“Hey James, we sent an email to the love of your life!” This was Sirius, from his spot at the sink washing dishes.
“Who?” This was James, from his spot on the counter, feet dangling, fingers tapping a rhythm on his thighs.
“Don’t tell me you really did that.” This was Remus, from his spot at the table, sipping his morning tea.
“Of course I did,” Sirius said, throwing the dish towel over his shoulder. He did this entirely to complete the look of a hard working housewife. He did this entirely because he loved it. He loved having a kitchen that was happy and clean and healthy. He had not had any real sort of home growing up and now he finally, finally had one and it was his pride and joy. So he threw the dish towel over his shoulder.
Remus smiled to see this, he always did, he always smiled to see Sirius happy. “That was only a joke Sirius, I didn’t mean for you to actually go through with it.”
“Well it was such a good idea I don’t see why—”
“What love of my life?!” James finally shouted from the counter, always prone to dramatics.
“Don’t you remember Lily Evans? From high school?”
James groaned and put his head in his hands. Lily Evans had gone to Godric’s Hollow High School with the three of them and had, admittedly, been proclaimed the love of a 15-year-old James Potters’ life. Nowadays, she was a famous actress, with a small army of Oscars to her name. There was, of course, no way in any sort of hell that she remembered them.
“What did you send her?” James asked with his face redder than one would think his dark skin could go.
“Our wedding registry.”
James froze, looking from Sirius cleaning the counter to Remus doing the crossword, “. . .When exactly did the two of you start dating?”
“We didn’t. But she doesn’t know that.”
“. . . I’m not sure I understand.”
“We needed a new coffee maker so we were joking around about how, you know, people often receive those as gifts when they get married and how we need to trick someone rich into buying it for us and we thought, you know, well we have an old friend with a certain sum of money who would certainly not have time to attend any wedding of ours. An intern of hers will probably just buy us something off the registry and call it a day.”
“What are you going to do if she RSVP’s to the wedding you’re not having?”
Remus shrugged, once again injecting himself into the conversation, “Have a wedding, I suppose.”
It was later that night when it happened. James had gone home to his apartment, closer to the city with his job at the precinct, and Remus and Sirius were on the couch, with their separate activities. They had been living together for seven years now, since their high school graduation, and of course, there had been the jokes of two gay men living together and more than a few 'and they were roommates' but in reality, they shared a home together well, it had been a good fit. Both were happy in their steady routine.
Remus gets home from his job teaching at the local university around 6, just when Sirius is finishing dinner. He grades his papers at the same time, takes his antiretroviral meds at the same time, teaches the same history classes at the same time every year if he can. Remus Lupin has settled into adulthood like an ivy to the soil.
Sirius gets home from the NSPCC around the same time and started dinner to burn off the things he’d seen in the day. It had snuck up on him, working in child protection, but it fit like an old gardening glove (another rather domestic hobby he’d taken up recently). He was largely in charge of home investigations, checking reports of child abuse in the area. It was not necessarily a happy sort of job, but he was doing good work, and if he ever needed to quit for his mental health, he had inheritance enough not to worry. When he gets home he cooks dinner and leaves his work in the streets. He settles down for conversation and some television on the worn old couch of theirs.
As Queer Eye is on in the background, Remus is emailing students about the upcoming exam and Sirius is lazily scrolling through gardening ideas on Pinterest when he sees the notification pop up on his phone.
RE: We’re Getting Married!
Lily Evans <email@example.com>
7:46 PM (0 minutes ago)
to Sirius Black
I’ll be there! Can’t wait to see all the old crew again! How’s Godric’s Hollow? I always see you two’s posts on Facebook, you make such a cute couple! I was waiting to see when you’d finally get hitched! Congratulations!
Looking forward to seeing you,
Sirius read the email. Then he read it again. Finally, in defeat, he looked over at Remus, to the left of him on the couch.
“Hey Remus, marry me?”
“You’re telling me you two are throwing an entire fake wedding just to avoid telling Lily the truth?” James, upon hearing the news, ran his hands through his hair from all the secondhand stress.
