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Orange haze filled the attic as the sun rose over the first day of June. Remus Lupin sat at his deck, staring at his laptop screen with surprise.

“Wow,” he whispered to himself, then rubbed his eyes vigorously.

He picked up his phone and sent a text to Lily:

 

I’m done. I finished it.

 

It’s done.

 

She was probably sleeping in some sort of configuration with James Potter at the moment. James hardly spent much time in his own room anymore, especially now that summer break had begun. Lily had even mentioned the vague idea that if James could move into her room she could rent out his room, an idea that made Remus more than a little nervous.

He stared at his phone. He was excited. He’d done it. He’d finally finished and he needed to talk about it. Sirius was probably asleep but he couldn’t help giving him a try:

 

I finished the fic!

 

To Remus’s surprise he received an immediate text back:

 

WHAT? HOW?

 

You’re awake?

 

Yeah. Guess I couldn’t sleep.

 

Can I come downstairs?

 

It’s a free house…

 

No, I mean… to talk to you?

 

Yeah. Of course.

 

Remus dashed downstairs, glad that he was no longer nervous around Sirius. Sirius was waiting in the doorway to the living room when Remus got to the bottom of the stairs.

“Hey,” Sirius said warmly.

“Hey,” Remus replied, grinning wide.

“So… you’ve defeated the beast,” Sirius said.

“Yeah. I guess I have. I mean… these chapters still need edits but essentially… I’m done. I wasn’t even sure if it would have an ending… but it spoke to me. It felt… right,” Remus said.

“Is it a happy or a sad ending?” Sirius asked.

“Geez, you want spoilers?” Remus said and laughed.

“I’m just saying… I’m not sure my heart is prepared for a sad ending,” Sirius said.

Remus stepped over to Sirius, his body trembling inside. He picked up Sirius’s left hand and held it, feeling strangely confident, maybe because he was tired or maybe because finishing the fic had given him a natural high.

“I think I gave it the right ending. They deserve to be together,” Remus said.

“But they’re so different,” Sirius said softly.

“Well, if a vampire and a vampire hunter can’t make it work then what hope is there for the rest of us?” Remus said, smiling up at Sirius and briefly making eye contact before looking down.

“Indeed,” Sirius said and gave Remus a hug.

As they pulled away from the hug, Remus felt like he was moving in slow-motion past Sirius’s face, painfully aware of how close his lips were but not finding the courage to explore them just yet. After they parted, they stood there in silence for a moment. Suddenly, the front door began to unlock and Remus jumped. Peter Pettigrew quietly walked into the house, removing his shoes in silence.

“Hey, Pete,” Sirius said to his friend.

After all these months, Remus still barely knew Sirius and James’s friend who lived in Lily’s basement. He spent a lot of time caring for his mom or being with his girlfriend, Maddy.

“Hey,” Peter said sadly.

“Something wrong?” Sirius said, stepping out of the dark of the hallway over to Peter who was leaning against the back of the sofa.

“Maddy broke up with me,” Peter said.

“Oh. I’m sorry, Pete,” Sirius said and leaned down to give Peter a hug.

“Thanks, man. I don’t know. It came out of nowhere. Everything was fine. And then we were… we were in bed, after… erm. Anyhow, she just turned me to and said it was over. She said the relationship had run its course. And I tried… I tried to say something to change her mind. But she didn’t care. She was cold as ice. She didn’t even kick me out. She just rolled over and went to sleep. So I left… Don’t want to be where I’m not wanted,” Peter said, whimpering the last line.

Sirius gave Peter another hug.

“Don’t fret, Pete,” Sirius said.

“I’ll try not to. I guess I need some rest. Good night… erm… morning,” Peter said, waving at Remus as he walked to the basement.

Sirius frowned at Remus.

“Well, I hope Steve and Bucky get a better ending than that,” Sirius said.

“Definitely,” Remus said and headed back upstairs.


Lily giggled as she kissed James, naked and sweaty on top of him as euphoria still coursed through his body. Morning sex with Lily was such a great way to wake up, James thought. Everything to do with Lily was great. Sex with Lily was great and it wasn’t losing its novelty, no matter how hard they had been going at it for all these weeks.

They lay there kissing and sliding against each other for several minutes before Lily finally rolled away, pulling on clothes to head to the bathroom. James wasn’t sure he had the energy to climb out of bed yet and grabbed his phone to check his email.

To his surprise he had an email from his ex-girlfriend, Charity Burbage. He hadn’t seen her since last autumn. They had briefly texted a few times but that had been it and even that hadn’t been in months.

James opened the email, which turned out to be sent to a bunch of her local friends and family. She said that she was moving out east and getting married. She was having a get together shortly. Curious, James thought. She hadn’t been dating anyone the last time they talked.

He decided to text Charity for some clarification as he wasn’t sure if he was just too tired and had forgotten something.

 

Hey, Char. Got your email. You’re getting married? WHAT?

 

Yep. It’s not as a sudden as it seems.

 

I met this guy online back in January.

 

I’ve gone out to Vermont to meet him a few times.

 

And he’s been out here :)

 

James stared the texts in disbelief as Lily returned to the room.

“I’m gonna take a shower, babe,” Lily said.

“Yeah,” James said.

“You OK?” Lily asked.

James looked up at her.

“Yeah. I’m fine. I just found out Charity’s getting married. She’s… moving to Vermont. Like apparently in two weeks,” James said.

“Vermont? Where at?” Lily asked.

“Some place called… Brattleboro?” James said.

“Brattleboro? That’s not far from Keene. Huh. Small world. Maybe I’ll say hi while I’m out there?” Lily said.

Lily was planning on spending the month of July out in New Hampshire visiting her girlfriends and old friends out there. James had been working up the courage to see if she wanted him to come along with her but he was worried he would be intruding.

“Yeah…” James said, getting another text from Charity with more clarification.

“Or, I mean, you could just come out there too. When is the wedding?” Lily asked.

“It’s in July,” James said, realisation coming over him.

“That pretty much means you have to do it, right?” Lily said with a wink.

“Shit. I… guess I’m going to New England,” James said, throwing his head back as plans began to take shape in his mind.


“Two words: road trip,” James said, as he stood in front of the television in the living room, Sirius and Peter seated in front of him on the sofa.

“We just went to San Francisco a couple of months ago,” Sirius countered.

“I didn’t!” Peter complained.

“Only because you dropped out,” Sirius replied, bumping his shoulder into Pete’s shoulder.

“No, no, this is different. Let me explain. I’m thinking the four of us boys rent an RV or something-“

“And cook meth?” Peter interjected, making Sirius chuckle.

“No! Hush! Listen! Lily is going to New Hampshire for the summer. Well, July, anyhow. I just found out Charity is moving out there and is getting married. Her wedding is in July. She’s flying out there… I figured we could take the long way there and back,” James said.

“Remus isn’t going to New Hampshire. He didn’t want to fly,” Sirius said, having been looking forward to getting to spend time with Remus over the summer.

“So convince him to come with us. Come on! This is the sort of male-bonding shit they make movies about!” James said.

“I’m in. What else am I gonna do? I need to stop thinking about Maddy…” Peter said, still looking distraught from his breakup the night before.

“I won’t go if Remus won’t,” Sirius said firmly.

James knelt in front of Sirius, clutching his hands in front of him.

“I understand that. He’s your boyfriend,” James said.

Sirius cringed briefly but it turned into a smile, feeling his face turn hot with embarrassment.

“Not exactly but… I guess. Beyond that, I won’t leave him alone in this house for a month,” Sirius said.

“Just… as a favor… will you ask him? Please? I really want him there,” James said, seeming sincere.

Something in James Potter’s hazel eyes, made it seem like he really needed this. He really wanted Remus there, not just so Sirius would come too.

“OK. I’ll… ask him this weekend. We’re going to Cannon Beach together,” Sirius said with a smile.

“Nice. Literal hot date,” James said, lightly slapping Sirius on the knee and standing up.


“So what did you think?” Remus said sitting at the top of his bed with his knees pulled up to his chest, while Lily sat cross-legged on the opposite end.

“It was… amazing. Touching. Sad but hopeful. I… can’t believe it’s over,” Lily said, feeling in a daze since finishing reading the final chapter of Reliquary of Blood, minutes before.

“Really? I was worried… I thought I would be letting everyone down for not tying everything up neatly. I just didn’t think it was realistic. So Steve and Bucky get to be together… but the circumstances aren’t what they wanted. And people still died,” Remus said.

“And isn’t that how love should be? Anyhow, I’ll try to finish up my Peggy and Angie fic… before too long. Busy summer ahead,” Lily admitted.

“Yeah…” Remus said, looking sad.

Lily knew he wasn’t looking forward to her going away for the summer… she supposed she should tell him it might be worse than he thought.

“I don’t know if Sirius has said anything but… James is planning on going to New Hampshire too. I think he wants to take everyone on a road trip, well, all the guys anyhow. He said he was going to talk to Sirius and Peter earlier but I never heard how that went…” Lily said.

“I haven’t heard anything. And I’ve been texting with Sirius almost all day,” Remus frowned.

“Oh. I’m sorry,” Lily said.

Remus shrugged.

“I guess it would’ve been nice to be invited,” Remus said.

“I’m sure they will. Maybe they just think you wouldn’t do it?” Lily said.

“I would go if Sirius is going. I just don’t want to have to fly out there,” Remus said.

“Maybe you should talk to Sirius?” Lily suggested.

Remus shook his head.

“If they want me they’ll invite me. I’m not gonna impose where I’m not wanted,” Remus said.

He sounded so sad that she wanted to leap across the bed to hold him. He hung his head, not revealing his emotions on his face.

“Hey,” Lily said, scooting herself up the bed until she was at his feet.

Lily rubbed the side of Remus’s leg.

“Yeah,” Remus said.

Lily sighed.

“The final chapters were really great. I’m really proud of you,” Lily said.

“Thanks,” Remus said.

Remus probably wanted to cry in private. Lily frowned and slid out of the bed.

“Lemme know if you want to talk or something. Think about talking to Sirius,” Lily said.

“OK. I will,” Remus said, and Lily left the attic.


Lily strolled through downtown with a smile on her face as the summer sun beamed down on her, filling her with light. When she entered Molly and Arthur’s, Molly was scrolling through her phone, laughing at something. Knowing her, probably a cat meme.

“Hey,” Lily said as she approached the front counter.

“Lily!” Molly said, and set her phone down and came around to give Lily a hug.

“Sorry, I haven’t been by,” Lily said.

“It’s fine. Things have been busy anyhow. Business is really picking up. Tourist season!” Molly said, pulling away but leaving a hand rested on Lily’s shoulder.

“That’s great!” Lily said.

“So what are you up to today? Anything you need?” Molly asked.

“Nah. I’m just… out for a walk. I’ve been indoors a lot lately. My boyfriend is busy visiting a friend today so I just thought I would… walk around,” Lily said.

“Fair enough. Say, have you visited the bookstore since it reopened?” Molly said.

“What bookstore?” Lily asked.

Molly pointed west, through the walls of the store and said, “It’s around the corner. It closed a couple of a years ago. Man who owned it passed away. Cancer. His daughter has reopened it. She’s Muslim! And British. Aren’t British accents wonderful? They always sound so nice!” Molly said, scrunching her nose in a pleased fashion.

“Oh. No. Should I?” Lily asked.

“Do you like books?” Molly asked.

“Yeah. I mean… I mostly read books on my Kindle, though,” Lily said, making an apologetic face.

“Oh, I love real books. Especially old books,” Molly said, closing her eyes and making a wistful face.

“Well, maybe I will go by there. Hey, we should hang out sometime. I could bring James over. We could all play boardgames or something,” Lily said.

Molly opened her eyes and grinned.

“That sounds lovely. When were you thinking?” Molly asked.

“I don’t know. I’m actually leaving town at the end of June. I won’t be back until August,” Lily said.

“Oh. Well, let me know. You can just text me and we’ll make plans,” Molly said.

“Will do. Well, it was nice seeing you. Guess I’m gonna check out that bookstore,” Lily said.

They gave each other another hug and Lily stepped outside the store and turned left to head around the corner. The bookstore was on the opposite side of the alley from Molly and Arthur’s.

The bricks of the shop were painted black and the large window just said Bookstore in large gold letters. Lily stepped inside and was greeted by a very friendly, big, fluffy cat.

“Well, hello, kitty,” Lily said, kneeling down to rub the cat’s head as it loudly purred.

As she stood back up and walked away the cat made a sad sound and ran up behind her, purring as it attempted to circle her legs.

“Well, goodness. You really are friendly,” Lily said, kneeling to pet the needy kitty.

“Sorry about that. Tuvok likes making new friends,” a voice from behind Lily said.

Lily turned around to see a woman with long, dark hair, dark eyes and brown skin a shade darker than her own, standing tall above her. She was wearing jeans and a white t-shirt that said Girls on it in big black letters. She was absolutely gorgeous.

“H-hi,” Lily said, standing up to shake the woman’s hand.

“Pleased to meet you,” the woman said.

Her accent was very pleasant, indeed, and Lily wished she knew more about British accents so she could place where she was from.

“I’m Lily,” Lily said.

“I’m Marlene,” the woman replied, a smile stretching her brightly red painted lips.

Lily wasn’t sure she had ever seen a woman so beautiful so instead of saying anything else she just smiled, still unconsciously shaking her hand. The woman lightly chuckled and Lily pulled away, feeling her face turn red.

“So, um, you’re new here?” Lily said, suddenly finding it hard to remember whatever Molly had told her about the bookstore’s new owner.

“No. I mean, the shop has been reopened for a week but I’ve been living in the U.S. for about six years. Since I was twenty. I moved here when my father became ill,” Marlene said, frowning and making a small gulp.

“Oh, Molly told me about your father. I’m so sorry,” Lily said.

Marlene nodded and quietly said, “Thank you.”

Lily looked around the shop. Every inch of free space was covered in used books. Despite the shop not being all that large she felt like she could waste hours perusing all the shelves, especially with Marlene about.

“So you’re English?” Lily said.

Marlene smiled and nodded.

“Actually, my father was American. He was in the military and married my mum in England. She was from Norwich. He got British citizenship. They had both turned fifty and didn’t have any kids. Decided they wanted one. I was barely three when they adopted me in Iran,” Marlene said, sounding like she had told the story enough times that the words had lost meaning.

Lily just nodded, unsure of what to say.

“I’m not sure what a white couple wanted with a Persian child but I’m grateful for the life they gave me. They divorced when I was fifteen. I didn’t want to leave my mum… but someone needed to help my dad. And now here I am… I own a shop,” Marlene said, throwing her arms open with a bitter smile.

“You could sell it, couldn’t you?” Lily said.

Marlene shrugged.

“It didn’t seem right. All my friends told me I was daft for taking it on. Told me I should just sell it and come home to England. But… I feel like I have unfinished business here. A purpose yet to be unfulfilled. I pray to God for guidance but…” Marlene said, shaking her head in disappointment.

“Well, whatever it is you’re looking for… I hope you find it,” Lily said, wanting to offer her physical comfort and just barely remembering that they met mere minutes before.

“Thank you. So, was there any thing you were looking for?” Marlene inquired.

“Me? Oh uh. I don’t know. My life is pretty good. I… I wish I could see my girlfriends more often,” Lily said.

“I meant books,” Marlene said then laughed.

“Books. Right! Books,” Lily said waving a hand around, wanting to place her palm right over her face in humiliation.

“So girlfriends, what, like your mates?” Marlene asked, seeming interested.

“Umm… no, not exactly,” Lily answered, never knowing how much she should reveal to a stranger.

“You’re a lesbian? I hope you don’t mind me asking,” Marlene said.

“No. And no it’s all right. I’m uh… pansexual and polyamorous,” Lily said.

“How lovely. I’m gay,” Marlene said, smiling and touching her chest, just about where her shirt said Girls.

“Cool,” Lily said and Marlene laughed as if that wasn’t the response she was used to.

“You’re funny, Lily. How about I show you some books?” Marlene said.

“Sounds great,” Lily said, thinking at this point Marlene could probably convince her to buy an entire thirty year old set of Encyclopedia Britannica.


Petrova was grinning like she was about to burst. Her girlfriend, Donna, laughed and shouted, “Just say it, Pet!”

“OK, OK. Donna and I are getting married,” Petrova said, smiling broadly.

“Really? Congratulations! Gosh, I just found out Charity is engaged the other day. Is it contagious?” James asked, reaching across the table to hold one of each of their hands.

Petrova laughed. Petrova Porskoff had never been James’s girlfriend, unlike Charity Burbage. They had been friends with benefits until she started dating Donna.

“No. Congrats to Charity. I met her one time. Did I tell you? Bumped into her at the Farmer’s Market,” Petrova said.

“No, you didn’t tell me that. That’s cool,” James said.

“Yeah. I mean, I didn’t know it was her. We just got to chatting and once I found out her name… I put things together. She was nice,” Petrova said.

Donna elbowed Petrova.

“Ask him!” Donna growled in Petrova’s ear.

Petrova groaned then said, “All right. So… I know this might seem strange but… would you… be my best man?”

“Best man? Really? I mean, I’m flattered… but surprised. You’ve only known me for a couple of a years,” James said, remembering the particular circumstances when he woke up naked on her floor, mere feet from where they were chatting in her dining room at the moment.

“Is that a no?” Petrova asked.

“No. I mean yes. I mean… no? I’m confusing myself. Yes, I’ll be your best man. I guess I just thought… you had other friends?” James asked.

“Sure. But I’ve drifted off from a lot of them. I don’t know. I just thought about everyone I knew… Whenever I get in a relationship I tend to get tunnel vision. I only think about me and her or… whoever it is,” Petrova said, leaning over to kiss Donna on a a dark-skinned cheek.

“So you thought I was… the best man for the job? Erm… literally,” James said, realizing he walked right into that pun.

“Yup. So you’ll do it?” Petrova said.

“Yeah. Definitely,” James said.

“Awesome! The wedding is on August the fifteenth by the way,” Petrova said.

“Thank god. I’m gonna be gone all July to New Hampshire,” James said.

“Cool. Yay, we’re gonna have the most awesome Jewish lesbian wedding ever! Donna is converting,” Petrova said.

“Just between you and me, I’m an atheist. Don’t tell God or anything,” Donna said.

“It’ll be our secret,” James said.


Sirius glanced over his shoulder as James entered the house.

“Hey,” James said as he removed his shoes.

“Hey. What’s up?” Sirius said.

“Visited Petrova and Donna. They’re getting married!” James said.

“Them too? Is it contagious?” Sirius said.

“That’s what I said. I guess so,” James said, and came around and sat down next to Sirius on the sofa.

“So what’s up with you?” James asked.

Sirius frowned.

“I spent today looking over my photos. All of them. Every single one I’ve ever done. I’ve realised something… photography is the only thing I want to do. Going to college… it’s a waste of my time,” Sirius said.

“Or at least go to college but take something better than history!” James said.

“No. I’m not going back to college,” Sirius said with a frown.

“But dude, you’re never going to have a career as a photographer here!” James laughed.

Sirius sighed.

“I know that. It’s been lurking at the back of my mind for months. The new life I’ve built here… it’s untenable. Not if I want a serious career as a photographer,” Sirius said.

“Or a Sirius career, am I right?” James grinned, patting Sirius on the back.

“Dammit, this is a big deal, James,” Sirius said with a scowl and sideways glare.

“Right. Sorry, man,” James said, the smile fading from his face as he adjusted his glasses.

“I don’t know what to do. I can’t tell Remus. I’ll break his heart,” Sirius said.

James rubbed Sirius’s back.

“I mean, you’re still deciding, right?” James said.

“Sort of. Or rather, I’m trying to convince myself to do what’s best for myself, not what’s best for my heart,” Sirius said, feeling tears well up in his eyes as he wondered if there was even a difference between those two things.

“I understand. Really, I do. Do you think I don’t know that I can’t work on video games here? We didn’t come to this town to start new lives,” James said.

“But you still have money. You can do anything you want,” Sirius said.

“That’s not as true as you think. My parents’s money will run out eventually. But it’s not about the money. I love video games. I’ve wanted to make video games since I was eight years old. It’s my dream and it can’t happen here. But I’ve got another year of school here to figure things…” James said.

“I have… until the end of the summer. That’s the deadline I’m giving myself,” Sirius said.

“Everything will work out,” James declared.

“I hope so. Everything is so perfect… but we’re young. I’ll be twenty-one soon. Remus loves my photography. He tells me I should pursue it. But would he really feel that way if he knew it meant I had to leave?” Sirius said.

James didn’t reply, perhaps wondering what he would say to Lily when that day inevitably came for him.

“If I’m not going to be a photographer… then who will I be? I’m not good at anything else,” Sirius said.

“I’m sure that’s not true. But don’t worry about it right now. You’ve given yourself a summer. A lot can happen in three months,” James said, reaching over and squeezing Sirius by the shoulders.

Chapter Text

Image of Ship Captain Statue

 

They parked next to a sign that said Haystack Rock Public Parking. The sky was clear and the morning sun was warm. As far as weather went, this was as nice as it got in the Pacific Northwest, at least as far as Remus could tell. It was warm but not too warm, which was exactly how he liked it. It was still early and would warm up as the day went on, however. They had stayed in the nearest reasonably affordable hotel they could find the night before, since the drive was over six hours and they wanted a full day of sun.

The walk down to the beach took longer than Remus expected, passing by cafes, hotels and restaurants. At the corner leading to Haystack Rock was statue of a ship captain that Sirius insisted on taking a picture of.

“Why do they even call it Cannon Beach?” Remus asked as they stepped onto the beach.

“Something about a cannon washing up on the shore,” Sirius said.

“Really? That’s all?” Remus asked.

“I don’t know. I looked it up on Wikipedia like a year ago,” Sirius admitted with an apologetic grin.

Sirius was wearing swimwear he bought for trans guys online and he looked even more cute than usual, which was really saying something. Oceanfront wind was blowing his dark hair around in ridiculous fashion but it didn’t make him look any less preternaturally elegant.

Remus felt sort of boring wearing a plain white t-shirt and old swim trunks he’d had for at least four years that barely even fit him anymore. Lily had been pushing him to get something new for a while but with his budget he really tried to keep expenses to a minimum.

Sirius also had big sunglasses that made him look like a hip celebrity. Remus had… squinting. He always regretted not having sunglasses but when he didn’t need them he never thought to get them.

They walked across the sand to Haystack Rock. A few months before Sirius showed Remus the movie The Goonies so he could have some context for why he thought it was cool. It featured in the opening of the movie, as did Cannon Beach itself. The rest of the movie took place and was filmed in Astoria, not too far from there. Remus liked the movie well enough, though he feel liked he lacked the context for it and would’ve enjoyed it more as a kid.

The rock itself was large and covered in moss just off the beach, almost appearing as if one could walk right out to it, though Remus was afraid to try.

“It’s a rock,” Remus observed.

“Yep. That it is,” Sirius said, setting his backpack down that was filled with a couple of large towels, snacks and various other things.

Sirius quickly took his camera out of the pouch around his neck and took a picture of the rock, taking his time to try out angles as he was always looking for that perfect spot that wasn’t just beautiful but also said something to him. It’s not enough to capture nature, because anyone can see nature with their eyes, he would say. You had to find what nature was saying to you and relate it to others.

Remus tossed off his shirt, feeling a little shy but also knowing he would be getting hot before long. Sirius then surprised him by saying, “Can I take a picture of you? Oh.”

Sirius gulped as he turned away in apparent embarrassment.

“Yeah. Just tell me where you want me,” Remus said with a smile, feeling a mixture of flattery and embarrassment.

Sirius got low and let Remus stand so that Haystack Rock was behind him, making him look apparently huge. Remus thought it was silly but it seemed to make Sirius happy.

“Cool. Thanks,” Sirius said as Remus pulled out his towel and plopped down on it.

Remus was kind of wishing that they had chosen a different spot, just because it was going to be the highest traffic area and there were already people walking the beach or taking their dogs for walks around.

Sirius set his towel out and laid down, kicking his sandals off and wiggling his toes, seeming excited. He really was unbearably gorgeous, from the top of his shining hair to bottom of his toes. He had his face turned upwards and looked like a human solar panel, absorbing the sun for energy.

Remus laid back and closed his eyes, feeling the sun’s heat pressing down on him. He had a faint memory of a trip he had taken with his parents to South Korea when he was six. No matter how many beaches he had went to, it was a memory of being six on a beach in South Korea that came back to him, though he remembered faint other details. They were there for some festival and to visit relatives of his father. It remained the only time he had ever left the states or had been on a airplane, though he would like to go back someday.

His parents went back last autumn but he was preoccupied with moving at the time, and admittedly the idea of riding on a plane kind of freaked him out. It wasn’t the idea of being so high in the air so much as it was the idea of being trapped. He wasn’t necessarily claustrophobic but he liked the idea that if he was on the ground he had freedom. If he was in a car he could just ask the driver to stop and let him out.

He was aware that the irony was that he spent most of his days locking himself up in a single room but that was still his choice. He had the freedom, even when he wasn’t using it. A memory of his mom’s smiling face appeared in his head, the sun glowing behind her like a halo. Remus remembered that his friends were all planning on heading out to New Hampshire this summer, and he still hadn’t been invited.

Remus was incredibly jealous of the journey his friends were taking. When he had moved out west with Lily they had taken the fastest possible route across the country and squeezed it into four grueling days. According to Lily, James was stretching the trip to six days, allowing them to really take in the scenery. And he was paying for it all himself.

“Asleep?” Sirius asked.

Remus opened his eyes and looked over at Sirius, who was propped up on his hands and smiling over at Remus.

“Not exactly. I was just… thinking about stuff,” Remus said.

“Me too… actually… I’m supposed to ask you about something,” Sirius said.

“Oh?” Remus said, feeling himself perking up with interest.

“Yeah… James wanted me to ask if… He wanted to know if you wanted to come on a road trip with us? You see his ex-girlfriend is-“

“Yeah, I’ll come,” Remus said.

Sirius glared at him with surprise.

“I… haven’t even explained,” Sirius complained.

“I already knew. I… I thought you guys weren’t going to invite me,” Remus said, wiping his eyes, feeling embarrassed that he doubted his friends.

“Of course we were! I… I didn’t think you would say yes so easily. I had pretty much resigned myself to saying behind with you,” Sirius said with a chuckle.

“You… weren’t going to go without me?” Remus said, feeling like he was on the verge of sobbing but managing to choke it back.

“Never. James would’ve been disappointed but… Well, anyhow I’m glad you said yes… even if it was faster than I expected,” Sirius said.

“Lily told me earlier this week, actually,” Remus said with a frown.

“Oh. Gosh. I bet James didn’t expect that,” Sirius said.

“Yeah, so I had time to think about it. When Lily and I came out here… we rushed. Sounds like you guys are taking it slow… I think I would regret it if I didn’t go.”

Sirius smiled and leaned over to brush Remus’s cheek with the tips of his fingers. For a moment Remus thought he might lean over for a kiss but instead he pulled his hand away.

Sirius looked out at the ocean and said, “This is gonna be a great summer.”

“The best summer ever,” Remus said.

“Totes,” Sirius said and laid back on his towel again.

Sirius’s arm was draped over onto the sand, his fingers sliding around. Remus softly snickered. This was Sirius’s signal that he wanted Remus to hold his hand. They were both too shy to admit the things that were happening were in fact happening but they both found the pull irresistible. Remus placed his hand on top of Sirius and clasped it, only the grit of sand between them.

Sirius’s thin, pink lips curled into a smile and Remus felt his heart pound.  Now he had the urge to lean over and kiss Sirius but the moment wasn’t right, especially since Sirius’s eyes were probably closed and he might find it quite a fright.


Haystack Rock

By noon, Remus had insisted on moving further down the beach. Sirius didn’t share Remus’s anxieties but was more than happy to accommodate him. Sirius Black wanted to be a good boyfriend. Oh, he knew that they hadn’t really talked about what their relationship was but they both sort of knew that they both knew. They could hold hands and sit together on the sofa, watching television as one of them rested against the other. All the affection had become normal. But talking about it? The very notion terrified Sirius and he didn’t really understand why.

What was to be said?

Oh, so I guess we’re a thing now!

Yep.

Well, glad we both agree!

It all sounded awkward in Sirius’s head. Maybe it was those lingering misgivings about romance he still had. Sometimes he was alone and his mind raced as he realized how completely swept away with the handsome fellow who lived in the attic. It seemed almost stupid if he tried to look at it objectively, almost immature. Then his phone would buzz and he would be filled with excitement as he read a text from Remus.

It didn’t matter how silly he found romance, the truth was that he was pretty sure he was in love with Remus Lupin and he suspected, though it was not entirely confirmed, that Remus was in love with him too.

And of course, there was the trouble with the decision he knew he had to make this summer. He was going to have to decide whether to throw himself into a career in photography which would surely mean departing from the town they lived in. Their relationship would be over before it was even started.

“Man. This sun is murder,” Remus said as he put more sunscreen on his body.

“Maybe we should get in the water. It’s right there after all,” Sirius said, gesturing at the ocean.

Sirius remembered the first time he went to the beach as a kid. He ran into the water, only to get a mouthful of saltwater. It wasn’t like swimming in a lake. Salt water tasted terrible. He buried the other memories of that dreaded day at the beach, much as he did most memories relating to his parents if he could help it.

“Yeah. Probably,” Remus said.

There was a family playing in the water nearby, a couple of women and a few small children. Sirius smiled. It was nice to see families getting along like that. Sirius had come to realize that when life didn’t give you a good family you were left with a choice to find a family or learn to cope without one.

For a time, James Potter and his parents had been Sirius’s family. But then they moved away and James’s parents passed away. But now… now he was starting to feel like he had a new family, a new family in a new home. If he had found a new family, was it right to up and leave them?

Remus slapped Sirius on the shoulder and said, “Coming?”

Remus’s smile filled Sirius’s heart with warmth and he almost believed that if Remus had just asked him to walk into hell he might’ve done so. Of course, not really but when emotions overcame you, you sometimes said or felt things that were more extreme than the reality.

“Hell yeah,” Sirius said, chasing after Remus who ran into water before they both dove in.

Sirius was loving the new swimsuit he bought. In the past he had just opted for a t-shirt, sports bra and swim trunks but it really wasn’t ideal. Having a swim top with a binder built into it was a godsend and he thought he looked great, and Remus had definitely looked him over like he approved as well.

“Do you know how to swim?” Sirius asked Remus, whose honey-brown hair now looked dark-brown from the water.

“Erm. Technically. I’m not a very good swimmer. My parents took me to get lessons as a kid but… I was pretty scared,” Remus said with a cringe.

“Race me?” Sirius asked.

“God. You’re gonna kick my ass!” Remus said then laughed.

Sirius thought Remus’s body looked pretty good for a guy who clearly didn’t get a lot of exercise. He was thin but not skinny. He had known Remus long enough to know that he was stronger than he looked.

“Maybe. If it makes you feel any better I’m out of practice and pretty out of shape too,” Sirius said truthfully.

“Fair enough,” Remus said with a nod.

“OK, so we’ll go out as far as… that rock and back,” Sirius said, pointing to a particular small rock to their left off the coast.

“Damn. I might die. Glad the tide is mellow. What do I get if I somehow win?” Remus asked.

Sirius grinned and contemplated an answer. He wanted to say a kiss from me, but knew that would be as much a reward for himself as it was for Remus.

“One photograph. You can choose any subject or object you want me to photograph and I have to do it, no questions asked,” Sirius answered proudly.

“If you win?” Remus said.

“Oh. Hmm… I guess to keep it proportional… You have to put a character based on me in your next fanfic. Doesn’t have to be a big role,” Sirius said.

“OK. You’re on,” Remus said, and they shook hands.

“OK. On your mark… get set… go!” Sirius said and they took off.

Sirius didn’t pay attention to Remus. He didn’t really care who won… well, maybe a little bit. He mostly thought it would be fun. Swimming was a bit like riding a bike. No matter how much time passed, he always seemed to remember how to. By the time he made it back to the beach it was obvious that Remus was lagging behind, desperately panting.

When Remus stepped back onto the sand, Sirius gave him a high five, right before Remus doubled over to catch his breath.

“Gonna be OK?” Sirius asked, affectionately rubbing Remus’s back.

“Yeah. I’m… out of shape,” Remus said.

Sirius felt bad even if he knew the exercise was probably good for him.

“Sorry,” Sirius said.

“No. It’s fine. I need more exercise. I should… start going on walks,” Remus said, lifting up and smiling at Sirius.

Remus looked so stupidly beautiful at that moment, his hair wet and wild, and his full lips glistening with saltwater, that it almost pissed Sirius off. Stop being so perfect, he growled in his mind.

“I tell you what. I’ll do your photograph anyway. I kinda thought you might beat me,” Sirius admitted.

“Really? Why?” Remus said.

Sirius shrugged.

“I always root for the underdog, I guess,” Sirius said.

“Hey, aren’t you the dog star?” Remus said with a grin, inching closer to Sirius’s face.

“Yeah,” Sirius said, his heart pounding, his mind unable to focus on much else but the close presence of Remus, his chest still heaving and his lips so appealing.

Sirius screamed at himself to just kiss him but instead he turned away, afraid he was misreading things, not wanting to ruin the rest of their afternoon. Remus grabbed one of his hands and Sirius turned back towards him.

“Yeah, I’ll take the photograph. I might hold the onto the favor, though,” Remus said, moving even closer.

Sirius felt like he couldn’t breathe. This was really happening. It was really happening and he might’ve cried if he could even have moved. Remus closed his eyes and Sirius did too. Sirius could swear that somehow the beach and ocean went silent just for them as they pressed their lips together, a perfect moment if one had ever truly existed. Remus’s lips were smooth, soft, salty and ever so warm. They held in place and Sirius touched Remus’s side with his free hand.

Remus pulled away and Sirius felt a tear fall from an eye, struggling to keep his emotions in check. He gulped, unable to find sufficient words to meet the moment. Sound seemed to have returned, as if the rest of reality had become unfrozen. Sirius could feel himself blushing and he looked out at the coast, which seemed infinite in the way few things could.

He looked back at Remus, who was looking down at the sand with a goofy grin on his face. Remus’s eyes turned to Sirius who smiled back. Sirius knew they weren’t going to talk about it. Not to each other. Sirius would tell James and Remus would tell Lily. Sirius only hoped it wouldn’t be the last time. Much like every other milestone they crossed, once he had experienced it he only wanted it more and more.

And then Remus leaned up and kissed him again, Sirius letting out a happy sound to show his approval before Remus pulled away again. It was almost as if Remus was just making sure. As if he just wanted to be clear and certain that this was a new thing, a new aspect to their unspoken relationship.

“Back in the water?” Remus asked.

“Yeah,” Sirius said and they ran together.


The ocean as viewed from Cannon Beach.

After swimming and playing in the water for a while they had relaxed and enjoyed the sun for a short time before having a late lunch in a nearby cafe. The urge to remain until sunset had been strong. Remus felt like neither of them wanted the day to end. Though it wasn’t ending… they still had a six plus hour drive back home.

On the other hand, while Sirius was driving they couldn’t exactly kiss. Remus kept replaying the moment in his mind. It had felt so sudden and so absolutely perfect. He always thought his first kiss would either be awkward or overly dramatic. Instead, it simply came a moment when they were both filled with adrenaline that overcame fear. He had already taken an opportunity to text Lily to shout about how perfect it was and planned to spill more details on the ride back south.

“I just know I’m gonna be sunburned. I can feel it,” Sirius said as they walked back to his car.

“It’s weird. I never sunburn. Even when I don’t use sunscreen,” Remus said.

“Lucky,” Sirius said with a grin, removing his sunglasses as he opened his car door.

Remus got inside the car and sat down.

“What do you want to listen to on the way back?” Sirius asked, as he plugged his iPod in.

“Uhhhhh. Ummm,” Remus said, feeling like the sun may have cooked his brain, making him more indecisive than usual.

Sirius scrolled through artists before selecting something. A Marina & the Diamonds song quickly started playing. Sirius really liked her. Remus wasn’t terribly familiar with her, he did like what he had heard.

 

Couldn't relax, couldn't sit back

And let the sunlight in my lap

I sang a hymn to bring me peace

And then it came, a melody

 

It felt so sweet, it felt so strong

It made me feel like I belonged

And all the sadness inside me

Melted away like I was free

 

“Ready?” Sirius said, startling Remus out of a brief trance as he listened to the softly playing song.

“To take a nap? Yeah,” Remus replied with a chuckle.

 

Never thought that I could be, I could be

Happy, happy

 

Sirius put the car into drive, pulling out of the parking lot as Marina & the Diamonds played. They drove down the highway as the sun faded, Remus feeling happier than he had in a long time. Perhaps, happier than he ever had been.

Another picture of Haystack Rock with two people walking together in shade

 

Chapter Text

“I look stupid,” Remus said, frowning at himself in the tall mirror Lily had brought into his room.

“No you don’t. You look hot,” Lily said, standing beside him with a smile.

Remus frowned at her and grabbed the skirt, shaking it to watch it billow.

“What if Sirius doesn’t like it?” Remus said.

“Sirius will love it,” Lily said, rubbing Remus’s back.

“When are we leaving?” Remus asked.

“Soon,” Lily said, turning to head out of the attic.

“Lily?” Remus said and she stopped.

“Yes?”

“Thanks. For getting me this skirt… and… for everything. For convincing me to go this weekend,” Remus said.

“No problem,” she said and headed out.

Remus sighed. Pride weekend in Portland. He was excited but also terrified. He had always done whatever it took to not stand out and wearing a brightly coloured rainbow tee-shirt and tie dyed skirt to match would definitely make him standout. He had also put on some glittery nail polish but had chickened out before putting any other makeup on.

“Come on, Remus. Time to go downstairs,” he whispered to himself.

He grabbed his backpack and exited the attic. When he arrived in the living room Sirius was there, looking handsome as usual as he yelled out at James and Lily from the front door.

“No, I haven’t seen him,” Sirius said, then turned to look behind him.

“Hi,” Remus said and Sirius’s eyes went wide then he turned and yelled out, “Never mind, he’s here now.”

“Wh-what do you think?” Remus asked, fluttering the skirt.

Sirius grinned.

“I like it. You look… cute,” he said, and strode over to Remus.

Sirius placed hands on Remus’s shoulders and they kissed. Oh, Remus definitely wasn’t tiring of that, he thought as their lips brushed together for a heavenly moment before parting.

Sirius held Remus’s chin as Remus grinned up at him. They kissed again, briefly, then headed out to James’s car, hand in hand. The drive was six hours, not including any stops. But there wouldn’t be much going on in Portland until that evening anyway. James and Lily were going to do the Glow Run while Remus and Sirius… did something else. Remus wasn’t sure yet.

Saturday was the Trans Pride march and that was definitely the thing Sirius seemed the most excited about. Lily was going to do the Dyke march later Saturday evening and then Sunday would be the Pride parade proper. And then they would come home and start getting ready for the big trip to New Hampshire.

The ride up north featured a lot of sing alongs and ample discussion of the corporatization of Pride and it’s near singular focus on cis gays and lesbians.

“I love Pride but it needs to be better,” Lily said firmly.

“Yeah,” James said, grinning over at her in the passenger seat.

“Oh, you don’t care. You’re straight!” Lily said.

“Mostly straight, sure. But I mean… I can care about things that don’t affect me!” James insisted.

“Fair enough,” Lily said, reaching over to rub his shoulder.

Remus and Sirius held hands for almost the entire trip. The most notable time they broke their hands apart was so that Sirius could lay his head in Remus’s lap while Remus lightly stroked his beautiful hair. Remus liked this whole romance thing. It was fun. He was surprised how well Sirius was taking to it as well.

They arrived in Portland a couple of hours after noon. James and Lily got their own hotel room and Remus and Sirius got their own. Remus had never considered that he’d be spending a night in a room alone with his boyfriend so soon. But here he was, getting himself settled in while Sirius changed into his Pride clothes, which were brighter and shinier than the normal things he wore.

“You look nice,” Remus said as Sirius straightened out the lapels of the shiny silver button-up shirt he was wearing.

“Thanks,” Sirius said.

It was odd seeing so much of what Sirius had to go through to get ready. His hair didn’t just magically look perfect like that. Remus felt silly for thinking he had overdone it with the nail polish.

Remus was reluctantly persuaded to go watch the glow run on the sidelines. It proved to be far more exciting than Remus expected, though he really couldn’t see James and Lily in the dark. There was something immensely satisfying about being able to hold Sirius’s hand and give him kisses without fear of judgment.

After the glow run the four of them managed to find some place to eat that was open, not completely full and that had good vegan options for Lily. James and Lily were clearly still pumped from the run. James had taken some persuading from Lily since he didn’t identify as being queer but it seemed to have made a difference.

“It’s really something isn’t it? All of this? Pride. It’s… an energy. Something about seeing all this love. It just… Ugh… it’s so wonderful!” James shouted.

He seemed to be already enjoying himself more than everyone else combined and Lily was all over him, giving him kisses and cuddles while they all tried to eat.

With their bellies full they all headed back to the hotel. Remus didn’t want things to be weird in their hotel room and thankfully they weren’t. Sirius was comfortable enough to be around Remus without his binder on, which was probably a great relief to him. And Remus had found that being around Sirius was a great deal better than the alternative. They were in separate beds but even that amount of closeness felt special.

“Big day tomorrow,” Remus said.

“Yeah. Trans Pride. Cool,” Sirius said and turned off his lamp.


 

“Do you want to have sex?” Lily asked, falling face first onto their hotel bed, only in her panties.

“I don’t think I can. My dick isn’t tired but the rest of me is,” James said, disappointing himself in turning down sex.

“I could definitely suck your dick, I mean really,” Lily said then yawned.

“I’m cool,” James said, falling back on the bed next to her.

“Bed good,” Lily said.

“Yeah.”

“Bed so good,” she continued, rolling over and shoving a pillow in her face.

Lily chuckled, muffled by the pillow. James… was thinking about Remus.

“Remus really looked cute today,” James said.

“Hmm?” Lily said, clearly not hearing him.

“Nothing,” James said and Lily shrugged, shoving her head back under the pillow.

James had certainly always thought Remus was nice enough looking for a guy. Maybe a little better looking than most guys. He could understand why Sirius liked him.

What was different today? What was special? Was it the skirt? No… it was something else. He closed his eyes, picturing Remus at the Glow Run, shouting and laughing. He looked… alive. Happy. Confident. Comfortable. He looked… comfortable and that made him… more attractive.

James gulped.

“Shit,” he gasped.

“Hmm?” Lily said, pulling the pillow off her face again.

“Nothing. Let’s get some rest,” he said and gave her a kiss.


 

When Sirius awoke Remus was in the bathroom. When he didn’t come out for a while, Sirius finally went over and knocked.

“You OK?” Sirius called out.

“Y-yeah… I just… I’ll be right out,” Remus replied, sounding anxious.

Moments later, Remus was exiting the bathroom. He wore bright red lipstick and blue sparkly eye makeup. He was wearing a different purple skirt and a blouse that matched.

“Woah. You’re looking good,” Sirius said.

Remus smiled in obvious embarrassment and looked away. Sirius was so glad Remus was here today. He realised that Remus needed this nearly as much as he did. He placed a hand on Remus’s cheek then leaned down and kissed the other cheek.

“Let’s head to the rally,” Sirius said.

This time it was James and Lily’s turn to watch them march in the Trans Pride parade. Remus was so delighted. He had never dreamed he would see Remus so animated and alive, amongst so many people.

Sirius felt an intense sense of belonging, surrounded by other trans people of all different types and stripes, coming together for a shared message and experience. Once the parade had ended and they met up with their friends again, Sirius discovered he was crying. Lily squeezed his hand, giving him a smile so bright that it almost made him sob. He hadn’t known he had needed this.


