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pair of tossers with a cat

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Sirius should’ve known something was wrong when he heard the keys jingling in the lock.

Remus almost always apparated, or flooed back into the flat after an outing. This particular day he had been at an Order meeting, (they took turns, nowadays, and Sirius had gone to the last one), and so Sirius had been waiting for him on the Floo from Headquarters. He had been sat on the sofa by 5, impatiently staring into the fireplace. His stomach had started to rumble, and he had been wondering whether he could persuade Remus into a Chinese.

Sirius’ head snapped towards the door when he heard the lock being fiddled with, and by the time it clicked his wand was pointed headstrong. It opened a few inches, and Sirius craned his head a split second before it burst open the whole way, the door handle banging against the side of the wall. Remus had been opening it backwards, in an awkward position; one hand gripping both a briefcase and a plastic bag, coat strewn over his arm, he other hand cradling something small against his chest that Sirius couldn’t make out.

Remus turned his head around, flipping his curls out of his face, and scoffed. “Put that away, you tosser.”

Sirius lowered his wand hand immediately. “Was expecting you on the Floo.”

“Change of plan.”

Remus turned, dropping his briefcase upright and kicking it gently across the floor, and throwing his coat onto the kitchen island beside him. He brought his now free hand up to cradle the mysterious object he was holding. It was small enough to be covered with both hands, but Sirius could make out little tufts of fur peeking through Remus’ scarred fingers.

“Get me a box.”

Sirius stopped in his tracks. “What?”

“Box. Cardboard box. I think we have some in the cupboard.”

“What the bloody fuck--”

Box, Sirius.” Remus looked up from the thing on his chest to glare at him. He was rocking slightly. Sirius didn’t understand but obeyed, anyway.

There were boxes in the cupboard - only a few, but enough. Sirius had no idea if the size of the box would matter, but aiming to avoid another one of Remus’ glares, he picked the one that their new microwave had come in; it seemed spacious enough. He hurried back into the kitchen and placed the box on the island, pushing Remus’ coat aside.

“Box,” Sirius said, grinning, as if to say “ta-da!”. Remus rolled his eyes and approached it, removing the tiny object from his chest with a low “shhhh” and placing it in the box.

The creature took a second to register its surroundings, wobbled on its feet for a second and then peered upwards. Its eyes were the same light blue as Sirius’.

Sirius stared. “There’s a cat in this box.”

“There is a cat in this box.”

They stood for a moment in silence.

“Remus?”

“Yeah?”

“Are you going to tell me why there’s a cat in this box right now, or am I supposed to guess?”

“Fuck-- right,” Remus said, as if he had suddenly plummeted back to earth. He snapped into action immediately, striding over to the fridge and opening it as he talked.

“The meeting ended early, right, and I thought I’d pop into the small Sainsburys on the corner of the street and then apparate home instead of flooing - I know you were complaining we never have any of that cereal you like, so…” he gestured lazily towards the plastic bag on the far side of the room with one hand. The other hand was holding a carton of milk.

“Anyway, I’m on my way out of the shop, right, and I hear this meowing in the bush. Near the bike stands, you know, it was so quiet I think if there had been any other noise I might’ve missed it--” his voice boomed through the cupboard where he was rummaging for, Sirius saw, a tiny tupperware bowl. He placed it on the counter with a thud and continued,

“The poor thing was so tiny, and sick, and alone, and I just- I couldn’t leave it, Pads.” Remus finished quietly, turning slowly to face Sirius, tiny bowl of milk in hand.

Sirius said nothing as Remus strode over to the box, placing the milk in front of the tiny kitten. It sniffed it a little but didn’t approach. Remus sighed.

“It looks like it has an eye infection, can you see all that gunk? The ears as well - and one of its paws has been bleeding, I can’t tell which one, and you can feel it’s ribs when you hold it, it’s so bloody frail, and-”

“Moony.”

Remus sighed again. He reached his hand in to scratch one finger behind the tiny cat’s ears.

“I didn’t know what to do… I just wanted to help it.” Remus breathed, and Sirius felt such a strong wave of love for him it almost knocked him off his feet.

He snaked his hands around Remus’ waist and kissed his shoulder.

“It’s okay,” Sirius whispered into his skin. “We’ll figure out what to do with it.” Remus nodded and placed his hands over Sirius’, eyes not moving from the kitten.

Their downstairs neighbour, Kathy, owned a cat, and after explaining the situation to her she gave him her vet’s number and address. He called and booked an appointment for tomorrow, and all they could do was wait.

They took turns checking on the cat in the night, and by morning it had drunk a little bit of the milk and some of the little crumbs of food Remus had dropped into the box. Remus thought this was a good sign, and he went to the vet with higher spirits than before.

The vet, upon examination, confirmed that the cat was probably about 8 weeks old, and also confirmed it was suffering with an eye infection, mild malnutrition, and a few abrasions on the paws and legs that were liable for an infection.

“Where did you find her?” the vet asked Remus. (He had just confirmed it was, in fact, a her.)

“Um… in the bushes outside Sainsburys, near Finsbury Park,” Remus replied. He was scratching what Sirius knew was a scar on his wrist out of nerves. Sirius placed a gentle hand over his to stop it.

“I’m glad you found her when you did. She’s in a rough state right now, but it’s easily fixable.” The vet paused and looked up at Remus. “Did you spot an adult cat around anywhere? A mother, perhaps?”

Remus shook his head. “I waited a good few minutes and looked around, there were no other cats there. I would’ve smell-” Remus cut off abruptly and coughed. “Seen it. I would’ve seen another cat.”

The vet nodded, seemingly ignoring what had just happened.

“Okay, I think we’re going to have to keep her in for a while. I can call you, and keep you updated if you’d like? I have a few forms for you to fill out…”

Remus stood up to sort out the legalities. Sirius stepped out into the waiting room. And that was that.

The cat didn’t often appear in Sirius’ mind for the next few weeks. Mainly because he was on Order business for a good few days per week - Marlene had only gone and gotten herself injured, and while she recovered Sirius had taken over her duties which turned out to be a lot more than he had realised. Remus took the calls from the vet, Remus kept up with the cat’s condition - he gave Sirius blasé updates every few days, but that was it. He hadn’t thought about the cat for at least four days on the day he went to that week’s Order meeting, so flooing back in to see Remus lounging on the sofa with a big grey bundle on his lap was… a shock, to say the least.

Sirius gaped for a moment, not even bothering to dust the remnants of the fireplace from his clothes.

“There’s a cat on your lap.”

“You’re getting floo powder on my carpet,” Remus said, not looking up.