“What am I supposed to say? ‘Sorry, I was just trying to take advantage of our old friendship to get you to buy me a new coffeemaker?’”
“Remus, you didn’t send the email, you don’t have to be associated with this idiot.”
Remus calmly turned the page in the essay he was grading, absentmindedly underlining something in red, “I can’t exactly miss my own wedding.”
“How did she even believe it? You two aren’t even dating!”
“No, but she thought the contrary based on our social media presences. Anyway, it doesn’t matter now, the past is the past. We have a wedding to plan. You’ll be the best man?”
James froze, eyes tearing up, “I’d be honored,” he said, before remembering that this was not a real wedding and he was not, therefore, the real best man, and scowling. “This is incredibly impractical you know. It would be cheaper just to buy a coffee maker than throw a wedding.”
“That wouldn’t solve the Lily problem, and besides,” Sirius grins, pulling out a paper and pen to write down a wedding planning agenda, “everybody loves a party”
They ordered a pizza and the three of them spent the night planning a wedding. Sirius was slowly procuring the perfect wedding Pinterest board while James looked through catering options and Remus tried to scramble up a guest list.
“Where did you say this wedding was anyway?”
“That cottage that James’ parents have out in the country. Plenty of space for a nice outdoor wedding, it’s in April so I thought the weather would be perfect.”
Remus froze with a slice of pizza halfway into his mouth and James looked up from his computer screen slowly.
Cautiously, James said, “That’s a lot of thought you put into this fake marriage of yours. You didn’t even think the wedding was going to happen when you sent that email.”
Sirius just shrugged it off, “Well it had to be believable, didn’t it? Would your parents agree to that or will we have to relocate?”
James looked to Remus, back to Sirius, then back to Remus again before sighing. “They’ll agree, of course, but not if they know the marriage is fake.”
Remus and Sirius looked at each other for a moment, before finally, Remus shrugged, “So we convince Lily and your parents we’re getting married. What’s two more, really?”
“And the rest of the guests,” added Sirius.
“Right,” Remus nodded, “two more, and the rest of the guests,”
James groaned and clicked onto another catering website.
“So how many people are we thinking?” Remus asked calmly, ignoring James’ dramatics.
“Enough to justify inviting Lily, but not so many that every person we know has to be convinced. We can leave some work associates out of the ploy, for sanity’s sake,” Sirius said as he added another potential colour palette to the Pinterest board.
Remus nodded as if Sirius had simply said how much take out they should get for dinner that night.
James apparently decided this was too much and got up and left the room for a few minutes before returning, mumbling about not having time for this bullshit.
Remus made a post on his Facebook the next night with the words “Late announcement, I know, but Sirius asked me a question the other day. . .” followed by pictures of him in the ring Sirius had gone out and bought earlier in the day. In one, Sirius is kissing him on the cheek and James had caught the picture at just the right moment to show Remus laughing at the gesture, in a wide, glowy smile. Remus had never even seen himself smile like that. His face reddens at the memory.
He hadn’t taken the ring off, it seemed more practical to just keep it on than risk uploading a picture without it on later. Looking down at his hand now, he is struck by the odd realization of how well it fits. Not just in size, although that in itself was surprising, but just the way it looked on his ring finger. The thin gold band looked as if it had sat on his hand for closer to 6 years, not 6 hours.
As he tries to fight off the feelings and thoughts this realization brings about his phone rings, the words HOPE LUPIN appearing on the screen. Grimacing, he swipes up.
“Remus. Lupin. How on EARTH could you get ENGAGED to be MARRIED and not ONCE think to tell your mother and father?”
“Ma, it’s a long story-”
“I thought we made it quite clear that we supported you whomever you married, were we not clear enough about that? Because Remus Lupin we love and support you so much and Sirius is a wonderful boy—”
“No, Ma, you don’t understand, we’re not actually getting married, we’re just pretending to because, well, Sirius sent a wedding registry to Lily Evans, you remember, from high school? And well anyway he was hoping she would just buy us a coffee maker but she said she’d come so now we have to have a wedding.”
