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Remus Lupin, Guidance Counselor

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Harry stared in horror as Remus lacked his bags, ready to leave Hogwarts, where he was so loved. “Don’t go,” Harry pleaded, using his most tears eyed, wibbly lipped look. “Please?”

Remus felt his heart break. “Oh, Harry,” he said softly, hugging him close. “I’m so sorry, but the parents know that I’m a werewolf now. I don’t want the school to face any issues because of me being in the castle.” He paused to look down at Harry, who was still making cow eyes at him. “Besides, I need to take care of Sirius. He’s not in the best place now, mentally or physically.”

Harry slumped, defeated. At the door, Dumbledore watched the scene unfold, his old heart cracking from the raw emotion. Coming to a decision, he cleared his throat. “Remus.”

“Albus,” Remus greeted him, smiling.

Dumbledore strode into the room. “I am afraid that I must concur with Harry, here. Put away your bags, my boy.”

“S-sir?”

“Although you have decided to vacate your position as a teacher, I am delighted to offer you a position as a guidance counselor, consulting at Hogwarts from your new offices in Hogsmeade, but a stone’s throw away from the campus.”

Remus staggered back, and Harry squealed with delight. “Professor, you’re the best!” Harry beamed.

“Thank you, Harry,” Albus smiled, preening.

“B-but Albus,” Remus whispered, “what about Sirius?”

Dumbledore continued smiling. “I am certain that your new lodgings will be more than adequate for your assistant, the therapy dog,” he said, winking.

Remus sank down to sit on his trunk. “A-Albus, I don’t know what to say.”

“Say yes,” Dumbledore advised. “In the times ahead of us, I am sure that the students will need your stabilizing presence more than ever.” Then, “I trust you, Remus.”

Harry bounced over excitedly. “Come on, Professor Lupin! Take the post! That way, we can see each other all the time, and Sirius can have a home with us!”

Remus gave a tremulous smile, and nodded, to Harry’s celebratory whoop and Dumbledore’s twinkle.

“Excellent!” Dumbledore trilled, clapping his hands. “Now, pack your bags, Remus! You’re moving in to Number 7, Bumblebee Cottage!”

Remus paused. “Albus, isn’t that your house?”

Albus waved his hand dismissively. “Pish posh. I don’t live there anymore. The cottage might as well go to good use.”

Remus smiled. “Thank you, Albus. You’re a good man.” He bent over to pick up his trunk, and paused when Dumbledore slapped his hands away.

“Oh, don’t bother,” Dumbledore said. “You must be so tired after your transformation. I daresay that Severus would be more than happy to help you move,’ he said, his eyes gleaming.

Harry snickered, and was soon joined by Dumbledore and Lupin himself. For once, it looked like they were going to have a happy ending.

***

When Dumbledore broke the news of Remus’ appointment as the off-campus guidance counsellor, there was mass rejoicing from the students. Several older students threw flowers at the teacher’s table at Lupin, much to his surprise. Before long, he was buried under a horde of red roses. Even Albus had gotten a few roses, strangely.

Snape was having kittens, and his hand inched forward to Lupin’s throat. He was foiled, though, as Remus preempted his move and used it to maneuver him into a hug instead. Trapped in his own plan, Severus slumped, admitting defeat.

“Yes, Remus Lupin has consented to lend his heart and mind to us as Hogwarts’ newest guidance counselor! Hogsmeade weekends will be specially extended for counseling sessions with him to those who need it,” Albus beamed. “With the combined powers of Remus and his therapy dog, Padfoot, Hogwarts students will have a safe space to go and confide in a trusted adult.”

At that moment, Sirius in animagus form jumped onto the table. His mouth split into a goofy grin with his tongue lolling out, and his tail wagged furiously, batting Snape in the face. “Bork!”

“Heck,” Severus cursed, leaning away. Several students aww’ed and ooh’ed at the friendly pupper, and Padfoot jumped down so that he could be petted. Everyone, even the Slytherins, commented on what a good dog he was. Padfoot eventually settled at the Gryffindor table, leisurely stretched over Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s laps, were they giggled and petted his fluffy head.

As far as feasts went, it was one of the best.

***

The train ride back, Harry, Ron, and Hermione crammed themselves into Remus’ compartment, and talked his ear off. They had several visitors, who all were looking for excuses to play with Padfoot.

Even Malfoy was charmed by the happy dog, and in a stunning few moments of normality, giggled and petted Padfoot as he nuzzled and jumped all over the normally prim blonde boy.

Upon seeing everyone staring at him, Draco recovered his sneer and stood to walk away, but not before patting Padfoot on the head one last time. The train pulled into the platform, and Draco rushed over to his parents and pretended to be snooty again.

Alone in the compartment now, Padfoot whined and bumped Harry with his nose, making the boy’s face crumple. “Aw, I don’t want to go either, Sirius,” he said. “But I’ll write loads. I’m staying with Ron for all of August, so maybe we could see each other then.” He looked up at Remus. “Remus, could you maybe threaten the Dursleys for me? Just to let Hedwig out.”

“What a splendid idea, Harry, of course I shall oblige,” Remus said happily.
They went up the platform and into King’s Cross and located the Dursleys. Harry grabbed Remus’ hand (Remus’ heart swelled with joy) and walked over. Before Vernon could open his sinkhole of a mouth, Remus spoke. “Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, my name is Remus Lupin, I am the guidance counselor at Harry’s school.”

At the mention of Harry’s school, Vernon shut his mouth and opened his eyes wide. Remus continued to look soft and handsome and pure and good. The dichotomy could really not have been sharper, and for the millionth time, Harry imagined running away to Remus’ and persuading the man to move to Australia with him and Sirius. Noticing that Remus had started talking again, Harry snapped out of his daydream.

“...home visits in my capacity as the guidance counselor, but Harry has assured me that daily letters will suffice. For this reason, he needs his owl...”

Harry smiled and went back to daydreaming about living in Australia with his two dads, who were secretly superheroes and defeated Australian death eaters with their goodness and might. By day, they were Sirius and Remus, but by night, they were Wolfman and Ultimate Doggo, heroes of the wizarding world.

“...so glad that you understand,” Remus finished, baring his fangs in a smile at Vernon, who cringed away. “All sorted, Harry,” Remus said, bringing Harry out of his daydreams again. Harry beamed and allowed Remus to ruffle his hair, and for Padfoot to lick his face several times before Harry left with the suitably terrified Dursleys.

This was going to be a good summer.

**********

July had fled by, as had August, and soon the school term had started up again. Sirius was very much looking forward to his new job as therapy dog, where his main duty was snuggling up to Harry as much as was possible.

Remus has set up his office and had stocked up on a lot of chocolate - dark, milk, and white, for all the students they would be getting. It was a Triwizard Tournament year, and Dumbledore had already slated Remus to regularly meet with the three champions, whoever they would be.

“Well, we’re officially in business, Sirius,” he said, glancing at his friend as they finished lining the shelves with the last of Remus’ books.

“Yup, Lupin and Black, counselors at practice,” Sirius beamed. “Saving students since 1994.”

It had a nice ring to it.

***

Harry was a Triwizard champion. Sirius nearly brought the roof down with his distraught howling, and Remus scheduled an emergency appointment for his boy.

During Hogsmeade weekend, Harry came dashing into Remus’ office, followed by Hermione, who was loudly seething about the stupidity of their so called “authority figures”. Remus was inclined to agree with her, but gave her some hot chocolate to calm her down first.

Harry was being cuddled by Sirius very effectively, and Remus soon joined the smothering session. “It’s dragons,” Harry said, “we have to get past dragons!”

Sirius was quick to suggest a conjunctivitis curse. Remus suggested the same, but done on a broom for a quick getaway. “You’re so smart, Moony,” Sirius said in awe.

Remus blushed, and tried to steer the conversation back to Harry. “You must be so stressed, Harry,” he said sympathetically.

“Uh huh,” Harry concurred. “To top it all, Ron is being a jealous git for no reason, and Malfoy made these awful badges, plus Moody’s set on traumatizing everyone-“

The story came spilling out, and by the end of the visit, Harry had left with a sound theory on how to perform a conjunctivitis curse, and many assurances that he was loved and cherished by his two super-dads, partners in doling out vigilante justice under the cover of night.

Remus, however, was very angry. “I am going to schedule appointments with young Malfoy and Ronald, plus Neville Longbottom,” he said. “And then I am going to absolutley murder Alastor Moody.”

“I will help you,” Sirius said. “I will get a shovel and dig a grave.”

“Burning leaves less clues, darling,” Remus said gently.

“Oh, right you are, you’re so clever,” Sirius said admiringly.

Remus blushed. “Aw. Thanks.”

***

“Hello, Neville,” Remus smiled as the boy walked into his office, flanked by Hermione and Harry. As though sensing the boy’s fear, Padfoot bounded forward and danced around Neville, alleviating what hesitation he may have had.

“Hello, sir,” Neville said softly. sitting on the couch between Harry and Hermione. Padfoot draped himself over the three of them, and got his much desired belly rubs.

Remus smiled and handed Neville some milk chocolate. “I heard about Defence class, Neville. Would you like to talk about it? I’m sure you would feel better if you got it off of your chest.”

The story came tumbling out amidst some tears, lots of shivering, and more chocolates. By the end of it, Neville was a wreck, and Hermione of was hugging him as though he would float away if she let him go.

“Neville,” Remus said softly, drawing the boy’s eyes to himself, “it must have been incredibly difficult for you to see the curse in action. I’m sorry that you had to go through that.”

“Gran doesn’t think so,” Neville murmured. “She said that I had to face it if I want to be an auror.”

Remus raised his eyebrow. “I’m sensing a but, there.”

Neville sniffled. “I don’t think I want to be an auror,” he said miserably. “I never much liked the idea. All I’ve ever wanted to do is...”