“There’s a cat on your lap.”

Remus shut his book and looked up at Sirius with a smile. “Having a bit of déjà vu, are we?”

“Remus-”

“What do you think of the name Poppy? It’s Madam Pomfrey’s name, and it’s a flower, like Lily, and it starts with a P like Padfoot-”

Remus--”

“I thought Hope, but, well, my mum’s not dead and she might think I’m egging her on to pass or something so I can name a cat in her memoriam - and obviously we’re not naming her after your mother-”

“Moony!”

Remus’ head snapped up to look at him quizzically. He was still scratching the back of the cat’s head. She was purring.

“We can’t keep her.” Sirius said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Why not?” Remus frowned. Sirius exhaled in disbelief, and finally went to dust himself off and hang his coat up on the rack.

“I- She’s--” Sirius ran a hand through his hair. The cat was staring him down. “I’m a dog! You’re a werewolf!”

“And she’s a cat,” Remus pointed out. The corner of his lip was beginning to quirk. Sirius didn’t think it was very funny.

“Neither of us have the facilities or the time to look after a kitten, Remus-”

“I’ve been looking after you for how many years, now? How different is a cat to a dog?”

“You know that’s different.”

Remus groaned, and moved the cat tentatively so he could stand up. She meowed in protest, but seemed to settle nicely into the spot he lay her in.

“Cats are messy!” Sirius protested. “They scratch at stuff and leave hair everywhere!”

“Sirius, do I have to remind you for the third time in the past five minutes that you are a dog-”

“Oh, shut up, cats are worse! You couldn’t have found a puppy or something, at least they actually have personality!”

Remus rolled his eyes. “Okay, you’re being ridiculous.”

“No, I think you’re the ridiculous one for bringing a cat into my flat and not even fucking consulting me--”

Your flat?”

Sirius regretted the words the moment he had said them. They both knew what he meant.

Remus’ shoulders deflated. “Moony-- I didn’t mean…”

“But you did, didn’t you, Sirius?” Remus turned away from him. “It’s always ours until you want something done your way, then it’s yours. You make me feel like a guest in my own fucking home.”

Moony-”

“It’s fine.” Remus said harshly. He picked up the cat and grabbed his keys from the fireplace. “I’ll take her and go, then. Enjoy your fucking flat, Black.”

He walked out of the door, and Sirius was alone.

Remus didn’t return ‘til the early hours of the morning - Sirius had waited up until 1am and had then given up and gone to bed. He had sent Lily and James multiple owls, only receiving one back from Lily at about 10pm saying “He’s here. Don’t worry.”. Remus would probably be staying in their spare bedroom, he supposed.

Sirius heard the lock go at about 2:30am, and the door opened and closed heavily. Sirius held his breath and gripped his wand underneath his pillow, just in case. The bedroom door swung open and Sirius promptly closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep.

“I know you’re awake. You know I know you’re awake, Sirius.” Sirius sighed and opened his eyes - not that he could see much in the darkness of 3am. Remus shut the door behind him and slipped off his clothes, and Sirius shuffled across the bed to let him in. Neither of them spoke for a long moment.

“Where’s Poppy?” It came out no quieter than a whisper.

Remus’ breath hitched. “Kitchen. Couldn’t exactly find someone to adopt her in the past eight hours. I’ll do it tomorrow.”

Sirius sighed. “Don’t. I’m sorry, I overreacted.” Remus let out a breath and rolled his head further into the pillow.

When he didn’t reply, Sirius continued. “I was a dick. I am a dick. It’s your flat too, I’m sorry, Moony.”

“You can’t just rub it in my face every time-- you have no idea how that feels, Sirius…”

Sirius nodded avidly, hoping Remus would be able to feel it. “I know. I know.”

“You always just say these things…”

“I know.”

Remus exhaled shakily, moving to make himself more comfortable on the pillow. His hand lay in the space between their bodies. Sirius could feel his breath on his face.

“I’m sorry, too. We both live here, and so I should’ve consulted you about the cat. Lily says we’re both in the wrong.”

“Lily’s probably right.”

“Lily’s always right.”

Sirius let out a breath of laughter, and felt Remus do the same. He reached up to Remus’ hand, and Remus flipped his over to interlock their fingers.

“I’m sorry,” Remus repeated, barely a whisper. Sirius rolled his eyes and brought their hands to his mouth, kissing Remus’ fingers.

“Me too, Moony,” he murmured against Remus’ skin. Remus let out a content sigh and shuffled himself forward, nestling his head into Sirius’ neck. Sirius wrapped an arm around his waist.

“Look at us…” Remus said. Sirius could hear the smile on his face. “Pair of bloody tossers.”

“Pair of tossers with a cat, now.”

Remus jerked his head back, so he was nose to nose with Sirius. “Are you serious?”

“I am Sirius, and we can also keep the cat.”

“Oh, shut up--” Remus whined, and Sirius gripped his waist and rolled them over so Remus lay on top of him, evoking a yelp of surprise from the other boy. “Do you ever get tired of that joke?”

“You know I don’t. But we can keep the cat. Really.”

Remus raked his fingers through Sirius’ hair, humming. “If it’ll really bother you I don’t mind, Sirius,”

Sirius shook his head. “Like I said, I was overreacting. If you want to keep the cat, then we’re keeping the fucking cat, Moons.”

Remus laughed and leaned forward to kiss him. “Love you.”

Sirius smiled. “You better.”

The cat had pissed on the floor when Sirius got up. He walked into the hallway and she hid under the sofa, tail peeking out of the darkness.

“Figures,” he murmured, and scourgified it clean.

Remus went out that morning and came back with three bags of things that they needed. Sirius thought this was a bit much, but he said nothing. He didn’t know shit about kittens.

“So, Kathy told me the best thing to start kittens on is the manky wet food,” he was saying, sliding a few cans out of the bag onto the island. “But I bought a bag of the dry stuff too. She said she keeps the dry food out all day, so the cat can get some whenever it’s hungry.”

Sirius wasn’t listening.

“She’s staring at me,” he said from the armchair. Remus looked up.

Sirius was sat stiffly on the armchair to the right of the fireplace, hands clasped tensely in his lap, and Poppy was perched on the arm of the chair directly opposite. They seemed to be in a staring contest. Sirius’ eyes were narrow.

“She knows…” he murmured, and Remus laughed.

“Knows what?”

“That I’m an enemy. She knows. I can sense it.”

Remus scoffed and continued emptying his bags. “You know, dogs and cats being enemies is a stupid old wives tale. Plenty of them are friends.”