“Remus you don’t have to lie to me, we support you and Sirius whole heartedly, you can tell me the truth, it’s okay that you love him, people love who they love—”
“Ma, believe me, I appreciate how. . . aggressively you support my sexuality, but I’m not lying to you, Sirius and I aren’t even dating, it’s really just pretend, you don’t even have to come to the wedding.”
“Remus John Lupin if you think you can get away with not inviting me to your WEDDING then—”
“Okay! Okay! I’ll send you the details!”
He stayed on the phone trying to convince her the wedding was fake for the next half hour and then, after definitively failing, collapsed backward onto his bed. His mother was being ridiculous, of course. Everyone was being ridiculous, so readily believing that he and Sirius were engaged.
He pulled up the post of engagement photos on his phone. He had to admit, they were pretty convincing, but it’s not like they had posted anything implying they were even dating before. He scrolled back through his Facebook, there was a picture of the dinner Sirius made to celebrate their seven year anniversary of living together, a post he’d made about their Saturday “boys night” when James had ditched them for footie tickets so they’d stayed in cuddling on the couch eating ice cream and watching Star Wars in their pajamas. There was a post from when Sirius got his promotion at work, Remus talking about how proud he was. There were seven posts that were just pictures of Sirius making funny faces and at least five posts Remus had dedicated to appreciating Sirius’ cooking skills. Okay, so maybe he couldn’t blame anyone for believing it.
He twisted the ring on his finger, worrying and wondering about this and that until he fell asleep, several hours later.
The next day was a Sunday, so Sirius spent the morning gardening while Remus slept in. The English Daisies and the Hellebores were coming along nicely, and his Nemesia turned out gorgeous. The Cyclamen seemed to be blooming late, but they’d get there, and that was all that mattered. He wiped his hand on his forehead, getting dirt on it. Laughing, he took the gloves off and rose to put them away before the sun rose fully and it got hot outside. After washing his hands, he set to work on a beef stew for lunch. As the water boils, he scrolls through pinterest to wedding ideas, as he’s been doing frequently over the past three days.
As he scrolled, he bounced between checking muffins in the oven he was making for breakfast, the tea he was brewing, the stew making, and saving wedding colour palettes that brought out the color and Remus’ eyes. The sound of the door creaking open rang out behind his back, and he smiled on instinct.
“Morning, sunshine,” he throws over his shoulder, glancing back to see Remus, a stretched t-shirt, bedhead, wiping the sleep from his eyes.
Remus grumbled something about the sun being too bright, but he smiled groggily as he took his cup of tea and his place on the kitchen counter.
Sirius reached over and combed his fingers through Remus’ hair, “So how’s my fiancee doing this morning?” then he got to watch live in color as Remus’ eyes widened, his eyebrows shooting up under his ruffled hair, suddenly wide awake.
“Oh fuck, that’s right, we did that.” Remus looked down at his finger, pausing, and twisted the ring around thoughtfully. Sirius looked too, reflecting on how fitting it looked on Remus. He congratulated himself on his apparently very good eye for rings.
Sirius was still in reverie when Remus leapt off the counter to turn the stove off, because the water had boiled over.
Suddenly, Sirius felt a sudden fondness at the sight of Remus, smiling softly, old bones, always making everything alright.
Remus laughed quietly into the boiling pot, and looked up at Sirius, his head rising like the sun, catching its light, “Say, I’ve got to get you a ring too, don’t I?”
“Do you? I was never quite sure on the rules for engagement rings.”
“I think I do. Wanna come help me pick one out? I would hate to insult your fragile vanities,” Remus said this with a smile and a rag swatted against Sirius knee, “and then after, maybe we could do a movie night?”
Sirius got up to take the muffins out of the oven with a flash of a smile, “It’s a date.”
Monday morning Remus walked into his lecture to a room of silent college students. It was the first time in his career he had ever had the full, undivided attention of the class. He wondered to himself if there had been something odd in the reading that week that he had missed, perhaps he had posted the wrong date for the final in his sleep or he had something on his face. Sirius had made oatmeal that morning, and there was a solid chance it had fallen onto his sweater.
