When Sirius came back to him, it was with the full knowledge that they had last parted with each thinking the other a traitor -- each believing the other was capable of betraying a lifetime of friendship, a few short years of what they'd thought was actually love, and of course the first few months of Harry's life they'd got to share. This knowledge sat with them at the table, curled between them in the bed, whispered distractingly in Remus' ear as they tried to recapture love with nothing but hollowed-out bodies, worn and exhausted.
When Sirius left him the second time, he left behind that bitter knowledge, a house drowning in despair, and a heart full of ash. They'd managed, finally, slowly, painstakingly to rekindle some small flame from the long-forgotten embers of their old love, but the last of its heat had been sucked through the veil with Sirius' lean body, leaving Remus with nothing but a cold hearth.
As he sat at the wake watching the world move around him in a blur of mourning black, Remus was left, now, to shuffle through his dwindling stack of remaining possessions, his memory, his humanity, his knowledge and kindness. The agony of finding that he did, in fact, love Harry, even though he hadn't ever expected to. The bright blaze of his anger, at Kreacher and Bellatrix, Wormtail and Malfoy and Voldemort himself, rage for all those lost in a life of loss. The almost comforting cycle and searing pain of his transformation, the endless call of duty, and at the centre of it all, the burning, needful desire for revenge.
His resentment was cold, like wet socks on a chilly English night, drawing all his energy down into feet gone leaden and unfeeling. He resented Peter for betraying them all, the world for hating what accident had made him, Harry for growing up without any of them and yet still echoing his father so painfully at times. Harry even more when he showed no resemblance whatsoever to James, instead turning into nothing more or less than himself. Harry was who he was, a boy whose childhood was ravaged by grief and casual cruelty, responsibility and murder.
Harry would be sixteen in a few short weeks, a living reminder of a year of stolen kisses and laughing experimentation, and things that felt so excruciatingly like love. Of finding Sirius in his bed one winter morning, overstaying his welcome and burrowing into Remus' heart as he did under the covers, denying the harsh light of day and the cold truth of his own foolish mistakes. Remus had covered him with kisses and forgiveness, and James had been left to Lily, Peter to his own devices.
Remus felt something crack ever so slightly as he wondered, now, if that had been what had really driven Peter away.
A hand on his shoulder, words unheard in his ear, people passing around him, giving sympathy for things they didn't understand. Some may have seen that they'd shared a room for more than one reason, others might think they understood about guilt and love and loss, but there was nothing so simple left to him with Sirius gone. Dumbledore, of course, thought he had it all figured out, but he'd never really recognised that while Sirius hadn't broken out for Remus, in the end, Remus was all he had left. Never seen the dull echoes of pain in their eyes as they tried to build lives out of such poor timber.
Remus' chest was tight, his brow furrowed, everything in him drawn and tense and as exhausted as ever, waiting for everyone to leave so he could stumble up to the bed that was only slightly more lonely than usual and sleep his life away. He had a full moon soon, and Severus to be nasty to, and he was fairly sure Dumbledore had given him the task of finding Kreacher -- protecting the Order and Harry with yet another random act of cruelty. He'd felt bad for Kreacher once, but now he realised that his sympathy had been just another weapon used against him, another wedge between them.
So much driving Sirius from him, it was a wonder they'd built anything at all, even the lonely, hollow thing they'd managed. So little warmth between them, all harsh angles and cold hands, sharp teeth and ragged nails, rough thrusts and urgent, quiet moans. Silent dinners, cups of imperfect tea and strange, awkward kisses. Wordless desperation and the barest flickers of love, and, of course, hope. That's what cut deepest this time, the shattered hope for a better, brighter future. Any future, really, as long as they were together.
He thought he might have laughed at that, but found instead that tears were staining the wood in front of his blurred eyes, and kind arms were pulling him close into an embrace that smelled of pumpkins and wool and broken innocence. "You loved him, too, right?" said Harry's painfully familiar voice in his ear. He could only nod, and weep, and try to ignore the flush of hot shame for being the one to break instead of the one to hold Harry together.