“Go on,” Remus said gently.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is to have my own orchard for wand wood trees,” Neville confessed, his eyes lighting up. “Cedar, holly, and elder trees dotting the landscape, the sounds of bowtruckles in the air, and the occasional mandrake crying renting the air.”

Remus was about ready to join Hermione and hug the poor boy in front of him. Luckily, Padfoot got there first and sprawled across Neville’s lap, and pawed valiantly at the boy’s tears.

“Neville,” Remus said, “what your grandmother wants and what you want are two different things. There’s nothing wrong it’s not wanting to be an auror. When the time comes, you can and should tell Augusta how you feel. If she truly loves you, she will understand. Herbology is a time honored and noble field, and I am sure that Professor Sprout or Dumbledore can help set you up with an apprenticeship. From what I recall, your herbology scores were quite remarkable.”

Neville sniffled gratefully. “R-really?”

“Really,” Remus said seriously. Then he smiled. “There’s nothing wrong with living your dream.”

“Yeah, Nev,” Harry said. “If your gran doesn’t listen, then you can always come and live with me and Remus and Pads, here.”

“Woof!” Sirius concurred happily.

By the time the kids had left, Remus was already planning on expanding the cottage floor space.

***

Theodore Nott coming to see him was a surprise.

“Can I come in?” Theodore asked softly. Remus let the boy in, and ushered him into a seat. Before he could shut the door, however, Draco Malfoy also came storming in after him, shooting Lupin a distrustful look.

“Draco, if Theodore would like privacy during his consultation-“

“I am going to be here,” Draco said with finality, “so you don’t try to eat him.”

Sirius growled, but Remus merely looked amused. “I’m vegetarian for the most part,” he said.

“The most part?”

“I do indulge in some chicken during the full moon period,” Remus admitted. “It keeps the wolf satisfied. A vegetarian diet also tames the wolf’s bloodlust somewhat.”

“Oh,” Draco said shortly, and plonked himself onto the couch next to Theo, who looked to harbour none of his friend’s misconceptions.

Remus hand both boys a chocolate each, and sat down. “What seems to be the problem, Theodore?” He asked kindly.

“I’ve been having nightmares,” Theo said quietly. “Since Defence class.”

Remus had never wanted to kill someone more. Alastor Moody was going to die a very painful death, preferably at his hands.

“The Unforgivables,” Remus stated. Theo nodded. “Theodore,” Remus said softly, “have you been...exposed to those spells?”

Theodore frowned and shook his head. “No...not those-“

“Theodore’s father,” Draco piped up, “is an arse of the highest order. He uses flagellating curses as discipline. And he hits him, like some medieval monstrosity!” Draco took a deep breath to calm himself. “I keep telling Theo that my mother and father would take him in a heartbeat, but he insists on staying with that...creature! ARGH!”

Remus let out a heavy sigh and then handed Draco a pillow. The boy put it to his face and screamed into it, flailing angrily, and Remus couldn’t help but develop a soft corner for this prickly, sneering, but ultimately sweet child.

He turned back to Theo, his expression purposefully light. “Theo, I need you to know that what your father is doing to you is wrong,” he said. “You don’t deserve to be beaten. Take it from another adult who has known you - you’re a good, smart, and resourceful young man.”

Theodore looked up, his stoic expression giving way to doubt. “Not good enough,” he said hoarsely.

Draco pillow-screamed some more.

Remus smiled. “I think you’ll find that your friend disagrees, as do I. You’re an excellent young man, who deserves a stable home. If you’ll allow it, I will attempt to find you a place.”

Theodore looked unconvinced. “My dad’s...powerful. He won’t like it.”

“I am a werewolf,” Remus countered grimly, “and there isn’t much that can hurt me. It is also very difficult to get past me, and you father will have to go through me to get you.”

The frank admission of Remus’ nature managed to unblock something in Theodore. “I need to think about it - Draco stop screaming - but I will consider it, if only to get Draco to stop,” Theo promised. And somehow, Remus knew that he meant it. “But these days, I can’t sleep due to the nightmares.”

Remus nodded. “Of course. Before resorting to dreamless sleep potion, I would advise a more passive approach. A lavender and sage bundle under your pillow, and chamomile tea before you sleep. If it doesn’t work, then you will have to use the potion.”

Theodore nodded. “Thanks, sir,” he said. “And, um, regarding the placement- er, alright,” he said sheepishly. “I just didn’t want anyone else to get hurt ‘cause of my dad.”

Remus beamed. “Don’t you worry, I’ll hurt him way before he can think of coming after you.”

Theodore was startled into a laugh. “Wow. You’re not a typical counsellor, huh?”

Draco perked up. “Do you need a murder plan? I have a murder plan. There is a convenient bog just off of the forbidden forest, it is an excellent dumping ground for bodies-“

“Thank you Draco,” Remus interrupted the boy hurriedly, “but I have an idea already.”

“Let me know if you need help,” Draco said seriously, getting to his feet. “Come on, Nott, let’s go.”

Theodore gave Remus a thankful smile and followed Draco out, and Remus sat back to plot.

Sirius transformed back and sat next to Remus. “Are we gonna adopt that kid? Because I have to update my will if we do.”

Remus grinned at his strange, lovely friend. “Sirius, we are not married. Also, you don’t like me that way.”

“Ah, true,” Sirius said. “I forgot about that. I think I hallucinated that we were together - couldn’t figure out when or why though. Fucking Azkaban fucking with my memories.” Sirius paused, then said, “Did we ever sleep in the same bed?”

“Multiple times.”

“And did you kiss me whilst dressed as a girl?”

“Yes, when we were sixteen, and you needed an excuse to avoid punishment for a prank. I was your ‘girlfriend’ from the village.”

“Ah, good, so those memories weren’t false,” Sirius said, nodding. “What about your pregnancy?”

“My what.”

“Pregnancy. I distinctly recall you holding a baby and singing lullabies.”

“That was Harry, fourteen years ago. I was never pregnant.”

“I see,” Sirius said, and then lay down with his head in Remus’ lap. “I’m so lucky that you’re here for me, Moony.”

Remus allowed himself a moment to relax with his best friend before resuming his work. He could always make time for Sirius.

***

“ALBUS.”

“Hello, Remus,” Dumbledore beamed as Lupin and Sirius charged into his office. “To what do I owe the pleas- oh, you’re angry,” Albus said, correctly interpretting the popping vein in Remus’ forehead.

“Did you know,” Remus gritted out, “that Alastor Moody has been demonstrating Unforgivables in his classes? In front of children, some of whom have had very bad experiences with those very same curses?”

Dumbledore’s expression immediately fell. “Oh dear,” he murmured.

“I would like to request that he be sacked and killed.”

“I will come up with something,” Albus promised, “but finding Defence teachers is a nigh impossible task these days. In the meantime, I am sure that the students affected would benefit from more time with you.”

Remus nodded. “There is a bog, near the forbidden forest-“

“I am aware of the murder bog,’ Albus said sagely. “Rest assured, Remus, the students will be taken care of.”

Remus nodded, thanked Albus, and then left to go to the dungeons. There was a certain greaseball that he needed to speak to.

***

“Yoo hoo, Severus?” Remus called, cracking the door to the potions classroom open. Snape sat up and glared as Padfoot dashed in and shed all over him.

“Lupin,” Severus spat. “Go away.”

“No, I need to talk to you,” Remus said, closing the door behind him. Snape stood up and backed away.

“Why did you close the door?”

“What I’m about to tell you is private,” Remus said quietly. “Sirius, please stand by the door for me.” Sirius loped gracefully over and planted himself in front of the door, while Remus stood across from Severus. “Severus, I need you to know something-“

Severus sighed and dropped his chin to his chest. “Say no more, Lupin. I know what you have to say.”

Remus stared. “You do?”

Snape nodded. “The past year has made it clear to me that you carry a torch for me. Alas, too much has occurred between us, and circumstances will never be such that we can be romantically involved without Black or some unforeseen evil devastating us.”

Remus stilled. “Um, actually, I was here in my capacity as a counsellor. Theodore Nott came to see me.”

Snape drew back, shocked. “Well, I never. Oh, I say. By Jove. Good Lord.”

“Severus, calm down,” Remus pleaded.

“No, I shan’t. Egads. Good grief.”

Remus sighed and spoke over him. “Theodore’s father is abusing him. He needs to be placed in a stable home.”

Snape immediately snapped out of his horrified stupor. “He has never told me of this,” Snape said, his eyes narrowing.

Remus cleared his throat. “You’re not exactly...approachable, Severus,” he said.

“That is by design,” Severus said. “I am Head of House for Slytherin, not Hufflepuff. My students problems involve murder and pain, not ‘oh no I’ve oversweetened the cookies’.”

Remus nodded, remembering Draco and the murder bog. “Well, we need to place Theodore in a different home, and I was hoping...”

Severus cotyoned on to Remus’ intentions. “Oh no. No. No, no, never in a million years, Lupin. Are you out of your doggone mind? Why would you consider me a candidate for raising a child?”

“You are his head of house,” Remus stressed. “You’re a trusted adult.”

“You take him, then!”

“I have Harry,” Remus said, and Sirius woofed happily. “Harry comes with his own issues, and needs a lot of attention.”

“Egads,” Snape said, and sunk into his chair. “What about another teacher?”

“They’re not close enough to Theodore,” Remus said. “And he trusts you. He was willing to go to you with his issues if I were not a choice. In fact, he may yet come to see you. He’s been having nightmares.”

“Oh, blast it all,” Severus groaned. “At least he is grown past potty training.”

“So you’ll take him in?” Remus asked, and was overjoyed when Snape nodded wearily.

“What other choice do we have?”

Remus patted Severus’ hand and left him to stew. “You’re a secretly sweet man, Severus Snape.” Sirius barked and bounced out the door, but Remus paused to look back at Snape. “Oh, and Severus?”

“What?”

Remus smiled coyly. “Never say never.”

