Art of Seduction IV:
Practice

Orithain and Rina

September 2003

Disclaimers: All characters depicted here are the property of J. K. Rowling.

Remus lay with his head in Siriusí lap, practically purring with contentment as he read the latest issue of The Daily Prophet. This was his favorite way to spend the evening, just the two of them, especially since Sirius had developed the habit of stroking his hair. Things had been quiet the last couple of months, with James and Lily concentrating on Lilyís pregnancy and Peter in the throes of first love.

"You know," he observed, rolling to his back to look up at Sirius, "it was horrid at the time, but I think Iím glad everyone got the excitement out of the way a while back. Now we can just enjoy being together."

Siriusí hand stilled in Remusí hair, and he swallowed nervously. "Donít talk about it, Moony; thatís one sure way of cursing ourselves with it again."

"If it does, I swear Iíll hex the first person who bursts in on us, and I donít care who it is!" Remus growled. "Iím enjoying finally getting to spend some time together like normal people."

"Are you calling us normal, Moony? Because I for one am anything but, and Iím insulted that youíd say my lover was as well."

"I rather like having something normal in my life, Siri," Remus replied quietly. "Youíre my haven, and I wonít let anything interfere with that."

"Everyone else is just too afraid of me to get near you is all," Sirius murmured, leaning in and kissing Remusí forehead.

Remus rolled his eyes. "They drool over you, Padfoot. Iím the one theyíre afraid of, well, they would be if they knew I was a werewolf, but some people seem to feel something regardless. But since that means I can scare them away from you, itís not so bad." He smiled quickly.

Sirius cocked an eyebrow and looked down at Remus. "Just whoís afraid of you?"

"Well, no one at the moment, but if they knew what I was... or if they touched you..." Remus growled.

"They wonít find out what you are, and they wonít touch," Sirius assured Remus, somewhat surprised at his reaction to this as heíd never realized Moony was quite so possessive.

"Better not. I donít know if itís the wolf or if Iím just the jealous sort, but the idea of someone else touching you..." He growled again, one hand reaching up to catch hold of Siriusí. "Letís just say Iíd let them know what a mistake theyíd made."

"Mmm, the idea of you hexing someone for touching me is strangely arousing," Sirius murmured, grinning. "But Iíd rather you werenít upset, Moony; I like my cuddly lap-wolf just the way he is."

"íCuddly lap-wolf?í" Remus made gagging sounds. "You really are a nutter. But lying in your lap does have its advantages." He turned his head slightly and nuzzled the bulge at Siriusí groin.

Sirius shifted, scooting down a bit to allow Remus better access for his explorations. "Not a nutter, a bad knut. Thought you knew the difference; Wormtailís the nutter."

"Siri, I adore you, and Peter is one of our best friends, but please donít talk about him when weíre like this. It really doesnít have a good effect on me." But it didnít seem to slow Remus noticeably as he lightly nibbled on Sirius through his trousers.

Sirius bit his lower lip in order not to laugh aloud and closed his eyes, arching his hips up as much as possible into Remusí teasing mouth. "At least I didnít talk about Dumbledore or Snivellous," he murmured.

Remus bit down enough that Sirius felt his teeth. "Behave," he admonished. "Or Iíll just go to bed early. To sleep!"

"Moony, you wouldnít!" Sirius exclaimed, his eyes widening as he pouted down at Remus.

"Would you care to wager on that?" Remus gave him a toothy grin before he carefully tugged down Siriusí zipper with his teeth.

"No, because that would just make you do it so Iíd lose!"

"Youíre learning," Remus chuckled an instant before his lips closed over the head of Siriusí cock.

Sirius groaned, his breath hissing out from between his teeth as he tried to thrust upward but found himself hampered by Remusí weight on his legs. "Bloody bastard," he muttered, tangling a hand in Remusí hair.

"Careful, Padfoot, you donít want to annoy someone with his teeth where mine are," Remus chuckled.

"Are you saying you want to make a eunuch of me? Wonít that deprive you of one of your favorite things?"

"True," Remus replied reflectively, licking Sirius as he pondered. "But Iíd still be able to enjoy this fine arse."

"And who would enjoy yours?" Sirius inquired with what he thought was a remarkably steady voice.

"I could let you use a dildo on me," Remus suggested in a throaty near-purr.

"Moony! You know about such things?" Sirius gasped. "I didnít think they covered sex toys in Muggle Studies."

Remus blushed and mumbled something as he pressed his face against Sirius, fingers lightly stroking the dark-haired manís hip beneath his pants.

"What was that? I didnít quite hear you."

"Prat," Remus grumbled. "I said that I got some books."

"Books? With pictures and diagrams?" Siriusí eyes lit up. "Letís have a look at them!"

Remus laughed through his blush. "Youíll have to get your fists out of my hair then. On second thought, never mind! I like them right where they are. Accio books!" A moment later a pile of books plopped down beside them on the sofa.