Except Harry wasn't doing so much better himself, his tears warm where they wended their way into Remus' shirt collar. They were an island of deeply personal grief in a room full of vague well-wishers, two broken hearts so much like himself and Sirius, and yet so very, painfully different. Remus couldn't quite keep himself from asking, "You knew about...?"
"Two grown men sleeping in one smallish bed? I may be young, but I'm not stupid." It might've been followed by a laugh, if it hadn't been interspersed with small, hitching sobs instead. There were a few heartbeats of silence before Harry added, "I didn't mind."
Between them lay years and years of life, fresh raw grief and the knowledge that they had both failed Sirius in their own way. Harry's chest was firm and thin against Remus' face, his collarbone sharp and nipple hard beneath his worn t-shirt. Remus resisted the temptation to nip at it, to turn those sobs into cries of pleasure and drown them both in forgetfulness. Neither of them desired the other, not really, but only wanted comfort and a few precious moments of something other than pain.
"If I... if I promise not to, y'know, try anything..." Harry's voice was quiet, barely a breath over his ear as he stammered, "C-could I come sleep with you tonight?"
Remus brought his head up slowly, careful to avoid collisions with Harry's chin and nose, letting only their eyes meet. "You never had a parent whose bed you could crawl into," he said softly, as though there was an answer there.
"Are you..." Harry began, and trailed off.
"The Dursleys are still your legal guardians, Harry," said Remus carefully, answering the most obvious question instead of the hundreds of others trailing unspoken off the end of those two simple words. "I was never more than a friend of the family."
"So I'm really all alone, now," came the quiet response, as Harry folded in on himself, collapsing into Remus' suddenly supportive embrace.
Remus held the sobbing boy in his arms, the love he'd seen burning fiercely whenever Sirius looked at the boy finding itself suddenly and unfamiliarly in his own breast, tinged by things that would, no doubt, have appalled anyone foolish enough to ask. He might have been slightly less than honest with himself when he'd thought, before, that there was no desire, but it was a tiny, guttering flame next to the protectiveness that came with holding this too-thin boy in his arms. "You've got me, now."
Harry clung to him, arms wrapped tight and practically crawled into his lap, sobs eventually quieting to the deep, even breaths of sleep. Remus looked around, suddenly conscious of the audience they'd had, for both his own long wallow in self-pity and the indeterminate time it had taken for Harry to cry himself out. Most everyone had left, thankfully, just Molly Weasley and, surprisingly, Dumbledore, having a hushed conversation over by the fire.
Something must have alerted them to his regard, and they both came over to where Remus cradled Harry rather uncomfortably on the bench. "I see you've decided to rejoin us," said Dumbledore quietly, obviously trying not to wake Harry.
"Someone else needed me more than I needed to wallow in myself, I guess," said Remus, shrugging a little self-consciously. He had been perfectly within his rights to have a bit of time to himself, but he knew he was needed, even now, for other things. "Will he have to go back to them for long?"
Albus and Molly exchanged glances, and it was Molly who spoke. "He'll be staying here for a few days, and then he'll have to go back to the Dursleys until his birthday. Albus thinks the charm will still hold if we come and get him in time for a party, however."
"He's never had one, has he?" said Remus softly. "There's all kinds of things he's never had." He thought for a long moment about how they might take his next revelation, and then decided to risk it. "He asked to sleep with me tonight. Not... like that, but... like a child with nightmares might ask a parent."
Dumbledore nodded, and Molly's face smoothed out from the shock that had briefly stormed across it. "I have been given the task of dealing with Sirius' will," said Dumbledore, seemingly out of the blue. "I cannot reveal most of the specifics until certain legalities are dealt with, but I believe it is safe enough to tell you this: Sirius was very clear that his godson should have you in his life, whatever role you choose to take."