 

Lily had first spotted Marlene McKinnon in the Trans Pride march. The fact that she was trans had barely registered on her radar after they first met, to the point that Lily had forgotten she had briefly mentioned it as Marlene showed her around the shop. She had been so exited to see her there that she called out her name, managing to catch her eye in time for a shared wave.

She texted Marlene and made sure they met up for the Dyke March.

“Hey,” Lily said as she found her way to Marlene, everyone assembling for the march.

“Hey,” Marlene said.

“If I would’ve known you were going to be at Pride we could’ve made plans,” Lily said.

“Yeah. I’m sorry. We should make it up when we get back home,” Marlene said.

“Yeah. Damn. We’re all leaving to New Hampshire for the summer soon. Actually, I’m leaving next weekend. Oh! You could come to our game night. We’re having a game night with the Weasleys!”

“Ohhh. That could be fun!” Marlene said.

It wouldn’t exactly be a date but it would be close enough to make Lily happy. She hoped James wouldn’t be jealous of her new crush. She had only lightly talked about it and so far he didn’t seem bothered. She knew that a day would come when she would get a crush and there could be potential awkwardness from James but so far so good.

Lily did wish her girlfriends were with her for the march, even though she knew their feelings about Pride were even more complicated than hers. But still, she had a nice time and had successfully arranged another meeting with Miss. McKinnon.

After the march, Lily dragged James off to a dance party where she danced her feet off and flirted with cute girls. She’d almost forgotten that James was a good dancer. He was good with his body.

“I think we should go back to the hotel. For sex. I want to have sex. Can we have sex?” Lily said, leaning into his ear so that he could hear her over the music.

“Yeah. OK,” James said.

“Cool. Let’s go,” Lily said, taking him by the hand.

Once back in the hotel room they undressed quickly and fell onto the bed in a horny, frantic heap. Lily was quickly had him inside, riding him hard until they both came. She’d had damn good day.


 

Remus couldn’t believe their Pride experience was nearly at an end as they waited for the Portland Pride Parade. The experience that weekend had proved to be exhilarating and transformative. He was understanding things about himself.

He thought he could see a sense of that on the others as well, maybe Lily a little less because she always had a good handle on who she was. But even James seemed changed, though Remus had no idea in what way.

He did have a thought as the parade was going long, nearing two hours:

“Lily’s right.”

“What am I right about?” she asked.

“Pride. Look at the Parade. It’s all for cis gays and lesbians. There’s been greater bank representation than for trans or bi people!” Remus complained.

“Yeahhh,” Lily said.

“Damn,” Sirius said.

“That is pretty fucked up,” James acknowledged.

“I’m not saying Pride is terrible but… Well, Lily’s right. Our community deserves better. More diversity! Not just relegated to our own thing and kept out of sight. We should be united as one,” Remus said, feeling himself shake with emotion.

Sirius put an arm around him, instantly making him feel more calm.

“At least we can be united as one,” Sirius said and to Remus’s surprise, James and Lily came to either side of them, James putting an arm around Remus and Lily putting an arm around Sirius, standing there, indeed, united as one.


 

The drive home was the first time James’d had anytime to really think since they arrived in Portland. Since everyone was pretty partied out, the music was kept low and everyone stayed mostly quiet or asleep.

He’d felt something that weekend. It wasn’t a complete feeling. It was the beginning of something. At Pride James hadn’t just felt glad to see all the love. It was more than that. He felt like he belonged. Not only that, he had experienced for the first time in his life something extraordinary: attraction to someone who wasn’t a woman.

Not just in a aesthetically appealing sort of way but in a… I like this person and want to get closer to them sort of way. Godammit, Potter, he thought. You get your first crush on a guy and it’s on your best friend’s boyfriend? Good job.

Normally, if James got a crush he would just pursue it but this was complicated. Remus and Sirius were new. James couldn’t be certain this, whatever it was, he was feeling would stick around. Maybe it was just Pride induced hysteria bringing the bisexual out in him.

Bisexual? James privately gulped. But that was the question he wanted to ask himself, wasn’t it? Am I Bisexual? And if so… what did it even matter? Whose business was it but his own?

Oh, but it wasn’t that simple. Because to James Potter, it wasn’t enough to exist quietly. He never wanted to have to hide who he was. He’d been dealing with that shit his whole goddamn life being black. He would not be quiet about who he was. If he was bi then he swore to himself that he would be the loudest, proudest bi who ever lived.

But he wasn’t there yet… James wasn’t sure what his next step was. This was just like any other problem in his life: he needed a plan. Once they were back home James was forced to disappoint Lily when he told her he was going to sleep in his own bed.

“I”m sorry, babe. I need a night to myself. Got some things on my mind,” he said.

“No worries,” she said, giving him a kiss as he rushed into his room and got on his laptop.

James opened a Word document and started writing:

 

Hypothesis: I am bisexual.

 

James would treat this like the scientific method. He had already made it as far as the hypothesis and now he needed to test it. He quickly loaded up some porn. James had… never really seen any gay porn before and wasn’t sure what to expect. The trouble was he didn’t find any of the guys in the videos he kept finding all that attractive.

He finally found a video with two reasonably good looking men who seemed to actually like each other. He was able to get himself hard by touching himself but wasn’t sure how into it he was. Mechanically it was sex and sex was appealing.

He gave up the porn and decided to go right to crux of the issue: Remus. He knew he might feel embarrassed later, but for the moment he was hard as a rock and jerking off thinking about his best friend’s boyfriend. It wasn’t difficult to get himself off like that.

He did feel a little ashamed, having gotten so worked up so quickly. On the other hand, he had came really hard and the idea was… so good.

James typed again.

 

Conclusion: I am probably bisexual

 

He sighed and closed his laptop, thinking he had a working theory.


 

A phone ringing woke Sirius up. He grabbed his cell and answered it.

“Hello?”

“Hello. Is this Sirius Black?” the voice on the other end said.

“Yeah.”

“This is Michael Creevey. I’m a photographer. We met at Pride. I looked at your work. It’s really something.”

Sirius remembered bumping into the guy during Pride. The funny thing was that despite having his camera he kept forgetting to take pictures all day. But Creevey had approached him, making small talk after the Pride Parade. Sirius had given him his info, expecting to never hear from him. But two days later and here he was.

“Oh, thanks. Photography is my greatest passion,” Sirius replied.

“How’d you like to intern with my website?”

“Oh. I… I…” Sirius stammered.

“I know you said you hadn’t gone to school but… well, your work speaks for itself. Just come intern with us this fall in Portland. I’ll provide room and board. If everything works out… you could stick around. If you wanted.”

Sirius almost dropped his phone. When would he ever get another shot like this? But he thought of the new life he had built here. Portland was six hours away. When would he be able to see Remus? Would Lily rent out his room? He thought he should tell the man he needed time to think but he considered how long he’d had this dream and that if he asked everyone else they would  almost certainly tell him to take this shot.

“All right. Let’s do it,” Sirius said.

Chapter Text

Arthur Weasley held a cardboard game piece in his hand, studying it intently.

“Oh, come on, Arthur,” Molly urged.

“I’m thinking,” he replied, before finally setting it down on a far corner of the board.

It was just a monastery. The piece needed to be set down in an ideal location to be surrounded on all sides in order to be completed.

“And here’s a monk,” Arthur said, placing a green piece on top of it.

“That’s never going to get completed, Arthur,” James said with a chuckle.

Arthur shrugged.

“I’ll still get a point,” he insisted.

“Fair enough,” James said as Molly took the bag of pieces, shook it up then reached inside.

Smiling, she quickly put down a piece that completed one of her castles, allowing her to rack up a bunch of points. The bag then went to Marlene who had definitely been giving Lily lots of flirty looks that night. Why did she have to be so pretty? Just a smile from her was enough to make Lily want to melt into a goopy puddle on the floor.

Lily liked to think she was pretty kickass at Carcassonne but she was definitely getting her ass kicked tonight. Marlene was just too damn distracting. Lily wanted to ask her out on a date… but there was no time. Tomorrow she was getting on a plane and flying back out east and wouldn’t return anytime soon.

“Looks like Marlene won,” Arthur said, after finishing up counting all the farms.

“Congrats,” Lily said, smiling at Marlene.

“Cheers,” Marlene said.

Lily had come in last place, Arthur just barely beating her for second to last place by two points.

“Another round or should we play something else?” Arthur asked.

After much debate they all agreed to just play another round, switching out expansions. After that game was complete, Molly needed to tend to the twins. Lily took the opportunity to take Marlene aside from a chat while Arthur and James chatted about soccer.

“So… It was cool seeing you at Pride,” Lily said.

“Yeah. Was kinda hoping I’d meet someone there… no such luck, I’m afraid,” Marlene said.

“Gosh. Lady as pretty as you… hard to see you having much trouble,” Lily said with a silly grin.

Marlene blushed and laughed.

“I’m flattered you think that but… I’m trans, brown skinned and Muslim,” Marlene admitted.

Lily frowned, feeling bad that she hadn’t considered the extra hurdles Marlene had to endure to be accepted even as a human being. She could relate to be brown skinned woman but being Muslim and transgender… not so much.

“I think I’ve also… been too internalized in my life. I keep people out. I’m kind of envious of you. You’re so… full of light and energy. It’s like… people are drawn to you,” Marlene said, Lily blushing.

“Just how I am, I guess. Be the light you want to see in the world, I always think,” Lily said.

Lily looked over at Arthur and James. There seemed to be no slow in their conversation and Molly wasn’t back yet.

“So… I’d kinda like to take you out sometime?” Lily said, turning back to Marlene.

“Oh. I don’t know…” she said, looking nervous.

“Oh, if you’re not interested… I’m sorry,” Lily said, feeling embarrassed.

“No, no. You’re really cute and fun… I’m just… not poly?” Marlene said, cringing.

“That’s not a problem for me. James isn’t poly,” Lily said.

“But you live with him. I don’t know. Can I think about it? It’s a risk, you know? I’ve had my heartbroken before. The last thing I need in my life is falling for a girl and finding out… we want different things. But I do like you. It… would be really easy to just say yes but…,” Marlene said, smiling apologetically.

“That’s fair. Maybe we’ll talk again after I get back from New Hampshire,” Lily said.

“I hope so,” Marlene said with a wink.

Molly returned, nudging Arthur who stood up next to her.

“I suppose it’s getting late. I just… wanted to make an announcement. I’m pregnant again!” Molly exclaimed.

“Wow. Congratulations!” Lily said.

James patted Arthur on the shoulder as if to say Way to go, Champ! They certainly kept busy.

“Maybe a girl this time?” Molly said.

“Good luck,” Marlene said.

Shortly after, they all said their goodbyes, James and Lily getting into his car and driving home.

“I have a such a crush on Marlene, James. She’s so pretty,” Lily groaned.

“That’s fair. These things happen. You never know who you’re gonna get a crush on,” James said.

“It’s funny. I thought you’d be more weird about me getting a crush on someone,” Lily said.

“Nah. I knew what I was getting into. And it’s not like I’m immune to crushes,” James said, looking strangely nervous.

He had been acting odd ever since they got back from Pride. Until now Lily had been chalking it up to pre-road trip nerves but… no. This was something else.

“Oh? Met a cute girl recently? You could tell me about it, you know. It’s OK if you want to date someone else. Or someones else. All the someones you want.”

James coughed, clearly avoiding answering.

“What is it?” Lily probed.

“It’s… complicated.”

“Oh, god… is it Charity?” Lily said.

“What? No. God, no. We’re just friends. And distant ones at that. And she’s marrying some guy I haven’t even met. No… it’s more complicated than that…”

“I… don’t even see who it could be. You haven’t mentioned anyone and we’ve been together for most of since school got out…”

James sighed.

“It’s Remus. I… have a crush on Remus,” James said, pulling into their drive way.

Lily stared at him in shock, her mouth slowly falling open as if in caught in slow motion. She cackled then clasped a hand to her mouth to stop herself. James slumped over onto the steering wheel, groaning in apparent shame.

“It’s terrible, I know,” James said.

“Of course, it’s not. Dude, if I thought Remus was interested I would be all over that. He’s hot and so sweet. You have excellent taste.”

“He’s dating my best friend, Lily. He’s my best friend’s boyfriend. How could I do this to him?” James said, sounding genuinely disappointed in himself.

“You haven’t done anything to him. But you should tread carefully,” Lily said.

“I’m not going to tread at all. I’ll just swallow it down. It’s not even a big deal. It’s just a stupid crush,” James said.

“Is it just him?” Lily asked.

“Hmm?”

“Is this a one off crush… or do you think-“

“It’s my first crush on a guy but… no. I don’t think this is one off. I… I think I’m bi,” James admitted, still not removing his face from the steering wheel.

“James! That’s wonderful! Oh my god, I’m so proud of you!” Lily said, rubbing his back.

“Yeah. Thanks. I’m still at the part where I have a crush on my best friend’s boyfriend,” James said.

“That’s fair. Let me give you some advice: Don’t swallow it down. Make yourself feel it, even if it hurts. Feelings are good. They are OK. But take their feelings into account too. Maybe see how they feel about monogamy. Maybe get to know Remus better. But don’t expect anything and if he tells you he’s not interested… let it go.”

James sighed, leaning up from the wheel.

“I feel like I should be the rock. I’m the one who is strong and has all the solutions,” James said.

“That’s toxic masculine bullshit, speaking. It’s OK to feel things and be vulnerable,” Lily said, leaning across the car and planting a kiss on his cheek, as a tear fell from a hazel eye, splashing on both their cheeks.

Lily pulled away and said, “Let’s go inside. We’ll snuggle up in bed and talk about our crushes.”

Sirius was in the living room as they went inside. He frowned at them both and asked, “Is everything all right?”

“Yeah,” Lily said, giving him a smirk as they went upstairs.

James didn’t say anything.


 

It was strange not having Lily in the house for a couple of days, Remus thought. Even stranger was waking up on Monday morning and stepping outside to see James’s freshly delivered motorhome outside as everyone loaded things into it.

James had ultimately realized that his parents had owned an RV and it was among the assets of theirs that he had never parted with. He still considered rental since he had to have the motorhome delivered from San Francisco, but if he was going to be away so long, it was for the best. They had apparently owned a couple of RVs. The nicest one he had sold but had kept the smaller one just in case.

“Gonna be epic!” James called out.

Peter Pettigrew was standing outside the door to the RV and looking glum.

“Hey, Pete,” Sirius said, coming out of the RV.

“Hey,” Peter replied.

“What’s the matter? Been rewatching that Trump campaign announcement too many times?” Sirius said.

“God, don’t even get me started on that fucking guy. I’m instituting a no Donald Trump discussion rule on this RV. This is a Trump free zone,” James called out.

“That’s fair. At least he’s got no chance to win. You can’t say that shit and get elected,” Remus said.

“Rule starts now! No Trump!” James repeated.

Remus mimed a zipper over his mouth and went back inside to get his suitcase and backpack. The motorhome, by James’s admission, wasn’t huge, though it was certainly larger than a van. There was easily enough seating.

There was only enough of a bed for two people so they would have to switch out with one extra person on the sofa and another on an air mattress each night. Remus realised that in addition to Sirius, he would also be sharing a bed with Peter and James during the trip. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that.

Personally, Remus would’ve been fine just staying in hotel rooms but James had his vision and wasn’t going to be dissuaded. Remus was the last one out of the house and had to lock the door.

“Stay safe,” Remus said, feeling anxious at the prospect of no one being in the house for all those weeks.

Even poor Flitwick the cat was staying with Marlene McKinnon for the summer, after Lily couldn’t bear to put him in the vet for all that time. Remus placed a hand on the door then turned towards the RV. He hauled his things inside then flopped onto the sofa.

Sirius closed the door to the RV and James started the engine.

“Hello, I’m James Potter and I’ll be your captain for this flight. Please remember to be cool, have fun and dance if you feel like it,” James said.

“Sure thing, Cap’n,” Peter said, doing what Remus thought was a pirate voice.

“Aye aye,” Remus chimed in.

Sirius sat down next to Remus, laying his head on Remus’s shoulder and grasping a hand. Music started playing over the stereo system. Mariah Carey, Remus thought.

And then they were off. Day one of their planned five day trip had them arriving in Boise, Idaho that evening. James said he had some cool stops planned along the way, including one today. They could push hard and get there in three or even two days but it was the journey, not the destination that mattered.


 

“Mroww?” a furry face asked Lily, before licking her.

“Morning, George,” Lily said then looked around Mary’s bedroom.

“Where is your human?” Lily asked the cat, who instead just purred and bumped his head into her face.

“Merow!” George called out.

“That’s fair,” Lily said and rubbed his head.

Lily eventually got out of bed, used the bathroom then hobbled to the small kitchen  of Mary’s apartment where her girlfriend was cooking breakfast.

“Morning, babe. How’d you sleep?” Mary asked.

“Good. I need to check up on the boys. They should be on the road by now,” Lily said, looking at her phone.

She had texts from Remus and James. Remus had sent a selfie on himself with Sirius sleeping in his lap accompanied by the message Sleepy boy. Lily texted back: <3.

The night before had been Sirius’s birthday and Lily had felt bad about missing it. She had promised to make it up to him and get him a special gift of some sort.

“Did you hear who got engaged?” Mary asked as she piled breakfast onto plates.

“Everyone apparently. James’s ex and his old friend with benefits both got engaged recently,” Lily said.

“Severus Snape,” Mary said.

Lily frowned at a mention of Sev. She hadn’t spoken to her former friend in over two years. Things hadn’t ended well between them at all. Frankly, she was surprised he would want to get married so young.

“Weird,” Lily said.

“Yeah, it’s totally random. We should crash the wedding,” Mary said, setting a plate down in front of Lily.

“When is it?” Lily asked.

“I don’t know. Some time this summer,” Mary said.

“Guess it’s the season,” Lily said, and started in on her pancakes.


 

By lunchtime it was obvious to James that something wasn’t right with Peter. He was barely talking and he seemed to be more interested in playing with his food than eating it.

“You all right, Pete?” James asked.

“Huh? No, I’m fine,” Peter very obviously lied.

“You don’t look, fine, man. Is there something you need?” James asked.

“No, no. Really, I’m fine,” he insisted.

Remus and Sirius on the other hand seemed to be enjoying themselves, though they both looked tired.

“You guys should try out the bed if you want a nap. No sense being uncomfortable on the sofa,” James said to Remus and Sirius.

James couldn’t bear the idea that everyone wasn’t having a maximum awesome and fun time. This was his jam and he wanted all the band to be in tune.

“Will do,” Sirius said.

Every time Remus and Sirius gave each other those flirty eyes, James felt a strange sense of pride and jealousy. Having a crush on Remus was ridiculous. Those two were perfect together. Why would Remus ever need anymore than that?

“So… everyone excited for the large ball of string?” James asked.

“Sure,” Peter said, still not touching his food.

His first roadside attraction he had planned for was a large ball of string located in a museum near the Idaho border. He couldn’t find any pictures of it online but based on similar balls of string he had high hopes.

Alas, when they arrived at the Eastern Oregon located museum, they found themselves unimpressed.

“It barely comes up to my knees,” Sirius laughed.

“I mean… we all agree it’s large, right?” James said with a grin.

“It’s too big really. No one needs that much string,” Peter said.

“Too small. I’m disappointed,” Remus said.

“Well, size doesn’t matter, does it, boys?” James said, elbowing Remus playfully.

The rest of the museum was all right, for whatever it was worth. It was filled with antiques and other local historical curiosities. Even still, they decided not to waste too much time there, since they still had several more hours of driving left to do.

They arrived at their RV park around nine that night. James pulled some beers out of the fridge and put on some energetic music, hoping to lift spirits a bit. Within half an hour James had downed two bottles of beer, Peter had downed three, Remus one and Sirius half of one as he wasn’t that fond of drinking.

James was a little tipsy and had somehow found himself dancing shirtless to the music.

“Take me to church! I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies, I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife, offer me that deathless death, good god let me give you my life!” James sang along to Hozier while everyone laughed.

Even Peter seemed to be having a good time. James danced in front of him, almost as if intending seduction. With his hips gyrating, Peter almost seemed to be… staring at his crotch.

“Hey, baby, the eyes are here,” James said winking at Peter who burst into uncontrollable fits of giggling then stood up and threw his own shirt off.

“Is this the part of the gay porno where we all slowly get naked and start fucking, telling each other how we’ve never done this before?” Remus asked.

Sirius gave Remus a mortified look.

“What? I’m joking,” Remus said, giving Sirius a kiss on the cheek.

“Damn. Color me disappointed,” James said, realizing he was only mostly joking and definitely shouldn’t be flirting with his best friend’s boyfriend right now.

“It’s hot in here, isn’t it? A/C in this thing sucks, man,” Peter said.

“What if we all like… tear off our clothes and run to the lake,” James said.

“What lake?” Remus asked.

“There’s a lake. Didn’t you see it? It’s not far from here. No one will even notice,” James said.

“Yeah, OK,” Sirius said, surprising James given that he had still barely gotten two thirds of the way through a single beer.

“Wait. Are you sure?” James asked, not wanting to have inadvertently pressured Sirius into a situation where he wouldn’t be comfortable.

“I mean, you said it’s not far, right?” Sirius said, standing up.

“Definitely not. Probably not,” James said.

“OK. I need to take my binder off anyhow,” Sirius said.

James quickly undid his jeans, not really paying attention as everyone else undressed. He wanted to desperately avoided leering at any of his friend’s bodies. Peter was the first to be fully undressed, seeming rather comfortable and proud of his nudity.

“Hey, remember what I said about those eyes, Pete,” James said gesturing with two fingers between his eyes and Pete’s.

“Stop flirting with Peter, James. You’ll make the rest of us jealous,” Sirius said, standing naked before them, his arm covering his chest but not seeming too distressed.

James turned off their music and the lights.

“James, where are you going to put your keys?” Peter asked.

“Up my ass, obviously. No, I’m going to hold them. I’ll set them somewhere obvious,” James said.

“We could’ve waited to get naked once we were at the lake,” Remus pointed out, standing naked and seeming unbothered by it, neither proud nor ashamed..

James willed his eyes to remain at Remus’s eye level. If he looked at Remus’s cock, everyone would notice, though he was certain Peter kept glancing at it.

“Yes, I know that,” James said, realizing that definitely hadn’t occurred to him.

“C’mon. I’m fucking ready!” Peter said, definitely more tipsy than everyone else.

“OK. Let’s do it. Haul ass! Literally,” James said, as everyone piled out the door of the RV.

James quickly locked the door then ran westward away from the RV park. There was something exhilarating about running in the nude in the summer night air. As they approached the lake they could barely see anything, except for moonlight glinting off the center of water, where there wasn’t any foliage covering.

James shouted at the top of his lungs ready to leap in when suddenly there was a pair of screams.

“Jesus Christ!” a woman shouted standing up and turning around to face them.

Another woman turned around to join her. They were both older, perhaps in their late-thirties. They smelled of pot and had joints in their fingers. The first woman started laughing and the other quickly joined her.

“Fuck, man. You boys scared the shit out me!” the first woman said.

“We’ve been set upon by nude marauders by moonlight, Tracy,” the second woman said.

“Marauders. Nice. I like that,” James said, rubbing his chin.

“So, out for a swim?” the first woman, apparently Tracy, said.

“Yeah. If you don’t mind,” James said.

“Are you kidding? Bunch of cute naked boys show up, I feel like God just opened up the floodgates,” the second woman said, grinning as if it were literally Christmas morning.

James chuckled while his friends jumped in the water.

“Want to take a hit?” Tracy offered.

“Sure,” James said, taking the joint from her.

The weed was good, the euphoria coming fast. He exhaled then said, “Thanks,” as he handed the joint back. He jumped into the water, finally joining his friends who were laughing and joking.

“Well, it was nice meeting you boys. Too bad our husbands aren’t over there at the park waiting for us. We could have some fun,” Tracy said with a wink.

“I’m flattered,” James said, returning the wink.

“This feels good,” Remus said.

“Yeah. Male bonding shit,” Sirius said.

“This is a sacred moment. The four of us have a bond now,” James said, bumping fists with them all.

“We’re the nude marauders!” Peter said.

“Just shorten it to marauders. One word. Clean and simple,” James said.

“Now we just need matching tattoos on our asses,” Sirius said.

“What? Where no one can see it? Hell no. I’ll get that shit right here,” James said, clutching his bicep.

“We should really do it. Imagine what Lily would say,” Peter giggled.

Just then James heard a police siren.

“Shit!” James said.

“Is that for us?” Sirius shrieked.

“I don’t know. There are lights at the RV park. Maybe we should lay low,” James said.

“Fuck that. I’m running,” Peter said, dashing out of the lake and heading off into the darkness.

“Pete!” James called out.

“Well, shit,” Sirius said.

“I’ll get him,” Remus said, and climbed out of the lake, moonlight shining off his ass, illuminating all of its perfection.

Sirius nudged James who was transfixed on Remus’s ass. Remus dashed off as James turned to James with an embarrassed shrug.

“It was there. C’mon, like you haven’t checked out my ass before,” James said.

“You didn’t check out my ass,” Sirius complained.

“I haven’t had a chance!” James countered.

“That’s fair,” Sirius said, chuckling.

Moments later Remus silently marched Peter back to them. The police lights seemed to have disappeared from the RV park.

“Well, guess we dodged a bullet there,” James said, climbing out of the lake.

“Yeah,” Remus said.

James leaned against the nearest tree. Someone had carved a cross into it with the words Jesus is Love underneath it. James smiled and looked around at his friends. His co-marauders. This had been a great night.

“Time for bed, boys. This trip is only getting started,” James said with pride.

 

Chapter Text

A summer wind blew through Lily’s hair as she and Mary sat alone on a park bench in Lily’s hometown, the spot where they first kissed all those years ago. It was still early out and there were only a few older people out for walks right now.

Mary asked her the night before if they could come here today for an important conversation. Lily had been dreading this moment. They were breaking up. She was almost certain of it.

“So what’s up, chicken butt?” Lily asked.

Mary chuckled and shook her head.

“You’re such a dork,” Mary said.

“C’mon. The suspense is killing me,” Lily said.

“I just… don’t know where to begin. I’ve been thinking a lot about my life and who I am. I’m twenty-one. Almost twenty-two. You ever feel like… you think you have yourself figured out and then… Bam! You wake up and you realize you aren’t who you thought you were?” Mary said.

“No. Not exactly. I think life is about finding out who we are, though.”

“Since you’ve been gone… I’ve missed you. I always thought I was a wanderer, that I just wanted to travel and disappear. Sleep around and never stay too long. But while you were gone… I’ve just wanted to be near you. Every minute.”

“Aww,” Lily said, and leaned over the stone table to give Mary a kiss.

Mary chuckled as Lily pulled away.

“I’m… thinking I need a life change. Dorcas and I… we’ve been drifting apart. I think you were the glue holding us together. I love her and I know she loves me but… things are different. Dorcas never wants to leave here and I just… don’t see the rest of my life in New Hampshire.”

“Where do you see it?”

“I don’t know. Portland. Maybe Seattle. Somewhere closer to you. I need you in my life,” Mary said, reaching over and placing a brown hand on Lily’s face.

“You’re welcome to live with me. I’ll make space for you. Might have to talk to James about the living arrangement. He’s probably going to move into my room. I… didn’t really plan for having more than one partner under my roof,” Lily said.

“We can figure that out. It would only be temporary. I want to live near a city. I want to be near lots of queer people. I want that thing that Pride makes you feel. That sense of belonging. I don’t belong here.”

“You’ll always belong here,” Lily said, touching the center of her chest.

“Such a fuckin’ sap,” Mary said, leaning over for another kiss.

“You know you love it,” Lily said, giggling.

“Ya got me. Listen… there’s something else. Shit, man, I haven’t even told Dorcas. But… like I said, we’ve been growing distant.”

“I’m all ears.”

“I’ve been thinking a lot… for a while. For years, but especially the last year.  I met some people… Fuck, why is this so hard?” Mary said, ruffling her short brain hair with her hands.

“Just take your time. No judgment me from me,” Lily said.

Mary exhaled.

“This is so fuckin’ stupid, man. I’m a grown up. I should’ve figured this shit out already,” Mary said with a sigh.

“Remus is the same age and he’s still figuring himself out. You saw the pictures of him in a skirt? I’m not sure where he stands right now but he’s definitely rethinking who he is at his own pace.”

“Yeah, that’s the thing. I… think. No… I know. I know I’m…”

Mary looked like she was trying to push a boulder up a hill, afraid if she pushed too hard it might roll back over her.

“Sweetie, it’s OK,” Lily said, placing a hand over hers and squeezing.

“I’m… trans. I’m… a man,” Mary said.

Lily almost climbed over the table to give Mary a tight hug.

“Oh shit. You’re squeezing the life out of me,” Mary laughed.

“I’m so proud of you,” Lily said.

“For what. I haven’t done anything,” Mary said.

“You came out to your girlfriend. That’s not nothing,” Lily said.

“Right,” Mary said as Lily pulled away.

“You’re gonna have to come out to your other one, you know,” Lily said.

“Yeah. I know… Listen, I know you probably have a ton of questions. Pronouns… He/him is cool but I’ll understand if you slip up. Obviously, I want a different name but I don’t know what yet so Mary is still cool. I’m gonna get on hormones and I’m not thinking about any surgery or anything,” Mary said.

“Understood,” Lily said, desperately wanting to make out with Mary right now but remembering they were in public.

“Dorcas will be home tonight. I guess… we’ll all get together. See where things are.”

“Yeah.”

“So what about you, Lils? Do you really want to spend the rest of your days in a resort town? What do you want to do with your life? Not to put you on the spot, babe,” Mary said.

Lily sighed.

“I don’t know. Everything seems so magical and perfect. I just try not to think about it. But they’ll have to leave,” Lily said, suddenly feeling very sad and looking down at her hands, gathered in her lap.

“Who?” Mary asked.

“James and Sirius. They weren’t even supposed to be in town for so long. Sirius wants to be a photographer and he’s so damn good at it. He can’t have a future down there. Same with James. He’s going to work on video games. He can’t do that there either. This whole thing… it was just meant to be an easy going life change. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love and build… build a family.”

Lily could feel emotions overwhelming her. She urged herself to let go and cry. As the tears fell, Mary came around to her side of the table, wrapping his arms around her.

“It’s OK. Let it out,” Mary said, holding Lily close as she sobbed on his shoulder.

Lily wiped at her eyes and pulled away, sniffling and sighing.

“I’m OK. I’m OK. I just… I’ve been trying so hard not to think about it,” Lily said.

“Change is hard. But change is good. We’re young. We’ll bounce back. We cope. I think you shouldn’t think about what they want to do. What do you want to do?” Mary asked.

“I want… to express myself. I wish… I could do sex work but… in a way that people would appreciate artistically?” Lily said, chuckling awkwardly.

“Babe, you are definitely an artist when it comes to that shit,” Mary said, giving Lily a kiss on the cheek.

“I need to know more people interested in that sort of thing. I could start my own company. Make… I don’t know. Artsy queer porn. I’m tired of just fucking myself on camera. I want to touch and feel real people.”

“Might be hard where you are,” Mary said.

“I know. I know. But I don’t know what to do. I have so many people I love and I want to do what’s best for all of those relationships. What if one of them moves to Seattle, the other to back to San Francisco. What if I have to make Remus choose between me and Sirius? I’m afraid he’ll follow me anywhere. God, why is everything so hard?” Lily said, tears falling down her face.

“You’ll get through this. You’ll figure it out. I’ll be there. James will be there. Remus will be there. Sirius will be there. Maybe even Dorcas will be there. Have faith,” Mary said.

“Thanks. Can we go home? Maybe make out and fool around?” Lily said.

“You got it,” Mary said, giving Lily his best playful grin.


 

Sirius sat staring out the window as America flew by. Remus was asleep, head in his lap. Peter was still sleeping in bed, right where James had left him. Tonight he and Remus would share the bed and Sirius was nervous. They had shared a hotel room during Pride but… this was different. It was a decent sized bed but they couldn’t avoid touching and the truth is when they were in close proximity they tended to move together like magnets.

But there was still a long time before that point. Soon they would pass through Salt Lake City on their way to Wyoming. If they didn’t have twelve hours to cover they might have, perhaps, stopped there but instead they were going to go a bit further before stopping for a meal.

James had been playing Beyonce over the sound system all day, singing along to almost every song. He admired the life James was bringing to this whole experience. James had always been a bit of an instigator but Sirius thought he’d picked up a little of Lily’s lust for life as well.

Sirius still couldn’t believe he had been inspired to run naked to the lake and even more than that he couldn’t believe he had been fine with it. It wasn’t traumatic, though it easily could’ve been. None of his friends leered at his body or did anything to make him feel weird. And Remus… well, Remus always stared at his face and that was nothing new.

Everyone was a little worried about Peter. Since his breakup with Maddy… he hadn’t been the same. When he was about he was on his phone a lot, seeming perpetually distracted.

After they moved past Salt Lake City they moved into Wyoming and headed for their first special stop of the day: the Greater Green River Intergalactic Spaceport. According to Google, the Spaceport was rechristened in the nineties when local residents believed visitors from Jupiter might be coming to Earth.

The drive out to the spaceport was long and boring. Wyoming seemed pretty lifeless, even in summer. To everyone’s surprise the spaceport was entirely empty and unattended to. Just a giant landing strip in the middle of nowhere. He supposed if any visitors did arrive they would be happy for the extra parking space.

“Do you guys believe in aliens?” James asked as they stood before the huge landing strip.

“I don’t think it’s an issue of believing or not believing. There’s probably some sort of life out there. It’s a big universe,” James said.

“I think we’ve definitely been visited. Definitely. Did you guys ever see that alien autopsy show? Chilled me to my core,” Peter said.

“Yeah. That was creepy,” James replied.

Sirius glanced at Remus, hoping he wouldn’t agree with them.

“I didn’t see that. But… I don’t believe we’ve been visited. The distance to travel to here to say from the the nearest star for instance would take tens of thousands of years. That’s a long time to see something in the sky. And that’s if they never stop. But they would need to get energy somehow. It doesn’t matter how advanced they are, they are still subject to the normal laws of physics. Which means they need energy. A constant source of it! Enough to travel for tens of thousands of years. And… imagine that was you. Imagine you traveled tens of thousands of years, worked miracles to have enough energy to do it and then you, what, come sneaking around and sticking probes up people’s asses? I don’t get it. It stretches plausibility!” Remus ranted, everyone staring at him with wide eyes.

“Same,” Sirius finally said, giving Remus a grin as he exhaled.

“Well. Yeah…” James said.

“So what you’re saying, Remus, if I understand, is that if the aliens come… it’ll be an invasion?” Peter said, looking genuinely worried.

Remus sighed.

“I see lots of people saying what they think aliens would be like. Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks we’ll have to explain to aliens why we’re not vegan. Which makes no sense. For all we know any visitors capable of making it here would be cannibals or something. But fine. I’ll toss my prediction into the ring: I think if any aliens that advanced come here, they’ll probably strip-mine our planet for resources without even looking twice at us, and they won’t be secretive about it. We’re ants.”

“You ants ready to go?” James said.

Everyone grumbled in the affirmative.

Their next destination was closer to Cheyenne where they would be staying for the night. It was cabin entirely made of dinosaur bones. It wasn’t open but they were still able to take pictures around it before moving on to Cheyenne.


“That’s wonderful!” Dorcas said, giving Mary a hug, having just heard his revelation about being trans.

“Thanks. I’m sorry I haven’t said anything,” Mary said.

“No, it’s fine! I know I’ve been distant lately,” Dorcas said, adjusting her glasses as she sat back on her sofa.

“Yeah… about that…” Mary said.

“Oh boy,” Dorcas said with a sigh.

Lily was grateful to not be between her partners at this moment even though the conversation that was about to occur affected her too.

“I think it’s time for us to all…I guess, check in, ya know? See where we all stand with each other,” Mary said.

“I’m still good if you’re all good,” Dorcas said, looking worried.

“I think that we’re having this conversation shows that maybe things aren’t all good?” Mary said.

Dorcas frowned and looked down.

“No one is upset at anyone. I can’t speak for Lily, but… I feel like we’re drifting apart, Dorc. Are we?” Mary said.

“Maybe. But… there’s no reason. Nothing has changed,” Dorcas said.

“Or maybe it has. Or maybe we’re just getting older. Either way… I’m going to move out west. I’ll live with Lily for a bit until I figure out my next move,” Mary admitted, seeming regretful.

“Oh,” Dorcas said sadly.

“You’re welcome to come too. We could be one big family… at least… well, until… I don’t know,” Lily said, remembering that her newly crafted family might be on shaky ground.

“Guys… my whole life has been in New Hampshire. I’ve lived in this town since I was born. You asked me last year and I said no… I think I’m still a no. I’m sorry,” Dorcas said.

Lily was disappointed but she expected that reply.

“I understand,” Lily replied.

“Me too,” Mary said, rubbing Dorcas’s arm.

“Where does that leave us? Is there an us anymore?” Dorcas said.

“I don’t know. Does it have to end? None of us are planning on becoming monogamous, I assume?” Mary asked.

“No,” Dorcas said.

“Then why does there need to be an ending. We can just accept that this part of our lives is over. I’ll always love you, though,” Mary said, his voice choking.

“I’ll love you too,” Dorcas and said their mouths were on each other.

“I am also still in love with you both,” Lily declared and they both tackled her.


 

“I can’t believe we’re not drunk and running around naked,” Remus said as he fluffed up his pillow next to Sirius in the bed of the motorhome.

The lights were out and the shades were drawn. Almost nothing in the bed area was visible. James and Peter were already snoring in the other part of the RV, James on the sofa and Peter on an air mattress.

“Shame. I didn’t mind checking out your cute butt,” Sirius said and Remus chuckled.

“Your butt is cute too,” Remus said.

“Thanks,” Sirius replied and Remus turned, planting his lips on Sirius’s.

Sirius adjusted his body, feeling excited as the kiss lingered, their hands beginning to seek places on one another’s bodies to rest on. Sirius trembled but didn’t waver from his position.

It felt like they held steady for an age, hands roaming and lips gliding. Remus’s hand was on Sirius’s hip, clutching his thigh as he felt that warm sensation in the pit of his stomach, all the blood rushing down below. He moaned into Remus’s mouth, clenching his thighs as his legs rubbed together. Remus turned his body, pressing himself against Sirius. Sirius also turned, draping a leg over Remus’s, desperately wanting to move closer.

Remus’s hand gripped his ass as Sirius’s mouth found Remus’s neck. It was funny how easily this happened. They were making out like it was just a thing they did. But they never had before.

Sirius was definitely wet. Very wet, in fact. He wanted to urge Remus to touch him there. It would be so easy for Remus to slide a hand in his pyjamas, finding the place where where he ached and throbbed with desperate longing. But their friends were so close.

“Remus… we can’t, can we?” Sirius whispered.

“Probably not. Not the right time. Shit,” he said, and rolled away.

“Fuck,” Sirius grunted, the full brunt of his arousal hitting him, thinking he needed a change of underwear.

“Yeah,” Remus echoed.

“Are you as horny as I am?” Sirius asked.

“Probably.”

“Do you want to… take care of it?” Sirius asked.

“Usually. I guess I can go to the bathroom,” Remus said.

“You don’t have to. We could… just… umm… I’m OK to just touch myself here. It won’t be comfortable in the bathroom. I can’t very well ask you to go away, can I?” Sirius said.

“Yeah. OK. Is there Kleenex?” Remus asked.

Sirius searched around, knowing he saw the box somewhere. He finally grasped it and handed it over to Remus.

“Thanks,” Remus said and Sirius saw him pull his pyjama bottoms down, the light through the shades briefly glinting off his erection.

Sirius slid his hand into his pyjamas, his fingers quickly finding his large, swollen clit, stroking it urgently while he listened to the grunts of pleasure his boyfriend made, and the sounds of skin on skin from his desperate strokes.

Sirius slid fingers down to his hole, dragging his ample wetness back to his clit. He realized he was enjoying himself so much at this moment that he didn’t care if James or Peter heard something, though he was certainly making an effort to be quiet anyway.

“Ugh. I wanna come so bad,” Remus moaned.

“Do it. Beats jerking off in the shower, doesn’t it?” Sirius said.

“Yeah,” Remus replied, sounding on the verge.

“Wish I had my vibrator,” Sirius said.

“That’s fair,” Remus said.

Sirius was surprised how long Remus held on, sounding perpetually on the edge.

“Can’t you come,” Sirius said, almost to that point himself.

“Yeah. I’m waiting for you. I want to hear you come,” Remus said.

“Aww. OK. I’m almost there,” Sirius said, his fingers working his clit hard.

“Nice,” Remus said, breathing hard.

Sirius looked over at Remus, wishing he could see more than faint outlines of his face and his movement. His legs clenched and he whimpered as his orgasm hit.

“Fuck,” Remus grunted, his mouth letting out twisted moans of pleasure.

Hearing Remus come, sent Sirius over another peak, squirming against the sheets as he shuddered. And then they went silent aside from the breathing.

“I made a mess,” Remus said, sounds of wiping with tissue audible.

“Yeah. Me too. But I’m so tired,” Sirius said.

As Remus cleaned up, Sirius found it difficult to remain awake. His fingers felt sticky but he thought he could wait until the morning.

“That really happened,” Remus said.

“Yeah,” Sirius said.

“I always thought… we’d talk about it. It would be… I don’t know. I mean it was nice. Just…” Remus trailed off.

“I got ya. I liked it,” Sirius said.

“Me too,” Remus said, leaning over for a kiss which reached as soon as their faces could align.

Remus got out of bed and headed to the bathroom, coming back out after a minute or two. Sirius was barely conscious as his boyfriend slid back into bed next to him.

“Attempting sleep, 2.0,” Sirius mumbled and everything began to fade.

Chapter Text

Lily was alone. No. Not alone. They were here too. She knelt down, in front of them, her eyes wet as she read the engravings on their tombstones. Rose and Harlow Evans, both dead within a few short years.

Her mother had been the hardest. It was hardly over two years before. It had come out of nowhere. She was just a little sick. But pneumonia had a way of sneaking up on you. Then she was gone.

And then the mess with Sev happened, as if things weren’t bad enough. Her good friend Severus was there for her after her mother died. She had long suspected he was in love with her even though he maintained that wasn’t the case. In a moment of weakness, she slept with him. He then changed when she didn’t magically feel exactly the way he did. He wanted her to give up everything that she was and be with him.

Now he was getting married. She wondered who she was. She hoped, for both their sakes, that whoever she was, she really cared for him in the same way. She hoped that he had grown up some. Severus had a great deal of potential. He was great with computers. He could probably make a great engineer if he applied himself.

She looked at her parents graves. She had allowed herself to get distracted, forgetting why she was really there.

She wished her mother had been able to go back to Puerto Rico one last time before she died. Lily hoped to be able to go there herself someday. Maybe James would want to go. Maybe James would move away and they would break up. Dammit, she wasn’t going to think about that today. She was setting aside today for them.

“I miss you,” Lily said and started to cry.


The drive on Wednesday was a long one, sending them across Nebraska, Iowa and part of Illinois. When James got up Remus and Sirius were both already up, having showered and looking tired as they ate cereal.

Peter sat up front in the passenger seat as James drove across Nebraska, seeming talkative.

“I’m sorry I’ve seemed so down. This Maddy thing… really got to me. She… made me believe she wanted me,” Peter said.

“Feel free to vent. I’m all ears,” James said, turning the music down a little.

