-like person would bother with.
From out in the hall, Harry could hear snippets of conversation that Mrs. Weasley was having with Remus as he helped the twins with some of the luggage.
"Your hair, Remus, you're growing it out! Do you want me to cut it for you? Bill insists it's fashionable but—"
"It's fine, Molly," came Remus with what Harry could tell was a hint of a smile and some Marauder charisma, "I've always liked it a bit long—as does Sirius."
A nervous sort of laugh from Mrs. Weasley, "Sirius? Are you two...?"
"Yes," a sigh of relief, "wonderfully so."
At that point, Ron's stomach protested loudly at the lack of Christmas goodies. With a loud laugh from Mr. Weasley and an exasperated look from Hermione, the Chosen One was pulled deeper into the house.
Sirius was not exactly the type of man you think would slave over an oven during the holiday season, considering he was the type of man to wear his pants too tight and smoke with the window closed; yet there he was. A horrible flowered apron was tied around Sirius' waist, the pieces of hair that hung around his face dyed white with flour.
"Sirius!" Harry shouted. His godfather whirled around, silver eyes lighting up as he scooped Harry into his arms. Harry was held in a tight embrace that smelled of single malt scotch and newly refurbished leather car seats. He could feel Sirius' smile as he said, "Prongslet, you've gained a few centimeters!"
The older man held him at arms length then, observing all the change puberty had thrown at Harry between now and the last time they had seen each other. Sirius looked happier than the last time Harry had seen him; his smile was wider, his bones less protruding. Remus and Sirius were taking good care of one another then, and the holiday season had settled over the household nicely.
"I didn't know you baked Sirius," said Hermione, coming over now to look at the contents of the mixing bowl.
A doggish grin, "Dorea Potter's fault, that. Jamie was pants in the kitchen. I was her prodigy."
As Sirius pushed Harry and Ron into seats at the long dining table running the length of the kitchen, Harry's heart swelled up—it was wonderful to listen to Sirius talk about the past with such fondness.
Remus and the rest of the Weasleys made their way into the kitchen. The twins were greeted by Sirius with a laugh and a ruffling of hair. Ginny received a smile, Mr. Weasley a handshake and when Mrs. Weasley pulled Sirius down to kiss his cheek, Sirius pulled a theatrical face.
And then there was Remus. It...surprised Harry when Sirius pressed his hands onto Remus' shoulders and his lips to the werewolf's. It fit though, Harry realized. They fit. They trodden-on-by-life werewolf and the society shunned criminal.
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry could see Ron and the twins looking shocked, yet Hermione and Ginny had these knowing expressions on their faces. Girls were weird.
As quick as the moment had come though, it was gone and Sirius was pouring the contents of the mixing bowl into a pan. Conversation sprung up as usual, the twins stealing away to work on one of their next great projects, the girls in deep conversation about some girlish thing, which left Harry and Ron to their own devices.
"Chess?" Ron asked.
Dinner came that night with a flurry of guests. Daedalus Diggle was the escort of a as stern as ever Minerva McGonagal and Alastor Moody also waltzed in the door at some point. Kingsley Shacklebolt was followed by the ever-graceful Tonks and Mudungus Fletcher stumbled in, pissed out of his mind. They all gathered in the kitchen under the warm lighting to feast on whatever Mrs. Weasley, Kreacher and Sirius had whipped up.
Harry ducked under congratulatory arms and managed to avoid Tonks' "Wotcher" long enough to navigate the crowd and make his way to Sirius and Remus. The two were talking in one of the far corners of the kitchen with Daedelus Diggle and his enormous top hat. "Prongslet!" Sirius called as soon as he was in sight. Harry grinned and came to a halt beside Remus. Said werewolf had an arm wrapped around his partner's waist, rubbing circles into Sirius's hipbone with his thumb. For some unexplainable reason, it made Harry happy.
"Mr. Potter!" Daedelus exclaimed, "Wonderful to see you as always! How is Hogwarts treating you?"
"Not bad, classes are going well."
"Brilliant, Mr. Potter, now I do believe Mrs. Weasley has pulled a scrumptious looking cake out of the oven, and I must see if I can sneak a piece before supper. Good evening." Daedelus said and made his leave. Harry watched his top hat disappear as the old wizard navigated the crowd.