Remus left, leaving a flabbergasted Snape with mixed feelings and the prospect of impending fatherhood.

Chapter Text

By the time Remus got around to speaking with Ron, the first task had passed and the boys had already made up. Although Remus was glad that Ron had come around, he still intended to speak to the boy. The next time the trio visited, Remus sent Harry and Hermione shopping for some groceries and waylaid Ron.

“You don’t have to do this,” Ron said, “I’ve already kicked myself. I even got Fred and Gerge to kick me on Harry’s behalf, because he was too nice to actually kick me. Hermione yelled at me lots and threw an encyclopedia at me.”

Remus smiled. “Harry’s not the only child I worry about,” he said gently, leading Ron to the sofa. “You had a tough time processing the whole thing. Why don’t you tell me about it?”

Ron raised his eyebrow. “Seriously? You’re practically Harry’s dad. He doodles pictures of you and Sirius in superhero robes, fighting crime together. Don’t tell him that I told you that.”

Remus glowed with affection for Harry, his sweet summer child. “Be that as it may, I also care for your wellbeing, Ron. What about the goblet choosing Harry upset you so much?”

“It’s just...” Ron trailed off, and took a deep breath. “Harry’s always at the center of things. He’s the good guy, the hero of his own story, and everyone else’s. And just once, I thought that we would have a normal year, where we could be equals. Then the goblet happened, and...”

“I sincerely doubt that Harry thinks that he is superior to you,” Remus observed.

“No, he doesn’t,” Ron said, “and he’s great that way. You see? He’s great in every possible way! He’s like...some legendary knight, and I’m his squire who gets killed in battle and no one remembers to mourn.”

“Oh, Ron,” Remus said gently, “you’re not going to be forgotten,” he said. “You are so loved.”

“I’m the middle child. I’ve read the muggle psychology books, I know that I’m very forgettable in my family.”

“But not to Harry,” Remus said. “Not to Hermione. They love you so much. Harry was so upset at having lost you for a while.”

“Yeah,” Ron grimaced. “Don’t tell anyone, but when we got back to the dorms after the first task, we hugged for ten minutes and cried all over each other. And I felt like the worst person ever, making Harry cry like that. I felt like I had to make it up to him, so-“

“So?” Remus prompted.

“So I found Malfoy selling some of those horrid badges and I pushed him into the lake. It ruined all of his badges and his robes.”

Remus couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled out of him, and Ron cracked a tentative smile. “He wouldn’t drown, y’know? The giant squid never lets anyone drown.”

Remus shook his head. “Be that as it may, Ron, I want you to know that you are special. To Harry, to Hermione, and to me.” Ron looked surprised, and Remus smiled. “You were so brave last year, when Sirius dragged you into the shrieking shack. You refused healing and told your friends to leave you behind. You’re a good friend and a good person.”

Ron blushed something awful, and Sirius transformed back into a human to sit next to Ron. “Ay, Remus is right, lad. And I’m right sorry about giving you a bit of a nibble that night. Never apologized, did I?”

“That’s ok,” Ron said, “I healed alright.”

“See? You’re just as nice as Harry,” Sirius said. “So stop selling yourself short. You’re a swell kid, and I’d be right depressed if you were to die, or some rot that like.”

“Not helping, Sirius,” Remus gritted out. Sirius transformed into a dog and bounced around in an effort to distract Ron.

“Bork!’

Ron laughed, and Remus knew that his work was done for now. He resolved to keep an eye on Ron’s happiness going forward, and hoped that the boy would believe in time that he, too, was loved.

***

Draco was a harder nut to crack, and Remus knew it as soon as the boy slunk into his office again. “I heard that you got Theo placed elsewhere,” he said in lieu of a greeting.

“I did,” Remus said.

“Theo’s father is powerful,” Draco said matter-of-factly. “Magically and politically.”

“Theo will not come to any harm,” Remus said. “His new guardian is not a man to be trifled with. And neither am I,” he said, smiling wolfishly. Draco stared, and then nodded.

“The murder bog is, of course, available.”

“I will bear that in mind,” Remus replied seriously. “Take a seat, Draco.”

Draco sat primly, and accepted a bar of dark chocolate, 70% cacao. “Why did you call me?”

“I am concerned by some of your behaviors of late,” Remus confessed. “Your overt displays of hatred towards Harry are concerning.”

“Bah! I should have known!” Draco spat. “Everyone is always catering to perfect Potter! But why would I expect better-“

“Good grief,” Remus muttered, and quickly fed Draco some chocolate to silence him. “You are a very vehement child.”

“Mmgmph,” Draco mumbled thickly through his chocolate bar.

“I am concerned about you, Draco, not Harry,” Remus clarified. “Harbouring such strong feelings of hatred are not usual, and is more detrimental to you than your target. It ruins your peace of mind, and takes up space in your brain that could be devoted to better things.”

At this, Draco looked sheepish, and Remus hazarded a guess. “Your grades have been slipping, haven’t they?”

Draco nodded mutely. “Father was most displeased. He expects me to be the best in my year.”

“Professor Flitwick has called you a charms prodigy,” Remus said, looking at his notes, “and Severus has deemed you to be rather proficient at potions. That is high praise.”

“I need to be the best at everything,” Draco stressed. “I need to be good at charms, potions, transfiguration, be of noble breeding, be on my best behavior, and still, somehow, I fall short. Meanwhile, Potter is none of these things, and continues to excel at life. It is as though all my work, all my breeding, and my blood status are for naught!”

Ooh, this one was a difficult case, Remus thought to himself. “Draco, you don’t need to be the best at everything.”

“I am a Malfoy! We are the best!”

“That may be so,” Remus said lightly. “Let us look at this from a practical perspective. What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Draco’s eyes bugged out of his skull. “Malfoys do not join the workforce. We own the workforce.”

Remus raised an eyebrow.

Draco wilted. “I want to be a healer,” he murmured.

Remus smiled brightly. “What do you want to specialize in?”

“Obstetrics and pediatrics,” Draco said. “Babies are the least objectionable forms of living creatures. I can’t very well discuss this with my father, though. The last time I told him about my aspirations, he had a stomach upset.”

Remus couldn’t help it. He gave Draco’s hair a ruffle and watched as the boy hissed at the affectionate touch. “That’s a lovely career choice, Draco, and I’m sure that you’ll be very good at it.”

“You think?” Draco asked genuinely, and Remus’ heart melted.

“I do,” Remus affirmed. “Your grades in the required classes are exemplary, and they could be even higher if you could focus your energies away from hating Harry for just how he is.”

At the mention of Harry, Draco flailed angrily. “Bah! Potter! Once again, his very mention ruins my happiness!”

“Only because you allow it to,” Remus said. “Negative feelings can cloud the mind. Why don’t you try to focus your energies on something positive?”

“About Potter?” Draco asked, aghast.

“If you would like,” Remus said, seeing an opportunity to nip two problems in the bud. “Why don’t you try and focus on things that you find admirable about Harry? It would be an exercise in patience - something you will need in abundance as a healer.”

Draco rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “He is not an abysmal flier,” he said. “And his DADA scores are decent. He...has a fine facial bone structure.”

Remus’ ears perked up.

“His eyes are very bright - stupidly bright, and so damnedly green! His laugh is nice, like a hundred wind chimes - annoying, those. And his hair!” Draco seethed. “He doesn’t even do anything to it, and it’s still so stylish, and glossy, and-“

Remus shot Padfoot a glance, and saw him looking amusedly at Draco, or as amused a a dog could look. Dear lord, they were dealing with the mother of all crushes.

“And he’s so nice to everyone, but he wouldn’t even take my hand in first year, and chooses to cavort with Weasley! Weasley! ARGH!”

Remus allowed Draco to thrash about angrily for a bit before pushing some more chocolate his way. “From what I can understand, Draco, you seem to be bitter that Harry won’t pay you any positive attention.”

Draco stuffed his mouth with chocolate and refused to answer. Remus smiled. “You know, I’ve seen my share of relationships based on hatred turn into love.”

“Love? Love! Don’t be absurd!” Draco squeaked unconvincingly.

Remus stared at him knowingly. “In order to befriend someone, one usually has to appeal to their intended by shared interests, and showing off their own admirable qualities.”

Draco paused. “What are you saying?” He asked slyly.

Remus leaned forward, equally slyly. “I’m saying,” he said, “that a proper relationship is formed on the basis of respect, affection, and shared interests.”

Draco frowned. “Do I have to respect Granger and Weasley?”

“Would it be difficult?”

“Granger, no,” Draco admitted, “I may even be able to improve her. Weasley on the other hand-“ Draco shuddered.

“Give it a shot,” Remus said. “You may be surprised by the results.”

***

The plan was afoot.

“Granger, your hair is atrocious. Here, have a hair tie.”

“Um.”

Draco shook the hair tie in her face. Hermione took it.

“Thanks?”

“Don’t mention it.”

***

“Potter, your slugs need to be diced, not cut julienne. Your potion will fail otherwise.”

Harry squinted at the board and realized that Draco was right.

“Um, thanks.”

“Mention not.”

***

“Potter, your charms essay is abysmal. Here, refer to mine.”

Harry referred and Draco felt a surge of warmth drop into his stomach as Harry’s hair brushed his cheek when the other boy leaned over.

“Oh, you’re right. Thanks.”

Draco smiled.

***

“Granger your posture is horrendous. It’s all those books that you lug around. Haven’t you ever heard of a featherlight charm?”

“What-“

“Here, aviflotus,” Draco recited the charm, pointing at Hermione’s bag. Hermione straightened immediately.

“Oh,” she remarked, then frowned. “Why are you suddenly being nice to us? Do you have an agenda?”

“Granger, I always have an agenda.”

***

“Weasley, you-“

“Eh?” Ron asked trough a mouthful of food.

“ARGH - never mind.”

