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AU. When Sirius and Remus go looking for Peter Pettigrew, they make a wrong turn and someone else finds him first. Eight years later, Sirius owns a book store and Remus manages it for him. When Harry stumbles into the store and they find out the truth, they decide it's time to be Stealing Harry. (SB/RL slash relationship in later chapters.)

Author Notes:

Warning: This chapter contains scenes of M/M sexual contact.

If Harry could have seen Sirius that Friday, they might have commiserated on their sudden notoriety; granted, Sirius didn't have a scar for people to gossip over, but he had an arse, and people were discussing it.

He could tell that was what the table of women across the restaurant aisle were doing, because they kept looking at it. He'd tried hanging his jacket over the chair to block them, but it was a leather jacket, his leather jacket, and they seemed just as impressed by that as by the other thing. He hadn't dared take his motorcycle out since bringing it up from the River House -- where he hadn't been able to fly it, though he'd taken it ground-riding through the hills occasionally -- for fear he might actually be mobbed.

It wasn't that he didn't like attention. He did. It was just that...well, this wasn't the sort of attention he wanted, and it certainly wasn't the sort of attention he wanted for Harry. There hadn't been any more articles about Harry since the first one, nearly a week ago, but one was enough; one was more than enough. Harry didn't need people talking about him, or about his godfather.

Besides, he didn't want women looking at him. A little voice deep inside said he didn't want the temptation, which women certainly had been in the past -- before Remus -- and back then he'd never bothered resisting because there hadn't been a reason to. A louder voice said that he was more than a pocketbook with a pretty face and a famous kid.

The loudest voice said that Remus was laughing at him.

"You should not be amused," he said to Remus, who was savoring a very large turkey sandwich, a specialty of the pub down the street from Andromeda's shop. "You should be jealous, or territorial, or something."

Remus licked a bit of mustard from the corner of his mouth, and Sirius' heart rate sped up just a little.

"All right, tell me this," Remus said. "Do I need to worry about competition from a woman whose first interest in you is your -- "

"No," Sirius said, before he could finish. "But it'd be nice if you pretended."

"Do you find them attractive?" Remus asked, taking another bite.

Sirius snuck a glance at the women, some of whom gave little waves.

"Not them," he said, then gestured with his fork at a solitary diner a few tables away. "Now her..."

"Hmm," Remus said as he swallowed. "I'd almost leave you for her."

Sirius gave him such a horrified look that Remus shook his head. "You can't let it get to you like this, Pads."

"Easy for you to say, you're just an anonymous valet."

"You see the advantages of being plain and only moderately wealthy," Remus answered.

"You're not plain."

"Love is blind."

"Remus -- "

"Very casually look to your left."

Sirius gaped at him for a moment, then slowly bent his head and scratched the back of it while sweeping the area to his left.

A well-dressed young man smiled at him, and gave him a wave very similar to those of the admiring young women.

"Now I'm territorial," Remus said, with a low, wolfish growl. Sirius grinned, then quickly looked away as the young man grinned back. "By the way," Remus continued, "do you remember what I said I could do to you once we had our wands back?"

Sirius drained his beer. "I'll get the tab."

Remus chuckled. "Take your time. We have errands to run this afternoon."

Sirius, whose body had automatically reacted to the almost husky tones Remus had adopted, signaled the waiter anyhow, but after he'd left a pile of coins on the check, found himself following Remus away from the entrance to TONKS & TONKS, south towards Gringotts.

"If you're thinking of a dark alley, I think you should know I'm getting too old for -- "

"What would we do in a dark alley?" Remus inquired innocently. "I need an owl."

Sirius stopped dead. "What are we going to do with an owl?" he asked, in a slightly strangled voice. Remus turned briefly, but kept walking.

"Send post, of course. It's about time we had one of our own."

"Moony -- "

"Patience, Padfoot," Remus murmured. "I promised Andromeda I'd bring her some owl feed for hers, and we could use one." He stretched out his hand to a perchful of owls, most of whom rose up and began flapping insanely, blowing both men's hair into disarray. "We don't want one that scares easy, do we?" he asked, with a brilliant smile at Sirius, who felt the vague arousal from before tighten into something tense and impatient, low in his belly.

"No," Sirius said, moving closer. "We don't."