Sirius pursed his lips, considering this, and then shook his head.

“No… no, I can see it in her eyes. She’s plotting my murder.”

“She’s twelve weeks old!”

“She’s going to claw me in my sleep.”

Remus rolled his eyes and began filling the litter tray. “Look at her, Sirius. She can fit in the palm of your hand.”

Sirius grumbled something incoherent and went back to his book. Remus filled one of the food bowls he had bought and placed it tentatively on a tray on the floor. At this Poppy clambered down onto the seat of the chair and tumbled onto the ground, padding her way over to her food, tail swishing with vigour.

“Oh, you’re hungry, are you?” Remus murmured, smile on his lips. Poppy brushed up against his leg fondly.

“See, you big idiot, she’s lovely,” he said pointedly to Sirius. “Couldn’t hurt a fly, could you, darling?”

Sirius rolled his eyes. “She’s not sleeping in our room.”

This was fine. Remus had bought her a silk cat bed and placed it next to Sirius’ dog bed (it had been a joke present from James, but Sirius had actually grown to love it.)

She took to it naturally, and she napped there from then on. Sirius went out to do some jobs he had been putting off (definitely not to avoid the cat) and when he came back, she was… in a different spot.

“Remus!”

Remus came staggering out of the bedroom, eyes bleary. He had been napping. Sirius didn’t notice.

“She’s on my bed.”

Remus blinked. “What?”

Sirius huffed and gestured towards Poppy, who was sat idly right in the middle of Sirius’ massive dog bed. She looked like a tiny loaf. It was quite comical.

Remus began to laugh. “Move her, then.”

“I don’t wanna--” Sirius whined, and cut off with a huff. He turned and stared down at the cat, hands on his hips. She stared back up at him.

“For god’s sake, Sirius, just bloody pick her up if it bothers you that much.”

Sirius turned back to Remus and frowned. He looked like an angry baby. Remus had to stop himself from laughing.

Before Remus knew what he was doing Sirius had gone from a big, whiny man to a big, whiny dog and he was towering over the loaf of a kitten and panting in her face. She moved at the speed of lightning - scrambling off the bed and running to cower underneath the sofa. She was about as big as Sirius’ snout alone. Remus thought his eyes were going to roll into the back of his head.

“Fucking hell-- Sirius! You terrified her!” Remus fell to his knees, reaching his hand under the sofa to scoop Poppy out. He cradled her in his arms, kissing her forehead and rocking her slowly. “Oh, her hearts going about fifty miles, you absolute prick.”

Sirius huffed and curled up onto his bed. He lay his head down with a defiant thud and stared Remus down.

“You’re pathetic.” Remus quipped, still rocking Poppy. Sirius wagged his tail.

He stayed as a dog for the rest of the night in protest. Remus refused to let him on the sofa until he stopped, quote on quote “acting like a possessive five-year-old” so he sat and watched begrudgingly as Remus lay on the sofa, reading a book, and Poppy sprawled herself out on his lap. She had taken to him very quickly, but Remus had been visiting her for weeks, Sirius supposed. Whatever. It didn’t matter to him.

It was only when Remus got up and placed his book aside did Sirius turn to face him. He hadn’t realised how dark it had gotten.

“You coming?”

Sirius didn’t move. Remus rolled his eyes. “Alright fine, I guess I’ll just sleep in our room with Poppy then…”

Sirius got up immediately and speed-walked towards the bedroom door, changing back into himself without a word as he entered. Remus chuckled.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” he murmured, and put Poppy to bed.

The next few days of settling in weren’t too bad. Sirius avoided the cat, the cat hovered around Sirius, and Remus (begrudgingly) took care of them both.

“Is this how James felt when we were fighting in fifth year?” Remus wondered aloud one night. Sirius looked up from his dinner and raised an eyebrow.

“When you… y’know. We didn’t speak for months. Remember James even confiscated my wand at the beginning? He was scared I was going to kill you or something,” Remus said conversationally, putting a forkful of pasta into his mouth. Sirius nodded.

“I remember. What’s your point?”

“He had to mediate us, like I’m having to mediate you two.”

Sirius rolled his eyes. Remus hummed.

“But you see, the difference there was,” Remus continued, smiling slightly, “James had to mother hen over two angry, hormonal, canine teenage boys with a fully valid reason to be fighting each other. I’m having to mother hen over a stupid, scared little baby,” Remus paused to take a bite, “and a three-pound kitten.”

Sirius slammed his fork onto the table.

“I am not a baby!” he exclaimed indignantly. Poppy meowed. He shot her a glare so dirty Remus thought he was going to Avada Kedavra her with his eyes.

“It’s her fault!” Sirius continued. He had begun to whine again. “She has it out for me! She’s coming for blood, Remus.”

Sirius was, of course, referring to the (genuinely tiny) scratch she had given Sirius the other day, when he had tried to move her from his favourite spot on the sofa. He had yelped at a ridiculously loud level and immediately professed he needed to go to St. Mungos for “wrist surgery”. He rubbed his arm gently, now, as if he was cradling his battle scars. Remus snorted.

“She’s scared of you because you transformed into a massive beast right before her eyes and basically threatened her to move! I would’ve bloody scratched you too.”

Sirius picked up his fork and took another bite of his food. This one was slightly more aggressive. He didn’t make eye contact with Remus.

Something seemed to dawn on Remus then; something so obvious he couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen it before. He frowned and looked at Sirius quizzically.

“What?”

“Are you…” Remus began, gaping slightly, “jealous of the cat, Sirius?”

Sirius looked down.

“I’m not jealous of the cat.”

“You’re jealous of the cat!”

“I am not jealous of the bloody cat.”

Remus was laughing now. “Is she taking too much of my attention, or do you just want to be the only animal?” Sirius placed his fork down again, wiping his mouth on his napkin angrily.

“I’m not jealous!”

“Oh, so you won’t mind if I let Poppy sleep on our bed tonight? If I give her scratches behind her ears to coax her to sleep?”

Sirius rolled his eyes, trying his hardest to hide the jealousy. “You’re a tosser.”

“We’re both tossers,” Remus laughed. “Pair of tossers with a cat.”

They both turned to look across the room at Poppy, who was lounging comfortably on the arm of her favourite armchair by the fireplace. She liked it because it was warm - as did Sirius.

“You’re adorable.” Remus said, smirking back at him. “You’re gonna love her eventually.”

“Shut up,” Sirius grumbled, but he couldn’t hide the smile forcing its way onto his face.