***

Hermione peered at Pansy Parkinson, who peered back at her. “Why,” she asked, “are we sitting together?”

“Draco has asked me to be nice to you,” Pansy said. “He insists that you can be improved. I am trying to see how.”

“What.”

“Have you ever used lipstick?”

***

“Have you ever thought about going blonde, Weasley?”

Draco pouted as Ron ran off. Honestly, those Weasleys.

***

Draco was back at Lupin’s office the next Hogsmeade weekend. This time, he was sporting a grin. “My plan is working,” he said as a greeting. “Potter now smiles at me, and we have ceased being nasty to each other. Granger looks presentable now. Did you know that she has heterochromia in her eyes? I didn’t. One green and one brown. Pansy tied her hair back, and everyone was shocked.”

Remus smiled and resisted the urge to hug the smug child in front of him. “That’s excellent news, Draco.”

“Indeed. I now plan to court Potter and sweep him off his feet. I think that Pansy is rather taken with Granger’s face, though I can’t see why.”

“And you’re not averse to your friend liking a muggleborn?”

Draco shrugged. “Granger can’t help her birth. Besides, she is plenty magical to disprove the purist propaganda. Weasley, however, can absolutely help his utter boorishness but chooses to go on as he is, and is thus utterly deserving of my contempt. And who am I to judge, when I am going to court Potter?”

Remus grinned. “I’m glad that you’ve changed your mind about those purist prejudices, Draco.”

“Granger has given me some muggle philosophy books. I believe that the elite create boundaries and claims of superiority in order to safeguard their rights and practices, and are threatened by the idea of change as it may threaten their lifestyle. People begin to question the hierarchy, you see, and the elite simply cannot have that. After all, it is only their claims of superiority and the lower classes allowing that myth to perpetuate that make them so.”

“That was...profound,” Remus remarked.

“Thank you, I am a profound person,” Draco replied.

On the rug, Padfoot grunted mirthfully.

“Now, I know that Potter considers you and Black to be akin to his parents,” Draco said seriously.

Remus stiffened. “Me and who?”

Draco snorted. “Oh, come off it. I know that Sirius Black is innocent, and that more than likely, he is with you. My mother is Black’s actual cousin, you know. He’s not a death eater. And she told me all about you and Potter senior being his best friends.”

“I see,’ Remus said carefully.

“Besides, Potter seems to think that one day, you two will use your superpowers to whisk him away to Australia where you will become a crime fighting family.”

Remus melted. “Aw, that’s cute.”

Draco scoffed. “It’s merely conjecture now, since Black clearly isn’t here.” On the rug, Padfoot flipped onto his back and circled his paws in the air happily. “I wonder where he could be,” Draco mused.

Remus smothered a smile and went back to the topic at hand. “You were right that I feel paternally responsible for Harry. Why did you bring it up?”

“I would like to formally get your permission to court Potter,” Draco said stiffly, as though he had rehearsed his little speech. “I swear to act nobly, and treat him with the utmost respect. I shall treasure his company and honor his individuality, and shall love him till the end of time. I shall give my name to any children we might procure, and raise them alongside him.”

Remus tried very, very, hard not to burst out laughing at the adorable, posh, child in front of him. “I think children are a ways away yet, Draco.”

“So you’ll agree to my courting Potter?” Draco asked, perking up.

Remus looked at Sirius, who bounced forward to sit next to Draco. Then he licked him. Draco screamed at the salivary onslaught and flailed superbly.

“I agree,” Remus grinned. “I think you’d be very good for each other.”

***

With the first task over, all attention was now on the Yule Ball.

“Potter.”

“Yes, Malfoy?”

“I would like to request the honor of your company in attendance of the Yule Ball,” Draco said, extending his hand in a gentlemanly fashion.

Harry stared. “You want to go with me?”

“That is precisely what I said, Potter.”

“Um...” Harry looked at an unimpressed Hermione and a slightly horrified Ron. “Okay? Sure. I’d like that.”

“Excellent,” Draco beamed. “You may also consider this a formal declaration of my most honorable intention to court you.”

“You...want to be my boyfriend?”

“Indeed.”

Harry stared, then smiled toothily. Draco would deny to his dying day that he absolutely melted at the sight. “Okay.”

At that moment, Draco didn’t need a broom to fly. He was already soaring.

***

“Lupin, I have accomplished my goal of going steady with Potter!”

“Yes, Draco, I can see that. Harry is right here. Holding hands with you.”

Draco beamed. “Of course he should want to hold my hand. It is very soft and smells of roses.”

Harry just smiled at his ridiculous boyfriend.

Chapter Text

“Yoo hoo, Remus?”

Remus looked up from hanging the photo that Draco had graciously given him. It was a picture of Harry and himself by the lake, holding hands. “Albus! Come in,” Remus said gladly. “Can I get you anything? Tea?”

“What sort of Englishman would I be, if I refused tea?” Albus said. “Hello, Sirius!”

Sirius walked into the room and grinned wolfishly at Dumbledore. “Hey, Albus. Did you see the picture? Harry’s got a boyfriend.”

“I saw,” Albus said happily. “What a brilliant display of inter-house unity! Young love, it always brings a tear to my eye.”

“Yes, it reminds me of James and myself,” Sirius said.

Remus sighed. “You never dated James, Sirius.”

“I didn’t? Then why do I remember spooning him?”

“Because you slept in the same bed. You never dated him, though.”

“Ah, blast it,” Sirius grumbled. “Stupid Azkaban is still messing with my memories.” He paused. Then, “Wait, why was I sleeping in so many people’s beds?”

“Because you used to sleepwalk,” Remus explained. “You grew out of it later.”

“Oh. So I never had sex with you or James?”

“No.”

“Am I a virgin, Moony?”

“You aren’t,” Remus informed him. “You and Marlene were like rabbits back in the day.”

“Oh, that’s excellent,” Sirius grinned. “Remind me who Marlene was.”

Remus sighed and looked at Albus, who looked sadly at him. “His memories of the past are shaky,” Remus explained. “He can keep up with the present just fine, but I once found him heating a bottle of milk for Harry, thinking he was still a baby.”

Albus’ old, twisty, heart broke at the thought. “Perhaps Severus could take a look into helping young Sirius,” he opined.

“I wouldn’t count on it,” Remus said.

“Oh, I don’t know,” Albus said airily. “He is a man of hidden depths. Deeply, deeply, hidden. In fact, it is regarding Severus that I have come to speak to you today.”

“Go on,” Remus said.

“As you know, Hogwarts staff are required to attend the ball.”

Remus frowned. “I wouldn’t want to leave Sirius.”

Sirius grinned. “Aw, Moony, you’re so thoughtful. Are you sure we aren’t married?”

Remus sighed. “Yes, Sirius, I’m sure.” He turned back to Dumbledore, who was twinkling mischievously. “Go on, Albus.”

“I am asking for a man whom I consider to be a son,” Albus said, “won’t you please take Severus to the ball?”

Remus’ world came to a halt. “You’re...setting me up. With Severus.” Albus nodded happily. “Have you considered that when he finds out, he will absolutely murder you?”

“Oh, he won’t, he secretly loves me,” Albus insisted.

Remus was very certain that Severus did not, in fact, love Albus. “Well,” he confessed, “I’m not exactly averse to the idea.”

Sirius gasped. “Moony and the greaseball! I forbid it!” Remus looked balefully at Sirius, and he quickly backtracked. “But of course Moony is a grown man who can do as he wishes - please don’t date Snivellus Moony, I don’t want him for a brother-in-law!”

Remus patted Sirius’ hand compassionately. “There, there, I haven’t even asked him out yet. I shall do so the next time I head up to the castle.”

“Don’t bother,” Albus said, “I shall convey your wishes directly to Severus.”

Remus frowned. “Are you sure, Albus? I thought-“

“Toodle-oo!” Dumbledore chirped and hurried out the door, leaving Remus to be whinged at by Sirius.

***

“...and Remus was just utterly captivated by your sheer raw magnetism, Severus. He was in tears at the thought of being able to ask you to the ball.”

Dumbledore smiled at Severus’ thunderstruck expression. “Well...” Severus said slowly, “I didn’t know the depth of Lupin’s feelings. I thought that he was a generally shy man.”

“Ah, but love will find its way, Severus,” Albus said, twinkling fondly. “Why, in my youth-“

“Please don’t-“

“Gellert and I could barely restrain our affections- where are you going?”

“I would rather dance with Lupin than hear this story again,” Severus said, walking away quickly.

“Take him some flowers,” Albus suggested, the absolute minx.

“I know how to woo people, Albus,” Snape grumbled. “Stop interfering.”

“Pomona has some lovely roses in greenhouse four.”

Snape shut the door behind him as he left, leaving Albus to chuckle evilly in his wake.

“You need to find better hobbies,” the portrait of Armando Dippet lectured his successor.

“But I am facilitating love!”

“Yes, he’s facilitating love, leave him alone, Armando,” Headmistress Leena Majumdar defended him.

“You are a hopeless Hufflepuff, I will systematically disregard everything you say,” Dippet countered.

Albus sighed happily and declined as the portraits waged war behind him. What a blessed life he led.

***

Remus was rather surprised to find Severus at his doorstep, armed with a lovely bouquet.

“I am told that you are wasting away in your pain for my affections, Lupin,” Severus said as way of greeting. “I shall, therefore, take you as my date to the Yule Ball.”

“Thank you?” Remus said, accepting the thrust out bouquet. “Erm, you needn’t be so defensive, Severus. If you like me, you only need say so. I would love to go to the ball with you.”

Severus peered at Lupin closely. “You are not thirsting to throw yourself upon my corpus, then? Albus assured me that this was so.”

Remus did his best to hide a smile. He failed. “I think Albus may have been secretly scheming to get us together.”

Snape jerked backwards in shock. “Egads. Oh, I say!” He spluttered. “That absolute busybody. By Jove.”