But his sweater was clean, so, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Remus started class. He had finished covering the role of Gertrude in Hamlet and was set to move on to the pirates when he noticed one of his favorite students, right in the front row, texting. Remus had a fairly strict policy against phones in his classroom that he tried to enforce consistently, but the student, Lavender Brown, was normally so well behaved, he tried to ignore it for a few more slides of information. Eventually though, the notification sounds began to distract him so much he could barely get through a sentence.
“Ms. Brown,” he said, as Lavender looked up in panic, “I assume you are following the class policy to only use your phones in class to discuss subject material, as you are a model student and would never let anything distract you from your studies, but unfortunately, in the spirit of fairness, I must ask to see your phone to verify this is the case.”
Lavender’s eyes had gone wide, and she was shaking her head frantically. This was, perhaps, Remus’ most notorious habit as a professor. His online reviews were entirely positive reviews from thoroughly educated students mixed with horror stories of students who’d had their messages read. Normally, Remus simply kept the phone until the end of class, but every once in a while, the messages would be funny and Remus would be in one of those moods so he would read them out loud to the class, with deadpan delivery. It was, of course, every student’s worst nightmare.
“Really Professor, it won’t be necessary, I’ll just put the phone away now.”
“I’m afraid it is necessary, Ms. Brown,” with this, he holds his hand out and Lavender gives in, handing over her phone.
It appeared she had been messaging her friend Parvati Patil, who was sitting right next to her. Remus read to himself the messages from the top on the screen down.
I’ve had at least one class with him each semester for four years now, and he’s never mentioned a significant other.
He’s always been secretive, it doesn’t surprise me that he’s never mentioned him
Oh yeah, Prof. L is definitely gay
You can’t just assume that. We don’t even know that he’s really gotten engaged.
What else could the ring mean?
Either way, it must be something good, I haven’t seen him this happy… ever
Remus read the messages. Then he read them again. Finally, he sighed and handed the phone back to Lavender.
He turned to the class, to whom he had suddenly become incredibly worthy of their full attention, and addressed them at large, “To those of you wondering,” he held up the hand with the ring on it, “Yes, I recently got engaged. And for the record,” he turned to Lavender and Parvati, who were beet red, “It was to a man. Now, I believe this covers all the personal information you should require from me before you can turn your attention to Act V of Hamlet, does it not? Yes? Alright. Pirates.”
Two months in, the halfway point, Lily called to talk through security for the wedding.
“Obviously, I wouldn’t wish to impose too much on your wedding, but I do, unfortunately, face certain security threats.”
“Of course,” Sirius said, wondering yet again just how he’d gotten here, “We understand completely.”
“I appreciate that,” Lily replied, and it was odd how similar her voice sounded both to the one in the movies and the one that had called for help on the geometry homework. “The location seems to be fairly far out in the country, which is perfect actually, so a single security guard with me as a guest should suffice. He could even be my plus one. Would that be alright with you?”
“Lily, you bring as many strapping young men as you want, I’m sure you have loads of them and we’d be thrilled to meet whomever you’ve deemed worthy of your time.”
Lily laughed. “Not too many of those strapping young men around recently, you seem to know where to find all the good ones. . . say, this address, is this James’ parents country home? The one we all went out to that one summer before our 11th year?”
“The very same. I’m surprised you remember.”
“Of course I do. Had my first kiss there.”
Sirius tried to think back and remember the things they’d gotten up to that summer. He remembered one hazy game of spin the bottle, and had a vague memory of Lily ending up in a closet with James.
“Don’t tell me that tosser James was really your first kiss? In a game of spin the bottle no less?”
Lily laughs, “It’s silly, I know. Say, are you two still close as you used to be?”
“Always, he’s my best man.”
“Oh, so he’ll be there then? At the wedding?”
Sirius paused, “I thought that would have been obvious, it being at his parents house and all.”
“Right, right.” Lily laughed sheepishly, an oddly reality bending sound, “I just didn’t think—I suppose I didn’t process that one fully. Okay so he’ll be there. Great. Neat. I mean—It’ll be good to see him.”