The next week went pretty idly - Poppy had somewhat got the hang of the litter box, thank Merlin, and neither of them had any Order business for the whole week and spent their time pleasantly eating takeaways and playing stupid board games. Poppy had begun to warm up to Sirius, and Sirius was taking longer and longer to jerk his hand away when she tried to shove her head into it. Remus had also been actively giving Sirius more attention - okay, he knew he had, in fact, been acting like a child, but how could he complain when this was the outcome?

The flat was, for the most part, calm. The only tiff between Padfoot and Poppy the whole week was when they got a Chinese and Poppy stole one of Sirius’ spring rolls right off his plate. He chased her all the way around the room and into the bedroom, where she burrowed under the dresser and he couldn’t get to her. Remus laughed so hard his sides hurt.

“It’s like having another bloody Peter,” Sirius complained, stealing one of Remus’ spring rolls to compensate, “Stealing food and hiding in small spaces. They’re like Tom and fucking Jerry…”

Remus smiled. “Do you reckon they’re about the same size now? We should get them to fight.”

This got Sirius’ spirits up, and they spent the next ten minutes aimlessly talking about the technicalities of a WWE match between a fourteen-week-old kitten and a fat rat animagus. Sirius sent Peter an owl that night after a few glasses of wine and received one in the morning that, in the most basic of forms, said “ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT.”

Remus had a specially requested Order meeting the Monday following, breaking them out of their week-long happiness bubble. Sirius lounged with his feet on the coffee table, and Poppy clambered up to the space next to him - the closest she had been since the bed incident. He took no regard, besides a curt nod, and they sat together rather contently.

Remus flooed back home at about 6:05 (he had sent a note announcing his return five minutes prior, which had become a necessity after he had flooed in unannounced and Poppy, who had been playing with a ball in front of the fire, got a face full of floo powder and fireplace gunk. Sirius had laughed for ten minutes.)

Sirius got up quickly to dust him off and help him shrug off his coat, and Poppy did the same; except to purr affectionately and rub her head avidly against Remus’ leg in greeting.

“I made some food, earlier,” Sirius called from the hallway. “It’s in the fridge.”

“Cheers,” Remus called back, and when Sirius re-entered the room Remus beckoned him over to sit down.

“I’m not gonna be here for the moon,” he said plainly once they were sat together. Sirius frowned.

“What?”

“That’s what the meeting was about. Dumbledore has got in touch with a wolf pack out in Romania - who’re in general pretty uninvolved with wizard politics, mind you, so hats off to him. Anyway, he explained the circumstances and their alpha has agreed to let me spend the moon with their pack. To talk about the war, try to convince them to help, y’know,” Remus trailed off, tapping his fingers nervously on his knees. “Dumbledore says he’s a nice guy. He listened happily. I think I’ve got a shot."

Sirius was still frowning. Remus sighed, knowing what was on his mind.

“Look, I know you don’t like it when I’m away for the moon, but I’ll be fine. I’ve done it before.”

“Yeah, in Cornwall…” Sirius whined, looking down. Remus scoffed and grabbed his hands.

“It’ll be fine, Pads. I can take care of myself. And I want to help - there’s not much else I can bloody do in the Order, is there? I can help here--”

Sirius huffed, squeezing his hands. “I know. I know. You’ll do great, they’ll be lucky to have you.” He put on a smile, and Remus grinned back. “Anyway, how’s Marlene?”

“Doing good, completely recovered,” Remus nodded. “She’s back on her duties next week, so you’re free.”

“Oh, thank Merlin,” Sirius groaned. “I love Dorcas, I do, but I do enough queer pining of my own - it’s just too much if she’s involved too.”

They laughed and fell into a comfortable silence until Poppy meowed, rubbing her head against Sirius’ leg. They both looked down at her.

“You two been bonding, have you?” Remus asked sarcastically. Sirius rolled his eyes and got up.

“Food?”

Remus nodded. “Yes please.”

The moon crept up, like it always did, slowly and obnoxiously. Sirius woke up alone the morning of and padded out into the living room to see Remus sat in the armchair, cup of tea in one hand, Poppy lying happily on his lap.

“Moon?” Remus nodded. He was always restless the night before. Sirius gave him a kiss on the cheek and went to make breakfast. Poppy meowed as he left - though it was more like a wail.

“Feed her too!”

“Yeah, yeah…”

Afternoon came quickly, and Remus set off for the Order HQ at almost 4. He went out the front door instead of flooing - he wanted to get some air to clear his mind.

“I don’t want you to go,” Sirius murmured dejectedly, as Remus was shrugging his coat on. He was leaning with one arm on the kitchen island, biting his lip and watching Remus get ready. Poppy was rubbing her head on his arm, but he wasn’t paying any notice.

Remus smirked. “What, scared she’ll kill you in your sleep or something when I’m not there to protect you?” His smile didn’t reach his eyes.

“Remus…” Sirius whispered, and his smile fell.

“No, no, none of this,” he said haughtily, swinging a bag over his shoulder. “I’ll be okay, Padfoot, you know I will.” He pulled Sirius into his chest and they stood in an embrace for a good minute. Remus kissed the side of his head before pulling away.

He gave Poppy a kiss on the forehead and a few affectionate scratches, and then opened the door.

“Owl James and Lily. They haven’t got anything on this weekend, and it’d do you good to see Harry.” It was a suggestion, but the finger Remus was pointing at him made it seem more like a request. Sirius smiled weakly and nodded. “Love you.”

“Love you too.” The door echoed shut.

Sirius sighed and turned to the cat. She was currently trying to chew on the sleeve of his hoodie.

“Just me and you then,” he said. “Perfect.”

Sirius only had to spend a few hours alone with Poppy - though they were a difficult few hours, because she wanted attention, and he didn’t want to give her any. She meowed brazenly at him as she sat on the coffee table, and he meowed back - before realising he didn’t have to meow. He transformed there, on the sofa, and barked back at her as a dog.

Poppy had, apparently, grown used to the huge black dog she sometimes shared her living quarters with. She sat tall, barely even flinching as Sirius panted, his tail thumping against the sofa pillow. He cocked his head.

She meowed again. He barked. She meowed. He barked. This went on for a good five minutes, and Sirius’ throat started to hurt.

Eventually she grew tired and stretched her front paws outwards, shoved her butt in the air and yawned, before hopping off the coffee table and going to play with a piece of ripped paper that had fallen on the floor. Sirius turned back and watched her tumble about in awe.

“This cat is fearless,” he murmured to himself.

Sirius and Poppy didn’t have to be alone for long, as at about half past 5 the key turned in the lock, and in bounded the Potters, Harry on his mother’s hip. Sirius got up and smiled brightly.