"Remus J. Lupin buying sex books in a muggle shop," Sirius murmured, shaking his head and trying to nudge Remusí mouth back toward his erection. "What a sight that must have been."

"Wanted to make sure I was doing it right," Remus mumbled, his tongue dragging over Sirius again while his fingers tugged at the pants, wanting them out of the way now.

"Moony..." Sirius sighed, shaking his head and lifting his hips as much as possible to aid Remus. "I donít recall my complaining about your technique at all."

"I know, but I like finding new ways to make you beg," Remus admitted with a low chuckle. "I especially like that little whimper you make."

"Whimper? I do not whimper!" Sirius exclaimed.

"You most certainly do," Remus retorted, suckling on Sirius briefly, then nibbling lightly along his shaft.

"Wh-when?" Sirius panted, squirming against the sofa cushions.

"When I rim you and you want more." Remus raised his head to give him a most superior smile.

"Prat," Sirius groaned, shuddering at the memory.

"Does that mean you donít want me to do it again?" Remus rolled off the couch, ending up on his knees between Siriusí legs, his tongue lapping at Siriusí balls.

"You try that here and weíre both going to end up on the floor."

"Good point. Iíll just have to ride you instead," Remus said, trying to sound unhappy about it as he stood up and shed his jeans quickly.

"Accio lube," Sirius muttered, catching the jar and dipping his fingers inside, eyeing Remus challengingly. "Well?" he asked as he slicked up his erection.

Remus turned around and wriggled his butt slightly in front of Sirius. "Arenít you forgetting something?"

"That cute thing? Never," Sirius chuckled, leaning forward to steady Remus as he loosened and slicked his entrance.

Gasping faintly, Remus arched his back, trying to force Siriusí fingers inside him. "Mmm, you feel good."

"Youíd feel better on me."

"Smashing idea." Remus turned to face Sirius again and knelt straddling him. He reached behind him to hold Siriusí cock upright as he slowly lowered himself onto it, groaning harshly.

"Oh fuck..." Sirius groaned and leaned back against the back of the sofa, one hand going around Remusí waist, the other out flung over the well-worn fabric.

"That is the general idea," Remus replied somewhat breathlessly, hips already moving even as his body stretched to accommodate his lover. "Hard, Siri. Fuck me hard."

Sirius grunted wordlessly, his hand clamping down on Remusí hip as he thrust upward, the wet slapping of their bodies coming together the only sound in the flat.

Remus panted as he rode Sirius, eyes closed and head thrown back as he concentrated on pleasuring both of them. His fingers scrabbled at Siriusí shirt until he had it open and hanging from his shoulders, baring Siriusí chest to his eager explorations.

Gasping in pleasure as Remus bore down on him and played with his nipples, Sirius sat up, biting at the other manís neck. His free hand slipped between them, finding and circling Remusí erection, stroking it harshly in time with their movements; this was going to be hot and fast and oh so good.

Crying out as Sirius bit him, Remus somehow managed to slam down even harder onto him, writhing atop his lover as they fucked. He scratched at Siriusí chest, panting harshly as he felt his balls draw up, the pleasure beginning to overwhelm him.

"Fuck... Remus..." Sirius groaned, driving upwards, his orgasm rolling over him, leaving him shaking and breathless in its wake.

"I think we just took care of that, thanks all the same," Remus chuckled breathlessly with his forehead leaning on Siriusí shoulder. "And very well too, I might add." He turned his head slightly so he could kiss the side of Siriusí neck, sighing contentedly. "And now you can carry me to bed."

"After that attempt at a joke?" Sirius growled, shaking his head. "You must be barmy, though to prove my undying love, Iíll try." He tightened his arms around Remusí waist and stood, grunting slightly. "Damn, Moony, what have you been eating?" Secretly, though, Sirius was pleased as heíd always thought Remus was too skinny for his own good.

"Aside from you, you mean?" Remus retorted, smirking. "And just who are you calling fat, Padfoot?" He wrapped his arms and legs more securely around Sirius and grinned at him as he was carried down the hall. "Does this mean youíre going to spoil me rotten for the rest of the night?" he demanded, trying not to grin.

"And that differs from our regular evenings in what manner?" Sirius asked haughtily, carrying Remus over to the bed, then dumping him on it, away from the frame so he wouldnít hit his head.

Remus pouted up at him as he sprawled across the bed, still wearing his T-shirt but otherwise naked. "Itís entirely mutual, and you know it!" He realized something and frowned. "We forgot the books on the couch, along with my wand." His amber eyes stared up at Sirius hopefully. "It would be fun to go through some of them together."

"I get the hint," Sirius answered, giving a much aggrieved sigh. "Iíll go get your books and wand, oh master mine." He walked out of the bedroom and gathered up Remusí things before heading back, dumping them on the bed beside his lover, and stripping off his shirt and socks before joining him.