"We want one like Claw used to be," Remus continued, referring to the old owl they'd had to leave for Moody to sell when they moved to Bewys Beddau. "Except not ill-tempered and hateful."

Two owls had remained calmly on the perch, while the others hooted and flapped at the smell of werewolf; one was a giant, evil-looking creature which snapped its beak at Remus' fingers, clearly choosing attack instead of defence. The other was a snowy owl, which had merely hunched down and hooted once, softly, before complacently ignoring the rest of them.

Remus very carefully stroked the owl's head with his fingers, and she preened a little. Sirius knew the feeling.

"This one," he said. "I like her."

They paid for the owl and the feed, and Sirius waited impatiently while she was put into a cage and handed to Remus, who was quiet and smilingly unhurried as they made their way back to the entrance to the old Grimmauld Place house, through the ground-floor shop and up to their attic rooms. Remus insisted on stopping in the downstairs kitchen to hang their owl's cage next to Andromeda's, and release her so that she could stretch her wings a bit.

"So," he said, as they climbed the stairs, "What do you think we should -- mmh..."

Sirius, tired of playing games, had pinned him to the wall of the landing, in front of the door to their rooms, and made a spirited try at kissing the breath out of him. After a second he felt the other man respond, familiar deft fingers winding in his hair and curling against his back, body swaying forward just a little to press close, mouth opening beneath the assault.

"Tease," Sirius said, fumbling for the doorhandle with one hand and guiding them both inside, the door shutting and locking behind them.

"Territorial," Remus answered, which confused Sirius, but he didn't let that get in his way; his fingers were already working the buttons of Remus' waistcoat, followed by his shirt; Remus, busy kissing and licking his way down Sirius' throat, untucked the plain white shirt and leaned back for just long enough to pull it over Sirius' head. They made their way to the bedroom with a trail of discarded shoes and clothing falling behind them, the occasional moan or gasp escaping as they kissed.

"Eligible bachelor indeed," Remus murmured, turning to push him gently onto the bed, but Sirius rolled and pinned him, straddling his hips and grinning.

"Anonymous valet," Sirius answered, catching his wrists when he reached up, and holding him down. Remus looked up at him, brown eyes wide, hair in disarray on the blanket, and licked his lips.

"That could be fun," he said softly.

"Some other time," Sirius growled, and bent to nip along the line of his collarbone, pressing their bodies together, inhaling deeply. Remus moved restlessly underneath him, rebellious at being held down, but Sirius didn't release his wrists, knowing full well that if the other man really wanted to be freed, he could easily throw him.

They fell into a sort of rhythm, within the struggle, Remus arching and tipping his head back, Sirius buried in the feel and scent of his skin, working his way slowly across his chest, down his ribcage and over his belly. There were old scars here, and he finally released Remus' wrists as he kissed his way over the especially sensitive skin, nuzzling against the ridge of his hipbone.

Remus stopped trying to gain the upper hand and began to beg, words falling from his mouth in an almost incoherent stream as Sirius lapped gently at his cock, pleased at the way he could make Remus lose control. After two years he knew what Remus liked, and was skilled enough -- oh the time he'd spent learning, Remus' hands and voice guiding him -- to provide it.

When Remus fell silent he knew to stop, to move back up his body and kiss him until his breathing had evened again.

"Tease," Remus moaned, around his mouth.

"You love it," Sirius answered, leaning back.

"Where are you -- "

"Shh," Sirius said, putting a finger over Remus' lips, and bent down over the side of the bed, to fetch his wand from his trouser pocket. When Remus saw him grin and twirl it between his fingers, he moaned again.

"I believe you were talking," Sirius said, drawing shapes on bare skin with the tip of his wand, "about what we could do with magic...I remember a spell..."

He said a few soft words, and Remus gasped as the spell did its work; Sirius grinned. He'd always had a way with charms, and that was all this was, really...

"Now, Sirius," Remus urged, rolling to one side, and Sirius slid down behind him, pulling him close and wrapping his arms around his chest, nudging his thighs apart a little. Remus bucked back against him, and Sirius murmured quietly in his ear, soothing nonsense that nevertheless made Remus tremble with impatience and need.