“Is that my godson?!” he exclaimed, evoking a fit of giggles out of the lovely black-haired boy, who reached out with grabby hands. Sirius took him swiftly from Lily and spun him around a little, before placing him comfortably on his hip. “You’ve grown, mini-Prongs! That’s not allowed!”

“Pa-foo-” Harry said happily, gripping his chubby little fingers around Sirius’ hair. He laughed and Lily shook her head fondly.

“Still can’t get hang of the harsh consonants, can you?” she said, ruffling his hair and evoking another set of giggles. Sirius couldn’t stop smiling.

“It’s alright. I like Pafoo. Hey, Red.” Lily laughed and gave Sirius a half-hug and a kiss on the cheek in greeting.

“Hey mate,” James laughed, patting him on the shoulder. Harry’s eyes lit up at the sight of his dad and he reached out. Sirius passed him over. Harry was delighted.

“Let me guess, Remus sent you a letter?” James’ sheepish face gave it all away.

“We wanted to come over though, too, it’s been entirely too long! Hasn’t it, my little man has been missing his Pafoo!” Lily laughed, pinching Harry’s fat cheeks. Sirius leant against the sofa, smiling up to his eyes.

Poppy, who had apparently exercised all of the excitement she could get out of the rogue piece of ripped paper, came padding up to the group of exciting new people in the living room. She meowed at Lily’s feet, and the redhead gasped.

“Is this little Poppy?” She exclaimed, putting on her best baby-voice and leaning down to scratch her on the head. “Oh, look at you, you’re perfect…”

“She’s a little devil,” Sirius said, and James rolled his eyes.

“Oh, come on, she’s like three pounds.”

“Why does everyone say that?! She’s still a bitch!” Sirius exclaimed. Harry, who had spotted Poppy and was now yelling “Cat! Cat!” reached down to be let out of his father’s arms. James put him down, and Lily began to teach him to be gentle.

“You just don’t like cats,” James reasoned as he straightened back up. “You’re an annoying dog person, always have been.”

“Annoying dog, full stop,” Lily quipped from the floor. Sirius rolled his eyes.

“Like, remember Dorcas’ cat? You hated her,”

“I didn’t hate her!” Sirius protested. “She just annoyed me.”

“You wouldn’t touch that cat with a ten-foot pole, Pads. How you’ve put up with this one is beyond me…” Sirius looked down, and his face began to heat up. James laughed in realisation.

“Ah, of course. Moony. Moony, moony, moony. You’re so fucking whipped, it’s sick.”

“You have a lot of audacity calling me whipped, Jamie,”

“He’s got a point there,” Lily said from the floor. James rolled his eyes.

Harry, who was completely enamoured by Poppy, had found a cat wand with little tassles that Remus had left on the floor. He was swinging it around and watching Poppy leap for it, endlessly babbling and giggling away. Lily straightened up, wrapping an arm around James.

“How can you hate cats anyway?” Lily asked. “You loved McGonagall.”

Sirius pursed his lips. “Minnie didn’t choose to be a cat. I don’t oppose of her as a person, only her lifestyle,” he said, half-jokingly. James laughed loudly.

“Can I please point out the irony of you sounding like every homophobe I’ve ever met right now?”

“No, you cannot. Anyway, how’s life?” Sirius said, trying to change the subject. “How are you guys? How’s Basil?”

Basil was the Potter’s ginger tabby cat, who had a love for drinking out of your mugs and a knack for kneading on your jeans.

“Oh, Basil is great. Our neighbours came over the other day and brought their own cat - pair of muggles, but they’re the loveliest people, I swear to Godric. Anyway, Basil wasn’t too sure what to do, I think - he’s never met another cat before, it was hilarious.” Lily paused, her eyes lighting up with a sudden idea. “Oh, when are you two going to come over and bring Poppy? I’d love for them to meet. Harry absolutely adores Basil; I think he’d explode if they were both in the same room.”

Sirius laughed, watching Harry play with his own cat fondly. Poppy leaped onto Harry’s lap - she fit almost perfectly onto his chubby little legs. Harry was poking her gently and singing to himself.

“When she’s spayed, I suppose,” Sirius replied. “Not sure when that happens. But we wouldn’t want any Cat-Kneazle hybrids running around, would we?”

James laughed, but Lily simply rolled her eyes.

“Oh Sirius, I wish you’d stop with that! He’s not a Kneazle, I swear-- we got him from a muggle pet shop and all!”

Sirius shook his head defiantly. “He definitely is. I’m telling you, Lils, I can communicate with him. When I’m Padfoot, I mean. I can’t do that with her,” he gestured down to Poppy. Lily narrowed her eyes.

“Oh, come on!” Sirius exclaimed, laughing. “Prongs, back me up - can’t you talk to Basil too?” James gaped for a moment, obviously shocked at being put on the spot. Lily glared at him in warning.

“I don’t know, mate-- I just talk to other deer.” Sirius rolled his eyes.

“Other deer. Bloody useless. What do you talk to other deer about?”

James grinned. “Whether there’s a big bad wolf around who’s going to try and eat us, of course. They give each other warnings, and they see me as their equal - it’s so cool.”

Sirius laughed, previous conversation forgotten. “Yeah, whatever, you loser. Want to order a Chinese?”

James’ face lit up and he nodded. Lily scoffed.

“You two, honestly… I think spring rolls run through your blood at this point.”

Sirius and James high fived.

Seeing James and Lily was, honestly, exactly what Sirius needed. Poppy was thriving - she spent the whole evening absolutely taken with Harry, and Lily joked that they should steal her and take her home. Sirius said they were much obliged.

They decided to get a move on when it hit 10pm, and Harry was dozing off in James’ lap. Lily gave Sirius another kiss on the cheek and a tight squeeze. She was always so comforting.

“Owl us in the morning, yeah?” She whispered against Sirius’ chest. “Let us know Remus is safe.”

Sirius nodded, trying not to wince at the implication that there could be a possibility he wasn’t safe. It was a fact they had to acknowledge, nowadays. Shying away from it did more damage than good.

Sirius gave a sleepy Harry a quick kiss on the forehead and then they were gone, and it was just Sirius and Poppy again. He sat down heavily on the sofa and Poppy jumped up to join him.

The stubborn little kitten burrowed her head underneath the palm of his hand until Sirius relented and took her tiny head in it, stroking her comfortingly. She clambered onto his lap and he sighed.

“I still don’t like you,” he said to her. She took no notice.

“Of all the families to choose, you choose the dysfunctional war-fighting dog-werewolf couple,” he murmured, scratching behind her ear. She began to purr. “You have no idea what you’re up against, do you?”