"Hmmm, too bad muggle books donít have regular pictures; it might be fun to watch some of these move."

"I think weíre supposed to take care of that part ourselves," Remus laughed. "Thatís where the real fun comes in. We need lots of practice to get it right, you know."

Sirius huffed, looking affronted. "Are you saying I donít know what Iím doing?"

Remus had a hard time keeping a straight face. "Hardly, but everything gets better with practice. Or are you saying that you donít want to?"

"What Iím saying is that youíre enjoying teasing me about this much too much."

"I enjoy everything about you, Padfoot," Remus replied sweetly, trying not to laugh.

Sirius grumbled. "Oh, show me these books of yours, will you?"

"With pleasure." Remus dug through the pile Sirius had tossed haphazardly onto the bed and came up with his favorite, and they looked through it before coming to an illustration that had particularly caught his eye. "Looks like fun, donít you think?" He leaned against Sirius to look at it together.

Sirius looked at the way the couple depicted in the book was entwined and licked his lips. "Look like one of us will have to take a rubber bones potion to get that way, but yeah, it does look like fun - good sweaty fun."

"Oh, I think a little good old-fashioned determination will do it. You twist me around the way you want me anyhow half the time," Remus laughed. "This time youíll just have a diagram to follow." He looked at it again. "Iím not sure we can manage it on this bed though," he admitted.

"Youíre going to make me get rid of the waterbed?" Sirius pouted extravagantly before sighing and grabbing his wand to transfigure the bed into a more conventional one. "Mind you, it goes back the other way when weíre done here though!"

"Absolutely! I like that bed," Remus laughed. "But I think we need traction to manage this, and a waterbed just doesnít have any." He eyed the picture lustfully. "Good thing thereís a silencing spell around the flat. I have a feeling Iím going to be screaming before weíre done."

Sirius smirked and nipped at Remusí ear. "Well, you could always try doing it to me if youíre worried about your voice..."

"Thought youíd never ask." Remus grinned as he pounced, flipping Sirius onto his back and settling on top of him as they shared a long kiss. "I get the fun of driving you crazy and the added benefit of you unable to talk when weíre done." He smirked at Sirius, rocking against him.

"Oh damn, Iíll try to keep a stiff upper lip through it all," Sirius snickered before groaning as Remus squirmed against him.

"Thatís not exactly what I was hoping to stiffen. Though that seems to be doing fine on its own." Remus moved Sirius onto his side. Catching hold of Siriusí ankle, he drew the topmost leg upward to an almost ninety degree angle and braced it against his chest. "My, you are limber," he chuckled as he knelt straddling Siriusí other leg, the tip of his erection now rubbing gently against Siriusí balls.

"Must be from keeping up with my insatiable lover," Sirius rasped, fisting his hands in the sheets to keep from grabbing Remus and pulling him down for a kiss.

"I donít know; youíre the one with all the experience," Remus teased, knowing full well that Sirius had only had a couple of lovers before him. He reached for the tube of gel on the nightstand, liberally slicking himself before he placed himself at Siriusí opening, just touching, not pushing, not yet.

"Moony..." Sirius growled dangerously, trying to squirm backward to impale himself on Remusí shaft but finding that he couldnít because of their position.

"Yes, Padfoot?" Remus arched his hips slightly, increasing the pressure the tiniest bit and groaning as he felt Siriusí muscles hold him back then slowly yield, letting him slip inside almost imperceptibly.

Sirius grabbed the book and waved it at Remus. "I donít see any instructions here saying youíre supposed to torture your partner!"

"Itís called foreplay, Padfoot," Remus chuckled. "Building anticipation? You may have heard of it?" He sank a little deeper, biting his lip as he fought his own urge to bury himself inside Sirius.

"This is torture, not foreplay," Sirius growled, trying to arch his back to get Remus farther in him.

"No, no, no. Torture would be if I didnít plan on fucking you before weíre done or if I wasnít going to let you come. This, my dear Sirius, is foreplay. And since Iím on top, I get to decide." He grinned wickedly and reached down to brush his fingertips ever so lightly over Siriusí balls and the soft, sensitive skin behind them.

Sirius groaned and let his head fall back onto the pillow, shivering all over from the way Remus was playing him. "Aye, you do, just remember that Iíll have my turn soon enough."

"Iím counting on it."

Remus finally slid the final inch into Sirius and groaned his pleasure as he was fully sheathed in the grasping heat. "Oh Merlin, you feel so good." Keeping his lower half still, he reached over to the pile of books and oddments beside them and smiled evilly as he pulled out a quill. "Donít you just adore feathers?" He lightly flicked the soft tip over the head of Siriusí cock.

Sirius yelped and squirmed, unable to move because of the position and Remusí weight on him. "Fuck, Moony, you have been reading up on things!"

"Yes, I have," Remus replied smugly, liking that reaction. A lot. But the squirming was too much for him, and he finally started to move, groaning deeply as Sirius clenched around him.