“Don’t be too hard on him,” Remus said. “He only wants to see you happy. He thinks of you as a son, you know.”

“Well, I never.”

Remus took a break to put the flowers in some water before coming back to Severus, who looked betrayed. “Would you still like to go to the ball?”

Severus looked dazedly at Remus. “I...”

Remus rolled his eyes. “It’s not marriage, Severus. It’s a date. If we like it, we can go further from there, there’s no obligation.”

Snape seemed to come to himself and straightened up. “Well, that is to say - of course. We are reasonable adults.”

“You got Moony fired in a pique of unjustified anger,” Sirius popped up to remind him.

Snape raised an eyebrow. “He’s right,” he said, addressing Remus. “I am what many would call a cad.”

Remus nodded. “Agreed, your actions were immature and fueled by rage. However, given the circumstances of our past, and how things seemed to work out, I am willing to start with a clean slate.”

Snape goggled at him. “I must insist that you reconsider - a cad, remember?”

“An occasional cad,” Remus clarified, “and one who will overwhelmingly do the right thing when given the chance to, as proven by your spying, your self inflicted torture/penance by entering the education sector, and your guardianship over an abused child. I am willing to give you a chance,” Remus said staunchly.

“Well,” Severus said. “By Jove. Good Lord.”

“Shall I meet you in the dungeons, or in the entrance hall, then?”

“I beg your pardon?”

“For the ball,” Remus said.

Severus snorted. “Don’t be obtuse. I am gentlemanly enough to pick you up from your house. By ready at six ‘o clock, then.”

“I will,” Remus said. “I look forward to it.”

“Yes, well,” Snape stuttered, “farewell, Lupin.” Severus walked briskly away, trying and failing to stop the slight warmth in his stomach that was most certainly not a result of Lupin’s damned smile.

*************

The three triwizard champions (plus Harry, who had never wanted any of this and had made two failed attempts to elope with Draco to France) lined up in the Great Hall to greet their partners.

Draco knocked Roger Davies over into Fleur and swaned over to Harry. Harry grinned and crane his neck to see Hermione and Pansy, walking in together proudly, and Ron being frogmarched in by Blaise. “Posture, Weasley, for Morgana’s sake!” He hissed.

“Poor Ron,” Harry heard Fred Weasley snicker behind him.

“His posture is terrible, though,” George whispered.

Harry grinned, and turned to smile at Fred and George, who were each hanging off of one of Victor Krum’s arms. The twins had initially asked him out as a joke, but it turned out the Krum, frighteningly, had the same terrifying sense of humor as they did, and accepted.

McGonagall had given herself a hernia with all the screaming that she did.

“Terrible,” Victor said. “He vould slouch right off of a broom.”

“Let’s not look at them, darling,” Fred said, running his hand up Victor’s arm.

“We’re more than enough to keep you occupied,” George purred. Victor grinned.

Harry shuddered. He willfully tuned the rest of the conversation out and looked to the doors of the great hall, which had been opened to allow the off campus staff and other visitors, and -

-screamed.

Remus had walked in, hand in hand with Severus Snape, who was looking less greasy than usual. Seeing Harry scream, Draco looked over and also screamed.

Pansy even stopped plundering Hermione’s mouth with her tongue and looked up, shrugged, and went back to her laryngeal conquest.

Dumbledore, who had somehow convinced a disbelieving Kingsley Shacklebolt to be his ‘bodyguard’ for the Ball, was looking inordinately pleased.

“Let the festivities begin!” Dumbledore announced, and with a cheer, the ball started.

***

Remus had convinced Severus to dance with him, and just after the first song, he found four bony hands prising him and Severus apart. He looked down to see Harry and Draco, who were doing a good job of inserting themselves between the two adults.

Remus smiled and took the opportunity to hug Harry, who melted into his arms. “Will you dance with me, Harry?” Remus asked kindly. Harry nodded mutely and led Remus away for the dance - which was really just one long hug.

Severus, however, was not as lucky. Draco had pulled him into the corner, and was now berating him soundly. “How could you date Lupin? How could you not tell me? Does father know? Good grief, uncle Sev, you will give father a heart attack. Why are you dating Lupin? Oh, have you made him in the family way? Really, I expected more of you-“

Severus looked around, verifying that no one was watching, and then twisted Draco’s ear. “Ow!” Draco cried, and then pointed at Harry and Remus on the dance floor. “Why are you not more affectionate to me? See how Lupin embraces his pseudo-son? Why are you not more demonstrative of the great love that you have for me? Perhaps I should let you date Lupin, his mannerisms may rub off on you - oh my lord, you and rubbing! Ugh!”

Severus looked up and prayed for any gods listening and prayed for strength. He abandoned a hissing Draco and stalked across the dance floor to Remus and Harry, pausing only to separate Pansy and Hermione, who were dangerously close to being horizontal on the dance floor.

“Potter,” Snape snapped, “go back to your boyfriend, he is irritating me. Leave my date alone.”

Harry cast Remus a last, baleful, look and scurried back to Draco, leaving Snape free to steer Lupin through another ballroom number. “That was very chivalrous of you, Severus,” Remus said.

“Tchah. I have spent ten minutes with my overbearing godson, who seems to think that my gall to ever date anyone is tantamount to a betrayal of our own relationship. I would kiss Dumbledore if it meant getting away from him.”

Remus burst out laughing. “Oh that’s so sweet, Draco’s feeling protective of you.”

Snape frowned and dipped Remus in time with the music before bringing him back up gracefully. “Good lord, why?” He asked. “Surely the boy has realized that I am not a sexual hermit.”

“I think children don’t like to think of their parental figures as sexual beings.”

Severus thought of his own parents and shuddered, prompting another laugh from Lupin. Severus found that he quite liked the sound of Lupin’s laughter.

Egads.

Remus was now smiling softly at him, the thin scars on his face dimpling with his mirth. Severus felt his stomach flop over and ignored the surge of warmth. “Cease your smiling, Lupin.”

“Why?”

“It irritates my stomach lining.”

Remus laughed again, and this time, Severus had to hide his own smile.

***

The ball was over, and Severus sighed and attempted for the tenth time, to prise Harry away from Remus. “I say, Potter, let go of Lupin at once!”

“I wish you could stay, Remus,’ Harry said, tightening his hold on Lupin’s waist. Lupin, the fool, hugged him back, annulling Snape’s efforts.

“Aw, you can always come to see me in Hogsmeade, Harry,” Remus said kindly. “In fact, why don’t you one down this weekend- yes, Draco is welcome too, as ever.”

Draco, who had just been about to interject, beamed. “You’re not a bad sort, Lupin,” he admitted.

After kicking Harry away, Snape proceeded to walk Lupin to his house. “I had a lovely time, Severus,” Remus said. “I wouldn’t be opposed to doing this again.”

“Oh, I say.”

Remus chuckled and stopped at his doorstep. “I meant it,” he said softly. Severus gulped, noticing how the pale glow of the streetlights highlight Lupin’s angular features. He looked...rather excellent.

“Egads.”

Remus smiled, and leaned in. Severus accepted the light kiss on the cheek and in a moment of unprecedented romance, returned it. It was a soft, tender moment, interrupted by the feeling of a shaggy mutt humping his leg. Snape snarled and looked down to see Padfoot trying to push between himself and Remus, who was giggling at the dog’s overprotectiveness.

“I will end you,” Snape hissed at Sirius, and tried to step on the dog. Sirius barked and dodged, making a merry game of it. Remus just smiled, watching the two supposedly grown men trying to out-hate each other. It was fine though, he reasoned. They’d have plenty of time to get to know each other.

Chapter Text

The second task very nearly didn’t happen due to the fact that the professors tried to take Draco as Harry’s ‘thing that he would sorely miss’. Draco, however, took exception to being held as anyone’s hostage, and tried to stage a mass hostage revolt. He had gotten Fleur’s baby sister on board and it looked like Cho Chang was on the fence, when McGonagall knocked him out and decided on taking Ron instead.

When Draco recovered, the professors made him promise to not tell Harry what was going to happen for the task. Draco, of course, went speeding to the Gryffindor common rooms and blabbed everything to Harry.

The entirety of Gryffindor house plus Draco stayed up to help Harry perfect underwater charms and arranged for an emergency conference with Remus via the floo. “Gillyweed or a bubble head charm,” Remus suggested, “whichever is more comfortable. I’d go for gillyweed, the bubblehead charm isn’t very good for visibility as it tends to stretch and obscure the field of vision. Watch out for grindylows and- what?” Remus paused and pulled his head back to listen to a rumbling voice.

“Was that...professor Snape?” Harry asked.

“What? No,” Remus said hastily. “That was, er-“

“Good grief,” Snape grumbled, and stuck his head through as well next to Lupin’s. Everyone gasped. “Potter, use gillyweed from the potions cupboard. And for god’s sake, watch out for the squid. And cast a self-strengthening charm, your upper body strength is pitiful. You will need it to pull your hostage back to shore. Oh, and take a knife.”

“Where do I get a knife from?”

“Theodore Nott will have one, usually secreted upon his person.”

“Um, thanks, sir,” Harry said, unsure of how to feel about Snape being in Remus’ house past midnight. He’d have to have words with him later.

“Can we go now?” Snape asked Remus, who blushed. “I am sure that your ridiculous dog is eating the tea biscuits.”

“Remus, why are you having tea? It’s midnight,” Hermione asked. “You’ll be unable to sleep.”

“That,” Snape sniffed, “is rather the point, Miss Granger.”

Hermione blushed something terrible. “Oh!”

Harry started to cry. “Remus! No! Stay away from my pseudo-dad, Snape!”

“Ten points from Gryffindor,” Snape snapped, and drew back, probably to go and divest his body of clothing.

Remus smiled guiltily. “Harry, focus on the second task, and I’ll fill you in on what’s going on with me later. It’s really nothing bad.”

“Promise?” Harry pressed him.