There was a long silence on the line before finally Sirius said, “You know, James had about a hundred grand plans in high school dedicated to winning your heart.”
“Sometimes I reckoned they succeeded more than you let on.”
“. . . Oh, I wouldn’t say. . . I mean I was pretty well focused on honing my acting, back then, wasn’t I? Didn’t have much time for anything else . . . That seemed to work out pretty well for me.”
“He’s not dating anyone at the moment, in case you’re wondering.”
“. . . I wasn’t, but thank you for the information, I suppose. Maybe the two of us singles can commiserate together.”
“Maybe you can. You can do a lot of things together.”
Sirius can hear her smile through the line. “You haven’t changed a bit, have you?”
“Oh I don’t know,” he replied, looking down at his phone, yet again scrolling through wedding ideas on pinterest. “Maybe I’ve changed a little. For the better, I mean. Love will do that to you.”
“I’ll take your word for it. Congratulations again. I’ll see you soon.”
They were a month away. Four months was, apparently, a very short wedding planning time, and you could tell this as soon as five minutes into a conversation with Remus. He had developed a habit of carrying a sharpie around with him so he could jot down things they had left to do on napkins and spare bits of parchment.
Sirius was out for the weekend on a conference, so James and Remus had taken the opportunity for a pub night.
“We’ve gotten the suits for you, Peter, the Prewett’s, and Frank. Sirius and I both have ours, so we’re all good there. We have the cake, the caterer, oh I need to get back to McGonagall about officiating—” he reached across the bar for a napkin, nearly tipping James’ drink.
“Is McGonagall even ordained?” James asked, smoothly moving glasses out of the way.
“Doesn’t matter, does it? It’s a fake wedding.”
“And you’re going to say that? To Minerva McGonagall? You’re really going to explain this whole insane situation to her and expect her to say yes?”
“Well we were hoping.”
James sighed, “Remus, be honest, why are you doing this?”
Remus froze a bit, and in the warm light of the bar, James saw him as a creature hoping to avoid being seen, anxiously, perfectly still.
“I—I don’t know. I sort of go along with everything Sirius suggests, don’t I? Just following tradition, I suppose.”
“Sure, but Remus this is...new heights, even for him.”
“It’s really. . . not that big a deal.”
“Remus. You are planning. An entire. WEDDING.”
Remus resented something in this and, scrunching up his brow with distaste, he said,“Sirius and I are. Together,” he winced, realizing how this sounded, “I just mean, it’s not so much, we’re planning it together and . . . I mean, it’s at least a little bit fun.”
James was quiet for a bit, framing the situation a hundred different ways in his mind, like he would solve a crime, trying to figure out just what was going on, flipping through scenarios until he found the only one that made sense. Then he checked and double checked his math, breathing in and out as the understanding set in.
“So what you’re saying is, you’re planning to marry Sirius for. . . fun?”
“And for a coffee maker, yes.”
James raised his eyebrows.
“Not—not that—” Remus looked startled, “not that we’re actually getting married. It’s just the wedding. But. Yeah. I’m throwing a fake wedding with Sirius for fun. And a coffee maker.”
“And you’re. . . happy about this?”
Remus ran his hands through his hair with an odd sort of smile that James had never seen, and then, all at once, James saw through the stress, the performative irony, all of it, and saw how terribly happy Remus was. It glowed off him, from a look in his eyes that was more than the setting sun through windows to a tiny, slanted smile Remus didn’t seem to know he was wearing. “Yeah,” Remus said, “I guess you could say that. It’s not the worst way to spend an April day.”
James nodded and turned the conversation to other matters, not wanting to push too far. Besides, it appeared Remus had, however indirectly, answered his question.
Sirius too, had a checklist of Things To Do for the wedding, and was continuously adding to it. When he got nervous he’d forgotten something, he walked through the day in his head and made sure he’d taken care of each thing he saw. One evening, after dinner, the same old worry set in on him, so he took it step by step. He imagined getting ready before, James in the room helping him tie his tie, telling him not to be nervous. He imagined walking down the aisle, the butterflies in his stomach, the people on each side that had RSVP’d, McGonagall, who had grudgingly agreed and, in fact, did happen to be ordained, the best men, in their suits, the flowers on each side, they’d opted for traditional vows for obvious reasons, McGonagall would pronounce them husbands and then. . . oh.