Arching his back and trying to take Remus deeper into him, Sirius whined, circling his hips and shuddering every time the other man hit his prostate. The shivers caused the tip of the quill to tickle his cock, and Sirius yelped, on the verge of coming before theyíd really gotten started.

"Oh no, not yet," Remus panted, stilling his hips with an effort. He reached between them, using his fingers as a makeshift cock ring until Sirius calmed slightly. "You have more self-control than that, Siri; use it!" He started to move again, the feather moving from Siriusí cockhead to his balls and back again.

"But why?" Sirius muttered, glaring at Remus, who was both denying him his release and driving him toward it at the same time. He groaned and tightened down on the other manís erection, wanting him to feel crazed as well. "Does feel damn good though."

Remus couldnít resist. "Because weíre supposed to be practicing," he replied brightly.

"Bloody prat, oh fuck, do that again!"

"What, this?" Remus drove forward against Siriusí prostate and rubbed a thumb over the underside of his cock at the same time, exactly as heíd done a moment before. "Youíre so tight like this," he groaned, shuddering with pleasure.

Sirius managed a grunt in reply, reaching back to grab Remusí arm as they moved together.

Remus dropped one hand to the bed to brace himself, and the other pulled free of Siriusí grasp only so he could intertwine their fingers, clinging together as he moved faster, not able to tease either of them any longer. "Oh Siri, gonna come, come for me, now, please," he babbled, his back arching as he tried to push deeper inside the other man.

"Merlin..." Sirius gasped, fumbling with his free hand to grab his own cock, pumping it fiercely. Sensation overwhelmed him, and he shouted out Remusí name as his whole body clenched in a fierce climax.

Remus froze, shaking with lust as Sirius gripped him, then cried out as he pulled and slammed back into the dark-haired wizard, taking him hard and fast as he lost control, finally wailing Siriusí name as he came as well.

Sirius lay there, gasping for breath, feeling semen cooling on his belly and on his thighs, but not caring about moving until his leg started to cramp up. "Moony..." he rasped, tugging at Remusí hand and trying to roll to his back. "Need to move."

Dazed, Remus reluctantly pulled out of Sirius and let himself topple to one side, groaning as the mattress didnít yield as he expected. "Change it back," he mumbled, rolling over so he was half on top of Sirius, his face pressed into his neck.

"You expect me to reach my wand and remember the spell after what you just did to me?" Sirius asked incredulously.

"Itís your bed," Remus mumbled, snuggling closer. "But no matter, youíre comfortable to sleep on."

Sirius grumbled and flung out an arm, searching blindly for his wand. When he found it, he muttered the spell to transfigure the firm mattress back into the waterbed, then tossed it away again. "Youíre lucky I love you," he mumbled, squirming into the undulating mattress and pulling Remus against his chest.

"I know." Remus smiled happily as he felt Siriusí arms go around him. "You can pick what we practice next," he said laughingly.

"That would be sleep."

"After that, you git," Remus snorted. "Surprise me."

Siriusí answer was a loud snore.

"I think we need to go save Lily, Moony," Sirius chuckled, holding out the letter an owl had dropped off that morning. "It seems Prongs is about to drive her insane."

"Oh Merlin, now what?" Remus eyed the letter warily, grateful that it wasnít a howler. Last month James had decided that Lily needed to be cared for, and sheíd nearly turned him into a piece of statuary before the other Marauders had managed to convince him that she could walk on her own.

"Heís convinced that if she gets up, sheíll go into labor that very instant. Sheís worried heís going to kidnap a mediwitch to be safe."

Remus groaned and pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling another James-inspired headache coming on. "Are you sure we canít lock him in the Shrieking Shack till she gives birth? You can chain me to a wall or something for the next couple of months. It would be easier on all of us."

"Itís tempting," Sirius sighed before standing and stretching. "Well, shall we rescue her by taking him off somewhere?"

Remus got up as well. "You realize weíre going to have to kidnap him? Heís not going to want to let Lily out of his sight. Youíd think no oneíd ever had a baby before." He shook his head, then brushed his bangs back out of his eyes. "Weíd better pick Peter up on the way. Weíre going to need him."

"I suppose if you were expecting, Iíd treat you just the same," Sirius mused, managing to keep a totally straight face as he spoke.

Remusí jaw dropped as he gaped at the other man. "Youíre quite, quite mad," he announced, shaking his head mournfully. "And do try to remember last night, Siri. That should remind you that Iím male!"

"Trust me, my arse is reminding me of that every time I move," Sirius chuckled, pulling Remus to him and kissing him. "That was hypothetical, you git."

"Youíll forgive me if I donít find the idea of being turned into a woman very hypothetical," Remus retorted after returning the kiss eagerly. "Silly sod. Baby Potter is as close as weíll get to being parents, which is fortunate after that remark. I donít think Iíd be as patient as Lily has been."

