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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 includes a scene with M/M sexual contact.

"Try him again."

Remus, chin resting on his crossed arms on the table, watched as Scabbers heartily, and with no sign of being an evil traitor, nibbled on a cob of corn.

"He's a rat, Snape," he sighed.

"If you tell anyone -- anyone -- about the Animagus transformations -- " Sirius began, but Snape held up a hand, and prodded the rat with his wand. It squeaked.

"I'm not going to go squealing your dirty little secret," he said drily.

"Wouldn't be the first time," Sirius muttered rebelliously.

The three men, along with Andromeda, were crowded around the kitchen table, while Nymphadora and Bill went about the business of making up enough beds for people to stay the night. Ted kept Harry occupied by making various bits of crockery crash into the wall. Sirius had given this activity his wholehearted permission and approval as nominal owner of the place, and Andromeda had finally admitted she'd always hated that pattern anyhow. Snakes, the pair of them agreed, had no place being painted onto plates, creamers, water jugs, or sippy cups (the sippy cups were proving extremely durable).

"If I could go over this again, for clarity's sake..." Andromeda said, crossing her arms as Remus began to pull bits of corn off the cob for Scabbers to eat. "Remus."

"Werewolf," Remus said, without looking up.


"Animagus," Sirius replied.

"At age fifteen?"



Sirius rubbed his jaw. "Lots of trial and error."

"And Peter too?"

"Even more trial and error," Remus sighed. "And James too."

"And Lily?"

"Nah -- she thought it was sort of..." Sirius wrinkled his nose. "Well. She thought it was a bit like playing dress-up, you know."

"And none of you were suspicious of the fact that one of your closest comrades' inner animal was a rat?" Snape asked sardonically.

"I'm more concerned with the fact that when Peter vanished, nobody mentioned this," Andromeda said sternly. Sirius gave her an utterly unashamed look.

"Nobody would have believed us," Remus replied. "Sirius didn't even believe that Peter might still be alive. And it would have meant trouble for us. It seemed safer to do it this way."

"Up until he tried to slit Harry's throat," Snape put in, glancing over his shoulder. Harry cheered as a large platter smashed to smithereens.

"Listen, the point is, this isn't Peter," Remus said, tiredly. "It's just a rat. I don't see any reason Bill can't take him back to Percy with my most heartfelt apologies."

"So how did he know?" Sirius asked, rubbing his eyes. His head still ached, though it was slowly improving. "They must have known we'd be there on that particular day. The only people who knew were you and I, and the Weasleys, and Dumbledore and Snape."

"We didn't talk about it -- except at the shop, but then only..." Remus paused. "Do you suppose..."

"No. No, there's no way, we'd know," Sirius said. "If Peter Pettigrew was hiding out in my bookshop, we'd know."

"If he was there when we put the wards on it they'd have -- " Remus covered his mouth with his hand. "If he was in the shop -- like you -- the wards wouldn't affect him, he'd be a part of them, he'd be able to hurt Harry anytime he liked."

Sirius let his head drop to the table, quietly. "He must have...seen an opportunity. Helped Bellatrix escape -- a rat can go a lot of places in a prison. Do you think -- "

Remus nodded, slowly. "He must have been."

"In my bloody bookshop!"

"It'd be a very Peter thing to do," Remus shivered at the idea of Peter Pettigrew, living as a rat right under their noses. And he foolishly running off to the four corners of the earth in search of him --

"How long, do you suppose?" Sirius asked softly.

"Years, if I know Peter," Remus replied. "He wouldn't have tried to do anything so long as we were stronger than him -- and where's more safe than where he can hear every word we say? There's the bakery down the road if he's hungry, and an animagus knows better than to make noise during the day when someone's about..."

"I need a long bath," Sirius growled. "And then I'm going to burn the bookshop."

Andromeda stroked the hair on the back of his head, comfortingly. "We're safe here, though. This place was warded empty. Everyone in here's safe."

"We should go to Sandust, just in case -- " Remus began to rise, but Andromeda stopped him.