"Bit much, isn't it?" Sirius said, pulling Harry under his arm. The Chosen One leaned his head on his godfather's shoulder, which was a bit more difficult than last time, now that he top of Harry's head was level with Sirius's eyes.
"A bit, especially when you realize your godfather and your former professor have suddenly hooked up and nobody is saying anything." Harry said nonchalantly. Remus and Sirius' heads snapped to looked at him, Harry meeting their gazes. "Had you formally decided to tell me at anytime?"
"We had, Harry, but both of us were worried how you'd take it, or if you'd have a problem with it, and the last thing you need right now is to have one more thing to worry about." Remus said, frowning slightly, but Harry could see his grip on Sirius had only tightened.
Harry sighed, exasperated, "Of course I don't have a problem with it, you morons, I love both of you, and I'm glad you're happy! Finally!" At his words, Remus and Sirius shared a look, both of them looking considerably more joyful than before and suddenly Harry was being pulled into a bear hug. Surrounded by the soft wool of Remus' jumper and Sirius' cologne, Harry felt safe. It was Christmas, and he had a family for once.
The sound of a wooden spoon banging on the bottom of a pot broke up their hug. Hermione was standing on a stool, "Suppers on! Take your seats!"
Harry was propelled towards the table. Sirius had taken the head of the table and Mr. Weasley the foot. Harry was on Sirius left, across from Remus who was to Sirius right. Next to him sat Alastor Moody, who eyed the food suspiciously before taking a swig from his own flask.
Conversation picked up quickly, everyone digging into the first dinner of winter break. The twins half way down the table were retelling their last, big, school prank of the year under the reproachful eye of Minvera McGonagal. Harry wouldn't have been surprised if she had taken points from them between courses.
Sirius was the life of the party, which didn't surprised Harry in the least. His eyes were bright silver and glinting mischievously. He was half out if his seat, talking in earnest about something Mudungus had brought up halfway down the table. The Chosen One watched Sirius and then Remus, who was looking at the former convict with a small, amused smile on his face. Remus caught Harry's eye, chuckled and winked, before being pulled into conversation with Hermione about a recent book she'd read three seats down.
Finally, he started clearing the table to make room for desert with Mrs. Weasley when over the hum of conversation, Harry heard, "Damn, I just wish Rem and I could adopt him, you know? Take him away from those bloody bastards and give him a real home here with us."
Several things happened then. Mrs. Weasley paused her clearing to look at Sirius, "What makes you think that Harry's better off with you than us? You are a wanted criminal and Remus, no offense dear, can't hold a job. You don't know the first thing about parenting, how could you give him a real home?"
The chair Sirius was sitting in was pushed back with a heavy screech. Remus was looking slightly alarmed at the words that had just come out of Mrs. Weasley's mouth. Harry had always known that Sirius was not one of Mrs. Weasley's favorite people, but he had always thought she didn't think that lowly of him, to not even be able to support him. When Harry looked at Sirius, his godfather's eyes were no long cheery but hard and flinty. A nasty look was pulling on the corners of his mouth. "Really? You don't think that the man who knew his parents, the man who knows what James and Lily would've wanted, the man whose been waiting a dozen years to see the last of his family, can't give his godson an environment where he will be loved and cherished and not just given a sweater every holiday?" A growl had accompanied the last word, making Harry, and most of the guests, flinch away. Mrs. Weasley looked affronted, hands on her hips, "Well it's more than you've done recently, isn't it?"
Sirius lunged, only to be caught by Remus and the werewolf's surprisingly fast reflexes. Remus had a tight grip on his partner's arms, which turned into more of a caress as Sirius backed down. Something was whispered in Sirius' ear, making his shoulders slump a bit. After a moment of composing himself, Sirius turned to his guests, a shallow sort of smile that didn't reach past his lips on his face, and said, "I'm afraid I've been terrible company this evening, but I hope you've enjoyed yourselves. I believe it's time I've made my leave. Good night, all."
He left with out another word, sweeping out of room in the flash of a dark smoking jacket. After a minute, Remus also removed himself from the table, cut two pieces of the decadent cake Sirius had been working in earlier, and too made his leave. He, however, didn't say a word.
Desert continued at an odd pace, Harry noticed. Mrs. Weasley kept trying to initiate conversation, which was lost on him. He was content to stare down the wooden table and let the mass of voices wash over him. Sirius has called him his family, not just some orphan boy he'd pitied and taken in. He had a place here.
