O, call not me to justify the wrong

Remus Lupin kept a little house at the edge of Hogsmeade village, close enough to make some people uncomfortable but far enough that it wasn't always at the forefront of their minds. He wasn't bothered as much as the other war veterans, not once it was reported on page six of the Prophet that he'd suggested the next reporter who darkened his doorstep would make a tasty moonlight snack.

He kept his fence mended and his gate oiled and twice a week he ventured up to Hogwarts to teach advanced defense against the dark arts techniques. It was a good life, for someone who had never expected to have much of a life at all.

He'd decided, when the war ended, that he'd had more than enough complications in his life and it was long past time to enjoy what he had finally earned. To take advantage of what freedom he now had and keep things simple and low-key and proper.

He should have known that one never really got to decide that sort of thing.

~~~

It wasn't the first time he'd woken up to find Harry in his house. It wasn't even the first time he'd woken up to find Harry half-dressed in his kitchen making breakfast. But it was the first time he felt awkward about it.

If the door was opened just far enough he could see the kitchen from his bedroom, see Harry's hips move as he sang off-key to some popular tune. Quietly, so as not to wake him, but not quietly enough that Remus didn't wince a little, listening. He shouldn't have watched, probably, but he did. From behind, like this, Harry really did look painfully like James.

He dressed before he left the room, dressed in three layers that concealed everything from his neck to his toes. Like armor.

"Good morning, Harry," he said. "Don't you have a lesson?"

"I'm sick," said Harry, looking anything but. Except, perhaps, for the way his shoulders shone with the barest hint of perspiration. "Shut up in the dormitory and getting some rest, as far as McGonagall's concerned. Your eggs are almost ready."

"There was really no need--"

"Okay, my eggs are almost ready," said Harry, "but there's enough for two, and you've never stopped looking hungry in all the years I've known you."

"You're too young to have known me that long," he argued.

"Over four years, through a war," said Harry, setting a hot frying pan full of eggs in the middle of the wooden table. "Long enough. Can I stay the morning and help in the yard? I haven't got anything else to do."

"Except go to your lessons."

Harry made a face and looked young again, despite the body that did not. "Just the morning. I'll go to charms after lunch, I promise."

"I do have to look Minerva McGonagall in the eye tomorrow, you know," Remus reminded him, staring intently at the pan of eggs as he helped himself. "At least eat lunch up at the school, so you're not missed. You can help me replant the blackened ivy, if you insist."

"I insist," said Harry, and grinned at him, and Remus's guts tightened.

~~~

The way Harry's robe fell, Remus could see a sliver of flesh at his throat every time he posed to throw a hex at Blaise Zabini. He tried not to look, and so neglected to call the end of the duel until he spotted half the seventh-year class looking at him expectantly.

"Very good, very good," he said, and straightened his own robes as Harry smirked and loosened his. The brat knew he'd won; he always won. And dueling had become a lot more fun now that there was no pressing need to learn it. "Um... next pair, then?"

"We're through," Harry reminded him, moving on to loosening his tie. "Unless you'd like to give Parvati another go at it, now that she's no longer a newt?"

"Miss Patil?" he offered, but she shook her head quickly and hid behind Lavender Brown, and her face was still looking a little green so Remus gave her a break. "All right then," he said, "you're dismissed. I'll see you all next week."

He could have sworn Harry was sucking on his fingertip as he left the room, but he was probably only chewing his fingernail, as boys do.

~~~

"Sirius," he said to the portrait hanging above his rattiest, most comfortable chair. "You've got to help me."

"I haven't got to do anything but stand here and watch you go about your business," smirked Sirius, "such as it is. You didn't even have the decency to have me painted with a chair."

"I'll commission one and hang it next to you if you'll give me some advice."

"Have I really been gone so long you've forgotten what you used to say about my advice?" said Sirius. Remus shouldn't have had him painted in such flattering robes; he'd gone and got cocky again. "All right already, don't look at me like that. Sit down and tell me what's wrong as if I don't already know."

Remus sat down. "I'm the worst teacher ever," he informed him. "Iím looking at the students inappropriately. I should be sacked."

"Students?" said Sirius smugly. "Or perhaps just the one?"

"It starts with just one," said Remus. "Next thing you know I'll be giving Longbottom the eye."

"Longbottom's got quite fit this last year," Sirius reminded him. "I saw him when the Gryffindor boys all came down for tea. But you know that's not true regardless. You're a fool, Moony."

"I know I am," he sighed, "to have let it get this far. Do you think I ought to leave Hogwarts, before he realises?"

"Realises?" said Sirius, and started laughing. "Moony, you great git, he wants you to be looking."