“I knew it was bullshit. I knew a girl that hot would never like me. But she said I was sweet. She said I was good in bed and told me how big my… Well, anyhow we had a good time. And she seemed to really like me. Then she would just… not call me for a week. She wouldn’t say anything. She wouldn’t respond to any calls or texts. And then she’d be back. Like nothing happened.”

“That sucks man,” James said.

“But she started to get mean as time went on. Saying… nasty things about me,” Peter said.

“What sort of things?”

“Like… that I’m stupid. Or ugly. Or fat,” Peter said.

“You’re not fat!” James said, thinking he was a bit stocky but that was it.

“Who cares if I am? She had no right! But… I just took it. She would apologize and blame it on… whatever. Anything and everything. And then things would go fine for a while. Until she broke up with me. Like I said… no explanation.We were just done. She’d… gotten whatever it was she wanted.”

“Well, fuck her. You deserve better,” James said.

“I’ll never get with a girl as pretty as that again,” Peter said lamented.

“Looks aren’t everything, man. In my experience, the more you get to know someone the more beautiful they become. When I look at Lily… it’s indescribable. I don’t know how good looking she is or isn’t but… she’s the brightest thing in the universe,” James said.

“Not to be weird, but I think she’s pretty hot. Don’t hit me?” Peter said, cringing.

James laughed.

“Relax, man. You know I’m not like that.”

“True.”

“You still excited about our tattoos? Have you figured out what you want?” James asked.

“Yeah, I have actually. I want a rat,” Peter said.

“A rat? Why a fuckin’ rat?” James said, glancing at Peter skeptically.

“Hey, I happen to like rats! They are good, sweet pets. Very smart. Don’t live so long but… Anyhow, when I was twelve… my mom got me this stupid haircut with a rat tail. Kids called me Wormtail to make fun of me. But I kind of embraced it, even though I hated the haircut,” Peter said.

“I got you, I got you. Embrace the weapon and make it your own. I dig it,” James said.

“Yeah. That’s what I did. I think I have some of the rat in me,” Peter said.

“I think you’re more like a teddy bear, personally,” James said with a wink.

“Fuck off,” Peter laughed.

“I don’t meant it as an insult, Pete.”

“Oh. Well… thanks,” Peter said, grinning as the drive carried on.

In Omaha they stopped for food and to get their tattoos, having made an appointment in advanced. Peter got his rat, Remus got a wolf, Sirius got a big black dog and James… had found himself at a loss.

They had all settled on getting their animals with the banner that read Marauders underneath it but… James didn’t really relate to any animal in particular.

But then he remembered this old wood carving his parents had of a massive stag. He had loved that thing but his mother hated it. He also remembered Lily having mentioned a fondness for deer. That settled it. A stag it was.

“Cool,” Peter said with a grin.

“Yeah,” James said as the four of them stood in a circle, their shirt sleeves lifted up to see their matching tattoos.

Four different artists had done them but thanks to setting them up in advance they came out looking pretty similar.

“Marauders,” Remus said firmly.

“Hell, yeah,” James said and they all traded fist bumps.


 

“I don’t think we’re going to make it to that Wheels O’ Time Museum in Peoria before it closes,” Sirius said.

“Actually, it already closed. Sorry,” James called out.

“Ah well. It’s been a long day,” Remus said.

“Where’s Pete?” James called.

“He’s in the bedroom. On the phone,” Sirius said.

“Didn’t he already call his mom yesterday?” James said.

“It doesn’t sound like he’s talking to her,” Sirius said.

A short while later Peter left the the bedroom cabin and Remus watched as came up to the front, taking his place next to James.

“Hey, Pete,” James said.

“Hey.”

“The guys say you were on the phone?” James asked, though Remus thought it wasn’t any of his business.

“Yeah. I… got a call from Maddy,” Peter said.

“Did you? Did you tell her off?” James said.

“No. I think we’re getting back together,” Peter said.

“What?” James said, sounding angry.

“You’re joking, right? This is a joke. C’mon, man. Don’t let her play with you like this!” James said.

Just then Peter’s phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and said, “It’s Maddy.” James yanked the phone from Peter’s hands and made a motion that looked like he had tossed it out the window.

“What the fuck? What the fuck? You stupid son of a bitch,” Peter shrieked, diving on James.

“Get off, Pete. I’m driving!” James growled.

“Fuck you! Fuck you, James! That was my goddamn phone. It’s my goddamn life, you sack of shit!” Peter screamed, tears streaming down his face as he swatted at James.

“Get the fuck off, Pete! Let me pull over, I don’t want to fucking wreck,” James said.

James pulled the RV over and Peter strode back to the kitchen area where Remus and Sirius sat as James marched up to him.

“That… that wasn’t cool, man. How could you do that? I can’t afford to replace it!” Peter squealed.

“I’ll get you a new phone. A better phone. I promise,” James said, looking genuinely regretful.

“Fuck you,” Peter said, shoving James.

James shoved back and Peter stumbled, falling to the floor.

“Ow! You asshole,” Peter said, grabbing his back.

“I’m with, Pete, James. That wasn’t cool. We should go look for it,” Sirius said.

“I concur,” Remus said, the atmosphere making him him anxious.

James sighed.

“You’re right. Yeah. OK. Let’s go look for it,” James said.

They waited for clear traffic then ran across to the other side of the highway. Luckily there was still some daylight, though not a lot. Sirius and Peter went further south while James and Remus stayed further north.

“Am I a prick?” James asked.

“No. I don’t think so. But… you shouldn’t’ve done that. If Peter wants some lady to keep treating him like shit, that’s his business,” Remus said.

“But… that sucks? I’ve known Pete for a few years. He’s a good guy. He’s always so lonely. There’s nothing I won’t do for the ones I love,” James said.

James had somehow chosen the most nondescript location to toss a small phone out onto. All of the foliage looked the same and the land was flat.

“I get that. You went too far though. Peter respects you. You have the rest of the summer to talk to him about his problem. You should encourage him that he has value,” Remus said.

“Yeah. I know.”

“What’s that?” Remus said, spotting something small and black underneath a bush.

The two men crouched down as Remus swatted away dirt until he had revealed what turned out to be an old tape recorder, the sort you would carry around and hold to your mouth, with a tape still in it.

“Weird,” James said, taking the tape recorder from Remus.

For a moment, Remus noticed something funny. There was… something about the way James kept looking at him. And he seemed to be moving closer as he examined the tape recorder.

“This thing is filled with dirt. Doubt the tape plays. Hope there was nothing important on it,” James said, setting it down.

“Yeah,” Remus said, still distracted by James’s proximity.

“Anyhow… I’m sorry. About… that,” James said, nudging his head back towards the RV.

“Don’t apologize to me. Peter’s the one owed your apology,” Remus pointed out.

“Yeah. I just mean… I know things make you nervous. I’m sorry if it was upsetting,” James said, reaching over and placing a hand on Remus’s shoulder.

James was definitely giving him the eyes. He was licking his lips. If Remus didn’t know better he thought James might try to kiss him. Surely, he was imagining things.

“Any luck?” Sirius called out.

“Nope,” James said and quickly stood up.

“Nah,” Remus said.

“I’m sorry, Pete,” James said and walked over to him.

“I forgive you. I’m still pissed, but I’ll forgive you,” Peter said.

“I’ll make it up to you. New phone tomorrow. And you can… call whoever you want on it and I won’t say a word,” James said.

“You aren’t wrong. About Maddy. I shouldn’t get back together with her. I’ll call her tomorrow… I won’t tell her to fuck off. But… I will tell her I’m… not interested anymore,” Peter said.

James just nodded.

“Anything else you want. You can hit me if you want,” James said, patting his cheek.

“What the fuck, dude? I’m not gonna hit you,” Peter said, looking perplexed.

“No, really. It’s cool. You can hit me. I won’t hit you back,” James said.

“Is this fuckin’ Fight Club all of a sudden? I’m not going to hit you,” Peter said.

James sighed and nodded.

“All right. Let’s get moving,” James said and they all made their way back to the RV.

Everyone piled back in and got comfortable. James sat down and and tried to start the car. It took Remus a moment to register that it wasn’t starting.

“Uhhh… Guyyyss. Houston, we have a problem,” James said.

“Oh god,” Peter said.

“Guys, the car won’t start. Fuck,” James said.

“Balls,” Remus said.

“Big ones,” Sirius chimed in.

A couple of hours later and Remus, Sirius and Peter were standing behind the RV while James talked to the tow truck driver up front, who had been attempting to get the car starting again to no avail.

James came around back looking very disappointed.

“Bad news guys. They can fix it but… they need a part. It has to be special ordered. It’ll take a couple of days for them to get it,” James said.

“So… what happens now?” Sirius said.

“He’ll tow us to Peoria. I’ll get us a rental car for the next couple of days… and a hotel. Then we wait for the car to get fixed,” James said.

“Well… at least Peoria seems like it’ll be nice. There are probably worse places to get stuck,” Sirius said.

“Like Wyoming. What was with that place?” Peter said.


 

“All of the sudden everyone is talking about Donald Trump,” Lily complained.

“Right?” Dorcas said, sitting naked in bed next to Lily and playing her 3DS.

“Fuck that guy. They shouldn’t be taking him so seriously. He’s a joke. And a racist,” Lily said as her phone chimed.

James was late tonight to text her and she had been worried. She was grateful to hear from him.

 

 

I’m an asshole. Everything is terrible :(

 

Oh no :(

 

Lily frowned at her phone, waiting for explanation.

 

The RV broke down. We’re stuck in Peoria for two days!

 

What’s it like?

 

Seems nice. We’re going to look at that Wheels O’ Time museum tomorrow.

 

Cool.

 

Anyhow… there’s more. I sort of tossed Peter’s phone out the window while I was driving.

 

WHAT?

 

I know… I know. That wasn’t cool.

 

TO SAY THE LEAST, JAMES POTTER!

 

It’s a long story. It was just an impulse.

That girl just keeps playing with him. I couldn’t take it.

 

 

Lily groaned.

“What’s up?” Dorcas asked.

“About to lecture my boyfriend on not meddling in people’s personal lives and not destroying their personal property,” Lily said, texting furiously.

“Yikes,” Dorcas said.

“Yeah. I liked it better when they were running around naked and getting matching tattoos,” Lily said.

“That’s fair,” Dorcas said.


The next day was Peter Pettigrew Day in Peoria as far as James was concerned. He took him anywhere and everywhere he wanted to go and bought him a shiny new iPhone.

In mid-afternoon they went to the Wheels O’ Time Museum which was a bigger and more interesting version of the museum they had gone to back in Oregon, though they had no ball of string.

James was surprised by how fast the day flew by. But by the time they were back in the hotel James realized he was missing Lily terribly. He’d been so busy having fun that he hadn’t stopped to think about it.

“Three more days,” James told himself as plugged his phone in and attempted to get to sleep.

He had hoped the next day that they would have the RV repaired sooner than expected but instead it wasn’t until that evening when he got the call. With nothing else to do that evening, the four of them went to see Jurassic World, which had just come out.

“That sucked,” Sirius said.

“I loved it!” Peter said.

“It was all right,” James said.

“I just don’t understand why the dinosaurs didn’t eat them all,” Remus said.

“That sounds like a downer,” James said.

“Yeah, but no one in that movie was likable. It’s like… in the original film all the asshole characters get killed while the likable ones mostly live. But in this one… all the main characters are kind of assholes. Like am I the only one who thought the main lady was the villain at first?” Remus said.

“Yeah, I did,” Sirius admitted.

“Me too, actually,” Peter said.

“Right? But she’s not. We’re meant to like her and Chris Pratt. And I mean, Chris Pratt is great. He was hilarious on Parks and Rec and Star-Lord is awesome but his character in this? Meh,” Remus said.

“Sirius, I didn’t realize your boyfriend was a film snob,” James said, nudging Remus playfully with an elbow.

“I’m not! I just know what I like and it wasn’t that,” Remus said.

“Fair enough. Let’s go get some rest. Tomorrow the trip continues!” James shouted and they all cheered.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Hey, Remus,” James said as Remus came up to the passenger seat and sat down.

“Hey,” he said.

“Hanging in there?” James asked.

“I’m fine. Peter and Sirius are asleep,” Remus replied.

“Wow. Those lazy shits! Didn’t they sleep well enough in the hotel?”

Remus shrugged.

“I guess not. Maybe we’re just all a bit tired. When Lily and I traveled out to Oregon I remember really be glad when it was over. I mean, we did it pretty fast though. We didn’t stop for anything but food and sleep,” Remus said.

“I love road trips. You gotta get out and see America. You can’t really understand it until you’ve seen it. Not really,” James said.

“That’s fair. I’ve had a nice time. I’m looking forward to being… well, not home. But my old home. I’ve gotta work on my best excuses for being so poor at staying in contact with my mom and dad,” Remus said.

“Strained relationship?”

“Nah. It’s… just kind of how my family is. Especially my mom’s half. I think I’ve always struggled with keeping people in my life when I’m not around them. It’s funny… I used to see Lily’s partners all the time. They were an almost every day part of my life. But… I haven’t seen them or spoken to them at all since I moved. I… don’t know how to maintain those connections,” Remus admitted.

James wasn’t sure what to say. He knew that people could drift out of your lives but he usually preferred maintaining connections if he could. But he didn’t want to sound like he was judging Remus because he couldn’t really relate.

“That’s a bummer, man,” James said.

“Yeah. I feel guilty but… I don’t know how to be different. It’s just… so easy. Does that make me terrible?” Remus asked.

“I don’t think so. You seem like a good guy with a soft heart,” James said.

Remus chuckled with embarrassment, muttering, “Thanks.”

“We should spend some time together this summer. Just you and me? I mean… I don’t mean to pry you away from Sirius,” James said.

“That could be cool. I’m afraid you’ll think I’m boring,” Remus said.

James wanted to tell Remus that he could never be bored by someone so cute but instead managed, “Nah. You’re geeky. I’m geeky too.”

“For a jock,” Remus countered and giggled.

“Fair. I’m a jock too,” James admitted.

“Makes sense. You have the body for it,” Remus said.

“Been checking out my body?” James asked with a wink.

Remus burst into laughter. James liked it when he laughed.

“Umm… uh… I mean it lives around the house. And the other night… it was there,” Remus stammered.

“There’s no shame. You’re only human,” James chuckled.

Oh, James, he thought, you’re flirting with your best friend’s boyfriend and not even hiding it.

“On my better days. When I’m not hiding away in my attic,” Remus said with regret.

“You should come out more often,” James said, thinking he was the one who probably needed to come out.

“Probably. It’s not easy. Being around people can be draining. I channel a lot of energy into my fanfic,” Remus said.

“How’s that going?”

“In between projects. Actually… I got this email the other night… and I haven’t told anybody.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah… someone working with a publisher… wants to turn my fic into a novel? I looked them up. They’re legit. But… surely they must be mistaken?” Remus said.

“I don’t know. I haven’t read it. But Sirius and Lily think it’s awesome,” James said.

“Yeah. But that’s different. They can’t be objective can they?” Remus proclaimed.

“Does that invalidate their opinions? So they have a bias. So what?” James said.

“Well… no but…”

“I’m just saying. They love you but that doesn’t mean their opinions of your art aren’t valid. Can… I tell you a secret?” James said, lowering his voice.

“Sure.”

James exhaled then said, “I don’t really like Sirius’s photography that much.”

“What? Really?” Remus asked, seeming shocked.

“Yeah. And I love that boy like family. I always have. And I always support him and would do anything to help him achieve his dreams. But personally? I just don’t think I’m that into photography.”

“But doesn’t that mean they could be faking their love for my fic?” Remus countered.

“What? No! It means the opposite of that, man. I don’t lie to Sirius. I don’t pretend to love this or that photo he takes. I find other ways to be positive about it. And I’m not a fool: I know he’s good at what he does. It’s just not for me,” James said.

“I see. So you’re saying… I should trust them since they offer particulars about what they loved?” Remus said.

“Definitely. Look, I tell you what: I’ll read it and I’ll give you my honest opinion,” James said.

“I’m not sure that’s the same thing…” Remus said.

“What? You don’t believe I love you? You’re my family too. All of you are,” James said.

“R-really?”

“God, yes,” James said, grinning over at Remus.

Remus smiled back and didn’t say anything else. The rest of day four of the road trip went smoothly. They stopped in Akron, Ohio for Lunch and so that Peter could see the tribute to Devo, who he apparently was a big fan of.

That night it was time for James and Remus to share the bed and James was more than a little nervous. He didn’t normally share a bed with his crushes like that. But there he was, trying to get comfortable in the dark. He’d already said goodnight to Lily. She’d informed him that she was about to hookup with her partners, hinting at tantalizing details that had made him more than a little aroused.

I can do this, James thought to himself. Just be cool. You’re always cool, James, he told himself. Just be cool right now.

“Having trouble sleeping?” Remus asked.

“Yeah. Apparently,” James said.

“Me too,” Remus replied.

“Maybe I should just switch with Sirius…” James said and started to get up.

“No. It’s fine. I don’t want you to leave,” Remus said and James’s heart started slamming his chest.

“Oh. Well, thanks,” James said, lying back down.

“I-I appreciate what you said this morning. That… I’m your family. That you… umm… you know,” Remus said, clearly too embarrassed.

“I got ya. It’s no problem. I meant it,” James said.

“Yeah and uh… Same. To you. About you,” Remus stammered.

“Thanks.”

“Sorry I called you a jock.”

“Don’t be. I am. And between you and me, you’re not wrong about my jock bod,” James said, definitely not helping his situation down below any.

“Sometimes I wonder if I could have a body like that. But… I’m just kind of meh,” Remus said.

“I don’t think you’re meh. You’re cute. Everyone thinks so,” James said.

“You think I’m cute?” Remus asked in disbelief.

“As a rule, I don’t say things I don’t mean,” James replied.

“Th-thanks.”

Just leave it there, James told himself. Just be cool.

“I can definitely see what Sirius sees in you,” James said, definitely not being cool.

Remus was a silent for a moment then just said, “Thanks.”

James flushed with embarrassment.

“I guess I can see what Lily sees in you,” Remus admitted.

“Thanks,” James muttered softly and rolled over, willing himself to move off this path he was on.

He needed sleep.


 

Remus struggled to get himself out of bed the final morning of the road trip, as they left Erie, Pennsylvania and headed towards Keene. Was this really happening? Surely not.

Remus was thinking… he might have a crush on James Potter. A big one. And he wasn’t sure where it came from but he woke up with that fluttering feeling in his belly, same as he had felt for Sirius before. He really could see what Lily saw in him. James was fun, incredibly handsome and… he cared about people. He might care about people more than anyone Remus had ever known.

“No, no, no, no,” Remus urged himself.

He couldn’t allow this. What would Sirius think? He knew Lily would be OK with it… but Sirius? The risk was too great. He had to bury this shit fast.

There was a knock on the bedroom door. Remus pulled the covers over himself and said, “Come in.”

“Hey. Getting up? It’s the last day! Don’t want to miss it!” Sirius said.

“Yeah. Just a moment,” Remus said nervously.

“Oh. Uh… right, I’ll give you some privacy,” Sirius said and quickly left.

Remus groaned and got out of bed. He was feeling grateful that it was a shorter day of traveling with nothing planned but meeting up with Lily. Most of the day was spent driving through upstate New York before they finally pulled up to the hotel they would all be staying in, Lily waiting with a smile on her face.

As they exited the RV she screamed and ran towards them. She grabbed Remus first, squeezing him tightly and planting a kiss on his cheek. She then did the same to Sirius and Peter before damn near making out with James as he came out.

James pulled away from her, laughing.

“Damn, Lily. Save it for later,” he joked.

“Fine, fine. Let’s get checked in!”

There had been a fair bit of discussion about how many rooms they would check out. In the end, James and Lily got a room with the other three having their own. Of course, Lily would spend some time with her other partners from time to time but she still would have a bit more comfort at the hotel if she wanted her own space now and then.

The hotel itself was only temporary. In a few weeks they would be headed out to cabins for a couple of weeks, to get in touch with nature or whatever. Remus’s mind was filled with a flurry of thoughts. Someone wanted to publish his fanfic as a novel. He had a developing crush on his best friend’s boyfriend, who also happened to be straight.

What Remus wanted was some time with Lily alone. She would have the best advice. He could text her but it wouldn’t be the same thing. Unfortunately, they all shuffled right off to dinner, where many anecdotes about the road trip were had.

“So, James, who would you say has the nicest butt?” Lily asked with a wicked grin on her face.

“Me, obviously,” James said.

“Hmm. I might have to check to make sure,” Lily said and cackled.

“Remus has a nice butt. I mean… for a guy. Let’s just say… he’s… umm.. Impressive naked,” Peter said, looking awkward and quickly going back to his burger.

“I’ll keep in that in mind,” Lily said.

Remus was wishing there was something he could hide behind or under. Luckily, the subject instead switched to Sirius as Lily asked, “Hey, Sirius. You never did take that picture of me.”

“No. I’m sorry. I guess time slips by,” Sirius said.

“No, it’s fine. We should do it at the cabin,” Lily said.

“We could. Hell, I’ll give you an entire day of photos,” Sirius said.

“Oooo it’s a date!” Lily said and Sirius awkwardly laughed, blushing.

Remus thought maybe James right. They were a family or at the very least were becoming one. That was nice.


 

Remus was sitting by the hotel pool when Lily made it down. He had texted her after dinner asking if they could have a private conversation. It was still light out and warm. Lily had considered going for a swim but thought that would make conversation difficult.

Remus looked troubled, more so than usual.

“What’s up?” Lily said, sitting next to him at a table.

“God, what isn’t? Things with Sirius are progressing faster than expected. Which is good but kind of scary? Like… we didn’t have sex but we kinda did?” Remus said.

“Were genitals involved?” Lily asked.

“Definitely.”

“That’s sex, my friend,” Lily said.

“Really?” Remus said.

“Yup.”

“Huh. I had sex. Weird. Anyhow… then I got an offer to have Reliquary of Blood… published?” Remus said.

“Really? Wow! That’s amazing,” Lily said, quickly giving Remus a hug.

“Sure. I guess. I’m… kind of overwhelmed by the prospect. And I’d probably have to make a lot of changes,” Remus said.

“It’ll still be better than fifty fuckin’ shades of grey,” Lily said.

“Low bar.”

“Very.”

“For whatever it’s worth I did email them back and said I might be interested. They said they would send more details soon. So… I guess that’s a thing?” Remus said.

“Everything sounds good so far. What’s bothering you?” Lily asked, furrowing her brow.

“James,” Remus replied.

“What did he do? I’ll fuck him up if he hurt you in any way,” Lily declared.

“No, nothing like that. He’s done nothing wrong… Well, not to me anyhow. Maybe Peter feels differently but… no… it’s not that… it’s… Oh, God. I… think I have a crush on him?” Remus said then pulled his shirt up over his face.

“Oh. My. God!” Lily shouted.

Remus groaned underneath his shirt. Lily’s mind raced. She couldn’t tell Remus about James’s crush. And of course, that meant she couldn’t tell James about Remus’s crush. Oh, this was going to be lots of fun for her.

“When did this happen?” Lily asked, trying her best to be serious and supportive.

“I don’t know. Kind of… this morning? We shared the bed last night. And before that… he was saying… nice things. It made me feel good. And then… it made me feel attracted to him. God, how fucked up is this?” Remus said.

“It’s fine. Dude, do you realize how many active crushes I have at any given moment? I mean, sure they aren’t all the same but… I’m a crushy sort of gal,” Lily proudly declared.

“Yeah, but you’re you. You can just… flash them your eyes and seduce them with emerald,” Remus said.

Lily wanted to counter that if that were the case, they would’ve hooked up ages ago but held her tongue and instead said, “Sadly, that’s not true. Most of the crushes I’ve ever had never played out. Which shows you just how many I’ve had.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. Wow.”

“Anyhow… obviously, James is straight and your boyfriend,” Remus said.

Once again, Lily couldn’t out James without his consent so she had to hold her tongue. But as far as the boyfriend thing went she said, “I don’t care about that. You would be welcome to hook up with any partner of mine. I guess it’d be cool if you let me know you were into them and might hook up with them… but hey, you’ve just done that, so you’re good to go!”

Lily lightly shoved his shoulder, careful not to hit his still healing tattoo, and he laughed.

“Let’s be real: James Potter is way out of my league,” Remus said.

“That’s what you said about Sirius too,” Lily pointed out.

“Fair but… I mean, they both are,” Remus said.

“After all these years I’ll never understand how one of the best looking people I’ve personally known thinks he’s unattractive. Dude… Do you know how many friends and partners I’ve had who told me how hot you were?”

“I… don’t know. I find that hard to believe,” Remus said, clearly blushing.

“Look, here’s a more important question: Assuming Sirius was cool with it, because that’s a whole other can of worms, would you want to also date James?” Lily asked.

“He’s straight,” Remus said flatly.

“Let’s also assume that wasn’t a hurdle,” Lily said.

“But it is! I don’t want to invest my emotions in someone who is never going to reciprocate, Lily!” Remus said, standing up and looking very flustered.

Lily frowned.

“Sit down. Let’s try this again, from a different angle. Let’s take James out of the equation. Let’s say… you liked someone who was definitely attracted to you and you were definitely attracted to them. Would you want to date them and still date Sirius?” Lily said.

“I don’t know. Harder to work in the theoretical. But… maybe? It could be cool, I guess. But I’m… I really love Sirius. I’m terrified of scaring him off.”

“Maybe you and Sirius should talk. Hammer out what you want from your relationship.”

“You’re probably right,” Remus said.

“That’s why you come to me, right?” Lily said.

“Yeah. I suppose it is,” Remus said.

“Well… that’s great. I have an appointment with my bed and my boyfriend I have to get to, babe. Take care. Have that conversation!” Lily said, standing up then leaning over to give Remus a kiss on the cheek.


 

James was lost in thought, already reminiscing about the road trip in his mind, when Lily entered the hotel room in a flash.

“Are you ready to throw down?” Lily asked.

“What did I do? Are you going to beat me up? Actually… that could be fun,” James said, rubbing his slightly stubbly chin.

“I’m thinking my pussy wants to fight your dick. It’s going to win, by the way,” Lily said, starting to undress.

“Ah, that kind of throwing down,” James said, his penis instantly responding and stirring in his underwear.

“Can you believe it’s been over a week since we’ve fucked? I’m in need,” Lily said, now naked and rifling through her things.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you have a lot of sex with Mary and Dorcas this week?” James asked, standing up and removing his clothes.

“Ohhh yeah. It was nice. Let me let you in on a secret James: if I had fifty partners I would still want to have sex with all of them as much as possible,” Lily said, not sounding the least bit ashamed.

“That sounds exhausting,” James said.

“Time consuming. I mean people in porn do more than that. Oh yeah, I’m thinking about producing my own porn. We should talk about that sometime,” Lily said.

“Oh? What kind?” James inquired, stroking his now very hard cock.

“We’ll talk about that some other time. That idea is still fermenting. What we should really talk about,” Lily said, standing up with lube and one of her vibrators in her hands before continuing, “is how turned on I’m getting thinking about you and Remus.”

“I could be into that,” James said, sitting on the end of the bed as Lily strode over, falling to her knees before him and setting the lube and vibrator on the bed next to him.

“Oh yeah?” Lily asked, taking his cock in her hand and slowly stroking it in smooth motions.

“Definitely,” James said.

“I’ve gotta admit… all your naked shenanigans, sharing a bed with Remus… are really getting me worked up, James,” Lily said, persisting with her strokes.

“He told you? Oh god. Oh god!” James stammered, suddenly panicked.

“Are you coming?” Lily said with surprise.

“Huh? No. I’m freaking out because Remus told you about… how I acted last night,” James said.

“And how did you act last night?”

“I… I told him I love him. And that he was… attractive. I couldn’t help myself. I was there in bed with him and my dick was hard and every part of me was telling me to shut my mouth except for my heart and my dick. And I kept thinking about the other night, when Remus and Sirius shared the bed and… they were doing stuff. I was on the sofa, trying my best to sleep,” James said.

“Oh?” Lily said and put her mouth on the head of his cock and started to suck.

“Mmm. Yeah, I had no idea what they were doing but I could hear the moans and even once it stopped and Remus went to the bathroom then back to bed. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and I crept up to the front of the RV. I… I crouched down and pulled out my cock, stroking myself off into a handful of tissue and praying to God that no one walked by and that Peter didn’t wake up,” James said.

Lily’s mouth made a pop sound as she pulled her mouth off his cock then said, “Wow. That’s… hilarious but also kind of hot,” Lily said then started sucking again.

“Yeah. Mmm. I just… I’ve got a Remus Lupin problem,” James said.

“Does it turn you on to think of him doing this? Close your eyes and imagine he’s the one blowing you,” Lily suggested, then went back to work.

James did as she requested. He imagined Remus’s golden brown hair, deep brown eyes and pouty, soft looking lips between his legs. He mapped Lily’s motions onto Remus’s visage. The vision was incredible and he let out a deep moan.

“Ooo,” Lily said, a brief interlude before she got back to sucking.

“Yeah. That’s good. That’s really good. God, I am so fucking bi,” James said.

Lily sped up and as per usual right as he was at the very edge she pulled off.

“Fuck,” he groaned.

“Oh, hush. You like it,” Lily said, standing up.

“Well… yeah,” James admitted.

“Do you want to know my fantasies?” Lily said, climbing up on his lap and wrapping her legs around him.

They kissed, slow and deep as James reached behind her and squeezed her ass, pulling her closer.

“Always,” James replied.

“Sometimes when I’m really horny I think about… you and I are making out downstairs. It’s getting hot and we get naked. Then Remus and Sirius walk into the room and they start fooling around. And then we switch partners,” Lily said, then sucked on James’s neck, making him shudder against her.

“Tell me more,” James urged.

“So then you and Remus are lying on the couch, he’s straddling you and rubbing his cock against yours. Mmm,” Lily said, James rubbing between her legs, unable to believe how wet she was, her inner thighs soaked.

“Keep going,” James said.

“I’m behind the couch, giving Sirius head, showing him how good I am with my mouth,” Lily said, then reached over for the lube, pouring it in her hand then reaching between them to slick up his cock.

“Yeah?” James said, Lily’s hand gliding effortlessly up and down his thick shaft.

Lily lifted herself up over his cock then slowly eased herself down it, grunting and moaning until she was all the way down. She felt so good.

James rocked his pelvis as Lily lifted herself on and off of him. She continued her fantasy: “I make Sirius come harder than he ever has in his entire life then move around to the front of the couch. You and Remus are all over each other, making out and rubbing your cocks against each other. I tap Remus on the shoulder and he rolls off you, coming to me from behind.”

“Mmm,” James moaned, Lily’s fantasy feeling vivid in his mind.

Lily grabbed her small pink vibrator, that was vaguely shaped like a tongue… James seemed to recall her being amused by the fact that it was called Lily, and turned it on, placing it on her clit, the vibrations strong enough to stimulate him as well.

“Lay back,” Lily requested and James did so.

James reached up and gently squeezed the softness of her large breasts, then moved his hands down to her hips as she rocked her pelvis, sliding him and out as she continued: “Then Remus has me bent over the end of the sofa, fucking me while you watch and jerk off. Then Sirius climbs on you and slides down your fat cock like it’s nothing because I made him so wet.”

At any other time, James might’ve balked at the idea of fucking his best friend, but hearing Lily say it was surprisingly sexy and he moaned hard, realizing his balls fucking ached. James knew the scenario wasn’t all that realistic but at the moment he didn’t fucking care.

“God. I don’t know how much longer I can hold on. You’re really turning me on,” James said.

“I watch as Sirius is fucking the shit out of you and you come in him. Mmmm. Then Remus comes in me. And then Sirius gets off you and I lay back on the sofa in front of you, letting you eat me out while Sirius sits on my face and I eat him out again,” Lily moaned, her voice getting high, clearly almost at the edge herself.

“You’re such a fucking pervert, Evans,” James said, feeling her vaginal muscles tightening around him.

“Takes one to know one, Potter,” Lily said, bouncing up and down on his dick as she turned up the speed of her vibrator.

“I’m gonna come, Lily. Oh god,” James said, his body clenching in anticipation as heat built up.

“Me too. Shit. Ahhnnn,” Lily moaned, shaking as she squeezed hard on his shaft, her muscles contracting around him as he exploded inside of her in hard pulses.

“Oh! Godddamn!” James said, gritting his teeth, as he tried to thrust while the pleasure rushed through him.

“Mmmm,” Lily moaned, dropping her vibrator as she rubbed her clit with her hand, James shuddering one last time for a final spurt.

“Damn,” James said, breathing heavy.

“Yeah,” Lily said then laughed.

“I think I needed that,” James said.

“I thought you might. Let’s get some rest. You get to meet Dorcas and Mary tomorrow,” Lily said, climbing off him and running to the bathroom.

James lay there. He sometimes found that fantasies were less sexy after he had came. Not this time. Sure, the idea of sex always lost appeal after he came but… the four of them together… Yeah, that definitely had some appeal.

 

Chapter Text

There was a knock on the hotel room door and Remus hoisted his backpack and went to answer. His sister, Natalie, was standing there, brimming with excitement.

“Hey, you,” she said and leaned up to hug him.

“Hey,” Remus said.

Sirius came over, and gave Remus a kiss, eliciting an, “Aww,” from Natalie. Remus felt himself blush. Natalie knew he wasn’t straight and that he had a boyfriend. Today, if he found the courage, his parents would know as well.

“Take care,” Sirius said, giving Remus a hug.

“I will. Enjoy Mary and Dorcas. You’re going to love them. Tell them I miss them and said hi,” Remus said.

“Sounds like a plan,” Sirius said and Remus exhaled, following Natalie down halls, an elevator and stairs to get outside and into Natalie’s car.

“So how was the road trip?” Natalie asked.

“Good. Long,” Remus replied.

“That’s good.”

“You enjoying summer vacation?” Remus said.

“Sort of. It’s nice being home and seeing old friends. But I miss my new ones out in Cali,” Natalie said.

“Makes sense.”

“Things going well between you and Sirius, I take it?” Natalie asked.

“Yeah. Really well, I think. There’s still a lot we need to talk about but… Yeah, I think it’s good.”

“I’ve been seeing this guy. It’s not too serious but I like him a lot,” Natalie admitted.

“That’s good,” Remus said.

“Yeah.”

Shortly they arrived at his parents’s home. Nothing had changed while he was gone. It was funny. He hadn’t even been gone nine months but his life had changed so much it felt like he had been gone for years.

His mom stepped out onto the porch with a bright smile.

“Mom,” Remus said and dashed up to hug her tightly.

“Oh, Remus,” his mother said, letting out a pleased sigh in his ear.

He hadn’t known how much he missed her until he saw her standing there. The screen door squeaked and Remus opened his eyes to see his father standing there with a grin.

“Hey, dad,” Remus said.

Remus and Natalie had divided their parents looks up. He had their mom’s golden brown hair and Natalie had their dad’s black hair. He had their dad’s face and Natalie had their mom’s, though they both had their dad’s eyes.

“Come on. Come give your old man a hug,” his dad said and Remus let go of his mom to give him a hug instead.

His father squeezed fiercely as he always did, then lead him inside for lunch.


 

Mary and Dorcas were waiting outside when James, Sirius, Lily and Peter arrived at Mary’s apartment.

“James Potter, pleased to meet you,” he said, offering his hand to them both in turn.

To his surprise, Mary rejected the handshake in favor of a warm hug.

“Oh. Nice,” James said and Mary chuckled in his ear.

“Hi, I’m Sirius.”

Sirius shook Dorcas’s hand then Mary’s, both of them introducing themselves.

“Let’s go in!” Lily said.

James was prepared to fight any jealousy he might experience from seeing Lily being flirty and affectionate with her other partners but he found that even as she sat on the sofa with Mary leaning against her shoulder, he didn’t have much of a problem. It was nice. He liked it.

The next several hours involved recounting the road trip. At some point Peter and Dorcas got to chatting over video games, drifting off to their own corner of the apartment. Sirius was doing a fair bit of texting, probably with Remus, who was spending time with his parents today.

Mary seemed very interested in hearing every detail about the trip and then eventually their lives together in Oregon.

“So… I guess now is the time to tell you guys… Mary’s moving in,” Lily said with a small smile.

“Cool,” James said.

“Nice. It’ll be cool having another trans guy around,” Sirius admitted, Mary smiling at him.

“Well, my lease here is up in August. I’m ready for a change. And I miss this one,” Mary said, giving his girlfriend a smooch on the cheek.

“After spending all these months with her… Well, I wouldn’t want to be separated from her either,” James said.

“You guys are gonna make me blush,” Lily said, looking back and forth between them.

“Good,” James said and winked.

Peter and Dorcas laughed about something loudly, wherever they were.

“Well, they’re hitting it off,” Mary said.

“Good. Peter could use a good distraction,” James replied.

“Remus is about to come out to his parents,” Sirius said, holding his phone in his hands.

“Oh. Hope that goes well,” Mary said.

“His parents have always been nice. I guess I’d worry a little about his dad but I think it’ll be fine,” Lily said.

“Yeah, he’s sitting down for dinner with them right now,” Sirius said.


 

Natalie had helpfully set Remus up by talking about her new sort of boyfriend, allowing his mother to say, “Are you seeing anyone, Remus?”

Though in truth, his mother knew that he never did any dating and probably wasn’t expecting a response.

“Yes, actually. I… I have a boyfriend,” Remus said, unable to look either of his parents in the eye.

“You’re gay?” his mom asked, seeming confused, no longer cutting her steak.

“No. I identify as queer but you can say I’m bi if anyone asks,” Remus said.

Remus glanced at his father. He smiled and nodded at Remus in silent approval. That was funny. He’d been worried that his father might have a negative reaction, being the more stern and conservative of his parents.

“You’re not serious,” his mom repeated.

“Mom, of course, he’s serious,” Natalie said in his defense.

“Actually my boyfriend is Sirius. I want you to meet him,” Remus said.

“He’s serious? What does that mean? It’s a serious relationship?” his mom inquired.

“Mom, his boyfriend is named Sirius. Like the star… or the radio,” Natalie said.

“Who in the world would name their child Sirius?” his mom said.

Remus was starting to feel rather uncomfortable.

“Have you heard about the drought in South Korea right now?” his father asked, probably trying to change the subject.

“Don’t change the subject, Marcellus,” Remus’s mother said sharply.

“Sylvia, let the boy be. I think it’s great that he’s getting out there and meeting people,” his father said, not realizing that wasn’t exactly what happened.

“Don’t you want children?” his mother asked.

“Umm…” Remus said, unsure how to reply.

“Well, he can get married now. That’s nice, isn’t it?” his father said, referring to the Supreme Court decision from two days before that made marriage equality the law of the land in the United States.

Sylvia Lupin just gave her husband a glare and turned back to Remus, “Do you need some help? Some therapy or something. Is this my fault?”

Remus sighed and looked down at his plate, hot tears filling his eyes.

“No, mom. I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong with me,” Remus said.

“I always thought you were gay,” his dad observed.

“I’m not gay. I’m bi,” Remus mumbled as tears fell down his face.

“You are not bi. You’re just confused,” his mother said, sounding confused.

“Yes I am! I’m me! I know what I feel!” Remus insisted, wiping his face with his napkin.

“I’m bi,” Natalie said and Remus looked up at her.

She smiled at him then frowned at her mother who was glaring at her like a deer caught in the head lights.

“That’s right. I like girls and boys. You gonna try to fix me?” Natalie said, looking ready for a fight.

“Excuse me,” their mother said and left the dining room, then headed upstairs.

Things were silent for a moment, aside from the distant sobbing of their mother in the house above.

“Well, I’m proud of you both. I’m sure your mother will come around,” their father said.

“She better,” Natalie said.

“I should talk to her,” Remus said, feeling bad that things went the way they did.

Remus stood up from the table and went upstairs. He went to his parents’s bedroom door and knocked.

“Yes?” his mother’s voice weakly called out.

“Can I come in?” Remus said.

“OK,” she said and Remus opened the door.

His mother sat on the side of their bed, wiping at her eyes with a tissue.

“Have you come here to rub it in my face some more?” she asked.

Remus sat on the bench at the end of their bed and said as gently as possible, “No. I don’t want to rub your face in anything. This is just who I am. Let me help you accept it.”

His mother side and glanced over at him with sadness. She looked so hurt and disappointed that it made him want to evaporate. It was like he had done something to her and that feeling stabbed him in the heart.

“I don’t know. I just want to be a grandmother someday. It’s part of why I had children,” she said.

“Mom. I’m twenty-one. I could have children one day,” Remus said.

“Do you want children?” she asked him and he froze up.

Remus liked children but he thought the idea of him taking care of any anytime soon was laughable at best. He struggled with caring for himself sometimes. But still… he liked the idea of being a parent. With the right person.. the idea was nice.

He wouldn’t allow himself to think about having children with Sirius. They had only been kinda sorta officially dating for a few weeks. It didn’t feel appropriate and he had no clue what Sirius’s feelings on children were.

“Yeah. Someday. My own if I can or I could adopt. Not anytime soon. Besides, Nat has always talked about how much she wants kids. You’ll get your grandkids, I promise,” Remus said.

“I’m sorry. I wish I could be OK with this. I love you so much, Remus. I don’t want this life for you. I don’t want you getting murder or dying of AIDS or something horrible,” she said.

“Mom. I’m fine. Also, no one dies from AIDS anymore. Not if they get treatment and especially if they get it early on. Most don’t ever develop full blown AIDS anymore. The AIDS crisis is long gone,” Remus said, realizing he was going to need to spend a lot of time educating his mother going forward.

Remus also realized he was going to need to explain to his mom that his boyfriend was trans, if only because he wanted to be able to ensure that she wouldn’t treat Sirius in an inappropriate way. He would have to talk to Sirius about that first, however.

“Do you think you’ll ever date a girl again?” his mom asked.

“I’ve never dated a girl before but, sure. Gender isn’t a factor for me. I’m just attracted to people,” Remus said.

He could try explaining that he did have a slight preference for men and masculinity but thought it best not to over complicate things.

“I kissed a girl when I was your age,” his mom said suddenly.

“At college?” Remus asked.

“No. She was a girl I knew at church. I thought she was so pretty. I invited her over to my apartment for dinner. I had some excuse or the other. I wanted to talk about Jesus and the Pharisees or something, Lord, I can’t remember.”

“Weren’t you dating dad?” Remus asked.

“Yeah, I was. But he didn’t know about her. I mean I didn’t know what I was doing. Not a clue. I just wanted to get to know her. Really bad. Of course, I didn’t know she was a lesbian. I’d never known any lesbians. I guess she thought I was one. She was… so nice. So sweet and funny. You should’ve seen, Remus. It was like she was… made of stars.”

Was… his mother describing a crush?

“She sounds neat,” Remus said.

“Oh, she was more than neat. I knew I was completely straight but when she tried to kiss me I didn’t stop her. I let her kiss me and it was wonderful. And I let her stay the night. Never told your father,” she said.

Remus couldn’t believe what he had just heard. He was pretty sure his mom had just confessed to cheating on his father with a woman.

“Wow,” Remus said, definitely understating things.

“I stopped going to that church. She wanted to see me again and I couldn’t… I just couldn’t. I was seeing your father and… No, I couldn’t be her friend. It wouldn’t have been right,” his mom said, wiping at her eyes.

“So you never saw her again?” Remus asked.

“No, I see around town. She still lives here. She and her wife. I’ve met her wife. Don’t care for her,” she said with a frown.

Remus was stunned. If Remus didn’t know better he might think his mother was still in love with this woman. He decided not to pry, thinking he should leave well enough alone now that his mother seemed to be on the path to acceptance.

“Do you want to go back downstairs with me?” Remus asked, offering his mother a hand as he stood up.