"The pair of you are in no condition to check anything out -- you shouldn't even have gone to the Weasleys'. Severus can do it, can't you?" she asked. Snape looked taken aback.

"I see no reason -- "

" -- no reason why not? Excellent. You're welcome to stay here once you've returned, or -- you can floo back to Hogwarts from Sandust, can't you?"

Snape was silent, but there didn't seem to be any way out of it. "I'll look in on it, on my way to Hogwarts," he said finally, and swept towards the fireplace. When he was gone, Andromeda sighed.

"Such a nice-looking man to be such an absolute prat," she said, and Sirius grinned at her as she summoned Ted and Harry.

"I think it's time for bed," she said, giving Harry a small shove towards the stairs. "Bill! Dora!"

"Don't call me that!" came Nymphadora's reply.

"We're going to bed!" Andromeda called. Bill came down the stairs, accepting Scabbers from Andromeda and tucking the rat in his pocket.

"I'll sleep with Harry," Sirius said, but Andromeda shook her head again.

"You need to actually sleep. Bill can stay with him. Ted and I'll be next door, and Nymphadora can have the little bedroom next to that. You can have the room across the hall," she said firmly, and before Sirius could object, she'd begun to lead Harry up the stairs, followed by Ted, and Bill.

"Did you ever have even the slightest upper hand against her?" Remus asked.

"Not in my life," Sirius sighed. "Good thing she likes me. Let's go then..."

They climbed the stairs slowly, calling good-nights as doors closed, until they were alone in the dim corridor.

"I think the bedroom only has one bed..." Sirius began, but Remus laid a hand on his arm, stopping him. He rubbed his face again. "I don't know if it's wise, leaving him in another room."


"I know that Andromeda's nearby and Bill's there, but -- "

"Sirius -- "

"I just think..." Sirius ran a hand through his hair, and met Remus' eyes. "What is it?"

Remus moved forward, forcing Sirius back against the wall with his presence, a serious look on his face, though his eyes were warm.

"Are you all right?" Remus asked slowly. "Your head, I mean, and all."

"Yeah, reckon so. Be better in the morning, if I can get any -- " Sirius broke off. Remus had bowed his head a little, and his breath warmed Sirius' jaw. "Are...are you all right?"

Remus' nose bumped against his cheek, and Sirius exhaled slowly.

"So...full moon..."

"Not waiting," Remus murmured, and Sirius felt the press of his body, pinning him to the wall. It was rather sudden, but not unwelcome, to feel the warmth of another person after a very long, painful, confusing day.

"Any...reason?" he asked, barely finishing before Remus kissed him.

His mouth was warm, lips smooth, and his hands, always stronger than they looked, slid down Sirius arms, fingers twining around his wrists. Sirius closed his eyes, having run out of stupid questions for the moment.

"I thought you'd died," Remus said, against his cheek, lips moving along his jaw. "I haven't..."

Another warm breath stirred the hair behind Sirius' ear.

"I haven't been very grateful for what you've done," Remus said, tugging on an earlobe with his teeth. Sirius moaned. "And I was wasting time when I knew..."

Sirius raised a hand to turn Remus' head, pulling it back so that they could kiss properly again. They pushed away from the wall and stumbled backwards, into the other side of the corridor. Remus winced and reached up to rub the back of his head, laughing, when it knocked against the stone.

"The door would have more give," he said, smiling. Sirius smiled back, in relief as much as anything. Compared to what was happening here and now, the pain and fear was becoming something pleasantly distant...and Bill was watching over Harry...

"Bed'd be favourite, though," he answered, and then realised he'd probably said too much. Remus was going to bolt again --

Remus' smile spread slowly.

"Yeah...door has a knob on it. Might poke," he agreed, reaching to his left to open the door. Sirius, hardly believing his luck, allowed himself to be tugged inside.