As the guests started to filter out, Harry said some good byes. His head had begun throbbing, though not with the sort of headache he got from Voldemort but more of a stress headache right between his eyes. After his third time almost bumping into a wall, Hermione grabbed him by the sleeve, "Do you need to go have a lie down, Harry?"
Bed, Harry thought.
Yes, his body agreed.
"Maybe I should. Tell the others I said good night?" Harry said. He watched as Hermione looked behind her shoulder at the Ron and the twins, and then Ginny helping her mother clean up. "Of course, get some rest, all right?"
He nodded, let her kiss his forehead and stumbled down the hall towards the main staircase. With one foot on the lowest step, he could then hear a low, aristocratic voice filter through the thin walls—
"Moony, I don't know what I can do!" Sirius said. He sounded so downbeat, a twinge in his voice that made him sound as though he'd been crying, "James, what would James think? I promised, Remmy, promised..."
A dry sob could be heard, which was then quickly muffled. Harry supposed Remus must've hugged him, "James would realized that, considering the situation, you've been doing your best. Also, if James was around, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place, now would we? Sirius Orion Black, look at me...look, wanker, yes, now I love you, and Harry loves you, and that's all the matters, yeah? It's not too late, Siri, and I'll be behind all the way."
This was followed by a lot of noises that sounded like kissing, so Harry decided to make his leave. He pushed himself up the steps, wanting nothing more than to fall down, face first into his bed. Rather proud of himself that he was able to pull his sleep shirt on before his mind gave out, he pulled the covers over his head and prayed to whatever deity out there that he could finally get some sleep.
He was pinned down.
His back was pressed into a hard marble floor, his head feeling like it had been bashed in repeatedly. Something that felt like heavy cotton or wool was stuffed in his mouth and down is throat, making it burn and bring tears to his eyes. Heavy chains around his wrists and ankles made it impossible for him to reach his wand or try and stand.
"The son of the lion bastard is upon us! All hail the Chosen One!" A serpentine, mocking laugh rang right through his head. Coils of something were straining around his neck. A snake. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't talk. Oh Merlin, he was going to die. Anyone. Anyone. He needed someone.
Harry woke up sitting ramrod straight on his bed, screaming, with beads of perspiration running down his forehead and into his open mouth. Ron was looking it him with a wide-eyed expression on his face from the next bed over. Harry looked at him, just as surprised as his friend. He didn't know if it was the pounding of his heart but it seemed as though someone was running to their door.
"Mate, are you..." Ron trailed off as the bedroom door flew open and Sirius and Remus filled the doorway. His godfather was clad in only pajama bottoms, barefoot and wand drawn. Remus was behind him, his ponytail half out, wearing a Beatles shirt and sweatpants. Both were looking very warlike, despite that it was the wee hours of the morning and Sirius still had what seemed like biscuit crumbs in his stubble.
"Prongslet, are you all right? Ron, you in one piece?" Sirius asked, sweeping into the room, as it was now assessed that there was no immediate danger. Remus followed, checking the windows as Sirius sat on the edge of Harry's bed and pulled him into a hug. Harry, still shaking and out of breath, relaxed into his godfather's hold.
Ron flopped back down on the covers as Remus confirmed the windows were still locked. The room seemed warm, too warm, for late December. Harry tried to calm his breathing, listening to Sirius' heart and copying his breathing patterns. Even cross eyed and incredibly tired, Harry could see the dark lines of the tattoos inked on Sirius' chest, over his heart and sternum. The bed dipped and what must've been Remus' hand started to rub circles on his back.
"Boys, are you—oh!" A voice, Mrs. Weasley's, came from the door. Sirius shifted to look, no, glare at her. "'S fine, mum. Harry just had a nightmare," Ron said. The soft padding of slippers and suddenly Mrs. Weasley and her dressing gown came into Harry's blurred line of sight. "Harry, love? Do you need me to—"
"He's fine, Molly. Now, if you'll excuse us, I think Harry needs some hot chocolate." Sirius said. Harry reluctantly pulled away from his godfather to be helped to his feet. Warm, scarred hands wrapped a quilt tightly around his shoulders and lightly propelled him towards to door, Sirius leading the way down the hall and the the creaky staircase.