“Yeah. Let’s do that,” she said and stood up, taking his hand.

Remus guided his mother out of the bedroom but she stopped and embraced him.

“I love you, Remus. So much,” she said, clearly crying.

“I love you too, mom.”


 

“Hey, Sirius,” Mary said as he stood outside, watching the sunset.

“Hey,” he said, turning and smiling at him.

The sunset had pink and orange hue that was striped by wisps of cirrus clouds. It was quite lovely.

“Enjoying the sunset?” Mary asked.

“Yeah. I was thinking about all the different sunsets we saw on the road. The sky looks different depending on where you are. It’s hard to put into words. In Oregon… it’s usually too overcast to see much of a sunset, though it’s nice when it is there,” Sirius said.

“Yeah, I feel ya on the sky thing. It’s part of why I’ve always loved traveling,” Mary said.

“I could see myself being like that. Maybe if I could take Remus with me,” Sirius said.

Mary giggled.

“I don’t know, man. I want to plant my feet somewhere for a while. Find some work that keeps me more stationary. Build a community. A network that isn’t so chaotic and scattered,” Mary said.

“That makes sense. It’s like… now… I’ve never had this before? I never got along with most my family and that’s putting it mildly. And then there was James and his parents but that was still… not much of a network. Now there’s Remus, James, Lily, Peter… even you and Dorcas,” Sirius said.

“Aww. Sweet that you’d include me,” Mary said.

“James and Remus are family. Which makes Lily family. Which makes you family,” Sirius said, grinning at him.

Mary chuckled, shyly looking away.

“And you’re trans. That makes you pretty special too,” Sirius said.

“I don’t know, man. I still feel like a fuckin’ imposter, you know? Did you go through that?” Mary asked, frowning.

“Did I go through that? When have I ever stopped going through that? That’s the hardest part. That feeling that you might be fooling yourself. But you have to keep telling yourself that you know yourself better than anyone. You know what you feel,” Sirius said.

“When did you know?” Mary asked.

“God. When did I not know? That’s the terrible thing? I never doubted it as a kid, though every time I’d want to present as a boy or say I was boy… I got punished. Badly. So I learned to keep it quiet. But when you’re a kid… you don’t see the world in the same way. You don’t know what it’s going to be like to have people not want to believe or accept you for who you are. It sows doubt in your mind,” Sirius said.

“Fuck man, that’s so… much,” Mary said, astonished.

“Yeah. Wearing a binder and taking hormones helps. I was nervous before I started T. But it’s been good. Anything that decreases the chance that I’ll have to explain and defend myself feels good. I just want to exist, you know? I want to say that I’m a man and be believed,” Sirius said.

Mary smiled at him.

“Yeah, I want to get on hormones after the move. I don’t hate my body. I guess I’ve always… had a deeper voice and been seen as a boy. But I don’t mind my tits. I guess like you I just want to decrease the chance that I’ll not be seen as who I am,” Mary said.

“If you have any questions about being on the hormones I’d be happy to share, though I gather that some things can be different for different people,” Sirius said.

“Oh, would you? I have so many questions,” Mary replied.

“Have at it. I’m happy to help,” Sirius said.


 

Lily opened her eyes and looked around. She had apparently fallen asleep on James who was, himself, also asleep. No one else was around Mary’s living room.

“Where’d everyone go?” Lily whispered.

“Hmm?” James said, stirring awake.

“We’re alone apparently,” Lily said but the front door opened, Mary and Sirius laughing at something and looking as thick as thieves.

“There’s two of them,” James said.

“Peter and Dorcas left. They said they would be back,” Sirius said.

“Weird,” James said.

“Sirius and I were just outside chatting. Actually, Lil, could I talk to you?” Mary asked.

“Yeah,” Lily said, standing up and stretching before following Mary outside where it was now quite dark.

“So yeah. Had a nice chat with Sirius. He’s something else, isn’t he?” Mary said.

“I’d certainly say so,” Lily said.

“And hot, right? He’s fuckin’ hot,” Mary said.

“Very,” Lily admitted.

Mary scratched the back of his head, looking towards his apartment in thought.

“Yeah. I uh… definitely am looking forward to getting to know him better. I mean don’t worry… I’m not going to like… I love Remus and I would never do anything to hurt him. But… mmmm. Gonna enjoy crushing on that boy,” he declared.

“That’s fair. At this point, I pretty much have a crush on everyone I live with, except maybe Peter,” Lily admitted.

“That sounds like you. Too bad they aren’t all poly, right?” Mary said.

Lily awkwardly chuckled and wondered whether it would be appropriate to reveal the secrets she knew to her boyfriend. She needed to tell someone or she might burst.

“If I tell you something… Some… things, you have to promise to never speak a word to another living soul,” Lily said, lowering her voice.

“I mean, obviously, but I wouldn’t want you to betray anyone’s trust,” Mary said, looking concerned.

“Fuck. I’m gonna die if I don’t tell someone. Surely, they’ll understand,” Lily said, bouncing with frustration.

“I’ll listen to anything you have to tell me… I mean I guess if no one said you couldn’t tell me…”

“No, that’s not an issue. They just don’t want each other knowing,” Lily said.

“Who?” Mary asked.

Lily whispered, “James and Remus. They both have crushed on each other.”

Mary’s face lit up and he covered his mouth as he tried to laugh.

“Dude! That’s amazing,” Mary said.

“Right? Oh my god, Remus told me about his crush yesterday and I was trying to encourage him without saying that I knew what I knew. And now I have to play some absurd game where I know what both of them don’t know but can’t tell them that I know everything I know,” Lily said.

“That’s rough, buddy,” Mary said.

“Thanks, Sokka,” Lily said, elbowing him in recognition of his Avatar: The Last Airbender reference.

“Damn, dude. That’s some wild shit, though. It’d be pretty sweet if they hooked up though, right?” Mary said.

“Yeah. I mean… assuming Sirius didn’t get hurt. I told Remus to talk to Sirius but obviously he’s busy today,” Lily said.

“Maybe Sirius is poly?” Mary said.

“That’d be perfect. But… I don’t want to get excited,” Lily said.

“That’s fair. Do you like him?” Mary said.

“Who?” Lily said.

“Sirius.”

“Oh. I mean, I’ve already admitted to crushes all around. But yeah. He’s hot. I’d date him if he was interested and available,” Lily said.

“Same,” Mary admitted.

“Pretty soon we’re gonna need a flow chart for all these relationships,” Lily joked.

Mary loudly chuckled.

“Probably,” she said.

The front door to the apartment opened and James stepped out.

“Peter texted to say that he and Dorcas are on their way back. They went to see a movie, apparently,” James said.

“What movie?” Mary asked.

“I don’t know. He didn’t say,” James replied.

“Weird,” Mary said.


 

“Good night,” Remus’s mom called out from the other side of his old bedroom door.

“Night,” Remus echoed.

Even though he had moved out three years ago to live with Lily, his room remained largely untouched. He had left his Smiths, Cure and Paramore posters up on the wall precisely for a moment like this when he could return and feel those particular emotions.

Nostalgia was funny. He remembered the day they moved into the house and he put up The Smiths poster next to the window. There was nothing particular special about that moment. It wasn’t the first house he had moved into. But thinking about the moment made him feel things. It made him happy. He liked the… continuity of it. His fingers graced the poster, thinking it seemed nearly as good as new.

Even the stupid, ugly floral pattern of the wallpaper gave him feelings. He never liked it but he missed it all the same.

His phone chimed:

 

 

Back at hotel. Gonna cuddle with Peter since you’re not here.

 

 

Remus smirked. He knew Sirius was joking but was curious what would happen if he didn’t react with jealousy.

 

 

Nice. I’m about to get into bed too.

 

I… was joking. I’m not really cuddling with Peter. Lol

 

I know. :P I’m just not the jealous type, I guess.

 

 

Sirius didn’t reply for a couple of minutes. At first Remus was worried until he received:

 

Oops. I passed out for a sec lol. Gotta sleep. Love you <3

 

Love you too <3

 

Chapter Text

“You sure you don’t want to come?” James asked.

“I always want to come. Mmm,” Lily sleepily moaned, lying next to him in the hotel bed, naked with her butt facing the ceiling.

“Be serious,” James chuckled.

“Would that turn you on? I don’t really look anything like Sirius but if you want to roleplay…”

“Hey, I’m the one that makes jokes about his name!” James said, playfully popping her on her bottom, eliciting a light moan before he rolled out of bed.

“No, I don’t want to go with you to meet Charity and her fiancé,” Lily said.

James was surprised by her lack of interest. Lily was normally always up for meeting new people.

“Any reason why not?” James said.

“I don’t know. What if her fiancé is a huge dick?” Lily asked.

“Then I’ll be all alone with Charity and her huge dick,” James said.

Lily snickered.

“No, I promised to hang with Sirius and Mary today. I like keeping my promises. Actually, I should get up,” Lily said with a groan.

James showered and came out, giving Lily a kiss before he headed out the door, hitting the road to Brattleboro, Vermont a half hour drive away. They were meeting for lunch in a small cafe there.

Charity rushed up to him and embraced him tightly, looking just as she did the last time he saw her. She was a very short woman, with short curly brown hair.

“James. It’s good to see you,” Charity said, leading him over to their table.

A man stood up. He was wearing black even thought it was the middle of summer. His black hair looked oily and unwashed and his face seemed to have a natural sneer.

“Severus Snape,” the man said, extending his hand, making James wonder where he had heard that name before.


 

Natalie was swinging in the old tire swing when Remus went out the backdoor, looking to play fetch with Josh, their golden retriever. The tire swing had been there, hanging from the large white ash tree in the backyard, when they moved in. Their father had done some repairs a few times but mostly it was as it had been left by the previous owners.

Josh was sitting in front of Remus, relentlessly wagging his tail so Remus tossed the ball, allowing Josh to quickly grab it and bring it back to Remus, following him as he walked out to Natalie.

“Hey, Nat,” Remus said, leaning against the tree next to her and taking the ball and tossing it again.

“Hey. Sorry if I stole your thunder at dinner last night,” Natalie said with a smirk.

“Nah. I’m glad you said it. Though you could’ve told me ahead of time,” Remus said and Natalie chuckled.

Josh brought the ball back and dropped it in front of Remus, forcing him to bend over and pick it back up.

“I don’t know. It’s hard, isn’t it? Even when you know someone will accept you. Just… saying the words. I’d rather just people know and accept it without having to make a big fuss,” Natalie said.

“Yeah. Unfortunately, life is more complicated than that.”

“Yeah.”

Josh barked at Remus, his eyes fixed on the ball. Remus laughed and tossed the ball far, watching the dog rush to retrieve it.

“Say, Nat… do you know… Last night, when I went up to talk to mom.. She… kind of revealed that she’s been in love with this lady for the last twenty-five years?”

“What?” Natalie said, stopping her swinging and staring at Remus in confusion.

“Last night… she just… out of nowhere revealed that she cheated on dad with this lady when she was twenty-one,” Remus said, whispering as if their mother could somehow hear them out there.

“The fuck?” Natalie gasped.

“Right?”

Josh barked, having dropped the ball in front of Remus at some point. Remus shook his head and tossed the ball again.

“Who is this lady? Does she still know her?”

“Yeah. She lives here in Keene. She didn’t say who she was but she’s a lesbian and has wife or girlfriend or whatever,” Remus replied.

“How could she judge us?” Natalie asked.

“I don’t know. I’ve been wondering the same thing. I guess she compartmentalizes. She’s probably in denial about her feelings. I mean at first she just told me she had kissed a girl like it was no big deal… then it was clear… that she had really liked her… and she spent the night with her,” Remus said.

“Wait. Mom boned a lady and judges us?” Natalie said, sounding pissed.

“I guess so. I didn’t ask for details but… the implication was there,” Remus said.

“What a fucking hypocrite,” Natalie said.

“I don’t know. I feel bad for her. She didn’t grow up in the same time we are, Nat. Her parents were really religious and she was dating dad. Think about how hard it is to come out now and imagine what it was like in 1980,” Remus said.

“Yeah, but still. How dare she judge us,” Natalie growled.

“I want to help her,” Remus said.

“What? Convince her she’s gay or bi?” Natalie said.

“I don’t know. I just know that if it were me I would want help,” Remus said.

Josh barked and Remus tossed the ball. Remus sometimes wondered what the dog got out of this process. If someone kept tossing a ball and forcing him to go and fetch it, he’d think they were a real jerk.

“What if we help her and she’s like oh, I guess I’m a lesbian and leaves dad?” Natalie said.

Remus frowned. He hadn’t thought of that.

“I don’t know. But what if she’s unhappy? What if she doesn’t want to deny who she is for the rest of her life?” Remus said.

“God, you’ve always been such a valiant hero. Fine. We’ll talk about this. But I need to get stoned. Will you come out into the woods and smoke some weed with me?”

Natalie knew that Remus didn’t care for weed but under the circumstances he felt like it might help.

“I’ll put Josh up,” Remus said.

“I’ll go get the stuff from my room,” Natalie said, jumped out of the tire swing.


 

“I wanted to make video games but I’ve moved on from that. I still play them but I’ve moved onto more serious programming endeavors,” Severus said.

James really didn’t like this guy. James hated the way he looked down on everyone and everything. He was waiting for any sign of mistreatment for Charity but in truth he seemed to look at her with a lot of love and she seemed to like him. He wasn’t doing anything to anybody. He was just kind of a pretentious asshole.

From what James gathered the two of them had met on OkCupid. For some reason or the other that seemed sort of vague, he had been thinking of moving to Southwest Oregon and chatted up Charity. They hit it off and now here she was, all moved right near where Lily grew up and about to marry this jerk. Something about this was weird.

James pulled out his phone, not caring if he was being rude and thinking that Severus was too busy listening to himself talk as he sent Lily a text:

 

 

This guy is an ass. Also his story is weird.

 

 

“Yeah,” James chuckled, pretending to have heard whatever Severus had just said.

His phone chimed.

 

 

That sucks. What’s his name? Maybe I know him lol

 

Yeah, his name is weird too. Severus Snape. Who names their kid Severus?


 

“What the fuck?” Lily said suddenly, making Sirius jump.

“What?” Mary said.

Lily looked up from with a look bordering on horror. They were walking along Ashuelot Rail Trail and Sirius had been greatly enjoying the environment, suddenly very much looking forward to the upcoming two weeks spent in a cabin.

Lily turned to Mary looking grim.

“James’s ex-girlfriend is marrying Severus Snape,” Lily said.

“Oh my god,” Mary said looking shocked.

“Who is that?” Sirius asked.

“I’ve mentioned a friend who I slept with then he turned into an asshole because I wouldn’t drop everything and be with him? This is the guy,” Lily said, shaking her phone as if it were him.

She texted back to James as she made frustrated grunts.

“Ugh. I can’t believe I agreed to go to his wedding,” Lily said.

“Weren’t we planning on crashing it anyhow?” Mary said.

“Probably. But now it’s an obligation. That fucker… I bet he knows. Let me ask James how the fuck these two met,” Lily said, pulling her phone back out of her shorts pocket and furiously texting.

After a short back and forth Lily was fuming.

“They met on OKC. He was looking up people where we live, Sirius. He knew exactly what he was doing. He’s probably been Facebook stalking me or, God, I don’t even know. He might be following my Tumblr,” Lily said, making a disgusted face.

“Holy fuck, Lil. You think he’s stalking you,” Mary said.

“I don’t know. I hope not. Maybe he was just curious and he really did like her profile. I hope so. I mean… they are living out here. Maybe it started that way but… he really likes her?” Lily said.

“Babe, I think you might want to consider meeting with Sev. Bury the hatchet,” Mary said.

“Yeah. In his fucking back. I gave him a chance. I was ready to forgive him if he just would’ve owned up. I don’t know that I can go back, even if he has grown. Fuck!” Lily said, looking like she needed to sit down.

They were nearly at a bridge and carried on to there where they rested and look out at the river that passed beneath it.

“Just when I thought I had everything figured out. Boom,” Lily said, making an explosive gesture with her hands.

“That’s life, I guess,” Mary said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and planting a kiss on her cheek.

“Guess so,” Lily said and frowned.

“What does James think of him?” Sirius asked.

“James thinks he’s an ass,” Lily said, grinning slightly.

“He’s not wrong,” Mary admitted and they all chuckled.


 

“There’s more about me… than just being bi,” Remus said, exhaling marijuana smoke into the air as he lay next to his sister in a bright outcropping in the woods.

“Oh yeah?” Natalie asked, taking a puff from her joint.

The world felt odd. Being stoned was such an unusual feeling. It felt nice but Remus wouldn’t want to feel this way very often. He felt oddly detached from his own experiences, like he was looking through a window into another reality. He didn’t know what the fuck that meant but it was definitely how he felt.

“I might be nonbinary,” Remus admitted.

“Cool. I have a friend who is genderfluid. They’re pretty rad,” Natalie said.

“Nice. I don’t know. Gender is weird. Like… what does it even mean?” Remus said.

“I don’t fuckin’ know. I’m a girl but I don’t know what that means,” Natalie said.

Remus puffed on his joint again then slowly exhaled, feeling another gently burn of euphoria in his mind.

“I wore a skirt and makeup at Pride and it felt so right. But I’m afraid if I really were to look like what I feel… someone might hurt me,” Remus admitted.

“Don’t worry, big brother, if anyone hurts you I’ll beat them up,” Natalie declared, pumping a fist then puffing on her joint.

“Thanks. I appreciate that, Nat. But yeah it’s… I just… had never felt more myself before that weekend before. And I didn’t even know until I tried to let myself be that person,” Remus said, thinking if he weren’t so high he would probably be crying.

“Aww. That’s great,” Natalie said, rubbing his shoulder.

“Of course, I can’t even begin to approach telling them about my gender,” Remus said, meaning their parents.

“Yeah, I get that. Right. We were gonna talk about mom. What should we do?” Natalie said.

“I don’t know. I think if we press her on it she’ll just get defensive, maybe even deny it. If we knew who the lady was we could talk to her… Maybe you were right. We shouldn’t meddle,” Remus said, inhaling marijuana smoke again.

“Probably. I don’t know. I think you sold me on it. I was thinking what if I stayed in the closet and got married to some dude and could… never be honest? That would suck,” Natalie said.

“Yeah. Maybe you should talk to her. Wait until there’s a good moment. You can take her aside and tell her your experiences. Get her to relate, maybe,” Remus said.

“Yeah. Maybe. Maybe so. Good idea, big brother,” Natalie said.


 

Sirius was napping when Remus returned to the hotel that evening. He had arrived back a couple of hours before from their walk partially down the rail trail then back up again and taken a shower then laid down with nothing better to do.

“Hey,” Sirius said, rubbing his eyes.

“Hey,” Remus said with a grin and rushed over to Sirius’s bed as soon as he had set his backpack down.

He slid over to Sirius and their lips quickly met for a slow, sweet kiss.

“Mmm. I missed you too,” Sirius said.

“Where’s Peter?” Remus asked.

“Hanging out with Dorcas. They hit it off,” Sirius said.

“Cool,” Remus said and kissed Sirius again, a hand sliding down the side of his body to his hip.

They slowly made out, Sirius enraptured by the feel of Remus’s lips. He reached behind Remus and slid his hands up and down his back, feeling aroused by his weight and heat. He had more muscle and form than he often acted like he had.

Sirius pulled his mouth away to breathe, brushing his face against Remus’s before their lips slid back together as if that was how they belonged. Sirius was grateful they were alone and they didn’t have to hold anything back, though he wasn’t sure where this was going.

Remus pulled away and said, “I’ve got so much I need to tell. Stuff we should talk about too.”

“Oh? You don’t want to keep doing this,” Sirius said, gesturing from his own lips to Remus’s.

“Yeah. I mean, after,” Remus said leaning back into Sirius’s mouth.

Remus seemed to slide closer and closer and Sirius could feel something hard below pressing against his thigh. He was certain that he was wet.

“Remus… if you wanted to do something right now… I would definitely be game for that,” Sirius admitted.

Remus frowned then kissed Sirius before pulling away again.

“We need to talk before we get carried away. I want to… Physically I really want to,” Remus said, lightly rocking his pelvis.

“Yeah, me too. Badly, but that’s OK. Umm… say what you need,” Sirius said and Remus slid away.

“I guess… I wanted to talk about us and what we want from this relationship,” Remus said.

“Well, what do you want?” Sirius asked.

“Umm… God, I’m nervous,” Remus admitted with a chuckle.

Sirius was a little too turned on to be nervous but chuckled with Remus anyway.

“Don’t be. Just say whatever. No judging,” Sirius promised.

“OK. I mean… I love you. I never thought I would be able to say that to anyone with such ease but it’s true. I know I haven’t known you a long time but… I love you,” Remus said.

“I love you too,” Sirius grinned, wanting to kiss him but knowing that way might lead them down the path Remus didn’t want to go.

“Lily always says that relationships should be based on mutual want and need,” Remus said.

“Well, what do you want and need?” Sirius said.

“I want… you. All of you that you are willing to share. Need? I don’t think I need you but I need… so much. There’s so much love and affection in me. Maybe more than I could ever give one person?” Remus said.

“Oh,” Sirius said with realization.

“Yeah. I guess… I’m worried that I might want to be with other people and that… either you wouldn’t be OK with it or you would think it was because I didn’t love you enough…” Remus said.

“Don’t you think this has occurred to me?” Sirius said.

“Has it?”

“Yeah. Lily has had me thinking. I mean… you’re the only person I’ve ever seriously been romantically attracted to. I mean… I don’t even know what that means? What is romantic attraction? How is it different than anything else? If I think about wanting to kiss Lily is that romantic attraction or do I just think it would be fun? Friends can kiss. Romantic partners can kiss. I’m not sure what the difference is,” Sirius said.

“Me either. I guess it’s different for everybody? There’s this thing… called relationship anarchy. It’s a totally different way of looking at relationships in a non-hierarchical fashion. I think it’s cool,” Remus said.

“I’ll have to look that up. Anyhow, to answer your underlying question: I’m cool if you want to date other people. As long as it’s cool that I do too,” Sirius said.

Sirius did have some interest in Lily. He wasn’t sure what the attraction was but it existed. It could be fun to explore that.

“Of course. Though I do wonder… what if the person I was interested in was… someone we knew?” Remus said.

“That sounds better than strangers,” Sirius said and Remus grinned.

“I’m not sure I’m ready to talk about that but… I might have a crush on someone,” Remus said.

It wouldn’t be shocking that Remus was interested in Lily, seeing as she was his best friend, and Sirius wasn’t sure why Remus would want to treat it like a secret but he also wasn’t going to press him on the issue.

“That’s fair. Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?” Sirius said.

“Yeah… my mom. She… Told me something last night and I wanted to get your take on it. Then maybe we can watch some Netflix until we fall asleep?”

“Definitely,” Sirius said and listened to the perplexing revelations about Remus’s mother.

 

Chapter Text

In the days leading up to the fourth of July, James Potter had the first real fight he and Lily had ever had.

“What do you mean you don’t do the fourth? Everybody does the fourth,” James said.

“I don’t. I’ll acknowledge that it happens and that sometimes it’s a good time to meet up with family and friends but patriotism is toxic bullshit,” Lily said, standing in front of the bed looking stern.

“But… fireworks? And hot dogs and burgers! It’s not about… like whether we love what America is… it’s about fun and just… celebrating the land of the free,” James said.

“I’m surprised at you James. You’ve never seemed ignorant about oppression and privilege,” Lily commented.

“I’m not. I’ve been dealing with racism my entire life. I’m not like… turning my back on Black Lives Matter by saying I love America,” James countered.

“I didn’t say that. Don’t put words in my mouth,” Lily replied sharply.

“Sorry,” James frowned.

“America isn’t great. It could be great, but it isn’t. I’m not telling you what to do with your time and energy but for me, I don’t say the pledge of allegiance or sing the national anthem or celebrate the fourth of July,” Lily declared.

“I just… want you there. Everyone will be there, even Remus’s family,” James insisted.

“Mary won’t be there,” Lily pointed out.

James sighed.

“I just don’t see why it’s a big deal. It’s not like the government is gonna notice that Lily Evans didn’t come to watch fireworks,”

“Lily Evans will notice that Lily Evans didn’t come to watch fireworks. It’s not for the government. It’s for me. I don’t feel it,” Lily replied.

“But… what about what you feel for all of us?” James pleaded.

“Just… let it go, James,” Lily said.

“Are you just worrying Severus will be there?” James asked.

“I’m sure he will be. And no, I don’t care about that. Do you take me for a liar?” Lily replied, an edge to her voice.

“No. I just… thought maybe it could be a factor,” James admitted.

“Actually, no, I had managed to push Severus out of my mind, but now he’s back again, so thanks, James,” Lily said, sounding annoyed.

“Sorry. Look, I’ll just go…” James said, standing up from the bed and grabbing his wallet.

“Do you usually runaway from arguments?” Lily asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

“We’re not arguing. You’re right and I’m wrong. I’m an asshole,” James conceded.

Lily sighed.

“I’m sorry, James. I wish I didn’t care. But I do. I grew up knowing the way this country uses, abuse and exploits Puerto Rico. And that isn’t just the government’s problem. Most people here, especially white people, don’t give a fuck about Puerto Rico or even know that Puerto Ricans are US citizens,” Lily said.

“I… didn’t know. I mean, I know now. But when I met you and you said you were Puerto Rican… I knew it was a US territory… but I didn’t know. I looked it up,” James said, not turning around to face her.

“Typical. Disappointing but typical,” Lily said.

“I’m sorry,” James said.

Lily sighed again.

“It’s OK. Look, I don’t want to fight with you, James,” Lily insisted.

“Me either,” James said, turning around and facing her.

“I can’t explain to you all of my complicated feelings about this country in the span of one day,” Lily said.

“I just… can’t stand being without you. I’m selfish in that way. If I’m doing something cool, I want you there. I’m sentimental. Being with the ones I love is what makes me feel alive. If you’re not there… it won’t be the same,” James said with a frown.

Lily nodded.

“Let me think about it. We’ve still got two days until Saturday.”

“All right,” James said, trying to prevent himself from smiling.


 

“It’s weird,” Remus said.

“Sure. What is?” Sirius replied as they got ready to go over to Brattleboro for fireworks.

“I’m nervous,” Remus admitted.

“You’ll be fine. I’ll be with you,” Sirius said.

“I meant the cabin,” Remus countered.

“Oh. Really?” Sirius said.

“Yeah. There’s going to be a lot of us under one roof. And with you and I sharing a room… Let’s just say that I haven’t had much alone time recently and two weeks without it…” Remus trailed off, looking sad and exhausted.

“I mean… we don’t have to share a room. I could sleep somewhere else,” Sirius said.

“No. You’re fine. I just… need some time to recharge at some point. Maybe some walks through the woods,” Remus said.

Sirius frowned. He felt terrible for Remus. He wished he better understood what he was going through. Sirius got anxiety attacks sometimes but being around people was usually fine.

“What’s it like? I usually find being around people gives me energy,” Sirius said.

“I find the opposite. It’s like I have a battery that’s being slowly drained and that’s on top of all the anxiety I feel,” Remus said.

“Why aren’t you nervous about the fireworks?” Sirius said.

“I am but… it’s different. Most of those people will ignore me. But you guys… I’ll be expected to be social and interact. It’s exhausting and I’m already exhausted,” Remus admitted.

“Is there anything I can do?” Sirius asked, walking around to Remus.

“No. Just… be there. Except when I need to be alone,” Remus said.

“OK. I’ll do that,” Sirius said then gave Remus a kiss.

“I guess we should go,” Remus said.

“Yeah. James is probably waiting,” Sirius replied.


 

As people gathered in the park in Brattleboro where they were going to be lighting off fireworks, Lily wondered what she was doing there. She didn’t like the feeling of betraying her own principles. After their fight, James later sat her down and said he had changed his mind. He thought she should stand up for her principles.

And that had been that for a day or so… but she woke up that morning… feeling like she needed to do it. She didn’t want to stand for the America that disappointed her. She wanted to stand for the America that James loved. The one that held promise. She wasn’t sure she believed in that America but she wanted to believe in it and perhaps for that evening that would be enough.

Everyone sat on towels, blankets and lawn chairs as they waited on a hill for the fireworks. There were people grilling burgers and hot dogs nearby. There were a few people already wearing Trump 2016 tee-shirts, making her clench her fists in silence.

Dorcas was sharing a blanket with Peter while Mary was by himself. Lily went and sat down next to him, while James was busy talking with Remus and Sirius.

“Hey,” Lily said.

“Hey, babe,” Mary said, leaning over to give Lily a kiss.

“I’m surprised you came,” Lily said.

“Well, everyone is here,” Mary replied.

“Everyone is always here,” Lily countered

Mary laughed.

“No, babe. Everyone as in… all of us. Our group.  This family or whatever,” Mary said, gesturing at the four blankets they were all occupying.

“Oh. Right. But I mean… I only barely came,” Lily admitted.

Mary’s parents were Abenaki and Cherokee and that gave him his own perspective on America. Though Lily thought that his issues with America were more complicated than that.

“I guess I decided being here was important. I’m excited about the cabin. It’s gonna be good to get away and… just be together… with people I love,” Mary said, reaching over to hold Lily’s hand.

Lily smiled and lifted his hand to her mouth, planting a small kiss on it. Sometimes Lily really thought she was in love with love. Head over heels with it, in fact.

“Hey,” a familiar voice said in a presumptuous tone.

Lily sighed.

“Hey, Sev,” she said flatly, turning behind her to see him standing there.

“Can we talk?” he said.

“I suppose,” she said and stood up.

“Well?” she said, standing in front of him.

“Can we go somewhere more private?” Severus asked.

“Fine,” she said and followed him towards the edge of the woods.

“You’re looking good,” Severus said as they stopped at the edge of the surrounding woods.

“Thanks,” Lily said, refusing to return the compliment.

“Are you coming to the wedding?” he asked.

“I said I would. I keep my promises,” Lily said, crossing her arms over her chest.

“I’m surprised you’d want to come to my wedding,” Severus observed.

“I don’t. I want to go with my boyfriend to his ex-girlfriend’s wedding,” Lily replied.

Severus scowled.

“Isn’t there… any part of you that still cares about me?” he asked.

Lily sighed.

“Of course, there is. But it’s buried under a lot of hurt, resentment and anger. You really hurt me, Sev. And despite that I tried to be the bigger person and mend things with you. But you treated me like a terrible person just because I didn’t feel the way about you that you wanted me to feel.”

“That’s not true. That’s not true at all. I didn’t have to want you to feel anything that I didn’t believe you were feeling already,” Sev said and Lily groaned.

“Get over it, dude. You were my friend. You were a damn good friend. I was as honest with you as I could have possibly been. I never lead you on or pretended something that wasn’t true,” Lily replied with frustration.

“No, no. It’s OK. I understand now. I don’t think you are a liar. You have some sort of block when it comes to me. Something that won’t let you let go,” Severus said.

Lily clenched a fist and sighed.

“Did you really want to bring me aside just to piss me off? I’m sorry, Sev, but I never felt anything for you. And you know the worst thing? It’s that maybe someday I would have. Who knows? Not me. Not you. And we never will. Because you wanted exactly what you wanted when you wanted it,” Lily said.

Severus looked down at his feet then back up again. It was something resembling regret.

“I’m sorry. Really. I am. I’ve grown up a lot these last two years. I’m in college now. I’m going to be an engineer. I’m getting married. Charity and I are going to have a child,” Severus proclaimed proudly.

“Charity is pregnant?” Lily asked and Sev nodded.

“We aren’t telling anyone but… I suppose I can tell you,” Severus grinned.

“Are you sure you’re ready for that?” Lily asked.

“It’s not my decision to make,” Severus replied, not really answering the question, though Lily couldn’t disagree with his statement.

Charity was older, perhaps that would offset Severus’s youth. Or perhaps Lily was being too judgmental. She knew that were she to get pregnant she would want the child. But on the other hand, she would have a lot of support from other people. Charity and Severus would only have each other.

“Sev… I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to be honest,” Lily said.

“Ask anything,” Severus said.

“Why were you trying to meet people in Oregon on OkCupid?” Lily asked.

Severus looked away, seeming nervous.

“I… It’s not what it looks like,” Severus insisted.

“You said you would be honest,” Lily said.

“Fine. I’ll be honest. I was curious. I was lonely. With you gone… Dammit, Lily, you were my only friend,” Severus plead, his eyes shining with tears.

“I didn’t end our friendship, Sev. You did. That’s on you!”

Severus grunted and shook his head.

“Be that as it may… I wasn’t in a good place. I had a moment of weakness. But… I saw Charity’s profile. Maybe you won’t believe me but… I was instantly attracted to her. So I messaged her. We got along. She’s… almost perfect. We share the same values and worldview,” Severus said.

“Did you know I was dating her ex-boyfriend?” Lily said.

“Not at first, obviously. I saw it on Facebook,” Sev said, confirming something Lily strongly suspected.

Lily wanted to call him out for having some stalkerish tendencies but for now was pleased to be getting some honesty out of him.

“So you noticed he was friends with Charity?” Lily asked.

“Oh, she had told me all about her ex-boyfriend James. And showed me pictures. When I saw that you were dating him I knew exactly who he was. It’s a small world, after all,” Severus said.

The whole thing made Lily uncomfortable but she couldn’t deny that she had looked people up online who she used to know. Though she had certainly never looked up the area any exes lived on a dating website. That was weird but at least he wasn’t denying it.

“Well… I appreciate you being honest, Sev,” Lily said.

“Will you forgive me?” Severus begged.

“Tell me what it is you think you need forgiveness for,” Lily said, worried he still might not understand.

Severus looked down at the ground, seeming thoughtful as his black hair hung over his eyes.

“I am sorry for… Sleeping with you after your mother died. That was wrong. You were vulnerable. I know you initiated it but… I should’ve said no,” Severus said.

That wasn’t Lily’s top concern but she still said, “Thank you.”

“I’m sorry that when you reached out to me and try to preserve our friendship… I wish I would’ve tried to mend things,” he said.

“I agree. Thank you,” Lily said, still waiting for the big one.

“I’m sorry that we haven’t spoken since then,” Severus said.

“Anything else?” Lily said.

Severus pursed his lips, looking nervous.

“Seriously? Come on, dude,” Lily said, starting to walk away.

“No, Lily, wait. I’m… I’m sorry I… I’m sorry I acted the way I did. I was hurt and said things I shouldn’t have,” he said.

“That’s putting it mildly, Sev. As I recall, you shamed me for my life choices. You shamed me for my sex work, oh and if you are wondering, yes I still let strangers jack off to me on the internet. I welcome it in fact because it pays the bills,” Lily declared.

Severus looked very uncomfortable and tried to speak but couldn’t seem to produce any words.

“You judged me for everything that I am because fucking you hadn’t made me fall in love with you. I was honest with you. You promised me that sleeping me with me wouldn’t change anything. I’m sorry you were hurt but that’s not my fault! You hurt me, Sev. You betrayed me,” Lily said, her eyes feeling damp.

“I’m… I’m sorry,” Severus said.

“Are you? Are you really? Or am I just making you uncomfortable? Dammit, Sev. You really disappointed me,” Lily said.

Severus looked down at the ground. Lily thought he might be crying.

“I don’t know if we can ever be friends again. I hate closing doors. For now… I think I’m still hurting. Maybe someday. I don’t know,” Lily said, and walked away, leaving him there looking at the grass.


 

“Remus!” Natalie said, running up to him and Sirius laying together on their blanket.

“Hey, Nat. What’s up?” Remus said.

“Hey, Nat,” Sirius said.

“Hey. Uh… Remus, could you come with me?” Natalie asked.

“Yeah. I’ll be back, Sirius,” Remus said, standing up to follow his sister.

“No worries. I’ll keep the blanket warm for you,” Sirius said.

“I found her. Mom’s girlfriend or whatever,” Natalie said.

“Really? How?” Remus said, following Natalie down to where people were grilling food.

“She’s there,” Natalie said, pointing to a blonde haired middle-aged woman who was standing arm in arm with a butch woman the same age.

“Did you literally just find a lesbian and decide that was her?” Remus asked.

“No. I… did some digging. Actually… God, I know this isn’t cool but… I got on mom’s computer and checked her Facebook. I figured she’s probably been searching for her. She’s the only local lesbian mom has been creeping on. Her name is Amelia Hayworth,” Natalie said.

“Nat, that’s not cool!” Remus screeched.

“Fuck, I know, dude. I’m sorry, Remus. But how else was I going to find her?” Natalie said.

“I don’t know. Well, now what do we do?” Remus said.

“We lie. We go up to her and say our mom mentioned knowing her. She’s a librarian. We say mom noticed her at the library and said that she used to know her,” Natalie said.

“Were you stoned when you concocted this plan?” Remus asked.

“Dude, I’m stoned now. What’s the worse that could happen?” Natalie said and casually started walking to the woman as Remus followed, terrified.

“Excuse me, Miss. Hayworth? Hi, I’m Natalie Lupin. This is my brother, Remus,” Natalie said.

“Sylvia’s kids? Oh, it’s lovely to meet you!” Miss. Hayworth said, shaking their hands.

“Hi, I’m Barb,” her partner said, also shaking their hands.

“Uh, yeah, our mom said she used to know you? You went to church together?” Natalie said.

Amelia frowned briefly but ultimately smiled.

“Yes, we did,” Amelia said.

“We… we had some questions,” Natalie said.

“Is Sylvia here?” Amelia said, looking around with worry.

“Yeah, but she’s up on the hill with my father. She’s not going to come down here,” Natalie said.

“Yeah. All right. Barb, do you mind?” Amelia said.

“Go ahead. I’ll be waiting here,” Barb smiled.

Amelia Hayworth followed them over to a nearby tree, Remus unsure exactly what was about to happen.

“So… I don’t mean to get personal, Miss. Hayworth, but-“

“Please, call me Amelia,” she insisted.

“Oh. All right. Amelia, our mom… We were wondering how you knew her?” Natalie asked.

Amelia sighed.

“Your mom… She was a very nice girl. We went to church together. I thought she was cute. And that girl loved Jesus, let me tell you. And I was pretty in love with Jesus too. I’ve never been much of a Christian. The rest of the bible doesn’t interest me. Just Jesus. I think we were drawn together, your mother and I,” Amelia admitted.

“She said she invited you to dinner?” Natalie asked.

“Well, yes, but… it didn’t really happen like that. We were good friends. I thought maybe she was attracted to me but since she said she was straight I wanted her to make the first move. But gosh by the time she invited me to stay the night with her… we’d been friends for months,” Amelia said.

Remus’s mouth fell open and he glanced at Natalie who was having a similar reaction.

“I’m guessing she told a different version. Ah. Well, this is the truth as the best I recall it. She’d been hinting around for weeks that we should hang out at her place. But I was afraid. I was falling in love with a straight woman. She finally directly asked and I said yes. We went there and sat on her sofa and gossiped about Jesus. She never talked about her boyfriend… your father. Only in passing. You’d think Jesus was the only man in her life.”

Remus and Natalie both looked at each other in shared disbelief as she continued, “She kept scooting closer and closer to me. I was so nervous. I was young but not so young that I didn’t know better than to kiss straight girls. But she asked if she could kiss me and I said yes. And the kiss kept going… you can… use your imaginations for what came next.”

“She said you were the one who tried to kiss her,” Remus said, astonished.

Amelia frowned.

“That’s not true. It makes an easy story when you don’t want to make yourself seem anything less than straight. But it’s not true. In the morning, I woke up feeling nervous but excited. And also guilty for having participated in infidelity. But she… she was very upset. I tried to talk to her… tell her how I felt and what the night before had meant to me but… she just kept telling me how she was sorry and that she wasn’t a lesbian. She loved her boyfriend. For the first time she really needed me to know how much she loved her boyfriend. She said it wasn’t fair that I had seduced her, knowing that she was heterosexual. I was hurt and furious. I told her not to call me. I quit that church.”

“She said the opposite but without all the drama,” Natalie said.

Amelia sighed and shook her head.

“As far as I know she quit the church too after I had quit. I asked some other people. She had asked around about me you see. She called me once but I hung up as soon as I heard her voice on the other end.”

“So do you think our mom is a lesbian?” Natalie said.

“I have no idea what’s in your mother’s heart. But I know she had feelings for me. There are things you can’t fake. That night we spent together was real,” Amelia said.

“We want to help her,” Remus said.

“Don’t. Leave her alone. God, I shouldn’t even be telling you both these things,” Amelia said, looking anxious.

“So you haven’t spoken to her in all these years?” Natalie asked.

Amelia blinked and looked confused.

“I see her every week. We meet up for tea every Wednesday. We have for about twenty years. Maybe a little longer. We buried the hatchet years ago. Or I guess… I forgave her. I’m confused, she didn’t tell you we were friends?” Amelia asked.

“No,” Remus said.

Amelia sighed and looked sad.

“I bet she hasn’t told your father either then,” Amelia said, looking increasingly upset.

Remus felt sad. Their mother was even keeping their friendship a secret.

“I’m sorry,” Remus said.

“No, no, it’s fine. Just… disappointing. I… have to go. I need to talk to my wife,” Amelia said, waving goodbye and quickly walking away.

“How could she do that?” Natalie asked.

“I don’t know. But I think it’s time for us to butt out of mom’s personal life. Maybe we aren’t helping. Maybe we are just making things worse. What if this was a good thing in their lives and we just ruined it?” Remus said.

“I don’t know,” Natalie said and looked at her phone.

Remus looked at his phone. It was almost time for the fireworks.

“Firework time,” Natalie said.

“Yeah. Let’s go,” Remus said.


 

Remus was looking bummed when he came and sat back down on the blanket with Sirius.

“You OK?” Sirius asked as Remus sat down between Sirius’s legs.

“I guess. Mom lied about her lesbian friend. Big time. It was more than she said it was and they are still friends,” Remus said.

“Wow. That sucks. That she lied,” Sirius said, kissing the back of Remus’s golden-brown hair and wrapping his arms around him.

“Yeah. I guess… I wish she could grow up today. Things aren’t perfect but… maybe she wouldn’t be closeted,” Remus said.

“She’s not dead. Maybe things will turn around for her. She has a lot of life left to live. Give her time,” Sirius said.

“You’re probably right,” Remus said as Sirius pressed his face into the side of Remus’s.

The fireworks started shortly. Personally, Sirius didn’t care about fireworks but for some reason they felt more romantic than ever before. Remus kept leaning around to kiss him. Sirius wasn’t a fan of public affection but no one was watching them anyway. They were all watching the exploding colors in the sky.

It was true that they lived in an era where they could relax a little here and there and be queer together in non-queer spaces. That was nice, he thought. He hoped for Remus’s sake that his mother would be able to come to terms with her sexuality, whatever it was.

One of them should be able to relate to their mother. Sirius would never be able to relate to his mother. He’d gotten the call from his cousin Andromeda yesterday. He hadn’t found the energy to tell anyone yet, just like he hadn’t found the energy to tell anyone about the job in Portland. He told himself he would tell everyone while they were at the cabin.

Remus was smiling so happily and looking so filled with life. Sirius kissed him again as shades of red and blue filled the sky. I can tell him my mother died later, Sirius thought and pushed it out of his mind.

Chapter Text

The cabin was up in the White Mountains next to a small lake. It was a decent sized place and certainly not cheap. James knew that he was burning through his parents’s money faster than he should be but figured he would deal with that problem later.

For now, he, Lily, Remus, Sirius, Peter, Dorcas and Mary would definitely be having the time of their lives for the next two weeks, if he could help it.