“Remus,” Sirius said with a start, jolting Remus from his place on Sirius’ shoulder and his focus on the crossword, “We’ve never kissed.”
Remus went very, very pink. “Sirius, contrary to popular belief, we’re not actually engaged.”
“I know but—” Sirius’ face slowly began to match the hue of Remus’. “We’re going to have to, at the altar, aren’t we? McGonagall’s going to say ‘you may kiss the groom’ and if it's our first, it’ll be awkward, and people will be able to tell.”
“We could just tell them we were saving it for the wedding. Some couples do that, you know, keep it completely chaste until marriage.”
“Remus, I’ve slept with half the guest list, we live together, nobody is going to believe that.”
“Half the guests?”
“Well we’re not inviting work friends, or much family, so it’s essentially all old high school and college friends and, let’s be honest Remus, you’re like the only one of those I didn’t sleep with. Even James and I made out with when we were drunk. There’s no way around it, we’re going to have to practice.”
“We’re going to—? Wait, why didn’t you sleep with me?”
“That’s your question? Because we’re friends, did you want to sleep with me?”
“Well, no, but I didn’t realize this was some universal experience.”
They sit there for a moment, backs straight, rigid and awkward, not at all like the way they usually melt into each other with ease.
“So,” Remus began, “should we practice?”
With an unfortunately timed dry throat, Sirius nodded and leaned in, careful to take Remus chin with his fingers and guide them together.
It was, in a word, familiar. Awfully familiar.
Sirius began to wonder if he had, in fact, kissed Remus before. Perhaps at a party, so drunk he’d forgotten? But no, he would have remembered. This—well, he would have remembered.
It was one week away from the date when James got the call. In fact, it was exactly a week to the day, because James had been in the kitchen and he’d checked the save the date, which he’d stuck on the side of his fridge with a magnet.
“Remus? Are you alright?” It was odd to receive calls from Remus unless they were to clarify plans, of which they had none upcoming.
“I can’t do it. Maybe you can marry him instead? Lily might not remember me from you.”
“Remus, I know she’s famous and has more important things to remember than her high school friends’ faces, but that’s pushing it a little. What’s wrong?”
“I can’t marry Sirius. I just can’t.”
“Remus, where are you?”
“I’m home, everything’s fine, Sirius went to go get groceries.”
“You know this is his fuck up you’re covering for, right? You don’t have to go through with this. At any moment you can tell him to suck it up and tell Lily the truth.”
“I can’t do that either. The only thing worse than thinking about marrying him right now is thinking about not marrying him.”
“. . . I’m confused.”
“I just—” Remus sighed. “I shouldn’t say anything, I don’t want to make you keep things from Sirius.”
“Remus, you’re my friend too, what’s on your mind? Why don’t you want to marry him?”
“Because I do.”
“I mean, I want to marry him, for real.”
“How long did it take you to puzzle that one out?”
“I mean, I’ve known in one way or another, for years, but it’s been sneaking up on me recently and. . . now we’re here.”
“So we are. . . What are you going to do about it?”
“Oh, you know me.”
James did, which meant, unfortunately, that he knew Remus was probably not going to do anything about it at all.
Remus laughed, as if he could read James’ thoughts, “You know if you try to bring this up ever again after this, I’ll deny it.”
“I know, I know, and I would never tell, you know I wouldn’t. It’s between us, I swear.”
“Remus Lupin, I solemnly swear you’re safe with me.”
James could hear Remus’ smile through the line. “I know James, I know.”
Sirius was Not Doing Great. He was getting out of bed fine, carrying out routines same as always, it wasn’t like a depressive episode. But his hair was absolutely never brushed, his eyes were far away, three pots had boiled over that weekend, he had twice slipped on the same mopped floor. His cheeks were somehow perennially tinged pink.