"And Iíd be in St. Mungoís, paralyzed by the shock of you being pregnant!" Sirius laughed, releasing Remus and giving him a swat on the arse. "Now go on, weíve got to get changed, collect Wormtail and devise a plan to distract Prongs."

"We could always hit him over the head with something. Or let Lily do it. Iím sure sheís wanted to." Remus padded toward their bedroom, grumbling about having to get dressed and go out so early on a Saturday morning. "Theyíd better appreciate this. Itís not everyone whoíd give up their plans for a lazy morning in bed to prevent homicide."

Sirius nodded as he dug out his clothes, muttered a quick cleaning spell over himself and changed. "At least we werenít up to anything that Iíd have killed them for interrupting," he said.

"This time," Remus grumbled. He frowned darkly at his clothes, but he had to admit that Sirius was right to use the spell. If theyíd taken the time to shower, theyíd have done it together, and it would have been hours before they left. He murmured the cleaning spell as well and dressed quickly. "Right then, letís collect Peter."

"But Lily, I donít think I should leave. What if something happened while I was gone?"

Lily rolled her eyes and counted to ten. Twice. "James dear, nothing is going to happen. Women have been having babies for thousands of years, and none of them had you hovering over them. Please go out before Iím forced to kill you," she ended a bit sharply.

Remus tugged on Jamesí arm. "You really donít want to press her just now, mate. My dad told me my mum blew up half the house when she was pregnant. The hormones affect their magic, you see." He eyed Lily warily.

"And we really donít want to get killed because Lilyís brassed off at you," Sirius added, catching Jamesí other arm while Peter pushed at him from behind. "Ta, Lily! Enjoy the quiet!" he called back over his shoulder.

"And be careful," James added.

"Yes, James. Goodbye, James!" Lily breathed a sigh of relief when the men finally left. Now that James wasnít hovering over her, she would finally be able to invite her girlfriends over to chat and share all the details.

"I really think you have a death wish, Prongs," Remus laughed once outside. "Annoying a pregnant witch, especially one with Lilyís temper? Not smart, my friend."

"But she could have the baby," James protested, causing the other three to laugh.

"Iím sure sheís planned it all out; sheíll have Baby Potter while we have you out and have him or her waiting for you when we get back," Sirius laughed. "So you might as well enjoy the day, mate."

"You really need to relax," Peter put in, laughing, and when even Peter was making fun of his hero, James knew he was in trouble.

"Come on, weíll go to Diagon Alley and have a drink, then sit and just talk. Unless youíd like to go to a muggle establishment and see what they do to relax?" Remus suggested.

"No, if we did that, how would Lily get in touch with me... all right, all right!" James sighed when the other three laughed at him.

"Diagon Alley it is, mate," Sirius said firmly. "Weíll get that drink, reminisce about what life was before we were all tied down," he winked at Remus at this, "then go buy Prongs an apron."

"And one for you as well," Remus retorted, making even James laugh. "Prat!" He caught hold of one of Jamesí arms and one of Peterís, ignoring Sirius. "What do you say, Peter? If I throw over the big-headed one over there, will you have me?" he chuckled.

Peterís eyes widened, and he sputtered as he darted a glance at Sirius.

"You wouldnít two-time a fellow Marauder, would you, Wormy?" Sirius begged, leaning his head on Peterís shoulder and giving his neck a slobbery kiss.

"Callista might hand him his balls in a sack if he did that," James murmured.

"Yuck!" Remus made a face. "Heíd not be much good to me then," he chuckled, ignoring Peterís plaintive bleat of protest. "I suppose Iíll have to stick with the one I have then." He let go of Peter and James to grab hold of Sirius and plant a smacking kiss on his lips.

"Considering the one youíre stuck withís the best there is, itís a bloody good thing," Sirius laughed. "Now letís get to Diagon Alley; first roundís on me!"

"They scare me, Wormy," James muttered under his breath, while Peter nodded his agreement.

Remus rolled his eyes at the other two. "As if youíre not as bad with your lady-loves! Youíre just jealous because we get to snog and have fun with the Marauders at the same time. If youíd wanted that yourselves, youíd have had to pair off!"

Peterís expression turned to sheer horror at the idea of pairing off with James. "No!"

James sniffed and pouted. "Iím not that bad, am I?"

Sirius snorted. "You may want to ask Lily that right now. Wait, if we went back in there, sheíd hex us all, so donít!"

"Come on, letís get out of sight so we can apparate," Remus urged them, nudging the other three toward an alley. "I think I need that drink now!"

"To the Marauders!" Sirius cried, lifting his bottle of butterbeer in the air and toasting the others with it.

"To James and Lily," Peter added, trying to find his among the empty bottles scattered around their table.

"To the Marauders and Lily, whoís about to give us a new one!" Remus snatched Siriusí bottle to toast as heíd finished his own and hadnít got a new one yet.