“Promise,” Lupin said. “Now, make sure that you have the gillyweed, and get a good night’s sleep. I love you, and Padfoot wants to say hi.”

Padfoot’s doggy head appeared in the flames, his tongue hanging out in a goofy grin. “Woof!” He leaned over and nuzzled Harry’s face and gave him an affectionate lick. He whined a little bit, prompting Harry to hug his hairy snout.

“I’ll be safe, promise,” Harry whispered. Remus teared up a little and sniffled. Everyone in Gryffindor house gave let them have a family moment.

Not Snape though.

“Potter, go to bed right this instant!” He bellowed. “If you wish to survive tomorrow’s perils, you will require a well rested corpus!”

“Corpse?”

“No, idiot boy, corpus, the latin root- ARGH, just go to bed!”

The connection flickered out, and immediately, people set about sneaking out to get the gillyweed and look up self-strengthening charms. Harry paused for a moment to let the familial glow settle over him, and then got down to work.

****

“Cor blimey, mate, thanks for saving me,” Ron said, as Harry lugged him to shore.

“Pleasure’s mine, Ron,” Harry beamed, depositing Gabrielle onto dry land before helping Ron up. Gabrielle was immediately glomped by her thankful older sister, while Ron was handed a blanket.

“Mate, aren’t you coming up?”

Harry shook his head. “Nah. I took too much gillyweed. Still got gills, so I can’t breathe on land. I’ll hang out in the lake for a bit,” Harry said, submerging himself so that only his eyes and top of the head were visible.

Harry’s supporters were breaking through, and Draco charged towards the lake. “Kiss me immediately,” he ordered, and threw himself lustfully into the water. Everyone groaned and averted their eyes at the underwater makeout session.

“Gross,” Ron said enthusiastically, “go get him, mate!”

Dumbledore averted his eyes and announced the scores. Harry was tied for first place with Cedric, who tried to lean forward to shake Harry’s hand, only to quickly draw back as the make-out session got more heated.

“Potter, cease at once!” Snape ordered.

The boys pouted, but pulled apart, and Harry submerged himself till only his eyes were visible again. Still, he managed to make them the most emotive, wibbly eyes ever. Sirius, in animagus form, bounded into the water to join Harry.

After about an hour, Snape hauled Draco and Sirius out of the water, muttering about pneumonia, leaving Harry to tread alone in the lake. Remus’ heart just about burst at how adorable and lonely Harry looked, the top of his head poking out of the large, still, lake.

Snape sighed. “You are hopeless, Lupin.”

“But he’s so sweet,” Lupin cooed.

“Hopeless.”

***

Severus straightened his robes and knocked on the door to Lupin’s cottage. They were going out for their second date, and Severus was secretly pleased. He’d never had a second date before.

The door opened to reveal not the object of Severus’ recent lust, but rather, his everlasting enemity. “Black,” Snape spat. Sirius, who was, as per usual, in his animagus form, raised a hind leg threateningly at him. Snape danced back before a stream of dog piss arched gracefully towards the spot he had just vacated.

Just then, Remus came forward and smacked Padfoot’s bottom with a newspaper. “Bad puppy,” he chastised the happy mutt. Padfoot yelped and jumped, then turned to apologetically nose at Remus’ tummy. “Aw,” Remus said, and melted at once.

“Pathetic, Lupin,” Snape said, breezing in. “I have come to escort you to dinner.” He produced a bouquet and a bottle of wolfsbane. “For you.”

Remus simpered, and Severus glowed victoriously. Step one of wooing the hopelessly cutesy werewolf, check. “Remember, take the potion the night of your transformation. And remember-“

“No sugar,” Remus said, and smiled. “Thank you, Severus. I’ll just put these away,” he said, and walked off.

Seeing Remus leave, Sirius quickly transformed into a human and leapt on top of Snape, pinning him to the ground. “Black!” Snape roared. “Release me at once!”

“No, I have to threaten your life!”

“Why!”

“Because you don’t respect Moony and are only after his nice bum!”

“I am most certainly not after his bum, although it would be nice to sample it. Now get off of me, you crass plebeian!”

“Okay, but I have to warn you that if you ever hurt Moony, I will absolutely murder you and hide your remains in-“

“-the murder bog, yes,” Snape snapped. “How can it be a secret if everyone and their crup knows about it?”

“Dunno,” Sirius said, finally rolling off of Snape, in time to look angelic when Remus re-entered the room. “Hi Moony, are you ready for your date?” He asked, batting his eyelashes like a cherub.

Remus, who had years of experience in the dubious ways of Sirius Black, knew that something had gone down. “What happened here?”

“Nothing, Moony.”

“Black assaulted my person and made disgusting comments about my intentions towards your rear end.”

Remus glared at Sirius, but softened immediately when Sirius pouted. “Aw, you were looking out for me,” Remus said with stars in his eyes. Sirius preened.

“Lupin you overripe blueberry,” Snape seethed.

“Don’t worry, Sev, I’ll make it up to you,” Remus whispered slyly and patted Severus’ bum.

Snape stumbled. “Oh, I say. My word.” Such cunning, such sneakiness. Snape was head over heels in love.

They left the house hand in hand, the dungeon bat and the wolf, eyes soft and loving, but their smiles promising much wickedness to come.

In the bedroom, that is.

***

After dismissing his abysmal fourth years, Severus leaned back in his chair with a languid sigh, thinking that he would have the rest of the day for himself. Perhaps some wine, followed by a nice wank. Some supper, a novel, and then bed, where he would dream of his date from yesterday.

It had been a good date, Snape smiled to himself as he closed his eyes. Lupin, when separated from Black, was quite the individual. Smart, dryly funny, and with a surprising dark streak that excited him in dangerous ways. Oh, the things they could do...

Severus opened his eyes, and immediately, his dreams came crashing down at the sight of Potter.

“Go away,” Snape said.

Harry continued to exist. “Draco said that you made Remus in the family way,” he said. “Are you going to marry him now?”

Snape’s thoughts came to a screeching halt. “I beg your everloving pardon?”

Harry glared at Snape. “I thought you’d changed. I thought that you’d become nicer. Then you go and knock my father-figure up the duff and-“

Snape thundered out of the room and soon returned, dragging his own godson in by the ear. “Ow, ow, ow-“

Snape deposited Draco beside Potter. “Draco, what nonsense have you been spreading? I have not made Lupin in the family way.”

Harry cheered jubilantly. Draco pouted at him. “Well, I asked you during the Yule Ball, and you avoided me,” he said. “What was I supposed to think?”

“That I do not want to speak of my romantic life with my psudeo-son!” Snape seethed. “Who else have you told?”

“Oh, no one,” Draco said flippantly.

Snape glared.

“Pansy,” Draco admitted, less flippantly.

Snape groaned. Parkinson’s big mouth was segura teed to spread the news within minutes.

“Sir, I consider Remus to be my third father,” Harry said, “and I want to make sure that you’re treating him well.”

Snape stared. “Third father? How on earth-“

“Well, there was my first dad, Dad, then Sirius, my godfather, but he’s more like my big brother, really. Remus is more motherly, but he’s like my dad too,” Harry explained sweetly. Snape nearly vomited at Harry’s unintended cuteness.

He turned to Draco. “You are the child of my heart,” Snape said disbelivingly, “and you choose to take up with this...absolute puffeskein?”

Draco raised his chin. “Indeed. He is beautiful, and wonderful, and my boyfriend.”

Snape sighed despairingly, as Harry moved to speak again. “What I’m asking, sir, is if you are going to be my fourth dad.”

For a moment, the world almost lost Severus Snape as he spluttered and choked on nothing but air and his own shock. Thankfully, the moment passed. “Potter.”

“Yes?”

“Leave at once.”

“Okay,” Harry said. “I will ask Remus instead.”

He was gone before Snape could stop him.

***

“...so I asked him if he was going to become my fourth dad, and he started to die, and then he told me to leave,” Harry related his experience sadly.

“Dashed rude, if you ask me,” Draco commented, as Hermione nodded.

Remus was too busy tying to contain his squeeing at Harry’s description of having three dads. On the rug, Padfoot was jumping around excitedly for the same reason.

“It’s okay, Haz,” Ron said affectionately, “I’ll ask my dad to be your dad too. He’d be glad to. In fact, I bet he wouldn’t even notice one more kid.”

“Thanks Ron,” Harry said sweetly, “but I’m happy with having three dads for now.”

Hermione withheld her tears and a long discourse about how Harry’s unfamiliarity with familial and paternal relationships had led him to form deep bonds with those who showed him even the slightest of affections, and why he was so quick to forgive those whom he loved regardless of how they had hurt him. He was so afraid of losing the love he had gained that he clung tightly to his relationships.

Instead, she looked at Remus and willed the information to him through the power of her mind. Remus, who had come to this conclusion on his own, simply nodded at her, and encouraged Padfoot to go and slobber on his godson.

“Harry,” Remus started, “whatever happens between myself and Severus will never affect my affection and devotion to you. And as for knocking me up, Severus has not managed that particular feat as of yet.”

“Oh, great,” Harry said, looking relieved. “I was afraid that I was going to have to appeal to his decency to get him to the altar.”

“You would have more success milking a sphinx,” Ron muttered. “Decency, honestly.”

Padfoot barked in agreement and flopped over to Ron’s side as a show of support. Ron sat straighter in his conviction and looked triumphant.

“Sev is a very decent man,” Remus defended his boyfriend. “He did not cop a feel even once last night.”

Everyone including the dog retched. Remus felt vindicated at having defended Severus’ honor.

“So,’ Harry hesitated, “Are you guys, like, serious?”

“I believe so,” Remus said.

“And should I plan for...a sibling?”

Remus’ heart squealed with joy. “Not quite yet, Harry, no.”

Strangely, Harry’s face fell. “Oh,” he said. “It would’ve been a little cool, I guess. To be a big brother. But it’s fine.”