It had hit him like a wave. Like standing in the ocean, watching a wave approach with nothing but vague excitement when all of a sudden it reaches you, knocks you off your feet, moves you in somersaults through the ocean all the way to the shore, where you wash up, feeling decidedly different. That was kissing Remus.
For all the jokes, Sirius was not an unintelligent man. He knew what it meant. Somewhere along the line, he had fallen in love with Remus and completely missed it. His brain was, therefore, very busy asking himself very important questions like ‘how long—?’ and ‘does Remus—?’ and most frequently, ‘what would happen if—?’
But at the end of the day, after Remus had wished him goodnight and Sirius had pulled the covers tight around himself, he knew only one question mattered: ‘What am I going to do?’
It was 1:35 am the morning of the wedding, and all was dark save for the lights of the moon and stars. Sleep was so far off, it might as well have been the other side of the ocean. Slowly, Sirius pulled the covers back, the soft pads of his feet hitting the ground quietly as they could. He walked out his door, through the dimly lit living room where he spent his days with Remus, and gently creaked the door to Remus’ room open.
“Sirius?” Remus asked, and Sirius couldn’t help but notice that his voice didn’t sound terribly sleepy.
“Sorry to bother you, I just—” Sirius suddenly felt very silly. “Well, we’ve got the first dance tomorrow, and I’m nervous about it.”
“We’ve practiced for months, and you’re a natural dancer, you’ll be fine, Sirius.” He doesn’t say ‘it shouldn’t matter anyway’. Nobody has said that for months.
“Right, right, I know, but I—I was wondering if we could practice just one more time? I can’t sleep.”
All was still for a moment, then there was the sound of ruffled sheets, Remus rising.
From the speakers, Sirius wordlessly puts on ‘A World Alone’ by Lorde, a song he realized in hindsight was a masochistic selection for the first dance.
In the light of nothing but streetlamps streaming in through the windows, Remus reached his hand out to Sirius.
That slow burn wait while it gets dark
Remus pulled him in close with a hand on his waist, as they’d rehearsed, a gentle game, a sweetened scheme, and with each step he pulled Sirius under further, to the bottom of an ocean where he was sure as an anchor of what love was and what it felt like. Sirius had never been more sure of anything in his life.
You’re my best friend and we’re dancing in this world alone.
So it was a twisted sort of night, hearts like rags being wrung out, so the colors were loud and his hands were shaking. Maybe the ocean, between Sirius and sleep, where he’d been drug down to the depths by rough hands and a rhythm, was between he and Remus. Maybe Sirius was caught alone in the dark of the sea’s bed while Remus breathed safely up above, but as he leaned in for the close of the song, and Remus made a noise that sounded a bit like a gasp for air, he doubted it.
Remus stood there in James’ parents’ guest bedroom, in his tux, on an April day, wondering how he’d gotten here. It was, of course, a frequently asked question in the confines of his mind, one that was almost always answered by a simple, ‘Sirius’. But usually the gravity of the situation was not quite to this scale. And usually, Sirius was at least with him. Sirius was in some other room, hopefully, in his own tux, presumably feeling nothing but mild amusement in the face of this.
There was a knock on the door, and after a mangled cry of stress from Remus that was meant as an invitation, James walked in.
“Hey,” James bit back a smile at the panic in Remus’ eyes. “Hey, everything’s fine. It’s gonna be okay. What are you worried about?”
“What if he knows? What if he can tell, when we’re at the altar, by the way I look at him or something? What if something goes wrong? What if everything falls apart?”
They stood there together, in James’ parents’ guest bedroom, and understood each other. Slowly, James moved and put his hands on Remus’ shoulders.
“I’m going to tell you the same thing I just told Sirius. It’s going to be okay. You’ve taken care of everything, it’s going to go great, it’ll be beautiful and nobody will question a thing. But even if they did, it wouldn’t matter. It’s you and Sirius. You love each other. In whatever way, in every way. Nothing is going to change that. It’s you and Sirius. You’re unbreakable.”
Remus had barely had time to wonder how much of that James had actually said to Sirius and what that meant when he continued.
“But I actually came in here to grab the ring from you. You have it?”