James slugged back the rest of his drink and shuddered. "Donít remind me," he moaned.

"Aw, címon, Prongs, youíll be a great dad," Sirius laughed, slapping James on the shoulder before trying to get his butterbeer back from Remus. "With uncles like Peter, Remus and myself, the kidíll never go wrong."

"Never go right you mean," Peter snickered.

"Well, thatís the lot of a Marauder," Remus intoned, then laughed, holding the bottle away from Sirius until his new one arrived. Then he gave the mostly empty bottle back and took a gulp from the full one.

Sirius growled and ordered another for himself. "This roundís on Moony," he added, draining his bottle and thumping it down on the table, making the other empties rattle.

"To Gryffindor!" James said suddenly. "The best house of the lot and the one where my son or daughter will surely be sorted."

The others nodded and toasted him. "Of course. A Marauder has to be a Gryffindor," Remus chuckled. "And itíll be up to you and Peter to provide the next ones to torment the Slytherins."

Peter flushed and laughed, just toasting them again and ordering another drink as well.

"Donít worry, Peter," James chuckled. "We can drop them off on their uncles when we need a break."

"Youíd better ask first!" Siriusí expression was horrified. "The lot of you interrupt us enough!"

"Weíre definitely putting a spell block around the flat," Remus groaned. "Just like Hogwarts. The interruptions are ridiculous. It canít be good for us."

"It builds character," James said firmly.

"Hah!" Sirius barked out a laugh. "All it builds is frustration!"

James shook his head and took a long drink. "You want frustration, try having a wife whoís twenty months pregnant."

Peterís eyes widened. "If you said that to her, itís a wonder youíre still alive!"

Remus choked on his butterbeer as he laughed, and he nodded emphatic agreement with Peterís comment.

"Iím not daft!"

"Sometimes we wonder, Prongs," Sirius snickered.

"Sometimes?" Remus laughed. "Always. But weíre used to you now, donít worry."

James grumbled into his bottle of butterbeer while the other three laughed.

"I think we should go buy Lily something nice for putting up with the lot of us for so long," Sirius announced. "Especially James."

"Oh, good idea," Remus agreed. "Something just for her, not for the baby. Sheís rather been buried in the mum thing for the last while."

"Maybe some perfume or something pretty?" Peter suggested, getting into the spirit of things.

"Just how many of my galleons are you intending on spending?" James queried.

"All of Ďem, mate," Sirius grinned. "You want Lily to know sheís loved, right? And Wormy can buy something for Callista, and Iíll find a trinket for Moony."

"Lovely. Iím grouped with the birds again," Remus sighed.

"You can buy me something too if it makes you feel more manly," Sirius offered. "Though Iíd have thought after last night youíd be feeling that already."

"No details, please!" James groaned.

Peter covered his ears with an expression of dismay while Remus started to laugh.

"Afraid we might teach you more than you can handle?" he teased, grinning.

"I love you two, but I donít want to be Ďhandlingí either of you!" James exclaimed.

Sirius roared with laughter and looped an arm around Remusí shoulders. "Thatís all right, Prongs; weíd rather handle each other if you get my meaning."

"And Iíd have to rip your hand off if you touched Sirius," Remus added sweetly, baring his teeth before laughing again. "Stick to Lily and Callista; itís safer for all of us."

"With pleasure!" Peter replied fervently, setting them off again.

Once theyíd recovered, Sirius downed the rest of his butterbeer and stood, swaying slightly. "On your feet, mates," he commanded, tossing some galleons on the table in payment. "Letís go make the ladies happy."

"You make any ladies happy and youíll be sleeping on the sofa," Remus muttered, grabbing a handful of Siriusí hair to pull him into a possessive kiss.

"Oi, get a room!" Peter yelped.

"I should have bought my cloak," James leaned over to Peter and groaned.

"Prats," Sirius chuckled, hustling them all out of the Leaky Cauldron ahead of him.

"Shopping we shall go," Remus sang, then laughed. "Do we know where weíre going or what we want to get?"

"I think the ladies need gems," Sirius grinned.

"Oi, youíre going to bankrupt me."

Remus snorted. "You forget we know how many galleons you have locked up in Gringottís. But if it makes you feel any better, I donít want gems for myself. And I wonít tell you what I do want," he chuckled.

"Thank Merlin!" Peter muttered.

"He wants books, muggle books," Sirius said firmly, giving Remus a wink as they spilled outside and wandered down the street.

"Donít ask," James warned Peter.

"Or accessories," Remus murmured for Siriusí ears only.

Sirius beamed a smile at Remus while James groaned and herded them into the first store they came to, wanting to distract them.

Remus looked around at the jewelry on display, his eyes caught by an emerald set. "Here, look at this. Lily likes emeralds, doesnít she?" He drew the others forward to see the delicate earrings, necklace and bracelet.

"Yes, she does," James answered, leaning in to peer at the set.