The door closed behind them, and Sirius absently slid the lock, while Remus lined kisses down his neck, nipping and sucking. Sirius hadn't been aware people could kiss like that, and certainly hadn't expected Remus to --

Remus laughed against his skin, when he met Sirius' shirt collar, and began work on the buttons on his shirt. It was all Sirius could do to find his hands, let alone do more with them than tangle in Remus' hair, head tipped back, breathing deeply against the dizziness that threatened to overwhelm.

"Don't fall down," Remus said, one arm slipping around his waist as he straightened, and Sirius realised he'd been about to overbalance.

"Bed," Sirius answered, and Remus nodded against his forehead.

"We did discuss that," he murmured. "Sure you're all right?"


"Yes," Remus said critically, slipping his shirt off his shoulders as he walked Sirius towards the enormous old bed, sheets musty but freshly laid. "I've been doing this a lot longer than you."

Sirius dropped backwards onto the bed, propping himself up on his elbows, watching Remus undress with remarkable grace. When he fumbled with his belt, Sirius reached out and took his wrist, pulling him forward.

"Wasting time," he said, and Remus laughed against his neck, nuzzling the nylon dog collar Sirius wore under his shirt, the one with the nametag-charm he'd given him hanging off of it.

"Put a little effort into it, Pads," he replied, and Sirius gripped his hips suddenly, pulling them tight against each other.

Remus growled, and for the first time Sirius realised it was a heartfelt reaction, that it was him, and not even the idea of someone, anyone, touching Remus -- that it was his hands making Remus plead into his mouth, it was his body Remus was pressing further onto the bed, his stomach that those long deft fingers were brushing against as they pushed his trousers down.

Remus was pleased, and it was Sirius' doing.

Sudden jealousy washed over Sirius -- jealousy of all the 'rare book dealers' who had come to see Remus in the shop over the years, of the other men who'd discovered Remus before he had. He wondered if Remus had felt this flare of loathing and regret for every woman he'd seen Sirius with --

They struggled out of the rest of their clothes, wrestling a little on the bed, until Sirius ended up pinned by Remus' hips and legs, brown hair brushing his forehead, brown eyes open on his as they kissed. And then closing as his hands slipped down over Sirius' hips and thighs.

Sirius tensed, suddenly in unfamiliar territory, unsure what was expected of him, and Remus immediately froze.

"What's wrong?" he asked, voice rough and low. Sirius dropped his head back, closing his eyes again. This felt so good, and so confusing, and so much a release that he wasn't sure he could form words.

"I just...I've never..." he swallowed. Remus' hand left his thigh and slid up his body, stroking his cheek lightly. "I don't quite know what to do."

Remus' voice was rich with confusion. "But you and James -- "

Sirius swallowed again. He'd thought he could wing it, but this was a little more complicated -- and he didn't want to screw it up. This was Remus. This mattered.

"We never really got this far," he whispered, feeling himself turn scarlet with embarrassment.

"Sirius Black," Remus said, and the confusion had modulated to something that sounded perilously close to rage. "You utter, utter sham."

Sirius opened his eyes. It wasn't rage -- it was amusement. Remus was laughing, silently, eyes dancing.

"Faker of the first order," he gasped, dropping his forehead to Sirius' collarbone, resting it there. Sirius, relieved, tipped his chin up again.

"But you've done this before," he prompted imploringly.

"Many, many times," Remus said smugly. "I don't know how your luck's been over the years, but there is a certain segment of the population who enjoy the sight of a scruffy werewolf in a waistcoat..."

"Like me," Sirius said. Remus' breath hitched, and Sirius became suddenly aware that they were naked, and that when Remus breathed in like that, his whole body moved -- sharply -- against Sirius'. Remus bent, hooked a finger in the collar and used it to lift him an inch or two from the bed. He kissed him almost chastely, and then nuzzled him just under the jaw, releasing him back to the bed. Sirius felt his own breath draw in sharply when he realised Remus wasn't going to take the collar off...

"Fake," Remus murmured, kissing his way over his collarbone, down his chest. "Phony."

"I had to be -- uhm -- persuasive," Sirius answered, as Remus' teeth grazed the smooth skin of his abdomen. Remus' hands were on his thighs again, thumbs drawing small circles.