"Oh," said Remus quietly. There was a lot in that statement to take in, implications he would save and ponder later. Right now, exhaustion was seeping in, and all he wanted was to carry his precious burden up to a bed that still smelled faintly of loss. "I'm going to take him up to bed?" He left it a question, wanting to make sure they understood and approved.
Molly leaned in and pressed a kiss to Harry's forehead, then surprised Remus by doing the same to him. "You take good care of him," she said softly.
"Hopefully together you will sleep more soundly than either apart," said Dumbledore, eyes once again twinkling with their usual hidden meaning.
Remus stood carefully, hefting a sleepy Harry in werewolf-strong arms. "We goin' t'bed?" said Harry sleepily as Remus shifted him to a more comfortable position.
"Yes, Harry," said Remus softly.
"T'gether?" said Harry, grief writing itself back into his features as he woke further.
"Sssh," said Remus, rubbing a cheek against Harry's furrowing forehead. He navigated the stairs with exaggerated care, unwilling to risk dropping his welcome burden. "Together."
"Mm," was Harry's reply, and his face relaxed back into the blank innocence of sleep.
Remus tried to keep his thoughts away from the possible permission in Dumbledore's smile, the motherly way Molly had treated him. Did they not realize he was more than twice the age of this boy, one who was not even yet a legal adult? Molly, he guessed, simply dismissed the notion that he might possibly possess any prurient interest in having Harry in his bed -- she had, after all, spent a lot of energy denying that he and Sirius got up to anything more risque than Exploding Snap, despite the stains on the bedsheets.
No one ever knew what Dumbledore was thinking, and Merlin knew the man had odd ideas about what was best and for whom. Remus negotiated the doorway carefully, kicking the door shut behind him. Harry woke up again when he was deposited on the bed, enough to protest at being left alone in a lost, childlike voice that killed whatever lingering concupiscence Remus might have held. "I'm just going to brush my teeth, use the loo," said Remus softly, smoothing back Harry's unruly fringe.
"Promise you'll come back?" said Harry quietly, eyes shining brightly in the dim room.
"I promise, Harry," said Remus, his broken heart straining for the horrors heaped upon this poor young man's head. He wasn't really a child any longer, despite appearances, he'd seen, done and lost too much in his short life. Remus removed his glasses gently, setting them on the nightstand, and said, "You get comfortable, and I'll come back and join you, all right?"
Harry was already drifting off, but he had enough presence of mind to toe off his shoes as he mumbled, "Sure, Remus."
Remus rifled frantically through his drawers for the pyjamas he hadn't worn since Sirius first crawled into his bed, needing skin and warmth and comfort. He sighed with relief when he found a pair, warm concealing flannel, just the thing for sleeping chastely with a boy who saw you as a father figure. A quick, sketchy wash and change later, and Remus returned to find Harry fast asleep atop the covers, one shoe still dangling off his toes.
Remus smiled and took the shoe, lining it up beside the bed with its mate. Remus took off Harry's socks, and then got him awake enough to get off his dress robes, leaving him in a pair of worn and overlarge boxers that should not under any circumstances be considered sexy, even if they did reveal far more of Harry's dense black curls than was decent, and constantly threaten to slip the rest of the way down and reveal quite a bit more. Remus could only be glad of his age and exhaustion just then, as his cock only made it to slightly interested before Remus got the boy into bed, and it gave up the game as lost.
Harry curled into him sleepily, pausing long enough to mumble, "This's good, right?"
Remus closed his eyes as Harry's warmth began to seep into his body, his legs and arms tangling inextricably with Remus' own tired limbs. "Yes, Harry. It's good."
"Thought so," said Harry reasonably, before dropping completely off to sleep. Remus had thought that having another body in his bed would either be comfortingly familiar, or disturbingly unfamiliar, and he was therefore totally unprepared for the fact that it was very, very comforting, and nothing at all like holding Sirius. Harry was Harry, and Remus had Harry in his arms, and on some deep level he'd never thought to examine, let alone acknowledge, that was a good thing in and of itself.