"Gíwan, Prongs, buy it," Sirius urged.

"It might save your life," Remus chuckled while Peter nodded. "Besides, it would look pretty on her."

"Just imagine her in that and nothing else," Sirius whispered loudly, earning him a smack on the back of the head from James.

"Oi! Thatís my wife youíre talking about there!"

Remus whacked Jamesí shoulder. "Hands off! Or are we supposed this is another virgin birth, you git? Buy her the bloody things already."

Peter rolled his eyes, keeping out of this one.

"Fine, fine," James grumbled, calling the shopkeeper over and pointing toward the set.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Sirius turned to Peter. "Your turn now, mate. What do you want to get Callista?"

Peter frowned. "You donít think jewelry is too... personal?" He looked around helplessly.

"No. You donít want to get anything like what James did, but a nice chain with something simple maybe," Remus answered. "Here then, this is cute. A little teddy bear. She couldnít be offended by that, surely."

"I donít know," Peter said, looking to James and Sirius for their opinions.

"We could see if they had one shaped like a rat," Sirius offered.

"Oh, that would be romantic," Remus scoffed. "Be quiet now, Sirius; youíre not helping."

Peter nodded emphatically.

"Fine," Sirius sniffed, "Iíll just go look around myself and see what I can find since my tasteís so horrid."

"Itís all in your mouth, chum," James chuckled, placing Lilyís gift in his pocket.

"And a fine mouth it is," Remus murmured. "I adore your taste, Padfoot, but I donít think Peterís lady is ready for it."

Sirius ignored all three of his so-called friends and perused the display cases, waiting until Remus was occupied helping Peter search for a gift to make a purchase of his own.

Once Peter had a small box securely tucked away in his pocket, Remus moved back to Siriusí side, sliding an arm around his waist. "Iíd still rather be home with you, but it is good to have all four of us out together sometimes. Rather like old times, isnít it?"

"Yes, it is," Sirius answered, bending in to kiss Remusí temple. "Now we just need Snape to torment, and life would be perfect.

"Donít go spoiling my day by mentioning Snivellous, Padfoot," James groaned. "Now you have to make it up to me."

"Shall we go look at the new brooms then?"

"Smashing idea," Peter enthused. "Letís!"

"And then maybe we should get something to eat," Remus suggested. "Iím feeling famished."

"James, just because you bought Lily a present, it doesnít mean you can buy yourself a new broom," Sirius laughed, watching his friend gaze rapturously at the new Cometstrike model.

"And the baby wonít need one for years yet," Remus added, grinning at Jamesí expression, "so donít think you can get around it that way." He rolled his eyes. "Heís in a world of his own. Shall we have tea and come back to collect him later?"

"It might be for the best; I think heís attached to the case."

"I am not," James mumbled, glaring at them. "But it looks bloody fast."

"In case youíve forgotten, youíre not on a Quidditch team anymore," Remus pointed out, trying not to laugh. "You donít need a super-fast broom nowadays. Something more able to fit a family is your speed now."

"I think youíre depressing him, Moony," Sirius snickered while Peter patted James on the shoulder.

"I donít think Iím ready for this, mates," James whispered. "Me, a dad..."

"Itís a bit late for second thoughts," Remus laughed. "And I think Lily might have issues with you changing your mind, considering sheís about to give birth any day now."

"And you canít deny itís yours, Prongs," Sirius added.

Peter nodded. "Itíll probably come out plotting pranks!"

James leaned against a wall rather abruptly, turning pale.

"Chin up, mate, your parents survived you, so Iím sure youíll make it past this." Remus wondered if they were going to have to carry James out of there.

"And I promise youíll have it easier than mine did with me," Sirius added.

James managed a nod and leaned against Peterís side.

"Are you comparing James and Lily to your parents?" Remus scoffed, trying to make James laugh.

"If you are, Iím going to have to challenge you to a duel, Black," James half growled, half laughed.

"Merlin, no!" Sirius protested. "Shame on you, Remus, for getting me in trouble like that!"

"You get yourself in plenty of trouble! You donít need help from me. I was just trying to interpret your comment," Remus replied innocently.

"Itís true, Padfoot," Peter added. "Remus would never get into trouble without you and James."

"With friends like these..." Sirius muttered, glaring at the three of them before pulling them all into a hug.

"Youíre a lucky man," Remus finished for him, smiling widely. "And Iím still hungry, so can we eat now?"

Sirius was about to agree when he heard a yell and spotted a familiar-looking blonde witch running toward them. "Say, James, isnít that Melanie Wentworth?"

"Yes, I think it is. Wonder what she wants?"

"Well, it canít be any of us; weíre all taken. Perhaps sheís going to challenge Callista to a duel for you, Peter."

The blond flushed dully at Remusí teasing. "I hardly think so. But sheís definitely heading straight for us."