"I wonder," Remus continued, lips sliding along the edge of a hipbone, "Why you bothered, when you know..."

Lower still, and on skin sensitive to the touch.

"That sooner or later I always say yes to you," Remus finished, lifting his head for a moment.

"It's the -- " Sirius had intended to say it was the getting there that mattered, but Remus had just done something with his tongue that made Sirius incoherent, and then he gave up; Remus, after all, had his mouth already occupied. Sirius wanted to push himself up on his elbows again, watch just how Remus' mouth worked around him, see his tongue dart out to lap over sensitive spots, but he could only arch and moan and promise himself that next time -- a world of next times -- he'd make Remus teach him that, and the idea of doing to Remus what Remus was currently doing to him, with such thorough enjoyment that Sirius felt him moan, nearly put him over the edge. Remus heard the ragged quality of his cries, and leaned back slowly. Sirius whimpered.

"It's been rather a long day," Remus remarked conversationally, although Sirius could hear the desire welling up in his voice. "Perhaps tonight isn't the night to try everything new."

"Remus, I don't know what you're on about," Sirius gasped, "but please make your point and let's go back to doing that..."

Remus' warm weight left his thighs and moved up, along the length of his body, slightly to the side. He rested a hand on Sirius' stomach, and when Sirius turned his head, smiled.

"This?" he asked softly, backs of his knuckles brushing Sirius' body tantalisingly.

"Something like that," Sirius moaned. Remus continued the gentle stroke, two or three times, before tightening his fingers and breathing into his ear.

"I thought I'd lost you," he said, as Sirius bucked and thrust, writhing against the steady rhythm of his hand. "I'm sorry -- I was an idiot to wait -- when I could have you like this -- an idiot -- "

Sirius fumbled, hands still not quite his own, finding the hard, smooth muscles of Remus' hip. He walked his fingers down the skin until Remus jerked and caught his breath.

"Please, Sirius," he said, softly, in his ear. The quiet, imploring tone, combined with the sudden heat of his arousal, made Sirius' fingers twitch. Which in turn made Remus tighten his grip, slightly, and stroke faster --

He tensed as he came, mouth open but silent, muscles clenching, eyes tightly shut. Remus continued to move, against him, brushing his hand, and Sirius was just barely conscious enough, above the distraction of his own pleasure, to open his eyes and watch Remus' face as he came, and gasped, and collapsed a little.

They lay, Sirius exhausted and Remus warm and heavy on top of him, until Sirius began to shiver. They parted company just long enough to mutter a cleaning charm and crawl under the heaps of blankets on the bed, and then Sirius curled close, Remus drawing up against him. He wanted skin contact, everywhere possible, and Remus seemed more than agreeable.

"Long day," Remus whispered again. "Time for sleep now?"

"Yeah," Sirius answered, feeling his body fully relax for the first time in -- well, weeks, at least.

"D'you know," Remus mumbled, already drowsing, "why I always made you shelve the books at the shop?"

An odd question to ask, but then it had been a very strange day.

"No, whyzat?" Sirius muttered against his shoulder.

"Hands," Remus answered. "I always thought you had the most splendid hands."


Remus inched closer, until Sirius could comfortably bury his face in the soft hair at the back of his neck. "I wasn't wrong."

Sirius drifted one of the hands Remus had so admired, over his waist and down across his body. "Thank you," he murmured.

"For what?" Remus asked, around a yawn.

"Trusting me."

"Mmh. You made it worth my while, I feel," Remus remarked, and Sirius smiled. "This is what I wanted. It's...what I didn't remember. From the Shack. This part."

"This part?"

"Warm. Safe. You," Remus mumbled, as his breathing slowed and deepened. "M'sorry," he muttered sleepily.

Sirius, feeling as though he'd somehow won a prize he didn't really deserve, fell asleep with Remus' skin under his lips, the smell of him in his nostrils, feel of his body against him.