Poppy meowed, raising her head to look around. Sirius chuckled slightly.

“Yeah, yeah…” he said, sighing, “I miss him too.”

Sirius didn’t sleep. Even when Poppy had finally, finally blown off all her energy and was curled onto a blanket on the armchair, Sirius didn’t sleep. He couldn’t. It got to 5, to 6, to 7am, and he began to worry. He transformed into a dog and curled up on the sofa, trying to clear his head.

It was past 10am when Remus got back in. The key turned in the door and he staggered inside, throwing his coat on the table and running his still dirty fingers through his hair. For a moment he was ready to call out to Sirius, but as he took a few steps he saw a mound of black fur curled up on the sofa. He smiled and walked towards it.

Remus stopped when he reached the front of the sofa and stared.

Padfoot was sound asleep, curled into a ball on the sofa, his snout buried in between his paws; and placed carefully amongst the black fur was a tiny mound of light grey. Poppy had curled herself up in the crook of Sirius’ stomach, lying idly on his back paws and nuzzling her face into his fur, for warmth. Despite himself Remus smiled fondly, kneeling beside them and reaching out to place his hand on Sirius’ forehead.

He woke up with a start, scrambling up and turning back into himself. Poppy yelped and climbed down onto the floor, stretching and shaking herself off.

“Hey, hey,” Remus whispered, hand still in Sirius’ hair. “You’re alright. Just me.”

“Wh- Re--” Sirius said, disoriented. “What time is it?”

“Just gone ten.”

“I must’ve fallen asleep… I-” Sirius frowned. “You’re late. What happened?”

Remus shook his head, hauling himself up to sit beside Sirius on the sofa. Sirius immediately pulled him into a tight hug.

“Nothing happened, everything was fine. Dumbledore just wanted me to tell him everything that happened when I got back. That’s what took so long.”

Sirius pulled back and furrowed his eyebrows. “Straight away? Couldn’t he have let you rest?”

Remus shrugged. “Was an important mission.”

“No, no,” Sirius shook his head, “Does he not know you have been running around and-- and fucking howling all night? The energy you use… you need to rest after moons, what the hell, Remus--”

“It’s fine,” Remus whispered, stroking his hair. “I’m good. Don’t worry about it.”

Sirius frowned again. Remus scoffed.

“Stop frowning. You’re gonna give yourself wrinkles.”

Sirius scoffed. “I’m twenty two years old.”

“So am I, but I still found a grey hair the other day. Times are tough.”

They both laughed, although Remus’ laugh quickly turned into a yawn.

“Bed?” Sirius said quietly. Remus shook his head.

“I’m hungry. Breakfast?”

Sirius blinked.

“Moony… are you telling me they didn’t… feed you…?” he said through gritted teeth. Remus groaned.

“Oh, give over and go make me food, or I’ll keel over and starve so it’ll be your fault, not Dumbledore’s.”

Sirius gasped. “Hey! Dying out of spite is my tragic endgame, Moony!”

When Sirius got up to trudge to the kitchen, Poppy followed him and meowed by his side. He looked down and laughed, saying “Yeah, I bloody agree, Poppy. They should treat him better,” loud enough so Remus could hear.

“Since when are you two best friends?” Remus called. Sirius could hear the smile in his voice.

“Since we teamed up to take down the Order for treating our favourite werewolf badly. Eggs or Bacon? Don’t answer that, it’s both.”

Remus grinned and lay down comfortably on the sofa. “Both it is,” he murmured. The smell of sizzling bacon filled the air and Poppy made her way happily over to the sofa, climbing up onto Remus’ chest and making herself comfortable there.

Within the hour two plates were empty on the coffee table and three bodies were curled up on the entirely too small sofa. It was the best Remus slept in a long time.

Order missions were either all or nothing in the next few weeks - Sirius had a four day long stakeout with Marlene (resulting in a gnarly duel - they always worked well together), and then absolutely nothing for a week straight. And repeat. Remus had been given a task from Dumbledore to try and make sense of some of the information they had extracted from an irreversibly confounded Death Eater, in the form of Ancient Runes, and Sirius was given the task of… trying to avoid boredom; so, he rummaged around and found an old sketchbook from his Hogwarts days to get back into charcoal drawing.

To put it simply, the living room looked like a final year university student’s. There was paper everywhere.

Moony,” Sirius whined for the fifth time in half an hour. Remus sighed, deeply, and looked up.

Poppy was a typical kitten. There was something about unconventional surfaces that she seemed to love to sit on, and today she had taken her fancy not in the five books and multiple pieces of paper sprawled out across the coffee table: but in Sirius’ sketchbook. Her fur was light grey, but her butt was stained black. Remus couldn’t suppress his laugh.

“She won’t--” Sirius stopped to pick her up and place her on the armchair, “bloody-”, she meowed in protest, “leave me alone!”

She climbed promptly back onto the sketchbook on his lap. Sirius looked absolutely defeated.

“It’s ‘cause she likes you,” Remus said, smirking. “She wants to be a part of what you’re doing. They do that to feel included.”

“Bullshit,” Sirius said sharply, trying to draw around the fat grey lump on his paper. “She’s doing it because she’s a little bitch.”

“Right, well you better make sure she stays doing her little bitch activities around you, because if she gets pawprints on these papers Dumbledore will slit my throat. Or no, he’ll get someone else to slit my throat. Some sort of murder will take place.”

Sirius grumbled something but seemed to resign himself to his fate. He sighed obnoxiously for the next ten minutes as she continued to hinder his work, but eventually she decided to find a more riveting spot to sit; Sirius’ shoulder.

He tutted a little, endearingly, and raised his left hand almost unconsciously to pet her. Remus could hear her fond purring from where he was sat.

Remus remembered this later, in bed, and began to laugh.

“What?” Sirius murmured from where he was pressed against his back.

Remus smiled. “You and Poppy.”

“What ‘bout me and Poppy?”

“When are you going to admit that you like her?”

Sirius shifted, and Remus turned around so they were face to face. There was a low light from the hallway, and he could just make out the frown on Sirius’ face.

Wrinkles…” he whispered teasingly. Sirius (probably) rolled his eyes, but his face untensed.

“I don’t like her. We are still mortal enemies.” Sirius whispered matter-of-factly. Remus smoothed his thumb over Sirius’ cheek and hummed.

“No… no, you like her.”

“Do not.”

“Do too.”

“Do not. She’s evil. She bites me all the time.”