The house was surrounded by trees on all sides but the side that faced the lake. It had four bedrooms. He and Lily were taking the bedroom with the king size bed, Remus and Sirius were taking the bedroom with the queen size bed while Mary, Dorcas and Peter were going to take turns with the full sized bed and the room with the twin sized beds. And of course, if anyone wanted to have a night in the king size bed with Lily he would be more than happy to oblige, not wishing to be a greedy boyfriend.

It had a large back patio where they could all relax and look out at the lake or grill some burgers. James wouldn’t admit this to anyone else but he had chosen a place without cable or Wi-Fi, though it did have cell reception. He didn’t want them all coming out to the woods only to spend all their time focusing on what was going on elsewhere. But when he had informed them all of this they all seemed OK, except for Remus who was worried about being able to post any fanfic he might write.

“This place is nice, James,” Mary said, looking around with wonder.

“I wanted us to have an awesome time,” he proclaimed, carrying some of Lily’s boardgames in his arms and setting them down on a kitchen countertop.

“Yeah, listen. Thanks for including us. You didn’t have to,” Mary said.

“Don’t be ridiculous. Family is family,” James said firmly, wanting to hear no more on the matter.

Mary just smiled and headed off to elsewhere in the house. It didn’t take too long for everyone to get their belongings inside. It wasn’t even noon yet and they were all settled in.

On the first day of being at the cabin, James mostly failed to get everyone to go outside and do things. They mostly sat around and talked, had drinks and food, played board games and smoked pot. But they all did make plans for the second day.

James made plans to do some hiking with Remus. Lily and Sirius were going to do some photography together while Mary, Dorcas and Peter lounged around in the sun or something or the other.

Remus was up and waiting outside when James got up.

“Hey, man. Surprised you’re already up. The sun is barely up,” James said

Remus stood up from his chair on the back deck, looking very cute in his tee-shirt and shorts combo. James realized it might be obvious that he was checking him out and looked away. Be cool, James. You can do this. You can do anything if you set your mind to it, he told himself.

“I wake up when the sun comes up most of the time. Which way we headed?” Remus said, looking around.

“I don’t know. I didn’t let myself look at the maps. That shit’s too easy,” James replied.

Remus chuckled, briefly giving James a skeptical look before looking away. Remus often avoided eye contact with others. James understood why he did that but he always wished he could see Remus’s eyes.

“I think I’ll keep my phone GPS handy anyway,” Remus said.

“Your legs will get scratched up,” James observed, gesturing at Remus’s lower half.

Remus shrugged.

“I hate having hot legs,” Remus said, James smirking and resisting the urge to comment on Remus’s hot legs.

“That’s fair. Shall we go?” James replied instead.

“Yeah.”


 

“I’m ready!” Lily said, standing in the living room, with a hand on her hip and grinning from ear to ear.

She looked cute as a button wearing a pink tank-top and shorts.

“Nice,” Sirius commented.

“I’m sorry, did you want me to dress up?” Lily asked.

“No. I mean, you could have if you wanted to. I like to capture people as they are, I guess. Whatever makes them most comfortable,” Sirius informed.

“I’m most comfortable naked,” Lily confessed.

“Oh. I mean, I’ve never taken nude photos but I could,” Sirius replied, feeling his cheeks flush.

“Not like sexy nudes. I mean, I’m naturally pretty sexy, but not like… specifically sexy,” Lily winked.

“Like I said… whatever makes you most comfortable. I would never ask anyone to get naked but… I’m not bothered. Besides, I’ve seen James and Peter naked. I may as well collect all the images,” Sirius joked.

“Cool. Actually this is great,” Lily said, pulling her tanktop off then removing her bra with the same level of casualness that most people would display for removing a hat.

Standing naked before Sirius, Lily did seem more comfortable that way. He tried not to stare but did think her body was nice. He liked the roundness of her features and thick curves. She was definitely sexy.

“You don’t have to look away. I mean, if you’re uncomfortable I can put my clothes back on. It’s not a big deal,” Lily insisted.

“No. It’s fine. You… uh… look good,” Sirius stammered, feeling unusually lacking in confidence.

“Thanks.”

“So uh… Where do you want to do the thing?” Sirius asked.

“You’re the photographer,” Lily snarked.

Sirius rubbed his chin and looked out the window. Everyone was out and about in the woods, probably not to return for quite some time.

“What’s something you always wanted to do while naked?”

“Everything,” Lily replied with a wink.

“That’s fair,” Sirius said.

“Don’t think about the fact that I’m naked. Sure… take pictures of me like you would anyone else,” Lily urged.

Sirius tried his best to think on the fly.

“Let’s go outside. Get some sun,” he said and they exited out onto the back patio.

Lily often did this thing where she stepped into the sun and closed her eyes, like she was letting the sun replenish her energy. Sirius was counting on her doing that and wasn’t disappointed.

“Just hold there,” he requested, taking a picture of her looking serene and bathed in sunlight.

He got a few shots of that before telling she could stop if she wanted.

“It’s a start,” Sirius said.

“You gonna wear me out?” Lily asked, looking playful.

“As long as you’re game,” Sirius said.

“Always,” Lily said and Sirius grinned.

This was gonna be fun.


 

“I can’t believe how thirsty I am,” James complained.

“It’s summer and we’re marching through the woods,” Remus pointed out as he drank from his water bottle.

“I thought it would be cooler, somehow. I guess I overestimated,” James said, glumly.

“It happens,” Remus said, looking James over and thinking he was thirsty in more ways than one.

James was leaning back against a tree while Remus sat on an old stump. Somehow the bead of sweat dripping down the side of James’s face seemed to make him sexier. That was stupid. Sweat wasn’t sexy but James Potter was. Remus stealthily glanced up and down James’s height, admiring the way he filled out his shirt and pants.

James smiled at Remus and Remus looked away in panic. Dammit, he thought. He was damn near staring right at James’s groin. This could go off the rails fast. Yeah, ogle the straight guy while you’re out alone in the woods with him, Remus. Smart plan, hot shot.

“So things are going good with Sirius, yeah?” James inquired.

“Definitely. It’s like… every day brings us closer,” Remus answered honestly.

“That’s cool, man. Yeah, things are good with me and Lily. And all this… just makes me so happy. Like I thought maybe I’d be jealous about her having other partners or having a crush on a lady… but I love it. It’s everything I never knew I wanted,” James explained.

“Yeah. It’s pretty cool. I mean Lily and I are practically family,” Remus said.

“Like I said, you’re my family too,” James said.

“We’re in the same club,” Remus replied, patting his shoulder tattoo that was healing nicely.

“I like to think of us as a band. A band of Marauders,” James chuckled.

“That’s fair.”

James licked his lips and looked from his feet to Remus with a smile before staring off into the trees.

“Anyhow, like I was saying. I think this poly thing really suits me. I… I could definitely see myself having more partners,” James commented.

Remus choked up. Dare he admit that he and Sirius already had an agreement? No, this was stupid, he thought. James was S.T.R.A.I.G.H.T.. Get it out of your damn head, he growled at himself from within.

“S-Sirius and I… I think we’re cool with it. We have an agreement. It seems silly to just limit yourself to one person. I mean… it doesn’t matter because I got lucky with Sirius. As hard as it is to believe, I have to accept that he loves me. He finds me… attractive. I can’t deny it. But someone else? Nah. That’s not a realistic scenario,” Remus insisted.

James scoffed.

“Lily thinks you’re cute. I mean she’s made no secret of it. Hell, even Peter was talking about how good you look naked,” James countered.

“You said I was cute,” Remus uttered, almost under his breath.

“I did. I wasn’t lying. I’m not blind,” James declared, Remus watching as he swallowed hard, seeming nervous.

“You must be if you think I’m cute,” Remus joked, his face feeling hot.

“Look, Remus. I told you before that I don’t say things that I don’t mean. I’m not asking you to believe that you are cute but you can at least believe that I’m not being dishonest,” James said sharply.

“OK. I’m sorry,” Remus said, feeling guilty and suddenly wishing he was somewhere else.

James sighed.

“The truth is… Nah, never mind,” James said and started to walk.

Remus jumped up to follow him.

“The truth is what?” Remus asked nervously.

James stopped and turned around to face him.

“The truth is that you’re a catch. You’re sweet, kind and more pure than anyone I’ve ever known. You’re easy going, creative and cute as fuck,” James said and Remus felt his heart fluttering in his chest.

“Oh, uh-uh,” Remus stammered.

“You’re the kind of guy that I…” James trailed off.

“Huh?” Remus asked.

“Nothing. It’s nothing. Sorry, I said anything,” James said and they proceeded in silence.


 

“And my battery is dead,” Sirius groaned, Lily sitting in front of a tree, her knees pulled up to her chest.

“Bummer. Guess we’re done,” she said and lifted herself up, dusting off.

Sirius was impressed with her comfort of sitting and lying down nude in normally uncomfortable places. He had spent hours wandering around taking every conceivable picture he could think of, finding her an endlessly fascinating subject.

“Yeah,” Sirius replied as they marched back to the cabin.

Once they arrived, it appeared no one was back yet.

“Mary, Dorcas and Peter are somewhere on the other side of the lake but are headed back. No word from James and Remus. Hope they are OK,” Lily said.

“I’m sure they are fine,” Sirius insisted but he glanced at his phone and was disappointed he didn’t see a text from Remus.

“Maybe they are hooking up or something,” Lily joked with a snort.

“Haha. Yeah, right. James Potter is pretty hetero,” Sirius winked.

Lily made a face and briefly opened her mouth before closing it.

“What? Has he made some confessions in bed? James is the king of insincere boasts. And sincere boasts,” Sirius snickered.

“Umm… I really couldn’t say,” Lily said, zipping her lips.

“But… there is something to say?” Sirius probed.

Lily looked nervous like she was about to burst.

“Are… you OK?” Sirius asked, furrowing his brow.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Just fine. I’m gonna go…” Lily said, touching around her body then finishing, “I’m gonna go clean my butt. I’ll be back.”

Lily was gone for ten minutes or so before coming back downstairs looking less nude and more clean than she was before.

“Sorry about that,” Lily said, sitting down on the sofa next to Sirius.

“It’s no problem. So you were saying about James?” Sirius said, not wanting to lose that subject.

“Oh, nothing. Anyhow… what do you want to do now? Empty house. We could throw a party,” Lily said, playfully elbowing Sirius.

“There’s just two of us,” Sirius countered.

“Sounds like a party to me,” Lily said.

Sirius shook his head and laughed.

“So, did Remus tell you we’ve decided to… leave ourself open to the poly thing?” Sirius said.

“Oh, you talked about that? Good. That’s great. Remus mentioned that he wanted to talk to you about that,” Lily said.

“Did he? Huh. I wonder what made him think about it,” Sirius said, noticing Lily again looking nervous.

He suddenly had a strange thought. What if Lily had gone to Remus and admitted that she had a crush on Sirius and wondered if he was comfortable with her pursuing it? That would definitely explain things.

It wasn’t all that shocking that Lily might have a crush on him. She seemed to get crushes a lot and while Sirius didn’t consider himself to be vain, he knew he was far from ugly. It wouldn’t be so strange.

Lily hadn’t replied to his last statement so he continued, “But anyhow. Yeah. I don’t know if you’d call us poly but he shared this thing on relationship anarchy with me. I dug it.”

Sirius didn’t know if he had a crush on Lily but now that the idea was in his head he was dying to find out if she had a crush on him.

“That’s cool. That’s pretty much how I feel. Every relationship should be based on mutual want and need. But some people like formality so I’m cool with that too,” Lily said, seeming to have moved closer to him at some point, though maybe he was the one who had moved closer.

“Before Remus… I never felt anything for anyone. But my heart is opened up. I could have more love to give. For the right person. Or persons.”

“Oh? Anyone in mind?” Lily probed, making Sirius realize she was much better at this game than he was.

“Um… I mean I don’t really know that many people,” Sirius answered with a non-answer.

“God, I get crushes constantly. It’s like an addiction,” Lily giggled with a pleased smile as she looked down at her hands for no apparent reason.

“Oh? Any new ones to gossip about?” Sirius grinned.

“Hmm… Well… there is this one guy,” Lily said, tilting her head away from Sirius and dreamily gazing off.

“Oh? Tell me about him,” Sirius insisted.

Sirius just realized that she might proceed to describe Remus and he wasn’t sure how he might react in that circumstance.

“Tall. Dark hair. Kinda preppy. He’s into photography,” Lily said turning back to Sirius with a wink.

Sirius’s heart pounded and he suddenly wasn’t sure he could remember how to breathe.

“Uh…” Sirius said.

“You asked. I’m just being honest. It’s OK if you aren’t interested,” Lily smiled.

Sirius could only stare at her. She was so fucking cute and so very close. She was leaning in. He could do it. He could really do it. It was just a kiss. Oh, but it took me months to kiss Remus, he thought. Surely, it wouldn’t be right to just kiss Lily as soon as she reveals she has a crush.

Before he could debate the ethics any further, Sirius closed his eyes and pressed his mouth into hers. Lily was intensely warm and her kiss was passionate and playful. She interrupted for giggles and nuzzles. It was fun and within moments they were making out, Sirius falling back on the sofa with Lily on top of him, feeling so warm.

When the front door opened with voices echoing in, Lily made a soft whimper then casually slid off him.

“Rain check?” she whispered at him.

“Totally,” Sirius said.

“Should we tell our boyfriends we made out?” Lily asked.

“Probably. Just to be safe.”


 

“Just say it,” James grumbled.

“James, I don’t think-“

“No, no. Say it. I need to hear it,” James urged.

“All right… We’re lost,” Remus said, staring down at his phone which was completely failing to pin down their location.

“Fuck. I’m sorry, man. I fucked this up. It’s getting dark. Dammit. I fucked this up,” James said, crouching down with his hands on top of his shaking head.

Remus was nervous to be sure but was at the very least confident that they should be heading southeast.

“As long as there are no bears I think we’ll be OK,” Remus joked.

“Fuck that. I’ll fuck a bear up. I’ll kick a bear right in its ass,” James boasted.

“I’ll take your word for it. You don’t have to impress me by fighting a bear,” Remus insisted.

“Fair,” James said and started to walk in what Remus hoped was the correct direction.

“But what do I have to do to impress you,” James added after a moment or two of them walking.

“Nothing. You’re impressive right as you are,” Remus admitted as James stopped to face him.

“Really? But fighting a bear wouldn’t hurt, would it?” James asked with a grin.

Remus’s phone chimed but he ignored it.

“Why do you want to fight a bear? People don’t fight bears and win. Chuck Norris did but that was TV,” Remus said.

“Fuck Chuck Norris. He’s homophobic Republican piece of shit,” James said sharply.

“True. Oh, shit, a bear!” Remus said, pointing behind James.

James yelped, falling forward into Remus’s arms then laughing hysterically.

“You ass. Oh my god, you scared the shit out me,” James said, his spectacle covered hazel eyes suddenly gazing into Remus’s eyes.

Remus gulped as James’s mouth moved close. He closed his eyes, willing himself to allow the moment to happen. James’s phone chimed again and he sighed. He lifted out of Remus’s arms, the moment over before it began.

“Holy shit,” James said as he looked at his phone.

“We’ve got a signal,” Remus said, realization hitting him as he pulled his phone back out.

“No! I mean… yeah, but… check your texts, man,” James said.

Remus had texts from Sirius and Lily, both of them confessing to have made out on the sofa.

“Woah,” Remus said.

“Right? We leave the two of them alone for five minutes and they start making out,” James said, possibly aware of the irony.

Remus was disappointed that he felt jealousy. It was inexplicable. There was no reason to care. Sirius wasn’t going to abandon him or stop loving him. But another part of him was jealous that after all this time, Sirius was the one who made out with Lily, not him.

He shook his head and tried not to think about it.

“Sending group text to everyone to let them know we are all right and heading back,” James said while Remus looked up the exact direction they should be heading in.


 

Lily was very relieved when James and Remus entered the cabin, running to the door to give them both hugs and kisses on the cheeks.

“I thought maybe a bear ate you,” Lily said.

“Hey,” Sirius said, strolling beside Lily and giving Remus a kiss.

“I’m telling you, I have any and all bear situations under control,” James declared.

“Huh?” Lily said.

“James thinks he can kick a bear’s ass,” Remus said.

“Pfft,” Sirius scoffed then chuckled.

“What? You don’t believe me? I am skilled in bear mastery. I’m a stag. Look at my horns,” James said, lifting the sleeve of his shirt up and showing off his Marauders tattoo.

“This is James’s way of saying he’s horny. You might have to haul him off to bed, Lily,” Sirius joked.

“Fuck you, man,” James said.

“You wish,” Sirius snarked.

“Actually, I was hoping to just chill. Someone else will have to fuck James tonight,” Lily said, winking at the three of them, then walking back to the living room where Mary, Dorcas and Peter were sitting and chatting.

“We should like all just get wasted and watch movies. Did anyone bring The Room?” Lily asked.

“Yeah,” Mary said.

“Cool. Who is down for getting drunk and stoned and watching The Room?” Lily asked.

“What’s The Room?” Sirius asked.

“Dude, you haven’t seen The Room?” Mary asked, astonished.

“I don’t even know what it is,” Sirius said.

“Yeah, me either,” James said.

“You haven’t seen The Room?” Peter asked, Dorcas whispering something in his ear.

“That’s what we’re talking about, Pete,” Sirius said.

“OK, Mary get the movie, I’ll get some weed, James get the beer,” Lily said and rushed upstairs.

Chapter Text

“Ugh,” Remus groaned as he awoke, sunlight hitting his face.

“Hmm?” Sirius grumbled, lying in his pyjamas next to him.

Remus checked his phone to see what time it was. It was nearly ten in the morning. They really had gotten carried away last night. He never let himself get drunk or high and he had gotten quit a bit of both.

He checked his texts, seeing the group text had an image from James.

“Oh. Shit,” Remus said, his eyes wide at the image on his phone.

“Huh?” Sirius said, waking up more.

“Look at your phone,” Remus urged.

Sirius groaned and rolled over, grabbing his phone off the other night stand.

“Oh. My. God. That’s… a penis,” Sirius whispered and set the phone down.

“That’s James’s penis. James Potter sent everyone his penis last night,” Remus said, unable to believe it.

“Oh my god,” Sirius repeated.

Remus allowed himself an extra moment of absorbing the unexpected sight before him but he set his phone back down.

“What do we do?” Remus asked.

“Mock him. Relentlessly,” Sirius grinned and stretched.

“That’s not very nice,” Remus observed.

“With a dick like that, I’m sure he’ll live,” Sirius droned.

“Yeah,” Remus said.

Remus did think it was a nice looking penis but declined to agree just in case, still thinking about his almost-kiss with James the evening before.

“Do you think it’s nice?” Sirius asked.

“Oh. Um. I mean… yeah?” Remus replied nervously.

Sirius picked up his phone, looking at the picture again and nodded.

“I’m no expert but I’d say that’s a handsome dong. Well proportioned. Seems really thick… But not too big,” Sirius considered as if he were an art critic.

Remus looked at James’s penis again.

“Is size… an issue?” Remus asked.

Sirius put his phone down and laughed.

“Until I fell for you, I never even thought I would have sex, Remus. Are you worried about measuring up to James?” Sirius raised an eyebrow.

“No… not exactly. I’m… it’s not important,” Remus stammered, thinking the size of his penis didn’t need to be discussed until they were actually going to be having sex and aside from that night in the RV there hadn’t been much development on that front.

“It’s OK. I mean, it’s not any of my business what you’ve got going on. But don’t worry. Whatever the size, we’ll make it work… when the time comes,” Sirius assured and leaned over and gave Remus a kiss.


 

“Hey, Lil,” Mary said as Lily wiped at her eyes.

She was on the sofa. That was odd. She supposed she hadn’t made it to any bed the night before.

“Hey. What’s up?” Lily groaned.

Mary and Dorcas were standing nearby and looking like they were ready to be burst into laughter.

“You should… check your phone,” Dorcas insisted.

Lily searched around and found where she had plugged it in at some point.

“What the hell? Oh my god, James,” Lily said, setting her phone down.

“I mean it was obviously an accident. James doesn’t seem the type to randomly send a picture of his penis to all his friends,” Mary observed.

“What the hell happened?” Lily asked, looking back through her texts.

“I don’t know. We were all pretty wasted. Some more than others. But I don’t recall you and James doing much but kissing. And you also kissed me but I didn’t send you a picture of my pussy or something,” Mary smirked.

“Like… James never just sends a picture of his dick? We’ve sent each other sexy pictures but not… just his penis?” Lily said, bewildered.

Remus and Sirius entered in the living room.

“Morning,” Sirius said.

“Morning. Did you see the thing?” Dorcas asked.

“Oh yeah,” Sirius smiled.

“Yeah…” Remus said, looking embarrassed.

“Sorry, everyone. I’ll talk to James when he gets up. I’m sure he meant to send it to me and sent it to the group. I’m sure he’ll feel terrible,” Lily said, thinking that if he didn’t feel terrible she would make him feel terrible.

“It’s not really a big deal,” Remus commented.

“I mean… it’s not a small deal. Maybe a slightly above average deal. A kind of thick deal,” Sirius playfully joked.

“Yeah. That sounds about right,” Mary said.

Lily rolled her eyes and snickered.

“You guys are terrible,” Lily laughed.

It was after noon when James finally wandered down, everyone at the dining table having lunch already.

“Hey guys. Apparently I forgot to plug in my phone. It died,” James said, then stopped in his tracks, apparently noticing the way everyone was looking at him.

“Who is gonna say the thing? Can I say the thing?” Sirius asked with a mad grin on his face.

“You may as well,” Lily said, waving her hand.

“Cool. Nice dick, bro,” Sirius said and James got a confused and slightly horrified look on his face.

“What?” James breathed, looking back and forth at everyone.

“James, you group texted your dick. Everyone in the house has now seen your penis,” Lily said, wanting to be as firm and clear as possible.

“Oh god,” James groaned and rushed out of the room.

A minute or two later James ran back into the dining room looking horrified.

“I’m so sorry. I… We were making out. We were both turned on and… I don’t know. I must’ve somehow got the notion to send you my dick but as fucked up as I was… ugh,” James said, sitting down and holding his head in his hands.

“I’m not really sure what to say, except please don’t send me pictures of your penis, thanks,” Dorcas said.

“That’s fair,” James said.

“I mean, I understand. I’ve done shit way more stupid while I was drunk before. But you’re a good guy. I know you wouldn’t have sent me your dick without asking first,” Mary smiled.

“Lily is the literally the only person I’ve ever sent a picture of my penis and… its never been… just my penis,” James said, seeming humiliated.

“I personally think it’s hilarious. But fair is fair. It’s a nice looking penis,” Sirius observed.

James just groaned in response.

“I don’t mind on a personal level, but obviously you should always get consent before any sexual act,” Remus insisted.

“Guys, I’m never going to send another dick pic,” James complained.

“I think I may be permanently scarred. I’m going to see that thing in my nightmares,” Peter chuckled.

“I didn’t mean to intimidate you,” James smirked.

“Pfft. As if,” Peter replied.

“God, how am I going to live after this?” James said.

“I’m sure you’ll manage. I think it’s good that you’re embarrassed. I want whatever part of you that thought it was a good idea to send a dick pic to feel really stupid,” Lily said, crossing her arms over her chest.

“That’s fair,” James said.

“Is this the part where we all agree to send each other dick pics to balance the scales,” Mary asked.

“No. But we could do something fun tonight to lighten the tension. I was thinking about truth or dare. Maybe spin the bottle,” Lily suggested.

“Jesus, are we fourteen again, Lil?” Mary said.

“James might be,” Sirius said.

“Fuck you,” James groaned.

“In your dreams, man,” Sirius chuckled.

“I’m just saying… maybe we should loosen up but without getting high or drunk. Who’s in?” Lily said.

“I’ll play,” Mary said, despite her prior complaint.

“Sure,” Peter said.

“Yeah, OK,” Dorcas said.

“I’ll play,” Sirius said.

“Yeah,” Remus said.

“James?” Lily said.

“God, you’re all going to use this as revenge, aren’t you?” James said, looking around at everyone.

“Yep,” Sirius said with a wicked grin.

“Yeah. Why not?” James said.

“James Potter. Fighter of bears and sender of dick pics,” Sirius said.


“Truth or dare?” Lily asked James.

James supposed he shouldn’t be surprised she was starting with him.

“Dare,” James said, refusing to be a coward.

“Damn, I was hoping you would say truth. Because that’s the thing about you. It’s easier to get you do something stupid than it is to get you to admit something secret,” Lily observed.

James shrugged.

“OK, fine. Just dare me,” James said.

“I dare you to show off your sweet dance moves… naked and to whatever music I choose,” Lily said.

“All right,” James said, surprised he was already getting naked.

James stood up and quickly disrobed, feeling more embarrassed than he expected given that everyone had already seen the goods.

“It looked bigger in the picture. I’m sending it back,” Sirius moaned.

“You’re such a prick, Sirius,” James said making Sirius laugh.

After messing with her iPod for a moment, music finally started playing: the Mickey Mouse Club theme. James did his best to find a good groove but had a hard time stopping himself from laughing, despite whistles and cheers from the group. The theme was thankfully short and James redressed and sat down before turning to Sirius and saying, “Truth or dare?”

“Truth,” Sirius replied.

“You damned coward. All right… Did you enjoy making out with Lily yesterday?” James asked.

“Oh… yeah. I did,” Sirius said and shrugged.

“Same. Just in case anyone else feels compelled to ask a softball question like that,” Lily said, elbowing James.

“Geez, I was just trying to be nice. And I was curious,” James insisted.

“Truth or dare?” Sirius asked Peter.

“Dare,” Peter said firmly.

“I dare you to spin the bottle,” Sirius said, pointing at the empty wine bottle that sat on the floor between them all.

Lily had decided to place it there as a back up dare for whenever someone couldn’t think of anything better.

“All right,” Peter said and crawled to the center of the floor and spun the bottle.

The bottle spun until it stopped, pointed at Mary. Peter seemed awkward about kissing Mary but Mary seemed to try to ease him into it.

“Not bad,” Mary said as he pulled away.

“Oh. Uh… thanks,” Peter said.

“Your first kiss with a guy?” Mary asked.

“Oh. Yeah. I… suppose it is,” Peter replied, revelation dawning on his face.

“Nice,” Mary said.

“All right, truth or dare, Dorcas?” Peter said smiling at her.

“Dare,” Dorcas said, then adjusted her glasses as if they were a weapon.

“I dare you to make out with Lily,” Peter said.

“What? That’s all? I make out with her all the time. She’s… my girlfriend,” Dorcas said then shrugged and crawled over to perform the task.

For a moment the girls seemed to have gotten distracted before Dorcas finally pulled away and went back over to her place on the floor.

“Truth or dare,” Dorcas said to Mary.

“Truth,” Mary replied.

“If you could bone anyone currently in this room, not counting me or Lily, who would it be?” Dorcas said.

“Oh, damn, going right for the jugular, man,” Mary chuckled..

“Don’t act like you’re gonna take it easy on me,” Dorcas said.

“Like, it’s not a big deal or anything but Sirius is super hot. For the record,” Mary said.

James turned to Sirius who was turning red but smiling proudly. Remus looked quite surprised.

“Truth or dare?” Mary asked Remus.

“Dare?” Remus replied.

“I dare you to give me a kiss,” Mary said with a smile.

“Oh. I… uh… I’ve never kissed anyone but Sirius,” Remus said.

“I mean, you don’t have to…” Mary said.

“No. I’m a team player… I’m just nervous,” Remus said as he crawled over to her.

James felt stupidly jealous as Remus kissed Mary.

“Mmm. Nice. I have a secret goal to kiss everyone here before we have to go,” Mary said.

“That’s fair,” Lily said.

“Truth or dare,” Remus said to Lily, bring the first round back to her.

“Truth,” Lily said with a smile.

“Oh. Uh… Umm…” Remus stammered.

“Ask me anything. I’m not shy,” Lily said.

“I know… It’s just hard to… think. OK… How about this? Imagine yourself ten years in the future. What’s the best future you can imagine?” Remus said.

“Oh. Wow. I think… Ten years? I’d like to have a kid. Financial stability. Partners a plenty. I think as long as I and everyone I love were happy and comfortable… everything else would just be details,” Lily said.

Lily wanted a kid. Somehow James had never processed this detail. Of course, he wouldn’t be so arrogant as to assume she might want a child with him but… he did kind of like the idea. He thought he would make a great dad someday.

“Truth or dare…” Lily said, pointing around the room before landing on Sirius.

“Dare. I guess,” Sirius said with wave of his hand.

“I dare you to kiss James,” Lily said with a devilish grin on her face.

James’s mouth dropped open as he stared at her in shock.

“I mean you don’t have to consent, James. But it’s Sirius’s dare,” Lily said.

“No. I’ll do it. I’m no chicken,” James said and turned to his best friend.

“Your first kiss with a guy,” Sirius said.

“I guess so,” James said, wishing it was Remus he was kissing instead.

Mechanically the kiss was nice but there wasn’t time to break past the awkwardness of kissing his best friend of seven years in those brief seconds. Everyone clapped as they parted.

“Not bad,” Sirius said.

“Thanks?” James said.

Lily giggled as Sirius turned to his boyfriend and said, “Truth or dare?”

“Truth,” Remus said.

“This should be amusing,” Sirius said and glanced over at Lily briefly before asking Remus: “If you could make out with anyone in this room other than me, who would it be?”

Remus went pale, seeming very nervous.

“You OK?” Lily asked.

“Yeah. Umm… I mean… I guess… I think…. James?” Remus said then pulled his tee-shirt up over his face.

James knew but somehow he didn’t really know. He felt flushed and his heart pounded. Sirius was looking back and forth between them. This was clearly not what he expected.

“But… James is straight,” Sirius incorrectly observed.

“You asked the question. I gave my best answer,” Remus said, removing his shirt from his face.

“Well… all right, then,” Sirius said, looking very lost.

“Truth or dare?” Remus asked across to Mary.

“Dare,” Mary said.

“Well, you wanted to kiss everyone, so spin the bottle,” Remus said.

“Nice,” he said and did just that.

The bottle landed on James and Mary grinned as he came over to James. James again found himself disappointed that he was kissing someone other than Remus, particularly another guy who wasn’t Remus but he had to admit that Mary was a good kisser and he was left with an erection he was certain was visible in his shorts.

“Truth or dare?” Mary asked Peter.

“Truth,” Peter said.

“Do you like Dorcas? Like… like-like?” Mary asked.

“Oh. Yeah… I think I do,” Peter said, smiling at her.

“Aww,” Lily said.

Peter looked around but ultimately turned to face Dorcas.

“Truth or dare?” Peter asked Dorcas.

“Truth,” Dorcas said.

“Do you like-like me?” Peter asked.

“Yeah,” she said and gave Peter a kiss while Lily clapped.

The kiss lingered for a moment before Dorcas pulled away to look around the room.

“Truth or dare, Potter?” Dorcas asked over at him.

“Truth, I guess,” James said.

“Now, this is just a shot in the dark, but I’m never wrong about these things. On a scale of one to ten, exactly how gay are you?” Dorcas said, looking very pleased with herself as James froze up.

He sighed and said, “About a five? A five-point-five.”

“I knew it!” Dorcas said, pumping her fist.

Peter, Sirius and Remus all looked at him with surprise.

“Yeah. I’m bi. I guess… I’m coming out. I wasn’t sure what the best moment for it would be. It was… tied up in some other things but… yeah. I’m super bi,” James said, feeling relief.

“Welcome to the club,” Dorcas said, leaning over to give him a fist bump.

“Do I get a card or a badge?” James asked.

“I’m sure I have one somewhere,” Dorcas said, pretending to search around.

“Does this mean Peter is our token straight?” Mary asked.

“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it,” Peter joked.

“Damn Pete. Leaving me out to dry,” James said, shaking his head then turning to Lily to ask her truth or dare.

“Dare,” she said, almost sounding like she was daring him.

“I feel we’ve been taking this easy. Here’s a classic: I dare you to take cold shower… with your clothes on,” James said, proudly.

Lily sighed.

“You don’t want me to make out with someone?” Lily complained as she stood up.

“You enjoy that too much. These are supposed to be dares!” James said, getting up to follow her.

The entire group went upstairs standing outside the doorway to the bathroom as Lily stepped inside the show, pushing the curtain away to ensure everyone could see her torment.

“OK. Here I go,” Lily said, as she turned the knob, cold water showering down on her.

Lily instantly cried out.

“Oh god. Fuck. That’s fuckin’ cold. It’s summer why is the water so cold?” Lily said, bouncing up and down with clear discomfort.

“It’s night and we’re in the woods,” James said.

“Oh. OK. Fuck. This is cold. Have I mentioned that this is cold?” Lily said.

“You can stop,” James chuckled.

Lily quickly turned the knob then stood there shivering for a moment.

“Oh god, I need these clothes off,” Lily said, trying to remove her tank top but struggling as it clung to her flesh.

James went over and helped her get her clothes off as everyone went back downstairs.

“You’re gonna pay for this, James Potter. I will end you,” Lily said, her teeth chattering as he handed her a towel.

“That’s fair,” James said.

“Truth or dare?” Lily said to James after they sat down, her dry and dressed in pyjamas.

“I just went,” James said.

“I don’t care. It’s a new round,” Lily said

“Dare,” James said and made a nervous face.

“Post that dick pic to your Twitter and leave it up until the game is over,” Lily said.

“Huh?” James said, thinking he must’ve misheard her.

“That’s your dare,” Lily said flatly.

“But. But… People from school follow me on Twitter! And like… people in the gaming industry!” James said feeling panicked.

“You don’t have to do it,” Lily said.

James looked at his phone. It was after midnight. Everyone was probably asleep anyhow. They were probably nearly done with the game. He could do this. He could always lie and say someone stole his phone.

“OK. I did it,” James said, everyone in unison pulling out their phones, presumably to check Twitter.

Everyone chuckled and giggled while he felt himself blushing. James tried to put it out of his head and turned to Peter and said, “Truth or dare?”

“Dare. I’m bored,” Peter said.

“I dare you to eat… two raw eggs,” James said.

“Ew. I’ll puke,” Peter said aghast.

“You don’t have to do it.”

Peter looked annoyed but got up to go the kitchen. Everyone followed and watched as he cracked two eggs into a glass then grimaced as he poured them down his throat.

“There. I did it,” he said, seeming pleased and disgusted at the same time.

“Add some salt and that’s what semen tastes like,” Dorcas said, elbowing him.

Peter looked nauseous at that information and held his stomach.

“Come on, Pete. Back to the game,” James said.

“Truth or dare, Remus,” Peter said.

“Dare. All the cool kids are doing dares,” Remus observed.

“I dare you to make out with James. Make it good, the bastard,” Peter said.

James and Remus glared at each other. The room went silent as they crawled toward each other. James didn’t want it to happen this way. Not in front of other people. He wanted a special moment just for them.

Their lips met and James was filled with well-being. The function of the kiss hardly mattered. He was with Remus and Remus was with him. It felt genuine and when he finally pulled away, James was sad.

Everyone cheered, apparently impressed.

“Hot damn,” Sirius said, fanning himself.

“Indeed,” James replied, elbowing Sirius.

“Truth or dare, Mary?” Remus said.

“Dare. Can I spin the bottle?” he replied.

“Go for it,” Remus said.

Mary spun the bottle which landed on Peter so he was granted a second spin, which landed on Sirius

“Nice,” Mary said as Sirius shrugged and went over to kiss him.

The kiss went on longer than James expected, both of them seeming kind of into it.

“Damn. A lot of great kissers in this room. I really like kissing. OK, truth or dare, Sirius?” Mary said, grinning with excitement.

“Truth,” he said.

“Oh. Hmm… I don’t know. Confess something. Something you want to tell someone but are afraid to,” Mary said.

Sirius sighed, looking strangely… defeated.

“I guess there’s… a couple of things weighing on my mind. My mom died the other day,” Sirius admitted, a symphony of gasps erupting.

“Sirius? Why… why didn’t you say something?” James said.

“Oh god, I’m sorry,” Dorcas said, several others echoing that sentiment.

“Don’t be. I hated her. But it’s still a big deal. And it turns out I might still be in her will,” Sirius said.

James felt wounded, believing that his best friend would’ve always come to him on things like this.

“Well, at least you got it out now,” James said, rubbing Sirius’s back.

“That… that wasn’t the thing I’m afraid to tell anyone. I just… thought I should say something. I didn’t want to ruin everyone’s fun. But the other thing… I have to tell you all and I don’t know how,” Sirius said, wringing his hands.

“Just say it. Whatever it is we won’t judge you,” Lily said.

“I’m moving to Portland in September,” Sirius said, looking down at the floor.

Remus went pale, his mouth falling open, his eyes shining.

“Wha-what?” Remus stammered.

“I’m sorry. I wanted to say something. I’ve got an internship. Remember the guy we bumped into at Pride? He offered me a job. I… can’t not take the opportunity,” Sirius said.

“That makes sense,” Lily said, sounding very sad.

“How long have you known?” Remus asked.

“He called me right after Pride,” Sirius said.

“You’ve known for three weeks?” Remus said, sounding shocked.

“Yeah. I’m sorry. I mean… honestly… I knew this would happen. You all knew. James knows too. We only moved to town because on a stupid whim. There’s… no future there for us,” Sirius said, looking back and forth between Remus and Lily who both looked crushed.

James sighed.

“Sirius is right. To be honest, when I moved into that house… I was planning on moving out of town this summer. Making video games is all I want to do. I can’t do it in a small resort town. Not at the level I want,” James said.

James had never seen Lily so sad before. And she wasn’t saying anything, though her eyes were filled with tears.

“And it makes me angry at myself. For letting myself believe a fantasy. I mean, God, I don’t even have a job. James pays for my everything. What kind of a man, am I?” Sirius said, through sobs.

“A good man,” James said.

“Now look at the mess I have. I have to abandon my boyfriend and I don’t know when I’ll return. I can drive back down now and then but… I don’t know. If I return I’ll be abandoning the only thing I want do in life,” Sirius said.

“Don’t abandon your dreams for me. I’m not worth it,” Remus said.

Sirius looked at Remus with hurt filled eyes.

“Of course you’re worth it. But… I…” Sirius stammered but was unable to finish as he broke into sobs.

“I’m thinking of expanding my sex work. I can’t do that down there either,” Lily said.

“God, just as I’m moving in everyone is falling apart,” Mary said.

“Everyone isn’t falling apart. I refuse to allow that. We’re a family, dammit,” James said, rising to his feet.

“James…” Lily said, also standing.

“I don’t know what the solution is here but I won’t let us fall apart. Listen, I’m definitely staying for another year. That’s plenty of time to make plans,” James declared.

“Yeah,” Sirius acknowledged.

“My money from my parents won’t last forever. But I’m fine for now. I’ll help any of you in any way I can. But we don’t have to solve everything right this moment. We have time,” James said.

“I am definitely moving to Portland. At least for the autumn,” Sirius said.

“That’s great. Remus, if you want to see Sirius I’ll drive you up to to Portland myself then come and get you when you’re ready to come back. And vice versa. Lily, if you want to make porn I can help fund you. Mary… I have no idea what you want but I’ll be glad to help,” James said.

“I want to make out with hot people and smoke lots of weed,” Mary smiled.

“I’ll see what I can do,” James replied with a wink.

“What about me?” Peter said.

“You tell me, man,” James said, throwing up his hands.

“I… I don’t know,” Peter said.

“Can I move in?” Dorcas said suddenly.

“Huh?” Lily said.

“I changed my mind. I know I said I didn’t want to leave here but…” Dorcas trailed off.

“Of course. Umm… We’ll make space,” Lily said, seeming strangely put off.

“Can it be my turn to make a confession?” Remus said.

“Go for it,” James said.

“Reliquary of Blood is getting published as a novel. I’ve told James and Lily but… I guess I thought everyone should know,” Remus said.

“What? Oh my god, that’s amazing!” Sirius said and gave Remus a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“I guess the game is over,” Mary yawned.

“Looks like,” Lily said, sounding sad.

“We’ll all get through this. Change is hard. But this is life. Sirius is right… We let ourselves believe a fantasy. And that’s OK. Who would we be without dreams? Who would we be without love pulling and keeping us together? So maybe we have some tough choices and things trying to pull some of us apart. But if I have to be the glue holding us together, I swear I will. Because I believe in love and if that’s a fantasy, so be it,” James declared.

“Love, love will tear us apart, again,” Sirius quietly sang.

“You asshole. You’re ruining my big Oscar winning speech,” James glared.

“It’s what I do,” Sirius shrugged.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The next day no one talked about the things that had been said the night before, nor the day after that. It wasn’t until Friday when James found the courage to approach Remus just after sunrise as he sat at the end of the dock in front of the cabin.

“Hey, man,” James said.

“Hey,” Remus said softly.

“Nice morning, isn’t it?” James asked, though he wasn’t looking for small talk.

“Yeah.”

James sighed. With no one talking about anything it felt like it had all been a strange dream. They were all having a nice time and enjoying each other’s company but James… wanted to talk about things.

“So… Jesus, why is this so hard?” James sighed.

Remus chuckled.

“I don’t know,” Remus replied.

“I guess I kinda like you. Call it a crush or whatever,” James admitted.

“I guess I have a whatever for you too,” Remus said, looking shy and avoiding looking at James for more than a glance.

“That’s good, that’s good. I don’t know where that puts us. Or like… where you would want it to go,” James said.

“I don’t know. I just kept… thinking about kissing you. But I wanted you to kiss me,” Remus said, his voice shaky.

“I will kiss you. I’ll kiss you as much as you want,” James said, scooting over a little, his pulse racing.

“I’d like that,” Remus said, turning towards James.

James touched Remus’s cheek and gazed into his brown eyes before closing his own eyes and bringing their lips together. The kiss was soft, slow and brief before James pulled away.

“That was nice,” Remus breathed.

“Want me to do it again?” James grinned.

“Please,” Remus said and James brought their lips together again.

Remus made a soft moan and James pulled back, his hand still on Remus’s face.

“Maybe I’ll take you out sometime. Or something. Whatever you want. I like it when you smile,” James admitted.

“I like it when you smile too,” Remus said and James kissed him again.

“Kissing you makes me smile,” James said as he pulled away again.

Remus said nothing in reply. He only smiled as James kissed him once more.


 

“What’s up?” Lily asked.

Sirius turned around and smirked at her.

“Look,” he said as she moved beside him on the back deck of the cabin.

He pointed down to the dock where James and Remus were currently sharing kisses.

“Aww,” she said, clutching her hands over her heart.

“Yeah,” Sirius replied.

“You aren’t jealous?” Lily asked.

“Sure. Jealous that I’m not getting kissed. But… I’m OK with James and Remus. My desire to kiss or do sexy stuff is wildly inconsistent anyway. I think Remus has more in him to give than I do,” Sirius insisted, though privately he had doubts he was desperately trying to ignore.

“I’m sad that you’re going away. I’ll miss you,” Lily said.

Sirius turned and smiled at her. Her dark red hair was tied back in a pony tail. He always thought she was cute like that.

“I’ll miss you too. You’ll have to come visit me,” Sirius hoped.

Lily laid her head on his arm, placing a hand on his forearm which she softly squeezed. Sirius laid his head on hers and sighed.

“I’ll do that,” Lily promised.

James and Remus were still kissing. Sirius wondered if Lily was thinking what he was thinking.

“Lily… can I kiss you?” Sirius asked.

“Would you ask if you didn’t know the answer was going to be yes?” she replied.

“No,” he replied and they both turned as she leaned up into his mouth, her mouth so soft and warm.

Sirius loved the way Lily giggled when she kissed and he loved her playfulness. It conjured feelings in him he wasn’t always sure he still had, buried from a childhood of abuse. It felt like home.