“You can have Ginny,” Ron quickly offered.

“No thanks,” Harry said knowingly. “I know Ginny. You can keep her.”

“Drat,” Ron whispered.

Remus grinned. “We’ll come to that in due time,” he told Harry, and held out a plate. “Chocolate cookie, anyone?”

***

As soon as the weekend hit, Severus kicked all of his students out, and went scurrying over to Remus’ cottage in Hogsmeade. Minerva had cribbed about Severus neglecting his students, but Severus had replied that there were more pressing things at hand.

Specifically, his body, pressing Remus’ lithe, wiry form into the mattress as they made sweet, sweet, sex.

But Minerva did not need to know the details.

Severus let himself into the house, kicked Sirius in greeting, and went off to find Lupin. Presumably, he was in the kitchen, melting down more chocolate to reform in cutesy rabbit molds for the students.

I am in love with that insipid raspberry, Severus thought fondly, looking at Remus’ behind. “Lupin, I am home,” Severus announced himself. “I have had a hellish week of students, make the pain go away.”

“How can I do that?” Remus asked.

“By letting me penetrate you.”

“Oh dear.”

Sirius ran off to hide under the couch and whimper as Snape and Lupin rubbed erotically against each other. Afterwards, the couple cleaned off and got ready for bed. Severus loves this part of their ritual - sitting in bed next to each other, each with a book in his hand and making smalltalk.

It was ridiculously domestic. Severus loved being domestic. But he would absolutely kill anyone who found out.

Sirius bounded into the bedroom in dog form, and made himself comfortable at the foot of the bed. Remus reached over to give him goodnight ear-scritches, while Snape tried to dislodge the heavy canine from his blanketed feet.

“Why does Black sleep in the same bed as us? It is strange and I don’t want to have prolonged body contact with anyone but you or our eventual offspring,” Severus whinged to Remus.

“You’re only home on the weekends, Sev,” Remus said reasonably. “The rest of the time, Sirius actually sleeps in your spot.”

“What.”

“For all that people know, I am a single man living with his dog. It would be strange if I had another bed.”

“Black sleeps next to you. Black sleeps in my spot.” Snape was stunned, and not in a good way. “Why can he not sleep on the couch?”

“It helps with Sirius’ nightmares if I co-sleep with him,” Remus explained. “Also, he won’t panic or get confused if he wakes up during the middle of the night.”

Snape glared at the sleeping mutt-man. “If I brew dreamless sleep potions and research memory potions for Black, and if they work, can we make him sleep on the couch then?”

Remus beamed. “You’re just the sweetest man, Sev.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. I merely don’t want to sleep with Black on my feet every night.”

Nonetheless, Remus kissed his cheek. Severus accepted the praise gracefully.

***

The next morning, Severus relayed his treatment plan unto Sirius, and received several happy doggy licks. Severus was less pleased by this praise.

Chapter Text

It was with some surprise that Remus noted that Cedric Diggory had made an appointment to see him. The next Hogsmeade weekend saw the Hufflepuff champion sipping cocoa in Remus’ office, looking unsure of himself.

“How can I help you, Cedric?” Remus asked politely.

Cedric shifted in his seat. “I was just feeling a bit...tense,” he confessed. “The third task and all that jazz. Not to mention that I’m pretty sure my dad would be crushed if I didn’t win. Or lost to Harry. Not that I mind losing to Harry, he’s a sweet kid. Merlin, this is uncomfortable.”

Remus’ mouth quirkuo upwards in amusement. “Would you like the therapy dog?”

“Please,” Cedric said. Padfoot leapt forward and was immediately put into a strangling hug by the tense boy.

“Oh dear,” Remus muttered, as Sirius slowly choked. Cedric released Padfoot and proceeded to look adorably sheepish.

“Oh bother,” he said, twisting his fingers. “Did I hurt you, doggy?”

“Woof,” Padfoot said weakly, putting on a brave face. Cedric grinned wetly.

“I see that you have a lot of unresolved stress,” Remus said, addressing Cedric. “We should work through your issues as you would prioritize them.”

“I dunno...” Cedric hesitated, “probably living up to my dad’s expectations.”

Remus hummed. “Personally, I am more concerned with your safety through the third task.”

Cedric’s face crumpled. “Oh no, I have messed up again. I shall absolutely perish.”

“You shall absolutely not,” Remus said stoutly. “I am only asking that you prioritize your own well-being before a silly tournament, or people’s image of yourself. You are a more than good enough person to care a whit about perceptions, Cedric.”

Cedric’s face crumpled. “Lord, I didn’t know how much I needed to hear that,” he said softly. “It’s kind of messed up coming from you and not my dad, or my friends.”

“What about me? I’m the counselor,” Remus said.

“Yeah, but you’re also Harry’s pseudo-dad, aren’t you?” Cedric said. “Before the second task, he told me to tell you and the dog that he loved you if he didn’t make it back. He actually gave me a picture-” Cedric fished out a drawing on Remus and Padfoot as superhero and his doggy partner, complete with Snape as the devil on Remus’ shoulder.

“Aw,” Remus said, his heart fluttering. Harry was such a good boy. “But Cedric, even though I am Harry’s pseudo parent, it does not leave me incapable of being an impartial counselor.”

“I didn’t mean to imply that!’ Cedric squeaked. “Oh no! Oh dear me! Oh nellie! Oh that wasn’t what I meant at all! Goodness!”

Cedric, Remus realized, was actually a very agitated grandmother of six, masquerading as a seventeen year old boy. “Take a breath,” Remus advised him. “Cedric, let me assure you that you are an exemplary wizard.”

“Heeee-“ Cedric said, his breath heaving.

“In through the nose, out through the mouth, there’s a lad,” Remus encouraged.

“Hoooo,” Cedric breathed out, finally calming down a bit.

“As I was saying, you don’t need to win some farce of a tournament to prove that you are an exemplary wizard, who more importantly, is a good man. You’ve shown such courage and cleverness, not to mention caring, when you comforted and helped Harry.”

“Aw, well, he’s just a little nugget, you know?” Cedric said. “He didn’t want any of this. It’s only right that the older champions help him.”

“And yet, you were the only one that cared to look out for him,” Remus prodded gently. “You’re an excellent person, Cedric, don’t you ever sell yourself short. And if anyone says anything otherwise, you tell them to take it up with Remus Lupin.”

Cedric blushed. “Oh, well, you’re just one person, sir-“

“I have it on good authority,” Remus said quietly, “that you are Professor Snape’s favorite NEWT potions student in ten years. That is not a small feat.”

“Oh,” Cedric said, going red in the face. “Oh my.”

“Indeed,” Remus said. “Give yourself some credit, Cedric.”

And indeed, Cedric looked less miserable. “Oh, thanks, sir. This helped loads.”

Remus grinned. “Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?”

“Well, I actually wanted to ask for some pointers. Everyone knows about you and Professor Snape, sir, and he must have been very hard to woo. I’ve recently been receiving attentions from a man of a...similarly dour disposition.”

“And you wish to reciprocate these advances?”

“Oh, yes,” Cedric said eagerly.

“May I ask whom this man is?”

“Oh, it’s...Victor Krum,” Cedric blushed. “He’s been whispering very romantic things in my ear, sir. About how he and I could elope to Bulgaria and raise our own quidditch team together. He, um, calls me...”

“Yes?”

“...his little quaffle. Because of my blushing.”

Cedric blushed again, and Remus saw the resemblance.

“I see,” Remus said, amused. Cedric blushed some more.

“The thing is, Father expects me to be with a woman and raise several tiny Diggory’s swoewd from my own loins, and I’m not too keen on that, sir. I mean, Cho is a great friend, and Fred and George were brilliant in distracting everyone about Victor during the ball, but-“

“Breathe.”

“Heeee-“

“It seems to me, Cedric, that you place too much importance on what your father says. Remember that you will have to live with your decisions, not him. Do you really see yourself with a brood of tiny Diggorys?”

“Not really. More like...tiny Krums,” Cedric murmured. Then blushed some more.

Remus hid a smile. “Well, if Mr. Krum feels the same way...”

“He does. He’s booked us floo tickets to elope right after the tournament.”

“Maybe hold off on the elopement,” Remus advised. “Did you want a wedding?”

“Ideally, yes. I just thought that I could spread the word quietly and then we could portkey the guests over with us. Harry is very on board with the plan, he and Draco are setting up portkey points.”

“Harry is not going anywhere as an unaccompanied minor.”

“Oh, he said that he’d go with you and Professor Snape. He’s invited too. I’m thinking of asking him to officiate.”

“Oh dear,” Remus worried. “He’ll probably say no.”

“Never hurts to try,” Cedric The Optimistic Lemming chirped.

“We’ll see.”

***

“Remus.”

“Yes, dear?”

“The dog is shedding on the couch. Also Diggory is here.”

“Yes, Sev, I know. Cedric would like to ask you something.”

"What, Diggory."

"Sir, would you do me the honour-"

"No."

"-of officiating my wedding?"

"Oh." Snape sagged in relief. "Good gracious. I thought you were asking for my hand in marriage."

"Oh, no sir, never. It is inconceivable. I could never dream of it. Absolutely preposterous!"

"Steady on," Snape muttered, as Remus giggled.

"Sir?"

"Very well, Diggory, I consent to officiating your wedding. Do not hug me," Snape said, holding out a pre-emptive hand. Cedric, who had already started forward, fell into an awkward bow.

"Thank you, sir!" He exclaimed tearily. "Oh, Victor will be so pleased!"

"Victor? Victor Krum? I shall have to exit Britannia to do this?" Snape spluttered.

"Sev, its a single portkey," Remus muttered. "Besides, we can all have a nice family holiday. You, me, Harry, Theodore, and Si...Padfoot."

"Harrumph. Very well."

Cedric smiled, his tension leeching out of him for the first time since he had been in Remus' office. Somehow, it made everything worth it.