“What?! No, I gave it to Sirius earlier to give to you, do you not have it?”
Oddly, James smiled, and just that moment there was a knock on the door, “That’s my cue.”
“What? James, what’s going on?”
James simply grinned and opened the door to reveal Sirius, looking. . . well, Remus felt his world shrink until it was just the shape of one man in a tuxedo.
“Good to see you Sirius, good luck, I’ll be on my way to have those words with McGonagall.”
“Good man,” Sirius said, grin wide, and he was saying it to James but his eyes didn't leave Remus. The door shut behind James.
“Sirius, what's going on? Also, James doesn't have the ring, where did you put it? It's kind of important. What are you even doing here, we're not supposed to see each other before—” but then Remus lost all of his words, because he had found the ring. Sirius was holding it, and he was getting down on one knee, lifting the ring up to Remus with a smile on his face.
“Remus, I—let me preface this with you can say no and we'll pretend nothing happened and it'll be fine but I—well. I love you. I'm in love with you, and I have been. . . forever, I think. There's a good chance I will be forever. You're, you’re everything, Remus, and it’s an honor to wake up to you every day. I never want to stop. So I was wondering, well, Remus, would you marry me? For real this time?”
Remus had barely time to nod his yes before Sirius rose to kiss him, wiping the tears from his eyes as he did.
“Yes, Sirius, of course I’ll marry you. How could I ever say no?”
“You could, you know. That’s an option. I’d like to make that abundantly clear.”
Remus looked at Sirius with watery eyes and a smile that cracked his face like the sun cracked the dawn, “Sirius Black, there’s no universe where I’d say no to you. There’s no universe where I’d want to.”
Sirius smiled bright with a halo of a glow and kissed him yet again, again and again, because he could now. No games, no gimmicks, no practice, he could kiss Remus. He could drown in his kiss.
Taking a moment, he pulled back and held Remus’ face in his hands, looking at him, joy seeping out from his edges.
“I am going to love being married to you, Remus Lupin,” Sirius said, pressing one more kiss to his mouth before stepping away, for the time had come, “I've got a thing to get to, but we'll pick this up later, alright?”
Remus laughed, that soft, choked laugh of someone who's just cried, “Alright,” then he watched Sirius slip out the door, on his way to walk down the aisle.
Later, after it all—the vows, the cutting of the cake, the first dance—there were four people left out in the field of James’ parents’ house.
“Hey James, who’s this new girl you’re hanging out with? She’s way out of your league.” This was Remus, coming over to give Lily a hug.
“Oh, don’t push it Remus, I’m mad enough it took getting married for you to get back in touch with me.” This was Lily, unraveling her arms from James to wrap Remus in them.
“Yeah Remus, what took you so long?” This was James, a little tipsy.
“Sorry Lily, but he’s been awfully busy with all of this ‘falling in love with me’ business.” This was Sirius, wrapping his arms around Remus’ waist, grinning from ear to ear. He did this entirely to complete the look of a cheesy newlywed couple. He did this entirely because he loved it.
“Well maybe he’ll have time to meet me for coffee or something once I’ve finished with the move back.”
All three boys froze, “What?”
Lily grinned, apparently hoping for that reaction, (Theater kids, thought Sirius). “I’m moving back to Godric’s Hollow. I don’t have any big work for a while and it’ll be nice to have somewhere peaceful to stay between jobs.”
“I don’t know how peaceful it is with James around,” Sirius joked, “but we’re happy to have you back.”
Lily grinned at Sirius and thanked him sweetly, unaware of how big James’ eyes had gotten just beside her. Remus laughed, the sun set, and the day was golden.
That night was much the same as most other nights in their home. They got home late and sat on the couch, but tonight they told each other stories: the stories of how they’d fallen in love with each other. And they talked, about how to feasibly take things slow when they were already married and living together. Mostly though, they kissed. They did a lot of that. They got ready for bed same as always, only this time both fell into Remus’ bed instead of each their own. And when they woke up the next morning everything was different than the morning before, but the important things were much the same, only better, and they all lived happily ever after.