Lily pulled away and glanced out at James and Remus again before saying, “We should all get together. The four of us. And talk about where we stand with each other. I mean Mary and Dorcas… we’ve had our conversations. I’m a bit surprised about the Peter thing and Dorcas suddenly moving out to Oregon but…”

“Yeah. Maybe tomorrow for lunch. Tonight I want to talk to Remus. We should touch base… given everything. I want him to know… I want him to believe that I’m not going to go to Portland and stop loving him. And I want him to know that I’m OK with him and James. I just… love him so much. I want him to be happy and comfortable,” Sirius said, wiping at his eyes.

Lily rubbed his back and said, “You are a good man, Sirius Black.”

Sirius smiled at her then glanced out at James and Remus, wondering if he wasn’t the one who needed convincing.


 

Inside the house everyone was playing a board game. Remus and Sirius were sitting outside on the back patio, watching the sunset.

“I’m sorry,” Sirius said, frowning.

Remus shrugged.

“It would’ve been worse if you hadn’t’ve taken the job. I would’ve felt guilty,” Remus insisted.

Remus was more angry and disappointed than he was willing to let on. He didn’t want Sirius torturing himself too much over making what was ultimately the right decision, even if it hurt.

“I never would’ve told you if I hadn’t’ve taken it,” Sirius countered.

Remus scowled, not liking the sound of that one bit.

“That’s even worse. You should be able to trust me,” Remus glared.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I just want to protect you,” Sirius explained.

Remus huffed.

“I’m a grown up, Sirius. I don’t need protecting,” Remus said firmly.

Sirius gulped and nodded.

“Anyhow… I just wanted you to know… I’m not going to stop loving you. And I’m OK with you and James. I saw you kissing him this morning and… it was beautiful,” Sirius said with a smirk.

Remus blushed and chuckled.

“You were spying on us?”

“Me and Lily. Not so much spying as… observing. And doing a bit of kissing ourselves,” Sirius boasted.

Thinking about Sirius and Lily kissing gave Remus a twinge of something that felt like jealousy but it was so absurd he tried to push it out of his mind. Things were just new. They weren’t like Lily who had been doing this a while.

“It’s funny. Life changes so fast. I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I’m not living the same life,” Remus observed.

“Me either. And I don’t think things are done changing,” Sirius noted.

“I wonder when an undesirable change will come. Bad things happen all the time. No one lives a perfectly charmed life,” Remus realized.

“Maybe not bad times. But hard times. I don’t want to think about bad times. Life throws us curve balls and we do the best we can with them,” Sirius said, unconvincingly.

Remus placed his hand on Sirius’s. There was something in his grey eyes that worried Remus. But another thought was buzzing in his mind that he found it difficult to ignore.

“Sirius… I was wondering something… And I wanted to ask now… while we aren’t making out or anything like that. Sunday… Everyone is going out hiking. I’m not sure I feel up to that. I think I’d rather stay in… with you,” Remus said, hoping Sirius might take his meaning.

“I’d love to spend some time alone with you. What did you have in mind?” Sirius said.

“I was thinking we might… stay in bed. Um… For some… experimentation?”

“Oh. Yeah. Sounds… fun.”

Remus smiled and leaned over to kiss Sirius, grateful that it wasn’t as awkward as he had feared.


 

“Yeah, I don’t know. It’s just… really… mmm… nice,” James explained.

“It disturbs me that I’m sitting here jerking you off and this isn’t the nice you are referring to,” Lily said, her hands slowly pumping his lube slicked cock.

She was on her period but had generously offered him a hand job. James wasn’t necessarily opposed to sex with someone on their period but wasn’t going to press the issue if she wasn’t comfortable.

“That’s nice too. I just have… ah… a lot on my mind,” James insisted.

“That’s fair. There’s stuff I want to talk about too. Stuff I didn’t want to bring up the other night because it’s complicated…” Lily said, looking so cute while she smiled at his cock.

“Oh yeah? What’s that? Oooo.”

“We’ll talk about it after you come. Being horny makes the brain all stupid and easily suggestible,” Lily snickered.

“That’s fair. Don’t worry. I’m on the edge,” James grunted.

“I know. That’s right where I like you. I like the face you make. I know the exact one,” Lily chuckled.

“Ugh. You’re a monster,” James joked.

“A monster that’s gonna make you explode any moment now,” Lily countered.

“Mmm. I sure hope so,” James gasped.

Lily was really damn good that and her ability to make him almost come but not quite was nothing short of magical.

“Ooo. There it is,” Lily said and started stroking fast.

“Oh. Oh. Mmm. Fuck. Ughhh,” James moaned as pleasure surged and a big gush of come splashed onto his abdomen, nearly reaching his chest.

“Oooo, yeah. That’s good,” Lily whispered as she continued to milk his cock.

“Yeah. So good,” James said through heavy breaths.

Lily helped him to clean up and then sat crosslegged next to him with a grin on her face.

“So what’s up, Lils?” James asked, his brain still feeling a little mushy post orgasm.

“Well… It’s complicated. Because it’s not necessarily about you. Unless you want it to be. I suppose it’s kind of an announcement with an offer attached to it. God, I haven’t said anything to anyone,” Lily said, looking nervous though she was still smiling.

“I mean I think I’d make a great porn star but I don’t know if I’d actually be up for it,” James joked.

“Your dick was a big hit with the house, but no, that’s not really what I want to talk about…” Lily trailed off.

“Well, I’m all ears,” James replied.

“This sounds so stupid,” she sighed then said, “I… want a baby.”

James blinked.

“Huh?” he said.

“Yeah. Baby. I want a baby,” Lily smiled.

James wasn’t sure what to say so he just stared at her in disbelief.

What? Can’t I want a baby? I’m young, my income is OK, I’d have a lot of help around the house,” Lily insisted.

“But… I don’t understand,” James said, feeling very surprised.

“I don’t really need you to understand. Though it’d be cool if you didn’t give me a hard time about it. I’ve thought about this. I want it. Now, you don’t have to have a role in this child’s life if you don’t want it. I don’t want to… obligate you. I love you but I mean… we haven’t known each other for long,” Lily said.

“It feels like we have,” James said.

“I’ll get a sperm donor but it would be nice to have the father be someone I know. But I understand that’s a lot to ask,” Lily admitted.

“God. Are you…” James said, his eyes staring at her in shock.

“It’s not a request. It’s an offer. If you want… you can donate your sperm. That’d be cool… if you wanted,” Lily said, seeming very diplomatic, like she was a foreign nation offering to share their wheat crops.

“I… wow. Of all the things I expected… I mean… I know I want to have children. I did think I’d be older when I had them though” James said.

“You don’t have to decide right this minute. But just know… I’m doing this. If you’re going to stay with me… Well, this is going to be a part of my life now,” Lily said, seeming very serious.

“OK. Yeah… give me time,” James said.

James wanted to just say yes. A child with a woman as amazing as Lily Evans? Sign him right the fuck up. But he thought he shouldn’t. He suspected he ultimately would say yes. But he thought that he shouldn’t just say yes. But one glance at her green eyes told him that there wasn’t a chance in the world he would say no. Still… he knew he should give himself the chance to decide if no was an option.

“OK. At the end of the summer I’m gonna stop taking the pill. So it’ll be back to condoms for us if you say no. I hope you really understand that it’s OK to say.”

“I do. I promise. I mean… there’s always a risk I could get you pregnant anyway,” James realized.

“That’s true,” Lily said.

“It’s easier to forget that. It’s a consequence of having sex. The only fool proof method of not getting pregnant is not having sex,” James said.

“That’s the boring way. I like sex,” Lily grinned.

“I’ve heard,” James said, leaning over and kissing her.

“Mmm. You’re cute,” Lily said, kissing him back.

“No, you’re cuter,” James said, kissing her again.

“That doesn’t even make any sense,” Lily giggled as they fell back onto the bed, tangled in kisses.

 


 

James, Lily, Remus and Sirius sat around the dining room table, having just finished a tasty vegan lunch James prepared. Mary, Dorcas and Peter were out swimming to give the four of them space to chat.

Remus wasn’t sure what it was they were even going to talk about. Luckily, Lily started the conversation: “So, I guess we should all… touch base. There’s a lot happening right now.”

“That’s putting it mildly,” Sirius snarked.

“Lily and I are dating. I’m dating Remus. Remus and Sirius are dating. I think Lily and Sirius might be dating?” James said, looking between them.

Lily and Sirius looked at each other and shrugged.

“We’re certainly kissing. Hopefully we can kiss some more before he moves,” Lily grinned.

“And Lily is still dating Mary and Dorcas. Dorcas is dating Peter… God, who isn’t dating?” James said, gesturing wide with his hands.

“I’m not dating Remus,” Lily observed and Remus’s cheeks felt hot.

“Yeah. I… guess not,” Remus stammered, remembering that odd sting of jealousy he felt when thinking about Sirius and Lily kissing.

“And obviously, James and I aren’t doing anything,” Sirius observed.

“That’s funny, isn’t it. No best friends to lovers,” Lily said, frowning slightly.

Remus wanted to say he was open to something between them but was afraid. He and Lily had such a strong history. Turning it into something romantic felt like such an emotional risk.

“Yeah, I’m kind of surprised that you and Remus…” James said then looked away, perhaps thinking he was speaking out of term.

Lily shrugged at Remus.

“We… can talk about that some other time. Privately,” Remus said, feeling anxious and not quite ready to jump off that pier.

“That’s fair. So… anything we left out? Any more secret pairings? Peter/James? Dorcas/Sirius?” Lily joked.

“Your ex-friend is marrying my ex-girlfriend,” James reminded her.

“Ugh. I had almost forgot,” Lily complained.

“Sorry,” James said, looking apologetic.

“So… I’ve never really had a poly situation like this. Particularly, for me, I’m going to have at least three partners under the same roof, possibly four… maybe five?” Lily said, winking at Remus who giggled and looked away.

“I suspect most people don’t usually live with that many partners,” Sirius said.

“No. But I try to give everyone as much of me as I can spare. Luckily, everybody else but Mary is dating someone else and… I know him well enough to know he’ll have some new partners in town in quick,” Lily said.

“Good for him,” James said with a grin.

“Yeah. We just need to be respectful with each other’s time and energy. James, on some nights I’ll probably want to share a bed with Mary or Dorcas. Not just for sex, obviously. So just… be generous and I’ll be generous too,” Lily winked.

“As long as everyone is happy, I’m happy. I know what I got into when I started dating you,” James said.

“That’s great. But sometimes reality is harder than you think,” Lily glancing around with a serious look on her face.

“I’m ready to roll with the punches,” Sirius insisted and Lily sighed.

“I just… think a lot of people get into poly who aren’t… prepared. I’ve gone on dates with half of a married couple who is just trying it out and you can just… tell they aren’t ready for this. I know that I make this look easy but I’m here to tell you it’s a lot of work.”

“That’s fair,” James replied.

“Anyone else have any concerns?” Lily said.

“I just hope everyone doesn’t forget me while I’m gone,” Sirius joked.

“You’re unforgettable, I promise. We’ll all have to take turns coming to see you up in Portland,” Lily insisted.

“Well, if I haven’t become too cool for you assholes,” Sirius said with a wicked smile.

“You are such a prick, Sirius,” James said, rolling his eyes.

“It’s a lifestyle,” he shrugged, seeming proud.

“Such,” Lily said, sticking her tongue out at him.

“Well, I guess we should have an orgy now,” James said, slapping his hands on the table.

Everyone looked at James with shock.

“Jesus. I’m joking. I mean… unless you’re all into it. Let it not be said that James Potter was afraid of an orgy. I’ll fight a bear, orgies are nothing,” James said.

“I’m starting to think you have some sort of a bear kink. Are you a furry? I mean if you are that’s cool. I dated a furry in senior year of high school. She was fun,” Lily said, looking nostalgic.

“I’m not a furry. I’m not even sure what it is that furries do but I wish them well in all of their fur covered endeavors,” James said.

“I’ll make sure they get your message. I have furry contacts. No, really. I do,” Lily said, smiling proudly.

“You’re so cool,” James said.

“Thanks!” Lily beamed.

“So is there like a word for this? What are we?” Remus asked.

James lifted his sleeve and tapped his stag tattoo.

“Poly Marauders,” James said.

“Hey, I’m not a Marauder!” Lily complained, crossing her arms over her chest.

“Yeah, actually, we can’t discuss any official Marauders business with you or without Peter,” Sirius said then snickered.

Lily balled up her napkin then tossed at him, both of them chuckling as he ducked.

“Now, now, children. If you can’t behave you may need a spanking,” James said.

“Fuck you, if anyone’s getting a spanking, it’s you, Potter. I’ll hold you down while Lily does it,” Sirius said with a smirk.

“Wait, are we joking or are we serious?” Lily said.

“I am always Sirius,” Sirius said.

“I mean to be clear, full disclosure, I would definitely be into that,” Lily said, looking like a kid in a candy store.

“I was joking, unfortunately. Though if you want to beat James’s ass, you have my fullest support,” Sirius said.

“Damn. That would’ve been hot. Ah well. Another fantasy for the ole spank bank,” she said, biting her lip with cackling with glee.

“Jesus, Lily,” James said.

“Oh, James. You forget we’ve been dating for like only eight months, and sexually active for just three months. I have a variety of sexual interests. It’s kind of my fandom,” Lily said.

“Mmmhmm,” James said nodding as he bit his lip.

“Jesus, Potter has a fucking erection,” Sirius said.

James dropped his mouth open.

“So what if I do? It’s my damn penis. It’ll be hard if it wants to,” James replied grumpily.

“It’ll be if hard if it wants to. It’ll leave its friends behind. Because your friends aren’t hard and if they aren’t hard then they aren’t any friends of mine,” Sirius sang to the tune of Safety Dance by Men Without Hats.

James and Lily swayed to the melody while Remus broke down into a snickering fit.

“So… you guys down to go swim with the others?” Lily said.

“Sounds great,” James said.

“Yeah,” Remus concurred and they were off.

Chapter Text

“It’s weird. We make out all of the time. It’s nice. I get turned on. But here we are, with time set aside for sexyfuntimes and… it feels awkward?” Sirius smirked.

“Yeah. Pressure. It’s what James and Lily did for their first time though. They just scheduled it,” Remus said, reaching over to touch Sirius’s cheek with his fingertips.

“Maybe we aren’t James and Lily?” Sirius countered.

“I’m OK with that,” Remus said, chuckling as he ran his fingers through Sirius’s dark hair.

“Me too. But… I do want to do it… or something. I’m just nervous,” Sirius explained.

“Is there anything I can do to make you less nervous?” Remus asked softly.

“You could nibble my ear,” Sirius suggested.

“Nibble it? What if I just chomp down on it?” Remus asked, leaning up to Sirius’s ears, planting tiny nibbles on the bottom of the lobe, making Sirius get that fluttery feeling below as he giggled.

“Does that do it for you?” Remus laughed.

“You do it for me. You’re so cute,” Sirius said, leaning into Remus’s full-lipped mouth for a soft kiss.

“Mmm. I feel like every time I kiss you, you’ve gotten better at it,” Sirius said, feeling warmth inside his chest, rising up to his face.

“I am getting a lot of practice in,” Remus admitted, looking bashful.

“I approve,” Sirius replied, kissing him again as Remus placed a hand on his hip.

Oh, there was much fluttering happening below, indeed, Sirius thought, Remus’s hand curving around his ass. Sirius moved his mouth to Remus’s throat, lightly dragging his teeth together then sucking, making Remus moan. Sirius clenched his thighs, feeling heat below.

“Are you hard?” Sirius breathed into Remus’s ear.

“Very.”

“Can I see it?”

“Yeah. If you want,” Remus said and rolled back.

The tent in Remus’s pyjamas was obvious. Remus seemed nervous as he slid them down, his erection revealed.

“Oh,” Sirius said, his eyes going wide.

“Yeah, I know. It’s kind of ridiculous,” Remus said, making an awkward smile.

Sirius had kind of anticipated that Remus was going to be on the large side of average but it was a bit bigger than he had expected, being quite long and very thick.

“I’m probably… not ready for that. Penetration wise. I hope that’s OK,” Sirius said with a chuckle.

“It’s not a big deal. It’s your body, after all,” Remus replied.

“Mmmhmm. My body is… wet,” Sirius said, lightly rocking his pelvis.

“Can I see?” Remus asked, fascination on his face.

“Yeah,” Sirius said, sliding his pyjamas and underwear down, then off.

Sirius slid his long, thin fingers over his dark pubic mound, grazing over his plump, hard clit to dip the tips into the wetness of his hole, lifting them up so that Remus could see the sheen.

“Wow,” Remus said.

“You can touch me if you want,” Sirius offered, turning towards Remus.

Remus moved a hand between Sirius’s thighs and cupped him, the tips of his fingers gently probing his hole then sliding up and softly rubbing his clit. Sirius gasped, breathing hard as Remus stroked his clit with surprising ease.

“Oh, yes, that’s good. Play with my clit. Mmm,” Sirius moaned.

“That feels good?” Remus asked.

“Yes. Fuck yes,” Sirius replied, gritting his teeth.

Sirius rocked his hips while Remus’s fingers shook his clit between them. He felt hot all over and and so very wet between his thighs.

“Mmm. Ugh. Yes. God, that feels so fuckin’ good,” Sirius groaned.

Sirius looked at Remus who seemed very focused on his task, like he was very passionately changing a tire. Sirius watched the way Remus kept wetting his lips and got an idea.

“Will you put your mouth on it?” Sirius asked.

“I’ll do whatever you want me to,” Remus declared.

“Mmm. That’s hot,” Sirius said as Remus moved his face between Sirius’s legs.

“What do you want me to do?” Remus asked.

“Lick it. Lap at it like a fucking dog,” Sirius urged.

Remus began lapping at it a bit too furiously too fast so Sirius made a sound to let him know it was a bit much and said, “Slow down. I was wrong. Lap at it like… it’s a really sensitive and swollen organ.”

Remus gave much slower laps and Sirius moaned.

“That’s better. Mmm.”

Remus’s hands clutched Sirius’s thighs as his head rocked between his legs, thanks to his ministrations.

“Fuck it, maybe you should just suck it,” Sirius said, giggling because of his accidental rhyme.

Remus wrapped his lips around Sirius’s hard clit and sucked slowly.

“Mmmm. Fuck,” Sirius gasped.

Remus made a happy sound as his head bobbed, his mouth gliding up and down the shaft of Sirius’s clit.

“Fuck. Yes, suck my clit, just like that. Ahhh,” Sirius moaned.

Sirius was lost in the motions of Remus’s mouth, thinking this was the exact friction he had always needed. He wanted to find everyone who had ever told him how good having your pussy eaten out was and tell them how very right they were.

“Yeah. Ohh. Suck it harder,” Sirius urged.

Remus did as requested and Sirius whimpered.

“God, Remus. You’re gonna make me come so fuckin’ haarrd,” Sirius moaned.

All of him felt on fire as he was brought to the edge of ecstasy. Sirius had never felt so sexy before. He had never really cared to before Remus.

“Fuck, fuck fuck,” he breathed, the tension rising and pulling.

“Oh. Ah… Oh. Ugh. Oh, yeah. I’m gonna come,” Sirius said, then clenched his thighs as he shuddered over the edge, hot pleasure filling him up.

Remus continued to suck as Sirius bathed in ecstasy, his body shuddering again with a second, smaller climax.

“Shit,” Sirius squeaked, finally pushing Remus off, needing to cool off.

Remus smiled up at him as he breathed hard.

“Woo. Damn. That was fucking good,” Sirius said.

“Thanks,” Remus grinned proudly.

Sirius chuckled then sat up.

“Can I touch you now?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah,” Remus said and Sirius wrapped his long fingers around the base on Remus’s shaft, the other hand cupping his heavy, swollen balls.

“What does it feel like?” Sirius inquired with curiosity.

“Hard. It feels… insistent? There’s tension that runs up through it. I can feel the tension inside of me too. Like, I’m so full of come and there’s all this pressure to release,” Remus explained.

“Wow,” Sirius replied.

“Yeah. Once it’s hard… it’s pretty hard to ignore. And when I’m really turned on like this… it’s worse. It feels like I’ll die if I don’t come,” Remus revealed.

“Do these hurt?” Sirius said, gently rolling his balls in his hand.

“Yeah. But it’s OK as long as you aren’t too rough,” Remus answered.

“OK,” Sirius said and dragged a hand up Remus’s long shaft, stopping just at the ridge of the head.

“Mmm,” Remus said as Sirius lightly dragged his fingers up and down the ridge.

“That’s sensitive? Feels good?” Sirius asked.

“Very. Do that too much and I’ll come,” Remus declared.

Sirius slowly dragged his fingers over the ridge and Remus whimpered. God, that was sexy, he thought. A drop of come spurted out of head and Sirius lowered his mouth, licking up the center straight to the tip. Remus’s come tasted salty and the texture was odd but it was fine.

“Have you tasted yourself?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah,” Remus admitted.

“That’s fair,” Sirius said, sliding his hand up and down Remus’s shaft.

“Mmm,” Remus moaned, making Sirius smile.

“Want me to put my mouth on it?” Sirius asked.

“OK,” Remus said.

Sirius wet his lips and opened his mouth wide, taking all of the head in. He wrapped his lips around the head and slowly sucked up and down, while his hands worked the shaft.

“Oh. Mmm,” Remus moaned.

Sirius wanted to suck Remus as good as he had sucked him but his cock was just too big to pull it off perfectly, though he was giving it his best go.

“I’m gonna come if you keep doing that,” Remus breathed.

Sirius pulled his mouth up and grinned at Remus.

“Do you not want to come?” Sirius replied, with a raised eyebrow.

“I was just letting you know. I want to come badly. There’s so much… tension and pressure.”

Sirius slid his palm up and down the underside of the shaft.

“Remus would you… God, I know this will sound weird but… will you come on me?” Sirius asked, feeling is cheeks flush with embarrassment.

“Huh? Really? Um… where?” Remus asked.

“My belly?” Sirius said and leaned up to pull his shirt off, leaving him in only a sports bra.

“I mean… if you want.”

“Just don’t get any anywhere near my pussy,” Sirius insisted.

Remus reached down and rubbed the softness of the pouch of Sirius’s belly, lightly grazing the fuzzy hair that covered it. He positioned himself between Sirius’s legs and began to stroke himself, the head of his cock aimed at Sirius’s belly.

What Sirius really wanted was for Remus to come inside of him but he wasn’t ready for penetration yet. This would have to suffice.

Sirius watched Remus’s face, studying every twitch and movement it made. His mouth slowly fell open, breathing hard.

“Yeah. Gonna come. Ohhhh. Shit!” Remus moaned as thick, fountain-like spurts erupted from Remus’s cock, spraying not only on Sirius’s belly but some getting on his sports bra too.

“Wow,” Sirius said as Remus continued to twitch and gasp as he continued to come.

Sirius was surprised how quickly Remus stopped stroking himself, just slumping over and breathing hard. The warmth of Remus’s come quickly went cool, feeling less appealing than it had a moment before.

“You came a lot,” Sirius observed.

“Yeah. I was really turned on,” Remus said, smiling shy as he continued to breathe hard.

“I’m still really turned on,” Sirius admitted.

“Really?”

“Yeah,” Sirius as he grabbed tissue to clean himself up with.

Remus grabbed some to help, mostly getting his belly dry and unsticky again. Sirius reached between his legs and began to stroke his clit.

“Can I kiss you?” Remus asked.

“Please. Always,” Sirius urged.

Remus moved from between Sirius legs and swiftly found his mouth, giving him a slow, deep kiss while Sirius continued to touch himself.

“Mmm,” Sirius moaned into Remus’s mouth.

Their kissing continued for another minute before Sirius felt something hot and hard pressing up against him. He was fucking hard again.

“You’re hard?” Sirius probed.

“Yeah. It does that,” Remus said, lifting up.

“What does it feel like? Is it sore now?” Sirius asked.

“Not really. Like… I can tell that I came. It kind of… aches inside. I don’t feel the same pressure and tension to come and it takes longer to get myself there again,” Remus said, stroking himself.

“Cool,” Sirius grinned.

“So what turns you on? Let’s take turns sharing our fantasies,” Sirius said, smiling at Remus.

“Oh. A lot of things. I’m… really curious about anal? I’ve fingered myself but… I sometimes just really want someone to fuck me,” Remus admitted.

“Hot. I’d have to get a strap-on for that. Or you could let James fuck you,” Sirius said.

“Yeah.”

“Does that turn you on? James bending you over and giving it to you good,” Sirius said, not understanding why he was asking but unable to stop himself.

“Yeah,” Remus said, closing his eyes as he stroked himself.

Sirius found himself aroused and uncomfortable by the image of his mind of his best friend fucking his boyfriend in the ass.

“I’m turned on by spanking. I mean… I’ve never done it but it turns me on,” Sirius said, quickly moving himself onto a different subject.

“Giving or receiving?”

“Both. I just think about it a lot. When I masturbate I usually… make up people and scenarios. People spanking and… doing other things,” Sirius explained.

“Like?”

“Nope. Your turn. Tell me something that turns you on,” Sirius urged.

“Care Bears. They make me fucking hard,” Remus said then grinned.

Sirius laughed.

“You shitbiscuit,” Sirius cackled.

“I’m curious about… being filmed? Or having sexy photos of me taken? It’s funny. I hate being watched by strangers but the idea of being… sexualized… seems freeing,” Remus revealed.

“Ooo. I could definitely take some sexy pictures of you,” Sirius said, completely unsurprised that idea turned him.

“What if I sent you some sexy videos while you’re in Portland. Something to remember me by,” Remus asked.

“I’d like that. Mmm,” Sirius moaned.

“I’ll do it. I promise,” Remus said, stroking himself fairly vigorously.

“That’s good. Guess it’s my turn. I watched a video where this couple was playing with candle wax. He dripped the wax over her nipples. That was really sexy,” Sirius breathed.

“Nice.”

“I want to do that someone. Tease them with candle wax,” Sirius explained.

“Cool,” Remus said, clearly running out of the ability to form sentences as he frantically stroked himself.

“Your turn,” Sirius said.

“God. This is gonna sound stupid,” Remus said, his eyes closed as his fist bobbed over the head of his cock.

“Remus, I’m so fucking turned on right now you could double back to that Care Bears thing and I might come,” Sirius declared.

“I thought it might be fun… to roleplay Stucky? I could be Cap and you could be Bucky,” Remus suggested.

“Sounds hot. I don’t know if I’m a good actor, no matter how dramatic people say I am,” Sirius joked.

Remus chuckled then moaned.

“Are you gonna come soon? I’m so close,” Sirius grunted.

“Yeah.”

“Cool. Let me come first. Just hold on,” Sirius said, stroking his clit with determination.

“OK.”

“Mmm.  Yeah. There we go. Mmm. Oh. Ahhhh!” Sirius said, a climax rushing through him again, his body rocking with pleasure.

“Fuck,” Remus said, pulling his hand off his cock as it twitched, dripping a little come.

Sirius licked his lips as another wave of orgasm hit him. He smiled at Remus and said, “Give me your cock. I’ll finish you off.”

Remus scooted up to Sirius’s mouth who quickly put the head inside, sucking hard and fast.

“Oh. Oh shit!” Remus said then let out a long, whimpering moan, his cock spasming onto Sirius’s tongue.

Sirius swallowed the salty fluid as Remus breathed hard.

“Wow,” Remus said.

“Yeah,” Sirius said, kissing the tip of the head of Remus’s cock as he pulled away and fell down on the bed beside him.

“Sex isn’t so bad,” Remus declared.

“No. I wouldn’t want to do that all the time but… it was nice,” Sirius smiled.

“We should have a shower,” Remus suggested.

“Sure. We can do that,” Sirius replied

Sirius wasn’t entirely surprised that they ended up making out in the shower and Remus ground himself into the slipperiness of Sirius’s lower back, coming again as Sirius stroked himself to climax again.

After all that, they were both very hungry so Remus grilled them some hot dogs while they waited for everyone else to return.

“Can you believe we have another week in this cabin?” Remus said.

“Yeah. Feels like it’s been an eventful week. Maybe this next week will be more chill,” Sirius said.

“Yeah. Hopefully.”

They were both silent as they finished up their hot dogs. Sirius felt an odd sense of peace and tranquility that he had so rarely felt in life.

“I’m gonna have to down to San Francisco at some point before I move. Probably just for a weekend. I might go alone. It’s just… emotionally complicated for me. I don’t want to drag you into that,” Sirius explained.

“I’m OK. But you don’t have to take me,” Remus replied.

“Thanks for understanding,” Sirius said, leaning over for a hot dog flavored kiss.


That night in bed Sirius was lying back reading when he glanced over at Remus and noticed something.

“You’re hard?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah. Sorry,” Remus said with a frown.

“Don’t apologize. I was just wondering what was on your mind,” Sirius probed.

Remus chuckled.

“To be honest, it doesn’t take a lot to get hard. It’s a mystery sometimes. But… I was thinking about going down on you this morning. I didn’t realize how hot it would be to get someone off,” Remus answered.

“Really? That’s fucking hot,” Sirius said, grinning from ear to ear.

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to… more of that,” Remus said.

“Hmm. I mean… if we can be quiet… I wouldn’t say no to it right now. If that turns you on,” Sirius suggested.

“Yeah,” Remus replied.

Sirius chuckled as Remus pulled down the covers, looking like he was about to consume a delicious four-course meal.

Chapter Text

“Fuck,” Mary gasped as Lily planted kisses on his belly on the way back up his body, her hands still gripping the rim of his jeans.

“Was that all right?” Lily asked softly while Mary still breathed hard above her.

“Yeah. Damn right it was,” Mary replied, adjusting his body against the back of the tree.

“That’s the second time I’ve given head today. I’m on a roll. I should see who else wants some,” Lily chuckled, letting Mary’s shirt fall back down as she stood up and found his mouth, kissing him deeply.

“I’m sure they’d appreciate that. Sirius was looking kind of uptight earlier. Couldn’t get a can of beans opened. Kept swearing,” Mary snickered in Lily’s ear.

“Hmm. I don’t think he and I are there yet.”

“That’s a shame. He’s really cute,” Mary observed.

“Yeah, he is,” Lily said, reaching down to button and zip Mary’s pants back up.

“Thanks, babe,” Mary said then tried to fix his hair with his fingers, making Lily giggle.

“Here, let me,” Lily said, more evenly straightening his hair at the part then planting a kiss on his nose.

They walked hand in hand over to the nearby creek, which had been their original destination before they started making out and one thing lead to another. They sat down on the bank.

“Can I tell you a secret?” Lily asked.

“Ah geez. Didn’t everyone just air all their secrets out the other day?” Mary chuckled.

“Not that big of a secret. Just… a minor confession.”

“Shoot.”

Lily smirked.

“I’m really ready to go home.”

Mary turned to Lily and gave her a soft smile.

“You’ve always been a homebody. I don’t think you ever wanted to admit it, though,” Mary observed.

Lily snickered.

“Maybe. I like our little household.”

“Little? You should probably check again. Babe, you’re about to have seven people under one roof.”

“Maybe eight before too long,” Lily said.

“What? Geez, who else are you moving in?”

“Oh. God, it slipped by me. I guess you and Dorcas should know too. I’m going to try to have a baby.”

Mary’s mouth hung open.

“Really? I mean… no judging but I am surprised. You’re still a babe yourself,” Mary observed.

“It feels right to me. People always accidentally get pregnant. They don’t plan. I’d rather… be ready. I’m young and healthy. I have a lot of support.”

“Do you want James to be the father?” Mary asked.

“I told him my intentions and made the offer,” Lily replied.

“You didn’t answer my question. Do you want him to be the father?”

Lily scowled.

“He’s under no obligation. I mean I’ve known him for eight months. It feels longer than that but…”

“You could’ve asked Remus,” Mary suggested.

“Remus can’t afford a child. I mean… Obviously, I don’t expect anyone to have anymore of a life with this potential child than they want. But Remus would feel obligated. The pressure and the guilt would eat him up. And if I asked he might say yes out of loyalty to me.”

“But James has money,” Mary pointed out.

“He also didn’t say yes. If James says no I’ll get a donor. But I would prefer to have a personal relationship with the father.”

“I don’t know, babe.”

“What? I thought you said no judging?” Lily narrowed her eyes.

Mary reached down and swatted at the water of the creek.

“I’m not judging. No… that’s a lie. I guess I am judging a little. I don’t mean to but… you’ve never even said anything. You just up and decided you want a kid?”

“Yes. I just feel… I feel like I’m part of a moment. I can’t explain it but if you were feeling what I was feeling you would understand. I want this,” Lily said, wiping at her eyes, overcome with emotion.

“Damn, babe. You’re serious,” Mary said.

“Yes. I am.”

Mary smiled and leaned over to kiss Lily, slow and soft.

“I don’t get it but that’s all right. You’ll always have my love and support.”

“Thank you,” Lily said, taking Mary’s hand and kissing the top of it.


 

“What do you suppose they get up to on their hikes?” Lily asked as she brushed Sirius’s hair.

The second week in the cabin was already half passed now. The pair of them were upstairs alone on the king size bed, Sirius sitting between Lily’s legs, his back to her chest. Having her brush his hair felt very soothing.

“Probably screwing around. Maybe James finally got that bear fight he was hoping for. Got Remus all hot and bothered and they just can’t help themselves,” Sirius joked.

“You have a very vivid imagination,” Lily observed.

“That’s a fair observation.”

“Still… I mean… are you really OK with it? If Remus came home right now and revealed he and James had given each other BJs would you be jealous?” Lily asked.

Sirius chuckled, his face feeling flushed.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe?”

“Do you feel jealous when they make out?”

“A little.”

“But then you make out with me,” Lily said, patting him on the shoulder.

“Not nearly enough if you ask me,” Sirius joked.

“Right? There’s only so many hours in the day though. My lips are very in demand these days,” Lily giggled.

“Anyhow… Yes, I feel jealous when they do things together.”

“Sirius… I want to give you a piece of advice. I’ve been doing this poly thing for a while now. It’s not like I just decided to be poly and all my jealousy disappeared.”

“I’m listening,” Sirius stated.

“Don’t ignore your jealousy. Think about your own needs. You’re gonna be in Portland a while. Maybe think about doing some dating. Like once I moved out here it really helped me to have James to get involved with. But I always missed my partners out here. Every time they’d mention they went on a date with someone… I felt jealous.”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah. But you learn to cope. I just worry about you sweetie. I worry this will be harder than you expect. Take your jealousy and channel it into your own needs. Don’t let it consume you. Cause things are gonna happen. Maybe talking about Remus sleeping with someone else doesn’t seem a big deal but once it happens… it might be harder than you think.”

Sirius sighed. The trouble was he was mostly trying not to think about it. But it was stupid. There was no reason for it to bother him. But it did.

“It’s stupid. Isn’t it terrible that I could make out with you right now and I wouldn’t feel guilty but if Remus came back and told me he and James had made out or more… I would feel jealous,” Sirius said.

“No. It just makes you human.”

“God. And there’s this part of me that thinks… No, I shouldn’t even say that.”

“What?” Lily asked, having set aside the brush and was now massaging his shoulders.

“There’s this stupid petty part of me that thinks I would feel less bad about Remus sleeping with someone else if I could just beat him to the punch.”

“Ooo. No, honey,” Lily said, her hands feeling quite nice.

“I know, I know. It’s terrible.”

“I mean… To a certain degree… That’s what I mean about your personal needs. But it shouldn’t be a contest. I mean… Obviously, I trust that you are attracted to me since you didn’t even know about James and Remus but your future partners won’t have that benefit. They need to trust that you aren’t just trying to numb yourself to jealousy.”

“That’s fair,” Sirius whispered.

“Do you want to make out?” Lily asked.

“Are you feeling jealous?” Sirius snarked.

“No. I’m thinking there’s a cute boy sitting between my legs and I can’t stop thinking about kissing him,” Lily whispered in his ear.

“Ooo. Well, I am a little jealous of him,” Sirius said, starting to turn himself around to face her.

“Maybe we should kiss… just in case,” Lily said and her lips were on his.

“Mmm,” Sirius said, pulling away with a grin and saying, “You’re so good at that. I’m jealous. I want to know how to kiss so good it makes them feel all weak inside”

“I don’t know. You’re not so bad,” Lily said, kissing him again.

“You should teach Remus to kiss like that. I mean he’s not bad but-” Sirius said, Lily’s lips silencing him mid sentence.

Lily pulled away again and said, “I don’t know. I think you could probably teach him a thing or two. Not that I’ve ever kissed him.”

“Do you want to?” Sirius asked, his lips a mere inch from hers.

Lily giggled.

“Of course. He’s never shown much interest though,” Lily said, Sirius’s lips pressing into hers.

“Mmm,” Sirius moaned, starting to get lost in the way their lips glided together.

Parts of him were feeling hot and craved friction. He wanted her but wasn’t sure if he should pursue that.

“I want you,” Sirius breathed in her ear.

Lily nibbled lightly on his ear then said, “I’m right here. If you’re sure you’re ready.”

Sirius contemplated the urgency of his own aching and the beautiful woman who was pressed so tightly against him, feeling so warm as her chest heaved. Sirius kissed her, his hands gripping her hips tightly.

“I’m no good at sex. I’ve barely done anything with Remus. I feel like I need more practice,” Sirius joked.

Lily’s sucked on his neck, making him moan. She moved her mouth back to his ear and said, “I don’t care how good you are. I just want to see what your face looks like when I make you come.”

“Ooo. Damn,” Sirius said as their lips moved together again.

“It’s my favorite part of being with someone for the first time,” Lily breathed, dragging her lips across his cheek.

“I don’t know. I’m nervous. I think I might… I can’t. I’m sorry,” Sirius said, though he wasn’t sure what it was that was stopping him, only that he wasn’t ready.

“OK,” Lily said, planting a small kiss on his cheek.

“I’m sorry,” Sirius said, pulling away and feeling ashamed.

“Don’t be,” Lily smiled, looking so cute with her skin flushed.

“Umm… I will be ready… eventually. I promise.”

“I look forward to it,” Lily winked.

“Me too,” Sirius replied honestly.

“Good things come to those who wait,” Lily snarked.

“Then I’ll be waiting to… come good,” Sirius echoed and they laughed.

“OK. I think I want to get high. Are you in?” Lily asked.

“Yeah. Why not?”


 

The sounds of of pencils on paper startled Lily out of her daydream. She had been pondering what life with her baby would be like, regardless of who the other parent ended up being. She got up off the couch and wandered over to the dining room where Peter was drawing.

“Hey,” Lily said.

Peter grinned up at her.

“Hey. I’m not bothering you, am I?”

Lily shook her head.

“I thought maybe someone was writing a very angry note.”

“No. I’m drawing something for Dorcas, actually,” Peter admitted.

“Can I see?” Lily asked.

“Yeah,” Peter said, sliding the drawing in front of her.

“Wow. That’s… that’s my house,” Lily grinned, amazed at the detail.

“It’s just a rough sketch. I keep tossing them out,” Peter chuckled.

“Rough? No, Pete, this is amazing! What picture did you use as reference?” Lily asked.

“Oh, no, no. No references. Just from memory.”

Lily gaped at Peter as he tapped his temple.

“That’s incredible!” Lily said, handing the drawing back over to him.

Peter blushed and said, “Thanks.”

“We’ve got a creative household. We should all join forces,” Lily said, sitting down across from Peter.

“Yeah. Sure. We could make a movie. Sirius can be the cinematographer. Remus can write it. I’ll design the opening credits…”

“I’ll star. I’ll have to have a nudity clause in my contract. I don’t wear clothes on film ever.”

“That’s fair,” Peter chuckled.

“Dorcas can play piano. She could write the score,” Lily suggested.

“She told me that. Is she good?” Peter asked.

“Oh yeah. Her parents made her get lessons for years. She can sing too,” Lily replied.

“Yes, I’ve heard that. Her voice is beautiful,” Peter grinned.

“Yeah. Hmmm… Mary took some acting classes. He could be my leading man. Or… maybe it’ll be a love triangle with Mary and James… but then we all get together,” Lily smiled up at the ceiling wistfully.

“I’m not sure if you’re joking or not but that sounds amazing,” Peter commented.

“It does, doesn’t it? Hmm.”

Lily imagined shenanigans as they all worked together to get the film finished. Maybe she would have had the baby by then.

“Wait. Are you really considering it?” Peter asked.

Lily chuckled.

“I don’t know. It could be fun. Now that the idea is in my head… I can’t let it go,” Lily realized.

“Well, you can count me in,” Peter said proudly.

Lily smiled at him.

“Thanks, Pete. I’ll umm… I’ll keep you posted,” Lily said, wondering who she should ask about the idea next.


 

In the middle of a group rewatch of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with only two full days left at the cabin, Dorcas had been giving Lily the eyes and finally nodded her over where she whispered in Lily’s ear: “Care for a swim?”

Lily nodded and let Dorcas take her by the hand out to the dock, both of them pulling off their clothes. Dorcas was the first in the water, splashing from a running jump into the lake.

Lily more gently slipped in the water from the dock, quickly finding Dorcas and giving her a kiss.

“Shit! It’s cold!” Dorcas said, wrapping her arms around Lily and pulling her close.

“Yes!” Lily shivered, squeezing her girlfriend tight.

“Hey, do you think we’ll do this out in Oregon? Run down to the beach at midnight?” Dorcas joked.

“It’s a long run. Maybe I should get a pool. But no one has pools there,” Lily explained.

“I’m sorry if I’ve just… been up Peter’s ass. I really like him,” Dorcas said.

“Dorc… I have a bunch of partners around. I’m good. But I have missed you,” Lily said, giving her another kiss.

Dorcas made a happy sound and said, “I just really needed to be naked with you. But this might not’ve been the right naked choice.”

“We could dry off. Go upstairs and fool around. I don’t think anyone would mind,” Lily said.

“No. I’m starting to get warm. You’re… so warm,” Dorcas said, planting her full lips on Lily’s neck.

“We’re doing this here?” Lily asked, Dorcas’s lips and tongue exploring the wet flesh of neck.

“Mmmhmm,” Dorcas said and Lily moved her own hand between Dorcas’s thighs, sliding a finger between her thighs.

Dorcas moaned as Lily played with her. Dorcas laid her head on Lily’s shoulder, breathing hard.

“That feels good?” Lily whispered.

“Yeah. Uh huh,” Dorcas softly replied.

Lily stroked Dorcas under the water until she came with a screech.

“Oh. Oh. Damn, Lily. I needed that,” Dorcas said, still shuddering a little.

“I’m always happy to lend… a hand,” Lily said as Dorcas moved her own hand between Lily’s thighs.

“Oooo. Hello,” Lily snickered as Dorcas’s fingers slid her clit between them.

Just then whoops and hollers echoed from the back of the cabin.

“Shit,” Dorcas said, her fingers still at work.

“Oh god,” Lily said laughing hysterically as everyone ran down to the dock.

“Sup, guys. I got to talking and thought you two had the right idea,” James said proudly, beginning to remove his clothes.

“Oh umm… Maybe we should… umm… give them some space,” Mary suggested giving Lily and Dorcas a sympathetic cringe.

“No. It’s fine,” Lily said, Dorcas’s hand disappointingly slipping away on cue.

“Is it? Cool! All right. All Marauders and non-Marauders may now disrobe!” James said, diving into the lake next to them with a big splash.

Lily and Dorcas shrugged at each other and laughed. Lily leaned into Dorcas’s ear and whispered, “You got off at least.”

“Yeah,” Dorcas said, giving her a kiss as Lily resolved to get James to make it up to her later.


 

“I can’t believe tomorrow’s our last full day here,” Remus said, Lily standing next to him on the back patio as they looked out at the lake.