***

The third task came, and Cedric never touched the cup, being too busy secretly necking with Krum next to the scoffing sphinx.

Hufflepuffs were not ver ambitious, and Krum's ambition of snagging Diggory was already fulfilled, so everyone was happy.

Instead, it was Fleur who was transported to the graveyard with Harry, and was hit with Pettigrew's curse.

Now, pay attention, please.

Fleur is 1/4th veela. Veelas are physiologically stronger and magically different from humans, as are every other magical being and beast. Therefore, the killing curse (cast by Pettigrew, a weakling scumbag) only rendered her unconscious for sometime while Pettigrew set about resurrecting Voldemort with Harry's blood.

As Harry watched in horror from his bound position against the headstone as Pettigrew dropped ugly!baby!mort into the resurrection potion, Fleur regained her senses and attacked Pettigrew. In the battle that followed (Harry cheered her from the sidelines), Fleur clawed Pettigrew to death, and helped Harry run away.

Of course, the resurrected Voldemort chose this time to pop out of the cauldron, sans clothes to fit his adult body. Having not expected a lady to be in audience, Voldemort flailed a little bit, and allowed Harry enough time to cast a flipendo, upending the cauldron, which gave Fleur and Harry enough time to escape. Being an adult witch, Fleur was able to disapparate them to a safe point, away from naked!adult!mort.

They found themselves in the muggle village of Lower Brixton, from where Harry was able to persuade a innkeeper that he and his big sister were terribly lost, because they were both French, which also explains my new accent, yes, and called for assistance using the telephone.

Dudley Dursley was somewhat pissed off and a bit concerned when his cousin called him at Smeltings School in tears and asked for cab fare, yes, I'll pay you back, thanks very much for being a bro.

After a day and a bit, Harry and Fleur reached the gates of Hogwarts and were immediately glomped by a worried Remus, Padfoot, Draco, Ron, Hermione and the entire Beauxbatons contingent. They relayed their tale, and were dismissed as mad, even after Fleur offered their memories up as proof.

There was some tosh about British bureaucracy, and everyone did a lot of gasping and the ministry engaged in a lot of denial. On the other hand, Beauxbatons made haste in dismissing Minister Fudge rather rudely, kissing Harry several times, and then going back to France to raise the alarm against evil maniacs who had recently been resurrected.

"Harry, you brave, brave, boy," Dumbledore said quietly, "do you need anything?"

From his hospital bed, Harry nodded. "Two things, actually. I need dreamless sleep potion, so I don't dream about naked Voldemort. Also could you please wire about fifty quid to my cousin Dudley, who lent me cab fare?"

Hermione burst into tears at Harry's oblivious selflessness and cried all over him. Ron, deducing that this was a Girl Thing, escorted her out so that they could cry together in the privacy of their dorms.

Draco did not cry. Draco seethed.

"How dare the Dark Lord resurrect himself and wreck our fairytale romance! This is preposterous!"

"Draco-"

"Not now, Lupin, I am in a rage. Oh, I am furious. My boyfriend was assaulted by a rat-man, and now some bony Dark Lord zombie wants to wreck our life together! I shall absolutely destroy him."

"What about your father?"
"I presume that he is still highly evil, and will answer the Dark Lord's call," Draco mused. "But do no fret, my darling," Draco was quick to assure Harry, "I shall arrange for us to elope at the soonest."

"No one is eloping anywhere," Remus said tiredly, rubbing his eyes. "Harry, as soon as your birthday passes, you are coming to stay with me. Draco, you will write to your parent - the more reasonable one - and indicate that Severus has taken you on as his apprentice. You will also be staying with us."

"Why is it," Snape wondered aloud, "that I have acquired three children in the space of one year?"

"Three?" Remus asked.

"Indeed. Mr Nott, Potter, and now Mr Malfoy."

Remus simpered. "You mentioned Harry."
"Yes, well, he occupies more than 90% of your life, and as a consequence, mine."

"Oh, Severus, you are simply adorable.""Thank you. You may ravish me at home."

"Enough," Madam Pomfrey boomed. "There shall be no such talk in the hospital wing!" Everyone but Harry was ushered out, and finally, our hero got to have some well deserved sleep.

***

To: The desk of the Dark Lord, wherever said desk may be located (presumably in Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire),

Dear My Lord,

 

Hearty congratulations upon your resurrection. I do hope that your turn to the mortal realm has been progressing well, regardless of the circumstances of your initial emergence from the cauldron.

While I wish you the best in your new lease on life, I regret to inform you that I am not in a position to rejoin you. I have come into the possession of some children, whose fathers you are familiar with.

As such, my role as father-figure and mentor are all consuming. In addition, I have taken up with an anemic werewolf that I have made the family way as of last night. His anemic state and his overwhelming maternal drive are hazardous to his health, and I am required to frequently rein him in.

Once again, I extend my wishes to your continued existence on our plane.

Your ex-follower,

Severus Snape.

***

To: The desk of Severus Snape, Potions Master of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Scotland

Dear Severus,

How disappointing that you will not rejoin my forces. If ever we cross paths, I shall endeavour to cast a cruciatus as opposed to the killing curse, on account of your previous loyalty.

Is Lord Voldemort not kind?

Your acquisition of the young Nott and Malfoy are fortuitous. Raise the next generation of my army well, Severus, and you may yet regain Lord Voldemort's favour.

Congratulations upon your own impending fatherhood, although it is with an anemic beast.

Pain and curses,

Lord Voldemort.

***

To: The desk of Lucius Malfoy, Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire

Dear Father,

I am writing to inform you that Professor Snape has become my official mentor in the field of potions. I shall use this mastery to get the grades necessary to enroll in St. Mungo's healer trainee program and become a child healer and obstetrician.

I shall hereby be residing with Professor Snape, his partner, and Theodore Nott, his ward. There is also a most excellent dog, I like him very much.

Please do not give yourself a stomach upset upon reading this letter, and know that I only wish the best for you and your plans for gaining power.

Yours,

Draco.

***

To: Draco Malfoy, Great Hall, Hogwarts School, Scotland

Dear Draco,

I have failed as a father if you insist upon making your living sticking your hands in people's delicate places and withdrawing new, tiny, people from within.

I have ingested three stomach calming potions since your last letter, I hope you are happy. I had planned a wonderful future for you as a follower of the Dark Lord and you throw it away, for this? Bah.

Stay with Severus and his beastly boyfriend and their half-beast spawn, then, see if I care. Humbug. I shall nevertheless expect your reply at the soonest to inform me that the werewolf has not devoured you.

Your Father,

Lucius.

***

To: Draco Malfoy, Great Hall, Hogwarts School, Scotland

My Darling Angel Son,

Do not pay heed to your father, he is simply bitter, and does not know the value of putting his hands near people's delicate places.

I am glad that you are safe with Severus, though I do worry about Lupin being around you. Write to mumsy and reassure her?

I have also attached a parcel of sweets and some of Severus' favorite saltines.

Lots of love,

Your mummy Narcissa.

***

To: The desk of Narcissa Malfoy, Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire

Dear Mumsy,

Thank you for your enduring support and for the sweets. Uncle Sev also sends his thanks for the saltines, after he checked them for poisons.

I am sorry that your life with father has been so unfulfilling. On a related note, I have found love myself. I will not tell you his name on account of possibly compromising you, but he is sweet as honey, and sharp as a tack, and I am utterly in love.

Yes, I am taking precautions. I promise that you will not be a grandmother for the next five years at least.

As for Lupin, his wolfishness seems to present in ways that make him protective, homely, and forcing food into mine and Theo's mouths to enable us to hibernate through the winter. Uncle Sev also looks better now with all the feeding - I have enclosed a picture of us in the potions lab. Theo and Lupin are not allowed in, on account of being disaster people in a lab.

Missing you lots,

Your son,

Draco.

***

To: The desk of Remus J. Lupin, Counselor, 7 Bumblebee Cottage, Hogsmeade

Dear Mr Lupin,

This is a routine checkup on whether you have been contacted by one Sirius Black, escaped convict, on account of your previous close relationship with said man.

If you have any queries or have gleaned any new information, please pass it on to the Auror Department, addressing all letters to Auror Kingsey Shacklebolt.

Yours Sincerely,

Rufus Scrimgeour,
Head of the Auror Department
Ministry of Magic

***

To: The desk of Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt, Ministry of Magic

Dear Kingsley,

I have not seen Sirius Black. He is a slippery fellow.

Your Friend,

Remus

PS- Did you get the parcel of cupcakes that I sent for you? Severus says that I am nesting. I just like cupcakes.

***

To: The desk of Remus J. Lupin, Counselor, 7 Bumblebee Cottage, Hogsmeade

Dear Remus,

Thank you for dong your duty as a good citizen and updating the auror department. Agreed, Sirius Black is a slippery, slippery slug.

As per usual, Severus is correct, you are nesting. I enjoyed the cupcakes tremendously, and I therefore wish you and Severus many more years of fertility.

Your friend,

Kingsley

***

To: The desk of Remus J. Lupin, Counselor, 7 Bumblebee Cottage, Hogsmeade

Dear Remus,

I'm so excited to finally come back home! I missed you and Sirius and Draco and everyone else while wasting away at the Dursleys (don't tell Professor Snape, he will think that I've gone around the bend). I learned that it is possible to miss his biting, acerbic brand of humor.

Ron is coming with his dad to bust me out tomorrow, and Fred and George are coming as my honour guard.

How is the baby doing? I am so excited to be a god-brother. I hope that it is a girl, they are much easier to handle, I'm told by Mrs Weasley (I think she is not altogether unbiased).

I am laying low as you said, but I really, really, want to come home.

Love,

Harry.

***

Harry and Sirius met in an emotional, happy, hug in the middle of Hogsmeade station. To everyone else, it looked like boy and dog being reunited. In reality, it was coming home.