Andromeda Tonks (though she'd never, in her mind, stopped calling herself Andromeda Black, a conceit common to the women of the Black family) was a wise and forgiving woman, if somewhat negligent in the baby-names area. She knew Sirius and Remus were friends; had suspected something more, as indicated by two unmarried men pushing thirty who spent all their time together. She hadn't known Remus was a werewolf, but she suppressed the instinctive horror of it which most old Pureblood families instilled in their children. After all, it wasn't as if he wasn't also a nice person.

She certainly hadn't known Sirius was an Animagus, but nothing her cousin did could surprise her anymore -- really it had been that way since he was eleven, and the Sorting Hat called him for Gryffindor.

Sirius answered her knock, the morning after Peter and Bellatrix's disastrous attack, half-dressed, trousers hanging loosely off his hips.

Over his shoulder and only out of the corner of her eye, she could see Remus, quite clearly naked, sprawled and tangled in the sheets of the bed.

"Sleep well?" she asked innocently. Sirius tried to put his hair into some kind of order, and nodded. She kept her eyes firmly on him. "Good. There's breakfast, if you'd like. Ted's cooking."

"Thanks -- we'll be down -- " Sirius said muzzily. Behind him, Remus stirred. "Ten minutes?"

"I'll hold you to that," she said, and kissed him on the cheek.

And murmured "Well done, Sirius," as she walked away.


"Who was that?" Remus asked, pushing himself up, blinking sleep from his eyes. Sirius shut the door.

"Andromeda. She says breakfast's up."

"Mm." Remus rubbed his eyes, and Sirius allowed himself to enjoy the sight of Remus Lupin, naked, newly-awake and entirely unself-conscious about it. "Good, I'm starving."

He slid out of bed and was halfway through dressing before he paused, and turned.

"Sirius," he said slowly.

"Yes?" Sirius asked, pulling his shirt around his shoulders.

"Last night..."

"Don't tell me you thought that time was a dream, too."

Remus blushed deeply. "No, it was...much...better..." he stammered. "I just -- are you -- "

Sirius looked up from his buttons. Remus' face was crossed with fear and concern, eyebrows vaguely knitted together. He crossed the room, holding out Remus' discarded shirt as a sort of bizarre offering. When Remus grasped it, he pulled, bringing the other man off-balance up against him.

His arm went around Remus' waist, and his mouth was on Remus' before either of them could properly draw breath.

"I'm not scared if you're not," he said, and Remus laughed at the ancient in-joke between them -- that had always been what they'd said at school before starting some monstrous prank or other.

"Is it okay if I'm scared?" Remus asked quietly. "A little?"

"Yes -- yes of course -- Moony..." Sirius cupped his face with one hand. "You did it. You took what was there for you. I'm there. Here, I mean."

The reaction he was having to the proximity of their bodies could, he thought ruefully, leave very little doubt of that.

"I told Andromeda we'd be down in ten minutes," he said, "or I'd remind you."

Remus grinned wickedly then, and slipped a hand down over his stomach, and lower -- stroking him gently through his trousers. "Feels as though you'd like to anyway."

"Moony -- I can't go down to breakfast with -- " Sirius' half-whine was cut off by a gasp as Remus' fingers slipped his flies open, tugging his trousers and underwear down. Mouth followed fingers a moment later and Sirius moaned, softly, as Remus used his tongue again -- really, one day, must learn that --

He was still barely awake, and susceptible to all sorts of things; Remus kneeling in front of him and the idea of Remus kneeling in front of him, the warmth of his mouth and the slight graze of teeth all seemed to hit him at once, in a wave. His hips thrust, body moving seemingly independent of thought, and he doubted they'd even taken five of their ten-minute alottment before he sucked in a tight breath and tried to push Remus away. Remus gripped his hips tighter, pulled him closer, and Sirius came, legs nearly giving out.

Remus smiled and licked his lips, and then Sirius' legs did give out and he stumbled backwards against the bed.

"We now have..." Remus glanced at the clock, "three minutes to make ourselves presentable."