“Yeah. It’s flown by hasn’t it,” Lily commented.

“Especially this week. What did we even do all week?” Remus joked.

“I made out with a lot of people,” Lily admitted.

“You didn’t make out with me,” Remus countered.

Lily snickered.

“Did you want to?” Lily asked, bouncing a couple of steps closer to Remus.

Remus looked away from her, feeling embarrassed.

“I don’t know. I have been surprised… by you and Sirius. Is it weird that… I don’t know. It’s a stupid thing to be jealous about. Actually… is it jealousy? Or envy? Or do they mean the same thing?” Remus asked, getting caught off track.

Lily laughed.

“They mean the same thing now. No one treats them as separate anymore. Except for uptight weirdoes with their heads up the dictionary’s ass,” Lily snarked.

“That’s fair. Anyhow… I guess, what I’m trying to say is… I’m jealous of you and Sirius,” Remus admitted.

“Aww,” Lily said, wrapping an arm around his shoulders.

“I thought I would be jealous if he kissed anyone else… but… I’m jealous that he got to kiss you,” Remus said, feeling pathetic.

“Do you want to kiss me?” Lily asked, her voice soft and surprisingly tender.

Remus turned towards her, thinking how cute his best friend really was.

“I don’t know,” Remus said, looking down at the ground below.

Everything was happening to fast. Somehow this part was harder than everything else for Remus. Why could he make out with James Potter but the idea of kissing his best friend made him feel weak in a different way? He could kiss Mary too and that hadn’t been a big deal, though it had just been a game. Why was kissing Lily such a big deal?

The silence between them lingered so long that Lily cleared her throat and said, “One of us should talk. Unless… you don’t want to talk about this. But I’ll lay my cards on the table if you will.”

“I’m afraid,” Remus admitted.

“Me too,” Lily confessed and Remus turned to her with shock.

“You’re afraid?”

Lily raised her head and Remus could see that her green eyes were filled with tears.

“What? You think everything is easy for me? Sometimes I wish I could turn all my feelings off. I love so much, so hard and so often. And everything doesn’t always work out the way I want it to. And sometimes I care about people so much that I don’t pursue my feelings at all. Like… I’ve got this big crush on Marlene. It’s not a big deal but… I still have emotions. If it doesn’t work out… I’ll be disappointed.”

Remus frowned.

“So what are you afraid of me… with me,” Remus inquired.

Lily wiped at her eyes and said, “I’m afraid I’ll ruin our friendship. I’m even more afraid that…”

Lily sighed and looked down. Remus reached over and rubbed her back.

“It’s OK,” he said.

She nodded and looked up, at out the lake.

“I’m even more afraid that something will happen and… it won’t live up to… the version of it in my fantasies,” she admitted.

“But Lily… you do this all the time. It’s just me!” Remus grinned.

“Remus… has it ever occurred to you that you are the most significant relationship in my life? I’ve never been as close to anyone as I am with you. We’re close in every way… All but one way,” Lily said.

“Yeah, but I mean… how could we date anyhow?”

“Last I checked we were just talking about a kiss,” Lily said, giving him a cheeky look.

Remus chuckled and shook his head.

“But no. Really? I don’t understand if we were like… let’s be romantic together? What changes?” Remus said.

Lily furrowed her brow.

“I… I don’t know. I guess it would just mean reevaluating what we want and need from each other. Relationship anarchy,” Lily said.

“So what do you want and need from me?” Remus said.

“I don’t need anything from you. But… want? I don’t know. I just… I love you so much, Remus,” Lily said, reaching over to place a hand over his on the railing of the patio.

“I love you too,” Remus echoed.

Lily scooted a little closer to him. Remus felt his heart slamming in his chest.

“For me… there are few boundaries when it comes to you. You’re a part of me. I want… whatever you want. I just… like seeing you happy,” Lily said, resting her head on Remus’s shoulder.

“So there’s nothing you… specifically want from me? If I said I wanted nothing you wouldn’t be disappointed?” Remus asked.

“Of course I would be. As far as our current relationship goes… I care about keeping what we have. Do I desire more? Yes. I do.”

Remus licked his lips. He was asking Lily to put herself on the line a lot more than he was putting himself out there. That probably wasn’t fair.

“I would like to kiss you. I do find you attractive,” Remus softly confessed.

“I find you… very attractive,” Lily giggled.

“Do you? How come you’ve never tried to kiss me?” Remus asked.

“Because you’re my best friend. And I wasn’t sure if you liked girls.”

“That’s fair. I wasn’t either until a few months ago…” Remus said, privately blushing as he recalled the wet dream he’d had about Lily.

“And at that point… you were getting started with Sirius. How could I interfere?” Lily suggested.

“That’s fair,” Remus said.

“You’re trembling,” Lily said, squeezing his hand.

Remus gulped.

“Guess I’m nervous,” Remus replied.

“Me too.”

Remus wondered when one of them would make the first move. The pressure felt unbearable.

“So… do you want to kiss me? Right now, I mean,” Lily said.

“Yeah. I would like that,” Remus said, turning to face her.

She was already so close. She smiled warmly as her head turned, her lips parting as they both closed their eyes. Everything was quiet except for a faint breeze and the sounds of their lips meeting.

Kissing Lily wasn’t like kissing James or Sirius. This wasn’t a crush he was kissing. This was his best friend. There were nearly seven years of emotions and history passing through the intimacy between them.

As they silently parted, Remus opened his eyes to see that Lily’s eyes were still closed, her head slightly hung. He felt nervous until she smiled, opening her eyes as tears fell down her cheeks.

“You OK?” Remus asked.

“Very. I’m very OK,” Lily said, taking his hands in hers.

“So now what? Are we still friends? Are we lovers?” Remus grinned.

Lily giggled.

“Does it matter? We do

n’t have to call it anything. It’s just… the relationship that we have.”

“That’s fair.”

Lily glanced at the house then back to Remus and said, “Want to come upstairs with me? We can just cuddle if you like.”

“Yeah. I’d like that,” Remus said, laughing as Lily lead him inside.


 

When James entered the cabin at the end of a long day out in the woods hiking with everyone, he was surprised to not see Lily and Remus about. Sirius commented that he hadn’t received a text from Remus for hours. James said goodnight to the others and creeped upstairs, quietly entering the large bedroom.

Inside he found both his partners lying in bed, spooning. He smiled, feeling a little jealous that he had missed out on this. He tried to be quiet as he set his things down but Lily opened her eyes, smiling at him.

“Hey,” she whispered, nodding at Remus behind her.

Remus stirred, blinking at James then smiling.

“Hey,” James said to both of them.

“You can join us,” Lily suggested.

“No, I’m actually gonna go check on Sirius,” Remus said, yawning then sliding out of bed.

James smiled at Remus as he approached, giving him a kiss. Remus tasted like Lily’s favorite lipgloss. The brief hint of it sent a chill of delight up his spine. Remus left and James slid into bed, Lily scooting back to make room.

“Remus tastes like you,” James whispered, giving her a kiss.

Lily giggled as she pulled back.

“Yeah. That was a thing,” she smiled, kissing him again.

“I didn’t make out with anyone today. Or see any bears,” James lamented.

“Dude, what is it with you and bears? I mean if you’ve got a kink we can talk about it,” Lily joked, the nuzzled the side of his neck while he snickered, getting goosebumps on his arms.

“I mean… it’s bearly an issue,” James joked, kissing her nose.

“Guess I’ll just have to bear with you,” she replied, sucking on his neck.

“I’ll… bear my soul,” James softly growled, reaching behind her to grip the curve of her bottom.

“Hmm… hopefully, you’ll bear a lot more than that,” Lily chuckled, sliding half of her body on top of James, her leg wiggling over his crotch.

“Sounds intense. Grizzly,” James snarked, squeezing her ass as she kissed his neck.

“Hey, Smokey, I think you’ve got a forest fire between your legs,” Lily breathed, rubbing his cock with her shin.

“I don’t… care… bear,” James replied, feeling that one was a stretch.

“That’s too bad. I’m nice and wet. I could help you put it out,” Lily moaned in his ear.

“Actually, I’m feeling thirsty. Maybe… I’d like a drink,” James said, curving his hand around her thigh and cupping between her legs.

“Mmmm,” Lily moaned as James’s fingers rubbed her through her pyjamas.

“Seems like you’ve been doing a lot of giving. Why don’t you lay back and let me give back to you?” James said.

“Don’t have to ask me twice,” Lily said, flopping over and pulling off her pyjamas and underwear in a flash, quickly followed by her tank top.

James removed his own clothes then moved between her legs, kissing all the way up to her thighs, before his tongue explored her damp heat as she let out a soft moan.

“James… I know this probably isn’t- mmmm - the right time but… I really wanted to- ahh- umm… thank you. For everything.  This summer couldn’t have happened without you,” Lily said while James softly worked on her clit.

“Mmmhmm,” James mumbled trying to keep his pace.

“No, really. It’s- mmm- been so good. And everything. You know? Like… This has been the best summer of my- ohhh - l-life,” Lily moaned.

James didn’t reply, instead slowly increasingly speed.

“I’m just… so happy? I mean… things are changing. But. Oh!” Lily whimpered.

Something about Lily praising him was really turning James on. He thrusted his hips, flexing his cock with urgency as he continued to lap at her clit.

“I just… wanted you to know… umm… oh, James,” Lily moaned.

James’s thrusts grew intense, the head of his cock brushing against the sheets and feeling nice.

“I… wanted you to to know… Ohhhh. I’m coming!” Lily whimpered.

All the sudden James felt that feeling that sent a signal to his brain that it was time.

“Oh! Fuck,” James gasped as his cock twitched, pleasure rushing as he ejaculated.

“Wha- You’re coming too?” Lily asked, her voiced strained with please.

“Uh huh. Oh. Fuckkk,” James groaned, unable to help himself from being loud.

Lily laughed then moaned, still shuddering before him.

“Shit,” James breathed, kneeling in disbelief.

“Dude. I can’t believe you just nutted all over the bedspread,” Lily giggled, giving him a light tap on the shoulder with her foot.

“Me either. I don’t know. I was just… so turned on. I could barely even follow what you were saying but…”

“Wow. James Potter has a positive feedback and praise kink,” Lily joked.

“Guess so. We better clean up,” James said, leaning up and looking down at the mess he had made.


 

Morning on the final day felt sort of surreal, Lily thought as they piled everything into the car.

“Why can’t we just stay here? James, you have money. Buy this cabin and we’ll all live here,” Peter said.

“Hell to the no,” Mary grumbled, giving Peter the finger.

“What? What’s wrong with it?” Peter asked.

“There’s nothing around here, dude. Of course, it’s the straight white dude who thinks being a billion miles away from other queer people sounds great,” Mary joked, giving Pete an elbow to the side.

“Ow!” Peter said, rubbing his side.

“Relax, Pete. We’re all going to be living together in Oregon. You do remember, that right?” James said, dropping his suitcase in the back of the car.

“Oh. Right,” Peter replied stupidly.

Sirius came over to Lily and glumly whispered, “Not quite.”

Lily frowned at Sirius. Yes, everything would be so nearly perfect when they got back to Oregon. The four of them would, she supposed, have a month all together in her house. And then Sirius would be gone, another partner slipping away as two more come back around.

She watched as Sirius put an arm around Remus and smiled even though it felt sad. She had tried her best to warn Sirius that things might be harder than he expected but she wasn’t sure if the message got through. She would try to give him advice as best she could but in the end he would be on his own, responsible for himself and his own feelings.

“Hey, Lily, have you told anyone about… the thing?” Peter whispered.

“Oh. No. Not yet. I suppose I can on the drive back down to Keene,” Lily said.

“What’s that?” James asked.

“I want us to make a movie,” Lily said then clarified, “It was Peter’s idea too.”

Peter grinned around seeming very pleased with himself.

“What, like a porno?” Mary asked.

“No. Not exactly. I’ll explain in the car!” Lily insisted

“Fair enough,” Mary replied, taking her seat inside.

Lily turned around and gave the cabin a sad little wave. Sometimes it was hard to abandon the good memories. She knew that years later she would look back on these days with fondness, no matter what came after. But for now, it was time to move on.

After all, there was still one matter to attend to before they returned to Oregon: Severus and Charity’s wedding.

Chapter Text

“You guys ready?” Natalie asked, smiling hopefully.

“No,” Remus answered honestly.

“I am. This is the only chance either of us will ever get to meet one another’s parents for the first time,” Sirius observed.

“That doesn’t make the pressure any better, Sirius,” Remus glared.

Sirius frowned.

“How have they been, Nat?” Remus asked.

Natalie groaned.

“They’ve been fighting in private. Every time I come into the room they stop. But the last week… it’s been quiet. I don’t know if that’s a good thin or a bad thing,” she admitted.

“Only one way to find out,” Sirius said, patting Remus on the shoulder.

“Very well. Let’s go get your disappointment over with,” Remus said, opening his car door, Sirius and Natalie doing the same.

Remus’s mother greeted them at the door, giving them a small smile before leading them inside. Remus wondered why it was, that somehow after knowing about his mother’s past it made introducing Sirius to her seem even harder.

“You’re Sirius?” Remus’s father said, stepping out of the living room.

“Yes, sir. Pleased to meet you, Mr. Lupin,” Sirius said, shaking his hand.

Remus’s father had a firm grip but if Sirius was bothered by this he didn’t show it.

“Hey, dad,” Sirius said.

His father let go of Sirius’s hand and gave him a hug. He seemed to linger just a little while longer than usual before parting again. His mother had remained mostly silent, only briefly offering him a hug.

As Sirius followed Remus’s father into the living room, Remus turned to Natalie and whispered, “Something is up.”

Natalie frowned and nodded, seeming to agree with her brother’s assessment. Remus left to go find his mother, who was in the kitchen preparing lunch.

“Hey, mom,” Remus said, trying to seem casual.

“Hello, Remus,” she said quietly.

“Is there something wrong?” he asked.

His mother glanced at him and sighed.

“Your father and I are getting a divorce,” she replied simply.

What?” Remus gasped.

“People get divorced. It’s not a big deal,” she said, sounding insincere.

“Wh-what happened?”

“He found out about Amelia,” his mother said, cutting sandwiches in half.

“Oh,” Remus said in realization.

“It’s my fault. Most things are. I guess there’s a price for cheating on your spouse,” his mother observed.

“How did he find out?” Remus asked, afraid of the answer.

“She told him. She told him everything. I knew she would… she… told me she would… Never mind. This isn’t any of your business. Amelia told me you and Natalie talked to her at the fireworks, by the way. I don’t appreciate you meddling in my personal affairs.”

Remus looked down at the floor. His mother was upset. Fairly, perhaps.

“I’m sorry. We… we wanted to help you,” Remus said quietly.

His mother sighed.

“This isn’t your fault. This is my fault. Amelia came running to me. She was so upset and… Oh, Remus. I’ve really messed this up,” she said, clutching the kitchen counter and looking like she might be crying.

“I mean… What you did… was a long time ago, mom. Surely dad can forgive you,” Remus said, stepping towards her and putting a hand on her shoulder.

“No, Remus. You don’t understand. I… cheated again,” his mother admitted.

“That’s really not any of my business. I’m… I’m sorry we interfered,” Remus said.

“It’s all a mess, Remus. And… the worst thing is that… he forgives me. The bastard forgives me,” she cried.

“He… he does? Then why are you getting divorced?”

“I don’t deserve him. He doesn’t deserve what I’ve put him through,” she explained.

“You guys can work this out!” Remus insisted.

“No. We can’t. It’s over.”

“So… what about Amelia?” Remus asked.

“Her wife forgives her too. But she’s also forbidding Amelia from seeing me,” she replied and began to sob.

Remus held his mother, running out of things to say or apologies to give. He felt angry at himself. This was his fault. Sure, it was possible this all would’ve blown up eventually but… there must’ve been a better way to handle it.

He quietly sighed and hoped Lily and James were having a less uncomfortable time at the wedding.


 

“He looks bored,” James whispered in Lily’s ear.

“Yeah,” she replied, watching Severus glancing around as he stood next to the priest at the front of the Episcopal church they were all gathered in.

“I mean, I can’t blame him… I hate weddings. I’ve gotta be Petrova’s best man next month and I’m not looking forward to it. But… it’s his own damn wedding,” James complained.

A small choir sang a hymn at the front of the church. James wasn’t too familiar with Episcopal traditions. His family had always been non-denominational growing up. His still thought of himself as a Christian but maybe not in the same way a lot of other Christians did. He didn’t think Jesus would be that into modern Christianity all that much.

Lately he’d been becoming more interested in Lily’s paganism. He’d been privately toying with the label of Christian Pagan but was still reading up on Paganism. He liked learning about different traditions and thinking about what they meant to different cultures. But then he felt bad about not knowing more about his mother’s Afro-Caribbean culture or her African heritage further back.

His maternal grandmother and grandfather had originated from Haiti and Bermuda, respectively, eventually migrating to Southern California and falling in love. Her parents died before James was born. His mother had cousins and other distant relatives who were still living, though she had never been close to them. A part of him longed to explore that. Another part of him was afraid that he wouldn’t be accepted or he wouldn’t fit in.

But he had often wondered where his West African ancestors may have come from precisely. He wasn’t sure if it would be possible to dig that deeply into his heritage with all of his ancestors on that side of his family probably having been slaves. Privately as Charity walked down the aisle James made a commitment to himself to have the courage to dig into his family’s past, even though he knew learning about much of it would be painful.

With Charity in place at the front of the church, looking radiant, the priest, who was delightfully a woman, began to to perform the ceremony:

“Dearly beloved: We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony. The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.”

James found it hard to focus as she recited from the book of common prayers. He thought if he ever got married he wouldn’t want it to be so formal and stiff. He wanted it to feel fun like a celebration, not something sacred and sterile.

He glanced at Lily. Her face seemed sort of neutral, which made sense. Lily was really good at not showing what she was feeling when she wanted to, though usually that wasn’t an issue. He wondered if she would ever want to get married. When you have a bunch of partners how do you stop and say… I pick this one. Would the others be hurt?

And then he remembered her proposal from two weeks before. As much as he loved Lily he wasn’t sure marriage was a commitment he was remotely ready for. And yet… the idea of having a child with her… pleased him. Or was it the idea of having a child. Yes, he definitely thought he would enjoy being a father. He could be a cool dad. And damn, would his child ever be good-looking, he thought with pride.

He daydreamed about what a child that took after himself and Lily would look like while the priest spoke to the congregation:

“Into this holy union Severus Snape and Charity Burbage now come to be joined. If any of you can show just cause why they may not lawfully be married, speak now; or else for ever hold your peace.”

James would’ve loved to shout that an absolute shitbasket like Snape had no business marrying a lovely girl like Charity but regretfully held his tongue. Instead he placed a hand on Lily’s and squeezed. He was unsure what the future held for them. For now he was in love. He wouldn’t let himself commit to having a baby with her yet. For one thing, he thought she might change her mind still. He wouldn’t say that to her directly but… he needed to be sure. It was a big decision. It would change their lives forever.

Was he ready to be a parent? No. He remembered when Charity had turned up pregnant a few years back. He had been ready to step up to the plate, even though the child probably hadn’t been his, but rather the child of the man she had cheated on him with. He knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that if Lily got pregnant he would be ready and prepared to love that child. He shook his head lightly, willing himself to put the matter out of his mind for the time being.

“Severus, will you have this woman to be your wife; to live together in the covenant of marriage? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others, be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?”

“I will,” he replied, finally offering a slight smirk, despite Charity’s face having been lit up this entire time.

The priest looked at the congregation and said, “Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?”

James startled when the entire congregation replied, “We will.”

“Shit,” he whispered.

Lily grinned at him, shaking her head and whispering, “Language!”

James shrugged as the priest said, “The Lord be with you,” to which the congregation replied, “And also with you.”

“Is that normal? My parents didn’t go to a church like that,” James whispered.

“Some churches do call and answer. The Catholic churches I attended did stuff like that,” Lily replied as the priest lead a prayer.

James bowed his head, not really able to absorb the priest’s words. Once the prayer was done she read some verses of scripture which also include some call and response parts that James found bewildering. After that it was finally time for the vows, starting with Severus:

“In the Name of God, I, Severus, take you, Charity, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

Charity then took Severus’s right hand, her eyes full of love as she repeated the same vow. James felt bad for her. She really was invested in this dickhead. But he supposed it was possible that maybe Severus was good to her. Maybe he was just a shitty friend but a decent boyfriend. It sounded fake as hell, but James was willing to consider a lot of things that probably weren’t true.

Next it it was time for the exchange of rings. The priest blessed the rings then Charity placed her ring on Severus’s finger with a vow, “Severus., I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

With both rings exchanged, the priest joined the right hands of Severus and Charity and said, "Now that Severus and Charity have given themselves to each other by solemn vows, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of a ring, I pronounce that they are husband and wife, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.”

The congregation replied, “Amen.”

At first James was excited that it was now over only to discover there were more layers and blessings to be dispensed, ending with a communion. James never thought he would feel insulted to be given booze but he thought that if they were going to give him alcohol, he definitely deserved enough to get him drunk after all of that.

After the communion and one final blessing they were able to depart, unfortunately just to head to the reception.

“Are we sure we really want to go to the reception?” James asked Lily as they left the church.

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Lily chuckled.

“Awww fuck you. You know I’m weak for dares,” James replied.

“Yeah, yeah. Suck it up, Potter,” Lily said, looping her arm with his as they headed for car.


 

“Hey, dad,” Remus said, coming and sitting next to his father on the front porch.

Sirius was inside the house playing cards with his mother and Natalie. Things had relaxed a little since his mother’s brief breakdown in the kitchen earlier before lunch.

“Remus,” his father said quietly.

“So… mom said you guys were getting divorced.”

His father frowned and nodded.

“Yes. I don’t want to. I’m hurt that your mother would lie to me but… We’ve been together for so long. I’m not ready to be without her,” his father admitted, his voice edged with grief.

“I’m surprised you forgive her,” Remus stated.

His father turned to him, raised an eyebrow then shook his head.

“Why shouldn’t I? I love her. Love between a man and a woman should be unconditional,” his father explained.

“What about between a man and a man? Or a woman and a woman?” Remus countered.

His father frowned.

“You got me there. Uh… a love between two people… two bonded people. It should be unconditional. It hurts. It kills me. I don’t know if I can trust her. But I want to try. I still remember standing before her in church. I don’t even know if I believe in God but I believed those vows more than anything I have ever said.”

Remus wondered if his father believed that his mother, contrarily, must not have believed her vows.

“Maybe she’ll change her mind?” Remus suggested.

His father frowned then shook his head.

“No. I’ve known that woman for nearly thirty years. I know when she’s made up her mind,” he replied.

Remus’s heart sunk. This didn’t feel real.

“Then… what will you do?” Remus asked.

“The divorce probably won’t be a lot of fun. At least you and Nat are both grown. Your mother will probably keep the house. I’m thinking of spending some time in Seoul. Your Aunt Yong-Suk hasn’t been well.”

Remus hadn’t seen his father’s younger sister in years as she rarely made it stateside as was the case for most of his father’s family.

“I just… don’t understand. How can it be over?” Remus asked, finding himself trying not to get upset once again.

“These things happen, son. Relationships end. I don’t want it to end. Most people don’t want their relationships to end. But sometimes they do. And it hurts. It hurts… more than anything ever has.”

“Then fight for it! You could make it work!” Remus pleaded.

“No! Dammit, Remus…” his father started angrily before sighing and more calmly explaining, “Your mother is going through some things. Changes. It’s not just you young folk who are figuring yourselves out. Life doesn’t stop at forty. It keeps going. I can’t get in her way. She’s decided she wants to find her own path. Do I agree with her choice? No. Hell no. But what am I to do? Tell her I won’t accept the divorce? Fight her? What kind of man would I be? How would that look to my children if I put their mother through hell?”

Remus’s father’s dark eyes were shining with tears. He wasn’t sure he had ever seen his father cry. He had always been such a private, introverted man.

“Dad… Can I ask you something?” Remus asked.

“Of course. Anything,” he replied.

“Do you think… this is our fault? Me and Natalie.”

His father frowned then sighed.

“Do I think you acted appropriately? No. Is this all your fault? No. This one is on me and your mother.”

“But what did you do?” Remus asked, bewildered.

“I’ve spent everyday with your mother for over two decades. I’ve had my suspicions. Even with your mother trying to hide that part of herself. And she had reason to fear. It took me a long time to… come around to all that. I won’t promise I understand it all. But I accept it now. But now is too late for her. She knows that she never could’ve been who she is and have been with me for most of our relationship. Maybe she still is afraid of that. I’ll never know, I suppose.”

“I just… don’t understand any of this. I never even considered the possibility that you two could split up.”

His father tilted his head and shook his head.

“Me either, son. Me either.”


 

“Have I mentioned how much I hate Taylor Swift?” Lily groaned, before taking another sip of wine.

“What’s wrong with Taylor Swift? I mean I can’t say I really like her but I also don’t care about her,” James commented.

Lily shrugged.

“Something about her rubs me the wrong way,” Lily said, though she was mostly annoyed because the band was playing their third Taylor Swift song in the last hour.

“I guess Charity is a fan,” James observed.

“You dated her,” Lily pointed out.

“True. I guess I should remember… I don’t know. We didn’t like the same music. We didn’t like… much of the same anything,” James said, realization apparent on his face.

“How do people who don’t have shit in common make it work? I would get bored. I mean, fuck, I’m poly but I still need to have shit to talk about,” Lily grumbled.

“Geez, Lils, you seem grumpier than usual,” James noted.

Lily scowled, wishing she hadn’t insisted they come to the reception after all.

“I may be slightly tipsy. Slightly. And… ugh. This is so stupid! Everyone is being all happy and congratulating them and… He’s not worth this. He’s going to fuck it up. I know he will,” Lily complained, looking guilty.

“Yeah. I mean… I don’t know. I just… don’t get what she sees in him. How can the same girl who liked me… also like him?” James asked.

Lily snickered and shook her head.

“Your pride wounded?”

“No!” James said, waited a beat then said, “Yes! Maybe a bit.”

“Sev has good traits. When I talked to him on the fourth… It’s clear he’s grown. It’s also clear he still has a long way to grow. Especially since they are having a baby.”

“Yeah. Wait. What?” James said, looking so intense Lily momentarily worried his eyes might burst through his glasses.

Lily blinked.

“Yeah. She’s pregnant. I… assumed you knew?”

James glanced around in confusion then shook his head.

“I didn’t. He told you?” James asked, nodding towards the center of the room where Charity and Severus were dancing.

“Yeah.”

James looked very irritated and uncomfortable.

“I think I need some air,” James said and got up from the table, departing from the space Charity’s family had rented for the reception.

Lily sighed with boredom, pulling her phone from her purse so she could check Twitter. She lost track of time for a short while before she was suddenly jarred back to reality by Severus sitting down across from her with a grin.

“Sev,” Lily said flatly.

“Thank you for coming to my wedding,” Severus said, something about his inflection bothering her.

“I didn’t do it for you. And I always try to keep my promises,” Lily countered.

Severus shrugged briefly, then leaned forward and said, “I’m sorry about the other day. At the fireworks. You were right. There’s a lot of things about myself I’m trying to work on.”

Lily made a small smile, then said, “That’s good.”

“Yeah. I think Charity will be good for me. She can help me be better,” Severus explained, Lily using every ounce of her will not to groan.

“It shouldn’t be the job of your spouse to fix you,” Lily said, giving Severus a cold glare.

“I know that! I’m just saying! She might, you know?” Severus grumbled, looking very irritated.

“And I’m just saying that it’s not her job,” Lily snapped as Severus’s phone buzzed.

He checked it and smiled, responding quickly to whoever had texted him before putting his phone away.

“What? Why are you looking at me that way?” Severus sneered.

Lily shrugged.

“I was just wondering if that was your girlfriend,” Lily joked but Severus didn’t smile.

“She’s not my girlfriend. Not yet, anyhow,” Severus said, finally cracking a slight smile.

“Wait. I was just joking. Are you and Charity poly? James said when he told Charity we were poly that she seemed a little weirded out,” Lily probed.

“No, we’re not poly!” Severus said, glaring at Lily like she was stupid.

“Then what the fuck are you doing, Sev?”

Severus rolled his eyes.

“I’m just having some fun. I’ll explain it to her.”

Lily’s mouth fell open. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“You just got married and you’re already cheating on her,” Lily realized.

“It’s not cheating. We just haven’t talked about it yet,” Severus insisted.

“Dude. That is not cool! You can’t just… go cheat then come back and tell her you want to be poly!” Lily said, resisting the urge to stand up and splash what was left of her wine in his face.

“I don’t want to be poly! I just-“

“You just want her to turn a blind eye while you cheat. I get it now. After all, you wanted me to stop being poly too. Probably so you could’ve cheated on me.”

“I never would have cheated on you!”

“But just her? Just the woman you chose to marry? The woman who is literally pregnant with your child? You’re a real son of a bitch, Sev,” Lily said and stood up from the table, deciding she needed to find that air that James was looking for.


 

Remus’s mother was cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner when he silently approached her.

“Hey,” he said.

She turned and smiled at him.

“Dinner was good,” he added.

“Thank you,” she replied, placing the last plate in the dishwasher and starting it.

“I talked to dad earlier. He said he’s thinking about going back to Seoul,” Remus revealed.

She nodded.

“I know. I don’t suppose I’ll ever go back,” she said, her voice melancholy and detached.

“Mom… we’ve already established that you don’t want to fight for the marriage. So… what do you want to do? Nat and I live on the other side of the country. You’ll be divorced and you’ve only been working part-time for years,” Remus inquired.

She pulled off her dish gloves  and set them on the edge, with a thoughtful look on her face.

“I was thinking about trying writing again. Do remember the stories I read to you and Nat when you were little?” his mother asked, her eyes surprisingly lighting up.

“Yeah. Wait, did you write those?” Remus asked with surprise.

His mother made a proud nod.

“I wrote lots of poetry and short stories as a teenager. I slowed down after I met your father. He didn’t like them. He said I shouldn’t have my head in the clouds. They were fantasy. Dragons and vampires. That sort of thing. It’s stupid, I know,” she said.

“No! That’s cool!” Remus said, wanting to tell her about his writing and that his story was going to be published but was then afraid she might want to read it.

“Really? Do you think so? Amelia writes too. It was… one of the things that drew me to her. She’s very creative,” she said, her face twinged with pain.

“Mom… I’m sorry about Amelia. I know that must hurt,” Remus consoled.

“It always hurts to lose a friend, Remus.”

Remus frowned.

“You know that’s not what I mean,” he said and touched his chest, over his heart.

“Oh. Yeah. That hurts too,” she admitted.

“I… feel bad that you’re so alone.”

“I have internet friends. There’s… I have a particular friend in Seattle who has been begging me to come out there. Even offered me a room for a reasonable price. She has a nice view of Puget Sound. Wouldn’t it be funny if I moved out there? You could come visit me!”

Remus grinned.

“That would be cool! I love Seattle! I mean… I only saw it for a couple of days for my birthday but… I liked what I saw,” Remus said, nearly bouncing with excitement.

His mother happily chuckled, seeming pleased with his enthusiasm.

“I’ll let you know what I decide. But I do have a sense… that I want to be nearer to my children,” his mother said, reaching over and lightly brushing some strands of hair out of his eyes.


 

Lily had been uncharacteristically quiet since they had made it back to the hotel room. Since leaving the reception to rant about what a cheating bastard Severus was she had hardly said a word at all, in fact.

Currently she was seated at the top of the bed, looking at her laptop.

“What’s up?” James asked as he hopped on the bed.

“I’m reading fanfic,” Lily said grumpily.

“That’s fair. What do you think we should do about Charity and Severus?” James asked.

“I don’t know, James. Just… let me read some cute, fluffy lesbian fics and I’ll get back to you,” Lily groaned.

“Sorry. I just… kind of want to text Charity and give her a heads up… But Jesus… they are off to Paris for their honeymoon. That’s so cliche,” James complained.

Lily sighed and set aside her laptop.

“Fine. Guess, I can’t have my peace,” Lily said, throwing her hands up in obvious frustration.

“Sorry,” James frowned.

“I don’t know, James. It’s not any of our business. Like… it sucks to know your friend is getting screwed over but… I don’t know. Interfering in other people’s relationships isn’t always a good idea. I’ve tried before… it doesn’t always go well.”

“But look at Remus’s parents! They lived with that shit for over twenty years! And now look at them!” James said, Remus having updated Lily view text with the full story earlier.

“No, that’s precisely why we shouldn’t interfere! Remus and Natalie meddled and created a mess!” Lily snapped.

“No! They saved them! They had gone on like that for too long,” James insisted.

Lily scowled, her arms around her knees as they were pulled up to her chest.

“I don’t agree. Anyhow, this is different. Charity and Severus are going on their honeymoon right now. Do you really want to ruin her happiness?” Lily said.

“Yes. Because it’s not real. I’m surprised at you, Lily. I thought you of all people would care about honesty in relationships.”

“I do care! I do want Charity to find out… I just don’t want either of us to be the one to tell her. I want Severus to confess and let her decide what she thinks. Maybe she’ll want to stick with him, for all I know.”

James stared at her and sighed.

“I guess you’re right,” he lied.

“You’re lying,” Lily said.

James laughed.

“Damn, you caught me. Yeah. I don’t agree. But I don’t want to argue. It just… doesn’t seem right to let him get away it,” James explained.

Lily shrugged.

“Sometimes you have to know when to let people make mistakes. Give them some time. Besides… Sev didn’t exactly confess to cheating anyway. I don’t have any evidence. But… when I accused him… he only vaguely denied.”

“Yeah,” James said then yawned.

“Can I get back to my fluff now?” Lily asked, making a hopeful grin.

“Fluff away,” James said, flopping on the bed and turning out the light.

James found it hard to sleep, his mind racing over a million different thoughts. Eventually, Lily put up her laptop and went to sleep, quickly letting out light snores. James grabbed his phone, finally unable to give anymore fucks.

 

Char, your new husband is a cheating POS. I thought you should know.

 

James smiled at his phone, setting it back down on the night stand. He closed his eyes, feeling restful at last.


Remus tapped on his bedroom door with a knuckle.

“Come in. It’s your room, dork,” Sirius called out.

Remus chuckled and opened the door, finding his boyfriend standing and admiring his decor.

“What is it about lived in spaces that make them seem so cosy? I mean… Don’t get me wrong. My parents’s house was terribly lived in but… in a really sterile way. Everything was valuable and passed down through the family for generations. But this place… Good place to raise a family,” Sirius observed.

Remus shrugged.

“I have some good memories here. But I really only lived in this room for a few years before I moved in with Lily. But that feels so long ago now,” Remus said.

Sirius smirked and fell back onto Remus’s old bed.

“Shame isn’t it? You never had any cute boys climbing up into your room to make out,” Sirius noted.

“I promise you no cute boys wanted to make out with me,” Remus countered.

“I bet they did,” Sirius insisted.

“Nah. I was… quiet and odd. Not the type where people would be like… Oh, I want to make out with him!” Remus giggled, clutching his hands under his chin and fluttering his eyes.

“I want to make out with you,” Sirius declared.

Remus sat down on the bed next to Sirius, picking up his hand in one of his own and giving it a kiss.

“Guess this is my last chance to make out with a cute boy while my parents are fast asleep down the hall,” Remus said.

“Better make good use of this opportunity,” Sirius said and Remus rolled over onto him, eager for his sweet kisses.

 

Chapter Text

Sometimes the best part of a vacation was when it was over, Lily thought, as she woke up next to Mary on the morning they were all set to return to Oregon together in James’s RV.

“Mar,” Lily whispered softly in her boyfriend’s ear.

“Hmm?” Mary said, opening his eyes then saying, “Shit, babe. It’s five a.m..”

“Yeah. They’ll be here to scoop me up soon,” Lily yawned and stretched as she slid out of bed.

She had decided to spend her final two nights with Dorcas and Mary, though it had been hard to pry Dorcas from Peter. It felt odd now that everything was over. It had been a long July. It had seemed forever though it had also barely seemed to have lasted a week.

Lily hobbled over to the bathroom, not bothering to close the bathroom door as she peed.

“Guess I’ll see you in a month,” Mary said sadly.

“Yeah,” Lily said, finishing up on the toilet then moving to the sink to brush her teeth.

Remus had spent his last night with his parents and would need to be picked up from there. James and Sirius and spent their last night in the hotel doing God knows what all night. Lily hoped everyone had gotten all of their goodbyes out, she thought sadly as she glanced over at Mary, who was sitting at the end of the bed, looking very out of it.

Lily went over to Mary, kneeling before him.

“I’ve gotta go,” Lily frowned.

Mary sighed and made a small nod.

“Why does a few weeks seem like a lifetime?” Mary asked.

“I don’t know,” Lily replied, giving him a small kiss before gathering up her things.

Not long after, Lily was waiting outside, hoping the bed in the RV would be free so she could get a nap in quickly. When the RV pulled up, Mary gave her a kiss on the neck before letting Lily get inside.

Her housemates didn’t seem any more alert than she did unfortunately. Remus was sleeping with his head in Sirius’s lap, Peter was in the bed and James was in the driver’s seat, chugging coffee.

“Gonna be a long couple of days, Lils,” James insisted.

Herself, Sirius and James would be rotating out driving in shifts, only stopping for the occasional meal and gas. Peter had also offered to drive some but James had protested Pete driving as a bridge too far on the grounds of Peter’s numerous speeding tickets. It was one thing to speed, it was another to speed and get caught, James had said.

Lily had originally planned to fly back but she had decided she wanted to be in the RV with them, her marauders.

The first day on the road felt impossibly slow. It was painful watching New Hampshire disappear and before she knew it they had reached Ohio and it was her first turn at the wheel, having only taken a short nap and frankly feeling worse for it.

Not long into her first stint at the wheel they stopped for lunch. Eating seemed to perk everyone up a little more and it was back to the road, Lily getting them to Cleveland before passing the wheel to Sirius and having her turn in the bed.

When she next awoke it was dark and they had made it to Nebraska. They stopped for dinner before she took the wheel from James. It felt like running a marathon. When she and Remus had moved across the country they had moved pretty fast but it was nothing like this. No matter how much sleep she got she never felt rested. She longed for home.

They passed through Wyoming, Utah and Nevada in a similar blur. If anyone was having any fun they weren’t showing it. When they pulled up to her house it felt oddly like waking up from a dream.

“Huh,” Lily said, her hands on her hips.

“What?” James said, standing next to her, his arm over her shoulders.

“The house seems smaller than I remember,” Lily observed.

“Seems bigger to me,” Sirius interjected.

Lily smirked at him and shook her head.

“When do you have to pick up Flitwick?” Remus asked.

“Tomorrow. For now I am going upstairs, I’m gonna get stoned out of my fucking mind and pass out. Tomorrow life can resume. For now it can fuck off,” Lily chuckled and lead them all to the door.

 


 

Remus blew on his desk, sending dust flying in all directions. He set his laptop down and sighed. As much as he had loved his time spent back in New Hampshire it was good to be back in his attic. This wasn’t like his trip down to San Francisco. That had been cake compared with over a month of near perpetual sociableness.

He snickered. He couldn’t even remember what it was he normally did by himself alone in his room with nothing to worry about. He could sit alone in there all day and no one would care. Though for the moment everyone was also crashing out in their rooms anyway.

Everything was normal again. But it wasn’t, was it? Sirius was leaving in just a few weeks. He would be packing and also making a trip down to San Francisco before then. James was going to move into Lily’s room. Mary would be moving into James’s room. Dorcas would be taking Sirius’s room for the time being.

But for the moment, he had a reprieve. He opened his laptop and began to scroll through Tumblr, not really absorbing anything. He sighed and opened his documents for the Reliquary of Blood. He needed to work on the edit that would remove all the Marvel references and turn it into an original work. He also needed to go through the backlog of comments he had on AO3. But that seemed like… so much right now.

He glanced over at his bed and wonder if everyone else had the right idea. He closed his laptop, opened his window and flopped onto his bed, closing his eyes. He tossed and turned but no matter how exhausted he felt, his brain wouldn’t shut off.

He opened his eyes and looked around the room. It was probably too bright. Too hot. There were seagulls screaming somewhere near. At moments like this he realised why Lily liked weed so much.

With a sigh, Remus unzipped his pants, taking himself in his hand. This never worked so he didn’t know why he bothered. He wasn’t even horny. Even still he felt a little more centered after he finished, cleaning up then reverting to staring up at the ceiling. This was stupid. He was too tired to do anything but not tired enough to sleep.

He grabbed his phone and sent Sirius a text complaining about being tired. Fifteen minutes went by with no reply. The lucky bastard was sleeping.

“Maybe I should just go get a snack. And some tea,” Remus whispered to himself.

He slid out of bed and creeped out downstairs. He smiled when he walked into the kitchen, finding James cleaning the kitchen island.

“Hey,” Remus said then added, “What the hell are you doing?”

“I couldn’t sleep. I tried everything, man. Except get high, I guess,” James replied.

“Yeah. Me too,” Remus admitted, wondering if James had also jerked off but thinking they weren’t at the point in their relationship where they were asking about that sort of thing casually.

Remus walked over to the pantry and wondered why everything seemed so foreign and inexplicable to him before grabbing some PopTarts.

“It feels weird, doesn’t it?” James said suddenly, tossing the rag he had been using to clean the island, over the side of the sink.

“What does?”

“Everything. We were gone a month but it felt like a lifetime. How can we just pretend everything is the same? It’s not. Everything is different,” James declared.

Remus shrugged, sticking his PopTarts in the toaster.

“Sort of. I mean some things are the same.”

James scoffed.

“Yeah. This house. Me and Lils. I was talking so much shit back in New Hampshire about how I was gonna keep this all together. But, damn. I think I’m scared,” James said, gripping the edge of the island with his hands.

Remus stepped around to him, rubbing his back.

“Thanks, man,” James grinned, making Remus blush.

“I’m scared too,” Remus admitted

“You’ll miss Sirius. Me too.”

“It’s not just that. I’m worried about him. And… what worries me is that he doesn’t seem to be worried. I’ve asked him if he’s nervous and he acts like it’s not a big deal.”

James softly chuckled.

“Man, I remember this time… God, everyone always thought I was the damn troublemaker but it was Sirius more often than not whispering in my ear. This one time… we had this teacher we both hated. He was this old stuffy asshole. Taught biology. He had this prism paperweight. It was the last day of ninth grade. Sirius had been eyeballing that thing all year.”

“Oh boy,” Remus smirked.

“Yeah. When Sirius Black wants something he usually doesn’t give up. Especially in those days. Anyhow, he begged me to create a distraction so I pretended to trip and knock some shit over right as everyone is leaving the class. Old stuffy pants came running, cursing under his breath while Sirius grabs the prism, drops it in his pocket and strolls out of the classroom, completely unseen.”

“I don’t get it. Couldn’t he just… get his own prism?” Remus asked.

“He didn’t want a prism. He wanted that prism. There’s a difference. It was symbolic. That old asshole had given us so much detention.”

“Didn’t you deserve it?” Remus raised an eyebrow.

James gaped at Remus and laughed.

“Most of the time, yes. But some of those I don’t think we deserved. But when you’re the bad kids everyone just assumes the worst of you all the time,” James explained.

“So, what happened to the prism?”

“Sirius has still got it somewhere. Ask him about it. He’ll show you,” James replied.

Remus chuckled and glanced over at the toaster. At some point his PopTarts had popped up and he hadn’t even noticed.

“Maybe I should go back up to bed,” James said, yawning.

“Yeah, I’m gonna eat these then lay back down,” Remus said, scooping the PopTarts up with a paper towel.