~~~

Remus spotted Harry when he was still outside, on the front walk, which gave him a moment to compose himself. Ron Weasley was at his side; both were carrying large sacks of... something. He wasn't sure he wanted to know what.

"Oi, Professor Lupin!" Ron called out. "Where do you want this?"

"Want what?" he called out the window, then opened the front door to greet them. "Who've you got in the sacks?"

"You'll have to ask Professor Sprout," said Harry, lifting his almost to eye level. "She's the one who mixes the fertilizer. She said you needed some?"

"Oh, of course," he said, and pulled out his wand to move the sacks into the empty space next to the house, where he'd planned the new garden. He wondered why the boys hadn't moved them the same way until Harry pulled his shirt off and, after wiping his neck with it, tucked it into the back of his tight jeans.

"Shouldn't you be in robes?"

"It's Saturday," Ron reminded him, completely oblivious to his friend's antics as he unwrapped an acid pop and stuck it in his mouth.

"Well, we ought to be getting back," said Harry, shoving both hands in the front pockets of his jeans and rocking forward. "NEWTs, you know."

Remus just nodded and resisted the urge to lick his lips as Harry turned around and started back for the gate. He must've shrunk the jeans after getting into them, there was no other explanation. When he reached behind himself and casually smoothed the fabric over his arse, it was not casual at all.

"Harry Potter," called Remus from the doorway, "stop trying to seduce me."

Ron choked on his acid pop; Sirius's portrait snickered; Harry just looked back over his shoulder and said, cheerfully, "No."

~~~

"You're mad," said Remus. "You're absolutely mad. This can't happen, Harry."

"Because you don't want it?"

"It doesn't matter if I want it or not," said Remus. "I am a teacher. You are my student. And this absolutely cannot happen."

"So you do want it, then," said Harry, grinning at him.

"He's got you there," chimed in Sirius.

"Shut up, you," said Remus. "Him, not you," he added, to Harry. "Though I'm not sure I shouldn't be saying it to you as well. Are you even listening to me, Harry?"

"I'm listening," he said, crossing his arms over his once-again-bare chest. If Remus didn't know better he would've though the boy had no shirts. "You're just wrong, Remus. You don't know it yet, but you're wrong."

"There was a time you called me Professor Lupin, you know."

"Yes," agreed Harry. "There was a time I was thirteen years old. There was a time before the war broke out, before we served together, before everything in the whole world changed. I remember that time quite well, Remus. But I seem to be the only one realising it's past."

"You may no longer be thirteen years old, Harry, but you're still in school and--"

"Look at me, Remus," Harry interrupted him. "Just look at me and tell me I'm still a kid."

"Damn it, Harry, I've been looking at you!"

Harry relaxed again and smiled. "Good," he said. "That's a start."

"And none of this," said Remus firmly, looking away from that smile, "changes the fact that I am your teacher. I have influence over you..."

"Clearly not enough influence to make me stop trying," Harry pointed out. "And honestly, Professor Lupin, we've saved each other's lives a dozen times over. Are you saying my my grade could somehow be more affected if we shag?"

"Sirius, stop laughing," snapped Remus. "Harry..."

"Think about it," said Harry. "I've got to get back to Hogwarts before supper. Just think about it."

Remus wasn't sure he'd be able to think about anything else.

~~~

It wasn't the first time he'd woken up to find Harry in his house. But it was the first time he'd woken to find Harry in his bedroom, standing over him with a tray balanced on his hand.

"Breakfast," said Harry, "in bed." Wand in his other hand, he floated the tray overtop of Remus's prone body, leaving him just enough room to sit up.

"This is highly inappropriate," said Remus weakly, but Harry hardly even seemed to hear him. He'd lost his shoes and socks this time as well, Remus noticed, standing there in just a pair of trousers. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," said Harry, and when he crawled into the empty side of the bed, Remus didn't stop him. He had to admit, this was rather nice, in a confusing and slightly unsettling kind of way.

Simple and low-key and proper were overrated anyhow.

Read on Livejournal | Leave Comment

[ by CJ Marlowe ]   [ home ]   [ disclaimer ]

23dec04. heidi: "harry/remus, post war but 7th year"