He moved his hips gently, slowly, pushing inside, reveling in the feeling, new each time and still familiar; the sound of Remus' voice, feel of his body, harder and less yielding than a woman's might be. But Sirius loved the shape of it, the skin-over-muscle feeling, and hadn't missed anything from his life before Remus, before this. One of his hands slipped down over Remus' belly and rubbed small circles there, before moving lower to stroke him gently. Remus said his name, over and over, head tipped against his shoulder, eyes closed, until he finally tensed, body nearly convulsing in orgasm. Sirius buried his face in Remus' hair and inhaled as he came, lost in the body in his arms.




"We can name her Hedwig."

"That's what you're thinking about right now, Moony?"

"Mm. Well. I get thoughtful when you're around."

"I see. Next time I'll make sure to ask you where you think the maple bookcase ought to go, before we do this."

"Next to the window on the left-hand side of the kitchen."

"Oh. That would be a good place."

"Clearly we need to do this more often."


"Remus Lupin answers all your questions, free of charge."

"All right then, I've got one for you."

"Ask away, Pads."

"Why'd you taunt me this afternoon?"


"At the pub. And then going to buy an owl. You don't usually play games, Moony."

"I told you. I was feeling...territorial."


"And I thought if you got impatient I'd know...maybe a better word would have been insecure."

"You still don't trust me?"

"I didn't say that."

"Well, are you satisfied now?"

"Thoroughly, Sirius."


"Though I do have a question for you, too."


"Why don't you want this?"

"This? What do you -- "

"Calm down. I just meant...this world. You know. You don't want to be here again. You must have a reason, Pads."

"I don't know, it seemed like...Wales was just us, you and Harry and me, and...the people there were just people, we didn't really know them, or if we did we weren't going to be there more than a year or two. Now it's real, we're here -- people I've known since I was a child...and not all of them are going to be as accepting as Andromeda and Ted. And with that article, you know it won't be the last one, and this sort of thing -- that is to say, it'd be awful for Harry if there was a scandal, and if they tried to take him away from me -- "

"Sirius, breathe."


"There won't be a scandal. This isn't anyone's business but ours. They won't take Harry away from you."

"They did once."

"And we got him back, didn't we?"

"Yeah. We did."

"It'll be all right, Pads."

"You know, when you say that, I almost believe it."


Harry and company arrived at the Hospital Wing to hear a deep rumble from within: Hagrid's voice, answered by Poppy Pomfrey, the school Healer. Harry stopped at the threshold and held his finger to his lips, listening; Padma and Draco took the other side of the door, pressing their ears to the crack there.

"Lucky I went when I did, an' no mistake," Hagrid was saying, and Draco pushed on the door just a little, trying to see inside.

"They're having tea," he whispered. "Maybe we should come back?"

"Are you kidding?" Harry whispered back, over Pomfrey's reply. "Shut up, I want to hear this!"

" -- an' no word on who tried it," Hagrid finished. "Though I can't help thinkin' they 'ad to have help."

"An inside job?" Pomfrey sounded scandalised. "Certainly not, you know how goblins are!"

"How else did someone get all the way down there an' back withou' gettin' caugh'?" Hagrid asked. "Fer that matter, how'd someone know what was there in the firs' place?"

"I read about this," Padma whispered. "Someone tried to rob Gringotts!"

"Well, it's safely at Hogwarts now," Pomfrey answered, and they heard them sipping their tea. "Though I must say it makes me nervous. I wish Albus had destroyed it on the last solstice, this waiting about for June twenty-first is putting me on edge, I tell you."

"Hagrid was at Gringotts when we were opening Sirius' account there," Harry said, as Hagrid answered something they couldn't make out. Just then there was the rattle of a teacup being set in a saucer, and the squeak of a chair being pushed back.

"Bes' be on my way then," Hagrid said, and Harry signaled the others to follow him away from the door, moving silently back down the hall until they were just around the corner.

"I bet it's whatever's hidden in the third floor corridor we're not allowed into!" Padma said, a trifle louder, as they caught their breath and waited for the sound of Hagrid leaving. The door shut, and Harry resolutely stepped around the corner, nearly running into Hagrid.

"Well, hello there, Harry!" Hagrid said cheerfully. "What're you doing lurking abou' the hospital wing?"

"We've come to see Neville, Mr. Hagrid," Harry answered, while Draco visibly fought the urge to flee the giant, wild-looking man.