Remus scoffed. “Please, if she ever bit you you’d be demanding I take you to the poison ward of St. Mungos. Or to the aurors to file an assault case. What is she now, four pounds? The absolute horror--” Remus’ jeers were cut off as Sirius rolled over onto him and placed a hand over his mouth. “Big baby,” Remus choked through muffled laughter.

“I’ll have you know I have a restraining order filled out against her. I’ll get one for you too, don’t test me.”

Remus bit the palm of his hand and Sirius yelped, and let up. Remus laughed breathily, pulling Sirius’ hair away from where it was falling over them.

“Oh, shut up, you big cat-lover.”

Sirius groaned and rolled off Remus, burying his face into his chest. “Stop calling me slurs and let me sleep.”

“Mmmm…”

They lay in silence for a few, calm minutes, until the bed dipped suddenly at their feet. Sirius jumped. Remus lifted his head, but it was too dark to see.

“Remus?”

“Mhm?”

“Did you leave the door open?”

“You know what,” Remus whispered, as Poppy clawed at his thigh from where she was ominously burrowing herself under their duvet. “I think I just might have.”

Sirius laughed and detached himself from Remus, pulling up the cover, and there she was - all four pounds of grey fur and toe beans. Her eyes seemed to reflect in the darkness even though there was nothing to reflect. She meowed happily and began to knead on Remus’ jumper.

“Hey-- get your own bloody jumper!” Remus protested, gripping and detaching her with some difficulty from his chest.

Traitor,” he hissed, bringing her nose to his and tutting. Sirius couldn’t hold in his laughter.

“Let her stay. The bed’s big enough,” he murmured, moving to nuzzle into Remus’ chest again.

“I think that violates your restraining order.”

“Well, I haven’t filed it yet…” Sirius murmured sleepily. Remus chuckled and put her down, and she meowed and (after a lot of restlessness) found a comfortable position to sleep in, in a crevice between their legs.

Remus woke up to Sirius’ leg thrown over his whole body.

“Mmmh what-- what’re you doing…?” he mumbled, still half-asleep. Sirius gripped his hand and kissed it chastely (in apology?), laughing slightly.

“Sorry Moonbeam. But look--” he said with a grin, gesturing to the foot of the bed. Remus wiped his eyes and peered over to look.

Sirius’ feet were spread out to each corner of the bed, and he was periodically kicking one upwards, like some makeshift game of whack-a-mole. Poppy, ever the energetic kitten, was bounding between the two, clawing and biting at the mound of duvet that was moving to tease her. Every now and then Sirius would move his feet around, and she’d jump and follow the mysterious mound. Remus couldn’t tell which one of them was enjoying it more.

“Sorry I woke you,” Sirius whispered, rolling his head to the side. Remus laid his head back to face him. “You can go back to sleep if you want. It’s still quite early,”

“Nah, m’up,” Remus groaned, hauling himself into a sitting position. He leaned forward and kissed Sirius, scratched Poppy’s head with his forefinger and got to the door before turning back. “Oh, Sirius?”

“Mhm?”

Remus smirked. “Cat-lover.”

He ducked out of the way of the pillow Sirius threw and went to go make a pot of tea.

The weeks had gone fast, and the British sun was shining as diligently as it probably would the whole year (which, of course, was not all that diligent at all). Summer meant Remus hadn’t seen his parents for a whole year.

Go,” Sirius said from his position on the sofa. He was curled up in a blanket, drawing, and Poppy was sleeping half sprawled out on his shoulder and half on the back of the sofa. Her tail whipped around to whack Sirius in the face every now and then, but he didn’t seem to mind.

Remus’ mother had sent an owl that morning, hoping he would come visit them up in Wales for the weekend. He was feeling apprehensive.

“But what if the Order need me--”

“Remus, you know you’re not the sole member of the Order of the Phoenix, right? Like, there are other people--”

“Oh, shut up,” Remus grumbled. “What if something happens with the werewolves…?”

“You’re not there to be their werewolf errand boy. They know that.” Remus opened his mouth to say something, but Sirius cut him off with a hand. “Lupin, go hug your bloody mum or so help me Merlin I will do it for you.”

Remus laughed and rolled his eyes. “Fine.”

He packed a small bag - he had enough clothes in Wales - and went to give Sirius a kiss goodbye.

“I’m gonna apparate in the hallway so I don’t scare her,” Remus said softly, stroking Poppy with the back of his finger, and Sirius nodded. Remus ran a thumb along the line of Sirius’ jaw and smiled. “Love you.”

“Love you too. Give Hope a kiss from me.”

“Have fun with your new girlfriend,” Remus said, and ran out into the hallway laughing, apparating just in time to hear Sirius cry back “HEY! If any cat is going to be my girlfriend, it is Minerva McGonagall!”

The weekend went nicely - Remus had missed his parents more than he realised. He sent Sirius an owl saying he’d be back around 7pm on the Sunday but ended up apparating in about an hour earlier, as his parents had to be somewhere. He landed in the kitchen and coughed - apparating always made him thirsty - and took his jacket off, kicking his small bag into a corner.

“Sirius?” He called, making his way to the main room. “You in?”

Remus walked into the living room, and his jaw nearly dropped.

Sirius was lying on his back, head closer to the door so he was looking at Remus upside down. His knees were pulled up, and he was holding Poppy with both hands above him; close to his face and frozen in a motion that looked like he had been about to kiss her nose, or something of the sort.

They were both staring at him like Prongs caught in headlights. The position was absolutely comical. Remus had to stifle a laugh.

“I can explain,” Sirius said, and it was then that Remus registered the mounds of cat toys surrounding them. Poppy meowed.

“Please do,” Remus replied, biting his lip. Sirius stared him down for a long moment, and then let out a breath and his entire body seemed to deflate.

“I love her,” he whined, pulling the cat close to his chest and closing his eyes. Remus barked out a laugh, now, bringing his hand to his mouth in anguish.

“I love her so much, Moony, I want to cry,” Sirius continued, rocking Poppy side to side, leaning forward to kiss her forehead. Remus had tears in his eyes.

“I know you do,” he managed, unable to stifle the smile on his face. “I know.”

Remus walked over to where they were sat and laid down beside Sirius. He reached out a hand and Poppy purred happily, obliging him by shoving her face into his palm, but not moving from Sirius’ chest.

“I have betrayed my kind. I have fraternised with the enemy.” Sirius whispered, sounding pained, and Remus honestly couldn’t tell whether he was joking.

Poppy meowed.

“Actually shut up right now. Don’t you dare make this worse,” Sirius warned with a stern pointing finger, and Remus burst out laughing again. Poppy meowed once more, and Sirius flared his nostrils at her. She bit his finger. He didn’t even complain.