"James! There you are!" the woman cried, gasping for breath as she ran up to the four men. "Lilyís - Lilyís..."

"Lilyís what?!" he exclaimed.

"Having the baby!"

"Oh Merlin," Sirius groaned, leaning his head on Remusí shoulder. "Weíre never going to hear the end of this."

"You realize itís going to be our fault for making him go out. Somehow weíll have dragged him off kicking and screaming and fighting to remain at Lilyís side." Remus blinked as he realized that James was already gone. "He left without us. Weíd better follow after him to prevent him from getting in the way."

"We have to watch Lily having the baby?" Peter asked, horrified.

"No, we have to keep James out of there so she doesnít kill him," Sirius explained. "All right, lads, letís go distract Prongs; think that new broom might help?"

"Iím not sure, but itís worth a try. Letís buy it before we go after him. He canít irritate her enough to kill him in less than five minutes. I hope."

"Whatís going on in there? Why wonít they let me in?"

"Maybe because you donít want to see?" Sirius offered, wincing as Lilyís groan echoed through the small house.

"Or because Lilyís cursing you and theyíre afraid she might do something permanent," Remus suggested as he caught a few words from the other room.

"Itís definitely safer out here," Peter added emphatically.

"But how long will it take?" James had already shredded his new broomís instruction manual and was now working on todayís edition of The Prophet.

Sirius shook his head. "No idea, mate, but then I only scraped past in Divination; maybe Peter can cast some runes for you."

Remus shook his head vigorously. "No!" he hissed while James was distracted. "This could go on for hours. We donít want him to know that beforehand, or weíll never be able to keep him out here."

"Well, what are we supposed to do?" Sirius hissed back.

"How should I know? Iíve never had a baby! Distract him somehow." Remus eyed James and sighed. "Or maybe just knock him out."

Sirius was about to agree when a loud wail split the air followed by what was definitely Lilyís sobbing laugh. James jumped up off the sofa and raced into the bedroom, leaving the other three Marauders to exchange silly grins when they heard him cry, ĎItís a boy!í

"We have a nephew!" Remus hugged Sirius and Peter, all three of them practically bouncing. They all stared toward the door, waiting for James to bring the baby out and show him off.

"We have a new Marauder," Sirius beamed, slinging his arms around Peter and Remusí shoulders and waiting for James. When he didnít show, Sirius finally gave in and shouted, "Oi! When do we get to see the little bugger?"

"Well, Iím not feeling up to the exercise, so get your arses in here to see him!" Lily yelled back.

"Are you, umm, decent?" Peter asked nervously.

"As if Prongs would let us in there if she wasnít," Remus laughed, starting toward the door with Siriusí hand in his. "Well, come on then, we donít want to keep our nephew waiting."

James looked up at them, beaming. "Marauders, meet Harry. Harry, meet your Uncles Moony and Wormtail and your godfather Padfoot."

Sirius blinked. "Excuse me? I thought godfathers were supposed to be good influences."

"Godfathers are supposed to take care of their godsons, and I canít imagine anyone who could do a better job of it," Lily said, smiling wearily.

"I have to agree," Remus said, smiling as he watched James hand Harry to Sirius.

"Really, James, I donít think - I might - oh, Merlin," Sirius almost whimpered, cradling the baby in his hands and looking as if he was afraid that even breathing on young Harry would break him.

"Heís got your hair, Prongs," Peter murmured.

Remus leaned on Siriusí shoulder, peering over at the baby, who yawned widely and opened his eyes. "Looks like heíll have Lilyís eyes, though itís early yet to be sure. Heís beautiful." He smiled over at the proud parents.

"When can we get him his first broom?" Sirius asked. "As his godfather, itís my right to spoil him rotten."

"Not for a long time, Sirius," Lily smiled, reaching out to take Jamesí hand and closing her eyes when he pushed her red hair back off her brow.

"I think we should leave them alone now," Remus whispered. "Lily needs some rest, and Iím sure Prongs does too. That much nervous energy must be exhausting." He grinned quickly, still staring down at Harry in Siriusí arms.

"And we need to get out of here before Harry does something weíll need to change," Sirius murmured, grinning when Peter stroked the tiny babyís cheek. He carefully handed Harry back over to James, who seemed almost oblivious to their presence by now.

"Owl us if you need anything," Sirius said, speaking a bit louder and seeing Lily nod.

The three of them left with a final glance back at the three Potters together on Lilyís bed.

Outside, Peter said his farewells and headed home, leaving Remus and Sirius to their own devices.

"Well, Iím very glad we got to see Harry, but now that the Potters are settled, where were we this morning before we got Lilyís letter?" Remus murmured, turning to face Sirius.

Sliding his arms around Remusí waist, Sirius smiled. "Drinking tea and reading The Prophet, I believe; I think we can come up with something better than that though."

"More practice?" Remus suggested hopefully.

"It makes perfect," Sirius laughed.

END

  since 02-03-07

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