Remus had ended up half-carrying him to the library, Sirius disappearing off somewhere to get some hot chocolate. A tartan wool blanket was thrown around Harry's shoulders, as he was settled in the maroon couch in front of the fireplace. He liked the mildewy, bookish smell that emanating from the room, and the cozy feeling he got, holed up on a corner of the couch.
After stoking the fire, Remus sat next to Harry, offering the Chosen One a place to rest his head. A few minutes later, Sirius came back with a tray of marshmallows and three cups of hot cocoa. "Fallen asleep on me, have you?" he said with a laugh, and plopped down on the other side of Harry.
"How are you doing, Harry?" Remus asked. He shrugged, curling up closer to his former professor. There was a heavy silence, and Harry could just tell Sirius and Remus were having a whole conversation in facial expressions. Before his half delirious mind was even comprehending what he was saying, Harry had blurted out, "Were you always this close?"
With his eyes opened a sliver, Harry could see the surprised expression that donned Sirius' face, and expected a similar one of raised eyebrows and wide eyes to be on Remus'. "S'pose not," Sirius said, now looking thoughtful, "definitely after fifth year though, more of sixth really."
"You became less of a git," said Remus.
"But in all honesty," Remus continued as though Sirius had not interrupted them, "we'd been dancing around each other since the end of fifth year. It was Pete, surprisingly, that got us together.
Remus wasn't quite sure why Sirius was sprawled on top of him and reading a magazine, especially since it was his bed, and Sirius had a perfectly good one of his own a meter away. He'd been like this for a while now; at every sleepover, House party, get together and well, full moons. Sirius was always by his side, and Remus thought James looked rather naked without his constant companion.
"Oi, Moons," it was always Moons nowadays from Sirius, too. Or Rem, maybe Remmy on occasion but never Remus. Not that it was a Bad Thing. "Siri?" it had also started to become Siri, or Pads, but never Sirius.
"What do you think of me getting a nipple pierced?" Sirius asked, and Remus spluttered, "What exactly?" A barking laugh, "Don't be such a bird, Rem, it' supposed to feel amazing during—"
But Remus never got to find out what it was supposed to feel amazing during because Pete and James decided that right then was a very good time to walk into the dorms. Remus was suddenly very greatful. It's not that he didn't like spending time with Sirius, he loved it, but Sirius was so loud and full of life and a ball of pure energy and Remus was...not.
"Our dear puppies are still waiting for us, I see," James said with a ruffling of hair. Sirius rolled up his magazine and threw it at his friend, "Wanker."
James and Pete flopped on their respected beds, the latter taking a chocolate frog out of his pocket, and biting the head off with a mumble of, "Amumur Murmin? Mam," or something as he looked at the card. Meanwhile, Sirius made himself a bit more comfortable, resting his head on the wool of Remus' school jumper on the small of his back.
After a moment of silence, James looked at them, sprawled on top of the comforter, "Comfortable, are you? Do you want us to leave you two alone?" Sirius laughed, snuggling closer to Remus, who actually didn't mind the invasion of his personal space, "Dunno, what do you think, Moons?"
"Wait, though," said Peter, his mouth now chocolate frog-less, "if we leave, are you two going to have...well..."
"Yes, Pete, we're going to have hot gay sex as soon as you and James leave," Remus deadpanned. A tense second and then Sirius was rolling around on the bed, gasping and laughing. James was cackling so hard he fell off his own bed with thump. Pete looked a bit freaked out. Wiping tears of mirth from his eyes, Sirius cried, "Poor bloke thinks you're serious, damn!"
Peter's scared looked turned into one of confusion, "Wait, you're kidding?" Sirius abruptly stopped laughing, sitting straight up, hair whipping against his neck. He shared a look of astonishment with Remus as James continued to laugh.
After dinner, Sirius dragged Remus into the nearest broom closet and prove Pete's theory correct.
"But before you give us that look, Harry, you have to know that your godfather is one of the horniest men alive. He was made to get people out of their trousers." Remus said. Harry had nestled himself comfortably between the two older men. His blanket had been thrown around the three of them, all getting warm with hot chocolate. Harry was still tired, but in a good way. The kind that made him feel safe.
Sirius barked a laugh, punching his partner in the arm, "Like you don't bloody enjoy it, wolf."