“Oh my god, you do love her,” Remus snorted, and Sirius near burst into tears.

“I know,” he wailed, turning his face into Remus’ shoulder. Remus shifted, and spotted the smile Sirius was hiding.

“You are quite honestly the most dramatic tosser I have ever met,” Remus murmured, laughing. Sirius grinned and leaned over to kiss him.

“Pair of tossers,” he murmured against his lips.

Poppy meowed, then, as if to finish off the sentence. They both burst into laughter once more at the sheer absurdity of it all.

“Right,” said Remus after a few minutes, hauling himself up, “She can either really understand us, or she’s just hungry.”

“Merlin, so am I,” Sirius remarked, sitting up and cradling Poppy against his chest as he stood. “Can we get a Chinese?”

Remus looked at him and scoffed. “With the day you’ve had, I think you deserve one. Cat-lover.”

Sirius grinned.

**

Harry’s second birthday fell on July 31, and the Potter’s threw a party.

Nothing huge - just a small gathering, mainly members of the Order and a few old Hogwarts friends. Poppy turned six months (ish) and they got her spayed at the beginning of the month, and Lily begged with all her heart for them to bring her over for Harry’s birthday. And… who could say no to Lily Evans?

It was really for Harry, though. He was still just as enamoured with her as he had the first time they’d met, and Poppy and Basil found absolute, unrestricted joy in playing with the toy Snitch that Sirius had bought him. Harry (who could bloody run now; albeit wobbly) spent basically the entire time chasing the two cats around and catching the Snitch for them in places that were too high up for them to reach. (James, of course, catching the Snitch in places that were too high up for Harry to reach. It was a joint effort.)

By around 6pm Harry had taken up chewing on a pack of Kid’s Colour-Changing Sugar Quills, given to him by Marlene, and Basil had taken up residence on the west window, where the sun was pelting the most. Poppy had curled up into Sirius’ lap, and he was stroking her absent-mindedly, in a deep conversation with James and Marlene about the Ballycat Bats beating Puddlemere United in last week’s Quidditch Match.

Hagrid, the gigantic gameskeeper who had somehow formed a very strong bond to Harry, came through the door with Lily and Emmeline Vance. They had been talking about the garden Lily had been building up, and were currently in a discussion on the ethical issues of growing Mandrakes on a private, but exposed plot of land.

“Y’know what, as long as yer obvious abou’ it, there’s no ‘arm. ’S their own fault if they enter,” Hagrid was saying. He sat down heavily on the ground, and Poppy jumped.

“Creatures, on the other hand, they’re migh’y difficult. Never know where they migh’ be lurking. Say yer Kneazle, for example--”

“My what?” Lily said, loudly. Hagrid stopped and frowned. Sirius’ jaw dropped.

“Yer Kneazle. The one that was runnin’ around here just now with Harry, tryn’ta catch that Snitch."

Lily gaped and turned to Sirius. The look of shock on her face almost made him scream.

“How- how?” Lily gasped. “We got him from a muggle pet store! How do they sell Kneazles? Are you absolutely sure, Hagrid?” Hagrid nodded. Lily sighed. Sirius could tell she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of being right. He couldn’t stop smiling.

“Well,” said James, slapping his knees and standing up from the position he had been sat gaping at Hagrid. “Guess you learn something new every day.” He strode over to the window and took Basil in his arms, stroking his thick fur. “Kneazle, huh? Who’da thought?”

Before Sirius had the chance to exclaim “ME! I THOUGHT!”, Hagrid was shaking his head and protesting.

“No, nooo… not tha’ one. Tha’s a normal cat, that is, no Kneazle in him at all.” Lily frowned. Sirius’ jaw began to drop.

“The other one that were here! The grey one!”

Sirius gasped, and Hagrid finally spotted her lounging on his lap. He pointed, exclaiming “Yes! There ya go. Tha’s Kneazle blood if I ever bloody saw it - half, I’d say.”

Remus scooped Poppy up from Sirius’ lap and held her up, frowning. “Hagrid, I don’t think-- I mean, finding one in the bush is probably even less likely than the bloody muggle pet shop!” Hagrid shook his head.

“Nope. Hones’ly, did none of you pay attention in ol’ Kettleburn’s class? You can always tell a Kneazle by the tail, and the patterns. Look, she’s got the typical bushy tail, and them spots going up her side - not the full way, though. Half a Kneazle. Easy. Maybe only a quar’er, actually, the more I look at it…”

Remus gaped. Hagrid wasn’t wrong, they definitely hadn’t paid attention in Kettleburn’s class - but how could they, the man was boring! Remus had spent most of his Care of Magical Creatures classes drawing stupid caricatures of what he thought the offspring of two completely stark different animals would look like, and sliding them over to Sirius, who gave them names and backstories.

“But… she can’t be a Kneazle,” Remus said, quietly. “She liked me from the start. Kneazle’s can sense who’s good and who’s bad, right, and I’m a…” he trailed off, looking deep into Poppy’s eyes and not anywhere else. He heard Lily scoff.

“Remus, you wouldn’t hurt a hair on that cat’s head, and she knows that. It’s not about what you are, it’s about who you are, you numpty. Everyone knows that, even idiots who didn’t listen to Kettleburn.” Hagrid nodded avidly, pointing at her in agreement.

“Exactly! Put ‘er with the likes of Fenrir Greyback and she’ll run her little arse down the street. But you? Nah, tha’s not how it works, Remus.”

Remus was on the verge of tears.

“Why did she not like me then? In the beginning?” Sirius asked, confused. “What did I do?”

“Well, if Hagrid’s right, she is still part cat,” Lily reasoned, and James snapped his fingers at her.

“Yeah, mate, you had it out for her in the first place ‘cause you hated cats! She was obviously gonna be wary. But she warmed up, didn’t she?” Sirius nodded. Remus sniffed slightly and laughed, passing her to Sirius.

“How the hell…?” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. Sirius grinned, and then caught eyes with Lily and burst into laughter.

“All this fucking time…. I thought Basil--” Sirius choked, covering his hand with his mouth. Lily shook her head, sitting on James’ lap.

“Told you so, didn’t I? I’m always right.”

James, Sirius and Remus all nodded at this. Poppy meowed and jumped off Sirius’ lap to go nuzzle into Harry.

“Well, at least we know our son isn’t an evil git, then,” James quipped, and everybody laughed. Remus laced his fingers with Sirius’ and thanked all of the Gods that he had heard her desperate cry in the bushes outside Sainsburys.