"Jus' Hagrid, Harry, that's fine enough," Hagrid answered. "And a good lot you are to come see him," he added, peering in mild confusion at the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff badges Padma and Draco wore. "Come down to my hut sometime an' say hello, have some cake. Bake it myself," he added proudly.

"Thank you, Hagrid," they chorused, and Draco bolted past him, while Harry and Padma followed at a more sedate pace. They heard Pomfrey scold Draco for running in the infirmary, and his stammered apology, as they entered.

"Ah, and the rest of the troublemakers," Pomfrey said, with a warm smile. "You'd be Harry, eh? Lucky you escaped when the cauldron boiled over, isn't it?"

"Yes, Madam Pomfrey," Harry answered. "How is he?"

"He's fine. I'm keeping him overnight, but you're welcome to see him, if you like. Only don't give him any sweets, sugar counteracts the antidote," she said, waving them towards a room past the main one. Harry peered inside, then waved at Neville, who beamed and waved back.

"What a mess, eh?" he asked, as Harry led the way into the room. "Hallo Padma, hi Malfoy."

Neville sat crosslegged on the hospital bed, a book and a sheet of parchment on his lap, with a quill and an inkpot nearby. When he'd left the potions classroom he'd been covered in boils from the cauldron overflow; now he seemed to have had some odd variant of the chicken pox, or possibly been attacked by someone with a red permanent marker.

"I'm telling Dora all about it," he said, indicating the parchment. "Want me to say hi for you, Harry?"

"Sure," Harry answered. "Are you catching?"

"Nope! Just itchy," Neville answered, absently scratching his neck. "Anything interesting happen after I left?"

"Not really," Padma said, as Harry hopped up on the foot of the bed and Draco followed suit. "Cept we almost got caught eavesdropping on Hagrid."

"Oh yeah?" Neville asked interestedly. "The groundskeeper? He's huge. What was he saying?"

Harry told him about the meeting with Hagrid in Diagon Alley, and what they'd heard of his conversation with Madam Pomfrey, Draco and Padma adding details. When they were done, Neville looked thoughtful.

"What do you reckon it is?" he asked. "Must be something really valuable, if someone tried to steal it from Gringotts. Maybe it's a treasure."

"Then why would Headmaster Dumbledore want to destroy it? It must be something magic."

"Scares Madam Pomfrey, anyhow," Draco said. "Bet you it's something really cool..."

Padma looked rather worried at the thoughtful expression on Draco's face, but Harry turned back to Neville.

"So when do we get to spring you?" he asked. Neville sighed.

"Not until tomorrow. Madam Pomfrey wants to watch me overnight. Guess I'll get a lot of homework done -- bound to be dull here otherwise."

"We could keep you company," Padma suggested.

"Madam Pomfrey says I can only have visitors until dinner."

"Well, we'll just sneak back, won't we?" Harry said.

"We will?" Padma asked archly.

"I will if Harry will," Draco volunteered.

"Remus told me how to get into the kitchens," Harry added. "We can raid it and have a midnight picnic."

"Am I the only one who thinks it's a stupid idea to steal food from the kitchen and sneak into the hospital wing all in one night?" Padma asked the general company.

"Yes," Neville answered. Padma sighed. "I'm sorry, but it'll be much more interesting with you lot here."

"Fine. If I don't come along you'll probably mess it up anyhow," she said resignedly. Draco bounced on the bed a little.

"We should split up so we don't all get caught," he said seriously. "We'll agree to meet back here at nine? Harry, you can bring the food."

Harry saluted. "Any special requests?"

"Marzipan," Draco said promptly.

"I meant Neville," Harry answered. Neville looked thoughtful.

"I like apples," he mused. "And some bread and butter, if you can get some."

"I dunno what the kitchens are like, but I'll find something," Harry promised. "It's almost dinnertime -- we should go," he said, and Draco slid reluctantly off the bed, following Padma to the door. Harry hesitated, then plucked Snake out of his pocket. "Here," he said impulsively. "Snake can keep you company until then."

He bent his head close to Snake so that Neville couldn't hear him whisper quick instructions. Snake's tongue flicked out, tickling his cheek, and then he slithered across Harry's shoulders and down his arm. Harry placed him on the bed, and Snake wrapped himself around Neville's inkpot. Neville beamed.