“Hey,” James said, stepping over to Remus, a dark finger curling around Remus’s chin.

Remus held his breath as he closed his eyes, letting James’s lips softly press into his for a serene moment. Remus exhaled as he pulled away, smiling as James left the kitchen.


 

Sirius sighed. Getting to sleep alone had been fine but waking up alone… not so much. He hadn’t even thought about how little he had slept alone since they made the trip out to New Hampshire.

One of his favorite parts of every day had become waking up to either seeing his boyfriend next to him sleeping peacefully. Or sometimes he would be already awake, watching Sirius sleep with a smile. Or reading. Either way, it had always been a comfort. Now instead, he had awoken alone in the dark, his mind troubled by thoughts. He had so much to do in the following weeks

He turned on his lamp and checked his phone. Remus had texted him about that old prism he had stolen from Mr. Walker. He hadn’t even thought about that thing in ages. He couldn’t recall why the fuck he had even wanted it. He slipped out of bed and rifled through his junk drawer, finding the shining object in question. He held it under his lamp, turning it and watching the light refract through it in spectral colors.

He remembered now. He had read about prisms when he was nine… or was it ten? It didn’t matter now. He had been fascinated by the way light, which lacked mass, could still be changed by passing through an object. No… changed wasn’t the right word. It was more like the light was being exposed and broken down into its component parts. Dispersion.

Prisms neither created nor destroyed. They merely recontextualized that which was already present. No matter what: light was still light. It was only our perception that changed.

It was hardly a surprise that he had become a photographer, given his early obsession with light and prisms. Photography was really just recording light. Not changing the light, but observing a record of what it did, where it fell, where it didn’t fall, how it affected perception.

Sirius set the prism down on his nightstand, snapping a picture of it with his phone and sending it to Remus. His belly rumbled. Time for a snack.

After hitting the bathroom, he arrived in the kitchen where he encountered Peter, who was looking glum.

“Why the long face, Pete?” Sirius asked.

“I miss her. Dorcas.”

“You just saw her yesterday,” Sirius observed.

“So? Next you’ll tell me that I barely know her,” Peter replied crossly, obsessively futzing with a strand of his blond hair that didn’t seem to be doing whatever it was he wanted it to.

“I mean… you do, kinda,” Sirius smirked, knowing he was being a prick.

“Fuck off, man. I’m hurting,” Peter explained, ruffling his hair then growling with frustration.

“You’ll see her in a few weeks,” Sirius pointed out, opening the refrigerator and realizing that until someone did some grocery shopping the food options would be slim.

“Not helping. I want to see her now. It’s weird, isn’t it? The way these feelings take control of us. It doesn’t seem logical,” Peter observed, smoothing his hair over and seeming sated at last.

“It’s not. Humans are illogical.”

“I love it when I’m around her but it’s like… I feel ill without her. I never felt this way about Maddy. At least I don’t think I did,” Peter admitted.

Sirius resisted an urge to remind Peter of how broken up about Maddy he had been only weeks before.

“I felt that way about Remus early on. It’s this… weight in your chest, right? Makes it hard for you to focus and engage with things,” Sirius said, placing a hand on his own chest.

“Yeah. It’s like that, exactly. Damn. I think I’m going to lie back down. Good night, Sirius,” Peter said, looking distressed as he went back into the basement.

Sirius silently made a pb & j sandwich then went back to his room, thinking he could start organizing things while he waited for sunrise.


“Lily! It’s good to see you!” Marlene said, walking over and giving Lily a big hug.

“You too. I was just in the neighborhood, picking up my cat. Thought I would swing by the shop,” Lily said, Tuvok prancing over to rub his furry head against her ankle.

“Tuvok missed you!” Marlene said as she pulled away.

“Aww, I missed you too, Tuvok,” Lily bent down to give him vigorous pettings.

“How was New Hampshire?” Marlene asked, as she went back behind the register.

“Nice. I’m glad to be back here, though. I think I’ve fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest.”

Marlene smiled and said, “Yes. Being English I’ve always felt myself well suited to the climate.”

“Read any good books lately?” Lily asked, looking around the store, which somehow seemed even more stuffed to the brim with books than she remembered.

“Sure. I read a book a day. Sometimes a book and half. Not always good stuff. Sometimes I read trashy romance novels when I need a laugh,” Marlene chuckled, holding up a book with a beautiful woman desperately clinging to a rather stoic looking Scotsman in a kilt.

“Oh, I couldn’t do that to myself! Wow, you read a book a day? How?” Lily asked with astonishment, approaching the register.

Marlene shrugged.

“I’m a fast reader. The book shop can be slow sometimes so I have plenty of downtime. Everyone keeps telling me to hire some help but… my dad always did it all himself. I feel like if I can’t be as good as him, what’s the bloody point?”

Lily frowned.

“There’s no sense in overworking yourself. Actually… I might be in the market for a second job,” Lily said, being well aware that getting pregnant would cut into her energy for doing camming.

“Really? Hmm… When would you want to work?”

Lily thought. She did much of her camming during the day whenever James was at school. Assuming Mary and Dorcas got day jobs that would probably still remain her most optimal time for sex work.

“Evenings? Like three to nine? Lily suggested, supposing this would limit time for sleep but she needed the money.

“Sure. All right. Cheers. Hmm… I have an employee. Interesting,” Marlene mused.

“I’m a hard worker. I promise! I know I’m a stoner but I’m still responsible, I swear,” Lily grinned.

Marlene chuckled.

“You’re so cute. That reminds me… I recall you wanted a date?”

“Yeah.”

Marlene tapped a finger on hard wood of the register desk.

“How do you feel about next Sunday, after I close?” Marlene suggested.

“Sounds great.”

“How do you feel about Thai?” Marlene asked.

“I love Thai!”

“Excellent. I look forward to it. By the way, when can you start?”

“Maybe next week? I’m kind of pooped after New Hampshire,” Lily offered.

“All right. I’ll get paperwork ready. I’ve always been ready in case I needed some help.”

“Awesome. Well… guess I’ll get my cat home.”

“Yes, do. Have a nice rest of your day. See you Sunday,” Marlene said with a wink.


 

“Come in,” Remus said, turning around from his desk to see the door to attic creak open, Sirius walking inside with a smile.

Remus got up from his desk and strode over to his boyfriend who quickly placed a prism in his hand.

“There it is. I’ve had it for six years now, I guess.”

Sirius turned it over in his hand then rushed over to his open window, holding it up to the sunlight, seeing the rainbow of colors spill forth onto his desk.

“It’s so pretty,” Remus observed.

“Not as a pretty as you,” Sirius replied.

Remus blushed and turned around, straight into a kiss.

“Smooth as hell,” Remus joked as they pulled away.

“That’s how I roll,” Sirius replied as Remus held the prism again, letting the colors blanket his hand.

“Hmm… I’ve got an idea. Stay right here,” Sirius said, rushing off.

“Where else am I going to go? This is my attic after all!”

Sirius was gone for a couple of minutes before Sirius raced into the attic with his camera.

“Can I take a picture of you?” Sirius asked.

“Always.”

“Great. Would you hold the prism up so that the colors hit your face?”

Remus held the prism up to the light, closing his eyes as the light hit his face. He tried to smile, though the pose wasn’t entirely comfortable. He heard a few clicks of Sirius’s camera before he said, “Awesome. Thanks. That’s gonna look cool.”

“I’m glad my face was helpful,” Remus smirked.

“Your face is always very helpful,” Sirius said, setting down his camera then giving Remus another kiss.

“Mmm,” Remus said, pulling away.

“How do you feel about going downstairs to cuddle for some Netflix?” Sirius asked.

“Don’t have to ask me twice,” Remus replied and Sirius took him by the hand and out of the attic.

 

 

Chapter Text

A Mini Cooper pulled up to the house and Lily smiled, rushing down to get in the car. Marlene was playing something older and jazzy that Lily wasn’t remotely familiar with.

“Hey,” Lily said, buckling herself up.

“Evening, Lily. You look lovely,” Marlene said, giving Lily a sideways glance.

“Thank you,” Lily blushed, astounded that a woman so beautiful would even take notice of her.

A short while later, they had arrived at the Thai place. It was a bit nicer than Lily tended to treat herself to but Marlene had offered to pay.

“I’ve gotta say it’s really gratifying to know another vegan. I was starting to feel alone,” Lily admitted.

Marlene snickered.

“This is the only Thai place in town that is willing to cater to vegans at all. Egg free Pad Thai! Fish sauce only on request!” Marlene grinned.

“Excellent,” Lily said, opening her menu.

They ordered and awaited their food.

“So tell me, Lily. You said you needed a second job. I’m not sure what you do for your first job,” Marlene asked and Lily awkwardly smiled.

She’d had a few bad experiences with telling people she was a sex worker but Marlene seemed pretty cool. She normally might try to mask the description of her work in technical language but she liked Marlene enough to take a chance.

“I do sex work,” Lily replied flatly.

“Oh? What sort? I’m sorry if that’s none of my business.”

“No, it’s fine. I mostly do camming. I’m thinking about independently producing my own porn but I’d need to find the right people I’m comfortable with working,” Lily explained.

“Ah. Well, whatever puts food on the table. You seem to be an intelligent young woman,” Marlene smiled warmly.

“Yeah. And it’s like… sometimes I tell people and they are… so judgmental. Or patronizing. But the truth is… I like it. No, I don’t like everything about it. But I’m just naturally a very sexual person. If I can use that to make money, I don’t see what the big deal is,” Lily proudly declared.

“Here, here,” Marlene said, raising her Thai iced tea to Lily who tapped her glass against it.

They both drank from their glasses and Marlene chuckled and said, “I suppose it would be all right to tell you. I’m asexual. Sex just… isn’t really my thing, I suppose.”

“Oh,” Lily replied, embarrassed by how surprised she was.

“Is that a problem?” Marlene asked, seeming worried.

“No. I mean… I’ve never dated anyone who was ace. It’s never come up. But it’s not a problem.”

“Good. Good. I’m not sex repulsed or anything. I can even have sex just fine. But there’s other things I’d rather do.”

“Ah. Well, that’s good,” Lily replied, worried that she sound uncomfortable.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” Marlene apologized.

“I guess I’m just not sure what to say. I don’t want seem weird about it,” Lily replied, realizing that she did sound weird about it.

“So, did you see the Republican debate? That was pretty strange, wasn’t it? There were what? Nine people?” Marlene said, changing the subject.

“Nine people and Donald Trump, who I wouldn’t really consider human,” Lily smirked.

Dinner was soon served as they complained about the Republican debate and shared their mutual interest in Bernie Sanders, for whom they were both Feeling the Bern. Lily desperately wanted to apologize for seeming weird about the asexual thing but thought she would only make it increasingly more weird.

The conversation then turned towards books and Marlene was someone who really knew her books, having a million and one recommendations flying at Lily in rapid-fire.

Talking about books lead to talking about business and money and how she lived her life. Marlene seemed like… such a proper grown up.

“God, Marlene, I want to be you when I grow up,” Lily said, wistfully.

Marlene laughed.

“No! You should want to be yourself. Besides, you’re not that much younger. Six years isn’t that big of a gap,” Marlene countered.

“Yeah, but. You just seem… to have your shit together.”

Marlene shrugged.

“Some things are good. Sometimes I think I don’t relax enough. And I’m lonely a lot. I could probably learn a lot from you. What you do isn’t easy. Managing a household like that is a lot of work,” Marlene suggested.

Lily frowned.

“Yeah. But I barely manage. It’s so big. Cleaning is a pain. I mean I like cleaning but it’s still a lot. The taxes are killer. And with the baby-“ Lily started but stopped herself.

“The baby? There’s a baby? You’re pregnant!” Marlene said, her dark eyes wide with a surprise.

“No! Umm… not yet, I’m just… I’m planning on having one,” Lily replied awkwardly.

“Oh. Well, I guess it’s good that you are planning.”

“I think I would rather have a child now so that when they are grown… I won’t be old. If I have a kid next year, by the time it’s grown I’ll only be forty. That’s not so bad. It could be like having an entire second life,” Lily beamed.

“I suppose. Are you planning on IVF? I’m sorry, that’s none of my business.”

“No, it’s fine. Umm… I’m exploring my options. It would be good to have the child with an existing partner but James and I haven’t been together long. He promised he would give me an answer by the end of the summer. I’m… trying not to think about it too much. I don’t want him to feel any pressure.”

Marlene nodded.

“That’s reasonable. I’d like to have a child someday. I’m not sure about my own. I’d have to stop taking hormones and I might not be fertile anymore. But I could always adopt. I think with someone I love, I would consider either option.”

“I could adopt someday. Or maybe have another child, but oh God, I should probably take it one child at a time,” Lily laughed.

“Probably,” Marlene said then yawned.

Lily yawned in response, shaking her head.

“I should get you home,” Marlene observed.

After she paid the bill, they got back in her car, Lily brimming with happiness as the soft jazz played over the stereo. Once they were back at the house, Marlene lead Lily to the door.

“It was nice seeing you,” Marlene said, holding Lily’s hand.

“It was nice seeing you too. I hope we can do it again.”

Marlene smiled.

“I think I would be OK with that. I’m a bit intimidated with the poly thing and me being ace but… I like you. A lot.”

“I like you too,” Lily admitted.

Marlene lifted Lily’s hand to her face and kissed the top of it, making Lily flushed all over.

“Goodnight, Lily,” Marlene said, giving her a hug before departing.


 

“Sirius!” his cousin Andromeda said, quickly embracing him.

He squeezed back, grateful to see her after a long day of dealing with his inheritance. Andromeda lead him inside where her husband Ted was watching a Football game while their eight year old daughter, Dora, laid on the sofa next to him, her feet propped up on his thigh.

“Hey, pal,” Ted said with a wave

“Hey,  Ted,” Sirius echoed as he sat down in a chair.

“So how much did old Walburga leave you? Pennies?” Ted joked.

“Umm… a bit more than that. I’m… kind of surprised to be honest,” Sirius said, still reeling from what had been an uncomfortable meeting with the executor of his mother’s estate.

Andromeda gazed upon him with curiosity.

“She had a lot more money than anyone knew, from what I’ve been hearing. Not surprising. She wasn’t exactly spending anything or donating to charity,” Andromeda observed.

“Yeah. Still. Last I heard she had cut me out entirely.”

Andromeda shrugged.

“Who knows what twisted logic motivated her. At least you reap the reward,” Andromeda smirked, patting Sirius on the shoulder.

“Andromeda… she left me… over a million dollars,” Sirius whispered, as if it were some dark secret.

“Really? Well, congratulations, Sirius!”

“A million? I want a million dollars, Dromeda,” Ted called out.

“You better call Ed McMahon,” Andromeda snarked.

“Isn’t he dead?” Ted asked.

“Who’s Ed McMahon?” Dora asked, looking confused.

“He was before your time, honey,” Andromeda replied.

“He was the sweepstakes guy, right? Publishers Clearing House,” Sirius suggested.

“No, it was the other one. American Family Whatsit. I remember seeing the commercials when I was a little girl,” Andromeda explained.

“I think that was before my time too.”

“Yeah, you’re a nineties kid. Never saw so much as a blessed day of the 1980s, you poor child,” Andromeda winked.

“You’re seven years older than me, not seventeen, Andi,” Sirius rolled his eyes.

“I’ve got an old soul. I was born late. I should be been born in sixty-seven. Can you imagine being a teenager in the eighties? I really could’ve pissed my parents off listening to hairbands and talking shit about Ronald Reagan while I snorted cocaine off cover of a Poison record,” Andromeda cackled.

Sirius wished Remus was here. He regretted not accepting his offer to come down with him to San Francisco. He still had an entire drive back north to make tomorrow and wasn’t looking forward to doing it alone.

“So what are you going to do with your cool million?” Andromeda asked.

“I don’t know. Part of me wants to just… give it all to a charity. Whichever one she would’ve hated the most. Another part of me thinks I could live like James for a bit. Not having to work. But… I shouldn’t do that. I don’t know. I think I’ll sit on it for a bit. I won’t get it all at once anyway. And they said some more could come as more of her assets turn up.”

“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” Andromeda winked again.

“Probably.”

“So how are things with the boyfriend?”

“Good, good. There’s… a lot going on in that department. We kind of have an open relationship,” Sirius smiled nervously.

“An open relationship? Shhh. You’ll give Ted ideas!” Andromeda said, smacking Sirius’s arm.

“What’s that about an open relationship?” Ted called back.

“Come with me out back, Sirius. I want full details!” Andromeda grinned, taking her cousin by the hand.


“Wait… what did you just say?” Remus asked, blinking and unsure if he heard James right.

James laughed, standing in the center of the attic.

“Nude wedding. Petrova is having a nude wedding.”

“Do… we have to get naked?” Remus asked.

“I’m the best man, so I have to. Which I mean, fuck it, after that dick pic incident I think whatever shame I had left has evaporated. But yeah. I didn’t even think about the fact that Petrova is a nudist.”

“I bet Lily is jumping at the chance to be nude,” Remus said, knowing his best friend well.

“You know it. But it does sound like it’s optional for guests.”

“I don’t think anyone wants to see me naked,” Remus joked.

“Oh, man, do you know how wrong you are?” James grinned, making Remus blush.

“You’re such an ass, James,” Remus chuckled as James sat down on his bed next to him.

“Yeah, but I’m a nice ass,” James pointed out.

“You mean you’ve got a nice ass,” Remus replied, feeling his cheeks flush as he grinned with embarrassment.

James snorted.

“Damn, dude. You’re so cute when you smile. I love it,” James said, reaching over to touch Remus’s cheek.

“You’re so cute when you… do anything,” Remus said stupidly.

“That’s fair,” James replied, Remus closing his eyes and leaning into his mouth.

Kissing James Potter was an adventure. He seemed to change speed and trajectory on a whim, like he was following a map but kept getting offtrack thanks to side quests. The more they kissed the more Remus wanted to never stop kissing him. He whined when James pulled away.

“Aww. Is it really that good?” James grinned.

“Yeah,” Remus said, moving over to the bed, placing his hands on James’s waist as their mouths met again.

James fell back against the bed as Remus slid on top him, acutely aware that he was hard and pressed against James’s side.

“Damn. You’re really revved up,” James observed, pressing his lips into Remus’s throat.

“I can’t help it. You’re so hot,” Remus breathed into James’s ear.

“You too. God, I’m so fucking bi,” James declared, his hands reaching down to clutch Remus’s ass.

“I can tell,” Remus grunted, rubbing himself against James’s thigh.

“Relax, man. Don’t nut in your jeans,” James chuckled.

Remus burst into laughter.

“I won’t. I’m good.”

“Good? Nah, you’re great,” James replied, kissing Remus again.

Remus giggled into James’s mouth then pulled away, unable to resist the laughter.

“James… do you want to-“ Remus started but James shook his head.

“No. Not yet. I mean. I want to. I really fuckin’ want to. But I’m not ready. Lils and I took our time. I think it paid off. Things are still fresh, cute and fun. Good things come to those who wait,” James promised.

Remus smiled and they kissed once more.


“That was actually pretty good,” Sirius admitted as they left the theater, having just seen Ant-Man.

“Right?” James replied, rubbing the back of his head.

“The romance was kinda stupid,” Lily interjected.

“Really? I thought it was fine,” Peter replied.

Lily scowled and said, “You would.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Peter scowled.

“It means you’re straight, Pete. You’re used to shitty het romance,” Sirius snarked.

“What the fuck? This is like reverse racism or some shit,” Peter complained.

“Hey now,” James said, giving Peter a glare that made it clear he needed to watch himself.

Remus coughed and said, “Yeah, I liked it. It was cool seeing Sam.”

“Yeah, I love Sam. I think I would look pretty tight with some bird wings,” James mused as they made it to the car.

“Definitely,” Peter chimed, climbing into backseat where he would be squished in with Remus and Sirius.

As James drove them home he felt sad. This was the last time they’d all be going to see a movie like this for a while. In a couple of weeks Sirius would be gone. In the midst of everything he had barely given thought to the reality that Sirius wouldn’t be around anymore. And with James being busy with school, his opportunities to go up to see Sirius would be more limited.

But James thought he should really feel bad for Sirius. Remus didn’t drive so he wouldn’t have a way up there on his own. Lily now had two jobs and several partners vying for her attention. He worried about his best friend. He hoped he would have the strength to get through what could be an emotionally challenging time.


 

“Well, this is different,” Remus declared, overwhelmed by the sight of seeing so many naked people out in the woods, at the private campsite where Petrova and her soon to be wife, Donna, were getting married.

James stood upon the stage that had been erected, entirely nude along with all the bridesmaids, making small talk while various people got things ready. Lily and Sirius were seated on either on either side of Remus. Lily had, of course, decided to go nude but Sirius had opted out. Remus had ultimately decided to remain dressed if only to ensure that his boyfriend would have one clothed friend around.

Once everything was prepared and everyone was seated a nude woman with an acoustic guitar played a sweet folk song as Petrova and Donna made their way up to the stage, both entering from opposite sides.

“This is already so much better than Sev’s wedding,” Lily whispered in Remus’s ear.

The woman who was leading the service, also nude, opened the small book she had in her hands and began to read from it, “Today we observe the commitment that these two women have brought before us, made in love.”

The ceremony went on very charmingly. Remus had been dragged to some weddings before and always hated them. But this was sweet… and honest. Their vows didn’t promise anything unrealistic or pseudo patriarchal. Remus thought if he ever got married… he would want it to be like this. Maybe less nude, though.

He glanced over at Lily as they sealed their commitment with a kiss, seeing that she was crying, despite barely knowing either woman. He put an arm around his best friend and squeezed, Sirius having rested his head on his right shoulder moments before. There really was so much love in the world. It was kind of amazing.

Chapter Text

Sirius stretched and yawned, opening his eyes to check on his boyfriend who was typing away at his laptop. This was it. Their final night together before he moved to Portland. In a flurry tomorrow, Mary and Dorcas would be arriving and he would be leaving, though he was waiting until the evening.

“How’s progress?” Sirius probed.

Remus glanced over and smiled.

“Eh,” he replied with a shrug.

“Feels a bit sad, doesn’t it? Having to give up this amazing thing you created for other fans?” Sirius inquired.

“If I’m sad, it’s not that that’s making me sad,” Remus said, giving Sirius a pointed glance.

Sirius frowned.

“If you’re that sad… you could climb into the bed with me.”

Remus made a bashful chuckle.

“I guess this is our… last chance for a while,” Remus admitted.

Sirius winked at Remus, who bit his lip and shook his head.

“We’ve barely even got up to any fun like that since the cabin. That was a month and a half ago,” Sirius reminded him, stretching his body in a way he knew Remus would find suggestive.

“I seem to recall your hand in my pants in the laundry room just last week,” Remus said, shifting in his seat.

“That doesn’t count. You didn’t come,” Sirius countered.

Remus chuckled.

“I don’t always come. Sometimes I like to…” Remus trailed off, his face turning red as he giggled.

“You like to what?” Sirius gently pushed.

“Tease it a bit. Sometimes for days before I let myself…”

Sirius bit his lip and Remus shifted in his seat again. His chest was lightly heaving and his eyes were fixed on Sirius who was slowly spread his legs, sliding his fingers underneath the rim of his pyjamas but not pulling them down.

“Well, if you’ve got any pent up frustration,” Sirius grinned, feeling his heart slamming with excitement.

“James and Lily are downstairs watching anime,” Remus commented.

“I know that. Means we don’t have to be so quiet if we don’t wanna,” Sirius observed.

Remus glanced down at himself, biting his lip and softly chuckling.

“I’m hard,” Remus noted.

“Mmm. I noticed. Want to bring it over to me?” Sirius suggested.

Remus leaned back in his chair, unzipping and buttoning his jeans so that he could pull it out.

“Oooo,” Sirius whispered as Remus got up from his chair, stumbling over to Sirius who wrapped his long fingers around it, rolling over to place his mouth over the head.

Remus gasped as Sirius began to slowly suck the head. How would Sirius have even been able to sleep at night in Portland if he hadn’t had one last go at sucking his boyfriend’s beautiful cock?

“Oh. Damn. Sirius! Ugh,” Remus called out, Sirius holding nothing back.

Sirius popped his mouth off and looked up at Remus, flicking his tongue against his top lip and giving Remus a proud grin.

“I just want to give you something to remember me by,” Sirius proclaimed, putting his mouth back on Remus’s cock

“I mean I have lots of reasons to, ugh, re-remember you,” Remus stammered, Sirius’s mouth sliding vigorously over the head of his cock.

Remus’s entire body began to shake and Sirius knew it wouldn’t be long. He pulled his mouth off the head and licked slowly up the shaft, getting chills as Remus whimpered.

“It is a shame… that I’m going away before we can experiment,” Sirius commented, taking the head back in his mouth.

“I’m sure we can think of some fun stuff to do. Damn, I’m really close.”

“I’d love to find out how long you can hold on without coming,” Sirius suggested, snickering then sucking hard, relishing Remus’s grunts and moans.

“Right now the answer is not much longer. Not if you keep sucking me like that. Fuck!”

Sirius pulled his mouth on, his hand gliding up and down the long shaft, looking up at Remus with amusement.

“You enjoy this don’t you? Tormenting me,” Remus breathed.

“Only because I know you like it,” Sirius winked then put his mouth back on Remus’s cock, sucking rapidly up and down the head

“Oh, damn! Oh my god, Sirius! I’m coming,” Remus squealed, letting out a long moan as he came onto Sirius’s tongue.

Sirius felt gratified to reap the benefits of his labor though he had his own favor to request. Sirius sucked down every last drop while Remus remained silent, save his heavy breathing.

“Thanks,” Remus said, still breathing hard.

“I’m really wet,” Sirius informed him, giving Remus his best beckoning eyes.

“Nice. I suppose you’ll want the gesture returned,” Remus smirked, licking his lips.

“Something like that. I was kind of wondering… if you might finger me?”

“Of course. I’ll do anything you want,” Remus said as Sirius pulled his pyjamas down to his ankles then kicked them off.

“Ooo, Remus, be careful there. I have a vivid imagination,” Sirius chuckled.

“I’m sure hope so,” Remus said, removing his jeans and sliding his mostly flaccid cock back in his underwear.

Remus climbed onto the bed, kneeling between Sirius’s legs. Sirius reached down, rubbing his very hard clit in a smooth motion. Remus looked nervous as he sucked on his middle finger, lowering to Sirius’s hole.

“Go slow,” Sirius urged.

Remus pushed the tip inside and smiled up at Sirius.

“I know. It’s tight,” Sirius said as Remus’s finger curved inside him.

Remus giggled rather than respond with words, sliding his finger slowly in and out while Sirius continued to stroke his clit.

“It is. I don’t have much to compare it to, though. I mean I’ve fingered myself but… it’s not the same thing,” Remus replied.

“You’ve fingered yourself? Does that feel good?” Sirius asked, his eyes wide

“It feels all right. I think it would feel better if someone else did it,” Remus explained.

“Mmm,” Sirius gave as his only reply.

“Does this feel good?” Remus asked, his brown eyes looking hopeful.

“Yeah,” Sirius smiled.

Sirius was astounded at how well he could feel Remus’s finger inside of him. The notion of something as big as Remus’s cock entering him seemed baffling. He had certainly fingered himself but his own fingers were more slender than Remus’s.

“Maybe a second finger?” Sirius suggested

Remus smiled, pulling his finger out then sucking on it and his index finger, lowering them to his hole again and gently pushing.

“Mmm,” Sirius moaned as Remus’s fingers stretched him.

Remus snickered as his fingers glided in and out. Sirius increased the speed of his own stroking, his eyes intent on Remus’s face. Remus had a face worth coming for.

“You’re so wet,” Remus observed, grinning adorably.

“Wet for you. You make me so wet,” Sirius groaned, stroking his clit hard.

Sirius could feel himself tightening around Remus’s fingers. He was getting close, all the tension building below.

“Fuck, I’m really close,” Sirius grunted, Remus looking up at him, looking ridiculously sexy.

“I want to watch you come,” Remus urged.

“You’re fucking about to. Ohhh,” Sirius moaned, squeezing Remus’s fingers hard as he came.

Remus unexpectedly leaned over, wrapping his lips around Sirius’s clit and sucking, sending Sirius over another quick peak with a whimper.Soon Remus was kissing all around Sirius’s midsection and his thighs, Sirius feeling a clench of pain in his chest, knowing that this was what he was about to leave behind.

“Come up here,” Sirius beckoned with a finger, Remus sliding up his body.

Remus arrived at Sirius face and they kissed. Sirius wanted to will the world to freeze him in this moment for just a while. If only it could just give him that one thing, he could go to Portland, free of any worries, he was almost certain of it.


 

“How did you sleep?” Lily asked, seeming busy as Sirius drifted into the kitchen.

“Not great. I was up late with Remus. I mean I dozed a bit on his bed but…”

Lily frowned.

“Mary and Dorcas will be here soon,” Lily informed him.

“I’m glad I can see them before I leave,” Sirius acknowledged.

“Me too.”

Sirius came around to Lily who was fussing about how to arrange things. She smiled at him as he approached.

“I’ll miss you. I feel like we barely… got to try,” Sirius said, taking her hands in his.

“Yeah,” she said, reaching up to lightly touch the side of his hair, curling a strand around her finger and giggling.

Sirius leaned down to kiss her, thinking how nice her shampoo smelt right as there was a knock at the door. Their lips lingered just long enough for a second knock before Lily pulled away with a frown.

“Damn,” she said and walked into the living room, Sirius following her.

She opened the door to Mary and Dorcas’s grinning faces.

“Heyyyy,” Lily said, hugging them both.

Mary smiled at Sirius from over her shoulder, coming over to greet him.

“Oh my God, I can’t believe you are literally about to leave, man,” Mary said, holding Sirius’s hands in his own.

“I know. I have to sign a lease and all this other shit before the first,” Sirius replied, letting Mary hug him.

“Well, it’s good to see you. For the moment.”

“Yeah, I’ve still gotta load some stuff into my car. With my luck the piece of shit will break down halfway to Portland,” Sirius grumbled.

“So, James has already moved his stuff into my room if you want to start getting your stuff in there,” Lily said to Mary.

Mary glanced at Dorcas, giving her an apologetic grin. Dorcas laughed and shook her head.

“Fine. Let’s get your stuff out of the U-Haul,” Dorcas offered with smirk.

Peter entered the living room and raced over to Dorcas, almost tackling her.

“Hey, Pete!” Dorcas laughed.

“I missed you!” he called out.

“I’m gonna go… in my room,” Sirius said, waving at everyone.


Lily popped in the bedroom, James grinning over at her as she hopped on the bed.

“Why are you still in bed?” Lily asked him.

“I’ve been replying to an email from Charity. She’s still pissed off about the whole cheating thing. She thinks Severus is such a great guy. It’s funny. I didn’t expect that. I was so convinced that if I told her what scum he was… she’d listen,” James replied.

Lily scoffed.

“I’m not gonna say I told you so but… nah, fuck that. I told ya so! You shouldn’t meddle. Now she’s just pissed off at you!”

“Yeah. Maybe. And it’s like… I have to apologize for being honest. But he’s backtracked hard. Says he was just joking with you. Can you believe that shit?”

“Yeah,” Lily admitted patting her boyfriend on the back.

James sighed.

“Well, I’ve said what I can. Hopefully, I haven’t lost a friend,” James said, sounding disappointed.

“Speaking of losing a friend… don’t you want to spend some time with Sirius?” Lily asked.

“Yeah. I mean obviously we hung out earlier this week but… I don’t know. Saying goodbye feels so wrong.”

“You still need to do it.”

“I mean… I’ll see him again. I’ll go up to visit!”

Lily gave him a skeptical look and he sighed.

“You’re right. I’ll get dressed and go down,” he said.

Outside in the hall Mary and Dorcas could be heard, hauling some piece of furniture up.

“Sounds like you might be able to wait just a bit longer.”

“Yeah,” James said, closing his laptop and giving her a serious look.

“What?” Lily asked, his hazel eyes searching her as he grinned

James laughed and said, “Let’s do it.”

“Right now? Jesus, James,” Lily cackled, though she wasn’t as shy as all that.

“No, not sex! The baby. Let’s have a baby together,” James declared.

“Oh. Oh, all right. Let’s do that,” Lily said, taking his hand and kissing the top of it.

“I don’t know if it’s the right decision. But that’s never stopped me before. I know what my heart wants,” James explained.

“Me too,” Lily replied.

She wanted to thank him but she also wanted to leave him space to back out if he wanted. She hoped he wouldn’t back out. As she looked down at his beautiful face and held his hand she knew the two of them were making an unspoken commitment to a future she couldn’t yet see.


When James went to look for Sirius he wasn’t indoors and he wasn’t at his car. He was on the back porch, watching the coast.

“I’m gonna miss the coast,” Sirius said, as James sat down next to him.

“The coast isn’t going anywhere,” James pointed out, rubbing his best friend on the back.

“Neither are you,” Sirius replied, turning sadly towards him.

“Yeah, but unlike the coast, I can come to you,” James countered

Sirius smiled and chuckled.

“I thought I’d be ready. No. That’s a lie. I knew I wouldn’t be ready. But I hoped I was wrong,” Sirius sighed then continued, “I wasn’t wrong. And it’s like… I know this is the right thing for me. That’s why I’m doing it.”

“It is the right thing. I’d tell you if I thought it wasn’t,” James said and meant it.

“And I’d tell you to fuck off and let me make my own decisions. Nah, man it’s not that I doubt myself. It’s not that so much that I’ll miss the coast. It’s that… I think I’m OK with missing the coast as long as the coast will miss me too.”

“The coast, like the universe itself, is indifferent to you. The people in this house,” James said, pointing at the house before continuing, “These people. They’ll miss you. I’ll miss you. I’ll miss you more than I’ve ever missed anything. You remember when I had to quit playing soccer. I cried when I had to quit playing soccer.”

“But you still play soccer, you dick!” Sirius laughed.

“And I’ll still see you. Just less often. And the internship ends in December, right?” James asked.

Sirius looked nervous and shook his head.

“If it works out… I could be there longer. But I’m trying not to think that far ahead.”

“Don’t you think you should?”

Sirius frowned down at the wooden steps beneath him and said, “Nah. I’ll deal with that when I come to it.”

James sighed.

“It’s your life, man. But if you’re ever looking for home you know where to find it.”

“With my luck the place will burn down as soon as I’m gone,” Sirius droned.

“Nah, man. Look at me!” James insisted, placing his fist over his heart.

Sirius’s grey eyes turned to James pensively.

“This is where home is. Home isn’t a place. Home is where the fuckin’ heart is, you hear me. We’re your family. As long as we keep each other in our hearts we’ll always know where home is.”

Sirius’s lips quivered and he wiped at his eyes, clearly moved.

“Profound,” he said sarcastically.

“Fuck you, man,” James snickered.

“Nah, I liked it. It was good. Cheesy as fuck but…”

James pulled his glasses off his face and wiped at his eyes.

“James… I just… I want you to know that… you and Remus. It’s cool,” Sirius said, though he was looking off at the coast again.

“Thanks, man,” James replied.

“I worry about him being up in the attic all the time.”

“I’ll try to get him to come out. I want to spoil him. He deserves it,” James promised.

“Yeah, he does,” Sirius said, his head turned even further from James.

“Sirius?” James asked.

“Yeah?” Sirius replied, finally turning to face James, still looking uncomfortable.

“I love you,” James declared.

“I love you too,” Sirius echoed.

James draped an arm around Sirius’s shoulders, thinking that tonight the coast wouldn’t be resting well.


 

There was a rap at Sirius’s door.

“Come in,” he said, the door opening and revealing Peter.

“Hey,” Peter said softly.

“Hey, Pete. I’m just making sure I didn’t miss anything and that everything is nice for Dorcas.”

“That’s good. I guess I just… wanted to say… whatever.”

“My heart, it doth flutter at such a sweet farewell as ‘whatever’,” Sirius said, pretending to fan himself.

“Aww, come on, man. You’re making me feel stupid,” Peter complained.

Sirius rolled his eyes.

“You’ll be fine. Just say what’s on your mind, Pete,” Sirius insisted.

“I guess it’s just… You’ve been a really good friend.”

“You too,” Sirius offered.

Peter grunted, sounding unconvinced.

“This summer meant a lot to me. It was the best summer that I’ve ever had. The last three years… these have been the best times. You and James are just…” Peter said, sounding surprisingly on the verge of tears.

Sirius went over and pulled him into his arms, patting him hard on the back as they hugged.

“Thanks.”

Sirius pulled away and Peter explained further: “I’ll admit that a lot of the times with you and James I’ve felt a bit like a third wheel. And then with Remus and Lily… I felt kind of like an outsider. I guess it didn’t help that I had the thing with Maddy. But now with Dorcas… it feels like I’m more a part of the group,” Peter replied.

Sirius gave Peter an apologetic look.

“I’m sorry if we’ve ever made you feel like that, Pete.”

Peter softly chuckled.

“I just try to be a good friend,” Peter explained.

“You are,” Sirius said, patting Peter on the shoulder.

“Thank you,” Peter replied as someone tapped on the door.

“Come in.”

The door opened and Dorcas peaked her head in.

“Oh. I thought maybe you had left and I’d missed it,” she said, entering the room.

“No such luck,” Sirius joked.

Dorcas came over and put an arm over Peter’s shoulder. With them side by side Sirius realized that they were almost the same height.

“I hope you’re at least leaving me a little mint on the pillow,” Dorcas said, gesturing at the bed.

“I was going to but I had to special order them from the Swiss Alps. Seemed extreme.”

Dorcas shrugged.

“That seems fair, I suppose,” she grinned.

Sirius looked around the room he had lived in for the last nine months. It had felt like a lifetime and also not nearly long enough. This was it. He was going. He hoped he would be returning.

“I guess I’m done in here. Think I’ll make myself some lunch,” Sirius said, smiling at Dorcas and Peter as he left the room.


 

“Man, it’s weird seeing all his stuff mixed with yours,” Mary noted as he walked around what was now James and Lily’s shared room.

“James isn’t as much of a hippie. But I’m working on him,” Lily joked.

“Good for you, babe,” Mary said, coming over to the bed and plopping down next to Lily.

“So what are your plans? You don’t have a job anymore,” Lily observed.

“Is there a gay bar here?” Mary asked.

“Nope.”

Mary groaned.

“Maybe I’ll get another job that lets me travel. I can just drive up and down the coast.”

Mary adjusted his body until his head was resting against Lily’s thigh. Lily reached down to stroke his soft hair, inspiring the big, goofy grin he always got. James entered the room, smiling at them both.

“Hey guys,” James said.

“Hey,” they replied in unison making them both giggle.

James walked over to the window, looking down.

“I can’t believe he’s about to go,” James commented.

“Yeah. I’m sad,” Lily admitted.

“Me too,” James said.

“At least there’s still plenty of eye candy around here,” Mary chuckled, winking at James.

“You know it,” James grinned.

Lily blushed and laughed.

“My boyfriends are flirting. It’s so cute!”

Mary and James both laughed. Lily was sad about Sirius but glad she had this to look forward to.

“Oh, umm… Mary, I guess we should tell you,” Lily started.

“Tell me what?” Mary asked.

“We’re gonna try to have a baby together,” Lily explained.

“Wild. Aww geez, you two are gonna be screwing all the damn time!” Mary pretended to complain, laughing.

“That’s nothing new,” Lily replied.

“That’s it. I’m gonna bring home like two people every night and just loudly fuck their brains out,” Mary declared.

“Poor Remus,” James observed.

“Yeah… Poor Remus,” Lily said sadly, making everyone go quiet.

Lily was worried about Remus, though not as much as she was worried about Sirius. She was determine to coach them through the long distance thing but there was only so much she could do.

Just then everyone’s phones chimed. Lily picked up her phone, seeing a group text from Sirius:

 

I’m leaving now.

 


 

It didn’t take long for everyone to find Sirius on the porch. James, Lily and Mary were first, shortly followed by Dorcas and Peter. Remus was naturally the last to come down.

“Fuck, why does everyone look so somber?” Sirius complained.

“Because we’re all gonna miss you,” James explained.

“I’m not dying or anything. I’ll be six hours away!” Sirius countered.

“Welp, let’s pack it up, guys. Sirius is, unfortunately, a massive prick,” James said, rolling his eyes.

Sirius laughed.

“I don’t know. I feel like I should give a big speech or something but… I’ve already said what I wanted to say to everyone,” Sirius declared with a shrug.

Lily sighed and came over to Sirius, giving him a hug.

“Take care of yourself,” she whispered.

“Will do,” he replied as she stepped back.

Dorcas and Peter gave him hugs, then so did Mary. Then James gave him a hug that damn near broke his spine.

“Ow, dammit, Potter,” Sirius laughed.

“I love you, man,” James said.

“I love you too,” Sirius replied.

Remus cleared his throat and stepped forward, his hand stuck in his pocket.

“Can I walk you to your car?” Remus asked.

“Afraid I’m gonna get mugged on the way there?” Sirius snarked.

“Imagine if Sirius tried not being a prick for like more than two seconds,” James joked as he followed everyone back inside.

Sirius chuckled and lead Remus to the car. He was somewhat aware that he was trembling but tried to ignore it.

“Well… this is it,” Sirius observed.

“Yeah.”

Remus leaned against the car, his eyes filled with so much sadness it felt like a stab in Sirius’s heart.

“I… I don’t know what to say,” Sirius admitted.

“Me either,” Remus said, and Sirius leaned over, kissing him in absence of words.

“I wish I could just… take you with me,” Sirius realized.

“Yeah…” Remus said sadly.

“It’s been a hell of a nine months.”

Remus nodded. His eyes were full of tears and Sirius’s chest felt heavy. He hadn’t been as prepared for this as he thought.

“I love you,” Sirius proclaimed.

Remus smiled at him and said, “I love you too.”

They leaned into another kiss then as they parted Remus pulled something out of his pocket.

“You almost forgot to take this,” Remus said, setting Mr. Walker’s prism in Sirius’s hand.

Sirius laughed.

“I don’t need it. It’s yours now. You can keep it,” Sirius insisted.

“Are you sure?” Remus asked, as Sirius placed it back in his hand.

“Definitely. I think you need it more than I do.”

Remus nodded and placed it back in his pocket.

“Well… uh… take care of yourself. Enjoy your new job and your new apartment. I hope Portland is as nice as it seemed at Pride.”

“Me too, me too,” Sirius said.

They were both silent. Neither of them moved for nearly a minute with only a faint sound of a dog barking somewhere in the neighborhood to be heard.

“Guess I should go,” Sirius said, finally breaking the silence.

Remus nodded, not meeting his eyes. Sirius gave him a hug, feeling Remus trembling in his arms as their mouths met one last time. Sirius sighed and they parted.

“I’ll stop for food in a few hours. Maybe in Eugene. I’ll text you then,” Sirius said as he opened his car door.

“OK. Drive safe,” Remus said and Sirius sat down in his car, buckling up and turning the engine on.

Remus stood there unmoving as Sirius backed the car out of the long driveway. He watched as Remus slowly disappeared from view, pulling out into the road and beginning his drive north.

As he drove along the coast he wondered if he had reached an ending or a beginning. Was his future in Portland or was it back there, with Remus and the others?

He could only know the future by living it. He had to pass through the moments like light refracting through a prism, seeing how it would change him. But the light didn’t change, did it? The prism only shows what was already there. An alternate perspective of something that was already true.

Sirius took a deep breath once the time came to turn away from the coast. He turned up the radio, feeling his heart begin to pound. He could do this. He would survive. Change was good. This would show him who he really was and what greater goal could he have in life but to know himself?

“I’ve got this,” he told himself, carrying along the road.