"But you -- " Sirius stammered. "I mean I could..."

Remus grinned as he pulled his shirt on.

"Some of us have a little more self-control," he said loftily. Sirius stared.

"I'll take that out of your hide, later," he growled.

"I look forward to it."

They dressed, more or less neatly considering their clothes had already seen a birthday party and an attempt on their life, and descended the stairs in a clatter. Harry met them halfway, cannoning into Sirius.

"Morning!" he cried. "Come have sausages and waffles!"

"Sausages and waffles, how can I say no?" Sirius asked, allowing the boy to lead him into the kitchen. Remus followed, a hand placed gently on the small of his back until they parted to sit. A nearly-empty plate showed Bill must have gone home with Scabbers already, and Ted and Nymphadora were helping themselves to the dish of sausages, passing the syrup and jam.

It was the most bizarre breakfast Sirius had eaten in some time. To be sitting in the home he'd spent his mostly wretched childhood in, listening to his godson prattle on about Bill and having just survived a spirited attempt on his life -- all this was strange enough.

But then he would find his attention had drifted to where Remus was very carefully licking a bit of jam off his fingertip, with a tongue that, half an hour before, had been --

Sirius had to pause, at this point, and take several deep, calming breaths.

Remus smiled wickedly at him over his plate.

"Have you thought what we ought to do next?" Andromeda was asking, and Sirius turned to face her.

"Next?" he asked, and then remembered that someone had tried to kill them the day before.

"Clearly you're going to have to tell the Ministry about Peter's abilities," she said, cutting up her sausage. "Arthur Weasley's already given the Aurors a report about the attack. Severus Snape sent an owl to say he looked in on the shop but didn't find anything, and Albus Dumbledore's in a state." She whistled low. "I don't think you're in the running for Head Boy right now, Sirius."

"Never wanted to be," Sirius replied evenly.

"Yes, well, Remus is about to lose his prefecture," she added. Remus cocked a half-smile at her.

"You know, they act as if we do this sort of thing on purpose," Sirius said to Remus. "I don't enjoy fleeing for my life."

"Did enough of it at school," Remus answered.

"Yes, but the point is, I didn't arrange it. It's not our fault my psychopathic cousin and ex-best friend want my godson dead."

"Sirius," Andromeda warned, and cut her eyes to Harry, who was putting syrup on his latest helping of waffles.

"If we can't keep him safe..." Remus left the thought hanging in the air until Andromeda put her hands, palm down, on the table.

"We'll find a way," she said. "If I have to find her myself. Harry belongs with you. And besides," she said, more thoughtfully, "She's wrecking our good name."

Sirius had a moment of deja vu -- Andromeda was a good woman and had never shown an ounce of the old Black priggishness or bigotry, but she was still a Black, to the very core, and the Black name still meant a lot to her. He met her eyes, and finally, nodded. It was his name. It meant something to him, too.

"So we'll have to tell the Ministry -- can we pass it through an Auror? Moody'd be able to handle them. Do we..." he paused. "Do we have to tell them about me? Or Remus?"

Andromeda glanced at Remus, who was studiously helping himself to some sausages. "I don't see why," she said finally. "Though you ought to register, Sirius, if only to avoid trouble later."

Sirius grunted noncommittally.

"Snape had interesting suggestion," Ted said hesitantly, from the end of the table. "He thinks Peter might go back to the bookshop."

Sirius chewed thoughtfully. "You know, he's just dumb enough he might."

"Surely not," Andromeda said. "Peter wasn't very good at magic, but he had a deviant little brain."

"Not a very original thinker, though," Remus put in. "I mean. Once he found something that worked he stuck with it. He wouldn't have gone after us for no reason -- life was more comfortable with us in it. He wouldn't leave somewhere safe unless he had to."

"We could set a trap," Nymphadora suggested, then flushed scarlet when all eyes turned towards her.

"Auror training, did you say?" Sirius asked Andromeda, who grinned and nodded. "Bout time she met an Auror proper then, isn't it?"

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