"Thanks, Harry!" he called, as Padma and Draco summoned him, and Harry ran out of the room with a hurried wave.


Dear Harry,

I'm glad to hear your first week went well, and that you're making friends. Especially Neville. Up Gryffindor, right?

Sorry, it's just taking some getting used to, you know. I'm still proud of you. You see? It's perfectly fine at Hogwarts, people like you and you won't fail anything. Walk in the park, right?

Speaking of which, we've officially finished moving into the new flat. We're fixing up your bedroom so that you'll hardly know the difference from the River House when you get here. At least, if Remus doesn't buy out Flourish & Blotts first, and fill the place with books. Not that you'd mind, I suspect.

There's dinner. Give the owl who brought this a special treat; her name's Hedwig, and we just bought her.



Harry decided there was hardly any point in going back to Slytherin common room after dinner; they'd only ask him where he was going when he tried to leave. Instead, he hid out in the library until lights-out, hardly a chore even on a Friday night; he loved the Hogwarts library, with its dim stacks and comfortable wing-chairs. Long ago, after Peter had tried to kill him, Sirius had brought him here for safekeeping; Harry associated the smell of the library with comfort, and the feel of Sirius' arms.

When Madam Pince finally shoo'ed him out, somewhat more affectionately than the other students, he made his way slowly down to the dim corridor where the still-life portrait of a bowl of fruit was, the one Remus had mentioned in his letter. He looked at it curiously, wondering if Remus had been entirely serious, but then Remus wasn't overly given to practical jokes.

Feeling a bit of a fool, he reached up and tickled the pear, which squealed -- and turned into a doorhandle. Harry pulled it open slowly, and slunk inside when no-one screamed in outrage or popped out of the woodwork to stop him.

Inside was a room easily the size of the Great Hall, filled with pots and pans, bowls, strange-looking implements for stirring and mixing, jars of spices, ropes of garlic and peppers hanging from the rafters.

There were also a dozen or so small green creatures staring up at him, distracted from various tasks.

"It is Harry Potter," one of them said, obsequiously. Harry sighed. Even house-elves knew who he was.

"Harry Potter has come to visit the kitchens!" squeaked another.

"Er...yes," Harry said. "I...was looking for some apples."

Immediately there was a flurry of activity as they all dropped what they were doing. In barely a minute, a basket sat before him, lined with white linen napkins and half-full of giant red apples. They beamed up at him, clearly awaiting his approval.

"Thank you," Harry said weakly.

"Harry Potter is only wanting apples?" one asked. "Harry Potter does not want a cup of tea?"

"No thanks, these are...for a friend, and I have to take them to him..."

"Harry Potter is a very good boy," said one of them, who appeared to be arguably female. "Does Harry Potter's friend want anything else?"

Harry saw their eager-to-please looks, and remembered Draco's remark from earlier. "Bread and butter, you, er, have any marzipan?"

They began to move, and then nearly as one, paused and turned back to him.

"Is Harry Potter's friend Master Draco?" one of them asked. Harry stared at him.

"Master Draco is a good friend of house-elves," another one piped up. "Master Draco's house-elves are coming to Hogwarts, Harry Potter, and telling us all about him."

"Marzipan!" one squeaked, and rushed off. He returned shortly with a tray of little blue wizard's hats, decorated with shiny yellow stars. Harry broke the tip off one and tasted it; sweet almonds. The elf tipped the rest into the basket, on top of the apples and next to a loaf of bread another one had provided, tucked up against a small box of butter.

Harry tried to recall what special sweets Padma liked, and came up with a vague memory of her eating a chocolate frog.

"Could I have, um, some humbugs? And maybe some chocolate?" he asked, and was hardly finished before the sweets appeared in the basket. He carefully folded the edges of the napkins over the food, and stood there for a minute.

"Thanks," he said finally. "Er, again."

"It is our pleasure, Harry Potter," said the apparent spokesman, bowing. "Harry Potter may visit the house-elves whenever he likes. And may bring Master Draco," he added meaningfully. Harry found himself hustled towards the door, and stepped out into the hallway as the house-elves swung the door shut behind him.

He had time for one deep breath before he realised he wasn't alone in the hallway.

"Harry," said Professor Snape, gazing down at him in mild surprise.

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