They settled back into companionable silence, Harry finishing his hot chocolate. "You two seem happier, at least." He had shifted, his head covered Sirius' heart, a heavy feeling starting to set behind his eyes.
"I think it's the season," Sirius said, "Yule was always wonderful, 'specially during our Hogwarts years. 'Member, Moons?"
"Mmm, Dorea would make this chocolate cake—"
"You and your chocolate, my dear Moony."
Rich, spiced ale sat in the kettle above the fireplace. The first snow of the Christmas season had settled over Potter Manor, enough to keep the inhabitants inside on the cold night, but nonetheless comfortable and warm. Three Marauders and a muggleborn witch sat in the parlor as the dying fire spluttered and crackled.
James and Lily had nodded off shortly after Mr. and Mrs. Potter had bade them all goodnight. They were curled together on the settee, under a blanket, Lily using James for a pillow. The two others in the room had decided that the sight was sickeningly sweet, considering how close the two had been all night.
Messers Padfoot and Moony kept to their own side of the room, Sirius' head drooping on Remus' shoulder. Remus was humming something under his breath, a muggle Christmas carol, maybe, that was lulling Sirius to sleep.
"I love you, Moons." Sirius' voice hushed over the juncture of Remus' neck and shoulder. The werewolf pulled him closer, "And I, you."
"My deeply poetic werewolf," Sirius continued, "the Sonny to my Cher, the McCartney to my Lennon, the moon to my star."
A laugh rumbled up from Remus' chest, Sirius catching every note, "And yet I'm the poetic one?" A nod from Sirius, which was followed from a snore half way across the room. James' glasses were slipping down his nose into Lily's hair. A few more quiet chuckles from the men in front of the fire. Soon no one was stirring, not even a mouse.
Harry yawned, pushing his glasses back up. He was so warm, and felt so safe. He could just...fall...asleep...right...now...
"Bed time for sleepy Prongslets." Sirius stood, followed by Remus, "Cubs need their sleep." Harry tried to tell his guardians that no, he was fine, and he wanted another story, but his body had another idea. Before he knew it, he had been lifted piggy-back style onto someone's back. Remus', by the way a ponytail tickled his nose.
They were half way up the steps when Harry finally slipped back into sleep.
A hot July night was not something either Sirius or Remus needed. With a war going on, the two men needed all the sleep they could manage to scrape together.
The covers were thrown off the both of them, and it was too hot to be spooning, but even so Remus' arm had found its way around Sirius' waist. Neither of the were asleep, caught up in their own thoughts and the heat of the night.
A crack came from downstairs.
"Rem, did you...?"
"Hear that? Yes." Remus was up in an instant, wand in hand, feet planted in the floor. Sirius followed his actions, causiously making towards the door. Remus' hand was reaching for the knob when it flew open.
If it wasn't for Remus' lightning fast reflexes, James Potter would have been dead a thousand times over. His glasses were askew, and if possible, hair messier than usual. His red tshirt stuck to his torso, soaked with sweat, but he was smiling just the same. No, smiling wasn't a large enough word. Beaming, more like it.
"What the hell, Prongs, can't you be a decent human being and wait until mo—" Sirius started to say, quickly interrupted. "It's Lily! Lily's gone into labor and I'm going to be a father!"
A moment of silence before the three of them made a race for the fireplace.
Harry woke up the next morning to soft patches of winter sunlight coming through the curtains. He was back in his own room, tucked snugly under the covers with Ron snoring like a foghorn a few paces next to him. Before he was really thing about his actions, he slipped on his slippers and grabbed a jumper, making his way down the hallway and down the steps.
The Chosen One was greaterd with a loud, clear voice doing a colorful rendition of Anarchy in the UK. The smell of eggs and bacon drew him to the kitchen, where Sirius was bouncing around, frying food and singing at the top of his lungs. Remus sat at the dining table, the Daily Prophet in hand, a small smile on his scarred face.
"Ah, Prongslet, glad you're up!" Sirius bounced over to him, handing him a plate of food, "Remus and I had something to ask of you."
Remus and Sirius shared a look over the table for a second before Sirius continued, "Perhaps it's time for a new family to move into this house...Moony, Padfoot and Prongslet."
Finally done! The longest, single-piece I've ever written. Btw, the thing that Pete mumbles is, "Another Merlin, damn." referring to the chocolate frog card he received. Reviews feed my lonely inbox!