Remus was not worried about his speech. He’d done this hundreds of times. He was not nervous. So why was he nervous?
He was sitting in the library, in a quiet corner, pen tapping on paper, unable to focus, unable to do anything. It didn’t make sense. But at least his fever was gone.
With a sigh he put pen and paper down and rubbed his eyes. As on cue his phone buzzed, repeatedly.
From Sirius: Mooooooonshine
From Sirius: Are you hiding in the library?
From Sirius: That sounded creepy.
From Sirius: But Mary said u were
From Sirius: Blame her, not me, I am innocent!
To Sirius: Not the creepiest thing you’ve done, tbh.
From Sirius: I am offended. But I will not argue as it’s possibly true.
To Sirius: But yes, I’m hiding in the library.
To Sirius: Wanna play hide and seek?
From Sirius: Omg. That’s the greatest thing you’ve ever said to me.
From Sirius: But of course!
Remus shook his head, but he was glad. Although Sirius’ energy was a bit taxing when he was this tired, it also provided an excellent distraction. He leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes and waited.
It was strange, wasn’t it? How Sirius had changed so much? Coming in like a storm and changing everything. But maybe some change had been needed; maybe it was a good thing. Now that it had calmed down it felt like a good thing.
The storm was now a refreshing breeze.
He was ripped out of his thought by someone blowing in his ear.
“Found you.” Refreshing breeze indeed.
“Congratulations, now never do that again.”
“Nope, sorry, can’t promise that. What are you doing?” Sirius dropped into the chair next to Remus.
“Preparing for tomorrow. Or avoiding preparing for tomorrow, more like.”
“I am convinced you’re going to do it amazingly, anyhow”, Sirius said.
“Sure, of course I am. I still like to be prepared. Have you heard of this concept before, Sirius?”
“Preparations. You know, where you plan something out before you do it. Instead of trusting your own fortitude.”
“I’ll have you know I am an excellent planner!”
“Of course… what are you not excellent at?”
“Hm, let me think”, Sirius said. “Obeying orders, tying ties, French, playing piano.”
“Wow, I’m disappointed, I did expect you to at least be able to play the piano.”
“Funny thing, that’s pretty much the exact same words my mother used. And mind you, it was just ‘not excellent’; I can actually play a fair bit.”
“Does that mean you can also speak a fair bit of French?”
“I’m not going to answer that.”
“I mean I’m still disappointed, now had it been Latin…”
“You’re sounding a good bit like the nerd here, with your piano and French.”
“No, no, those things just make me cool. The nerd is the one holding a speech about space.” Sirius smiled sweetly at him.
“You’re the one who’s all excited about it, though”, Remus said.
“True… maybe we’re both nerd then.”
“I think I can live with that.”
“Are you done for the day?” Sirius said, tilting his head to one side. Remus nodded. “Let’s get out of here then.”
“And go where?”
“Anywhere! What do you want to do?”
“But Remus, I’m booooooored.”
“James is with Lily.”
“I’m not going to be good company”, Remus pointed out.
“Nonsense, you’ll be the best of company.”
“Let’s watch a movie. Or you can watch and I can sleep.”
“Good enough”, Sirius said. Remus yawned again.
At Sirius’ apartment Remus got rid of jacket and shoes and promptly seized Sirius’ bed.
“Hey, Remus, what are you doing?”
“Told you, going to sleep. Hush.”
Sirius muttered something Remus didn’t hear because he was busy being comfortable.
He could, however, hear Sirius move things about in the kitchen and made half an attempt to ask him for tea. When that proved to be more of a bother than he cared for he gave up.
“Remus, you owe me.”
“Do I?” Remus cracked open one eye to see Sirius extend a cup to him. “Oh, I might.”
It was Earl Grey. Bless Sirius Black.
“You can sleep, but don’t expect me to shut up, so good luck with it”, Sirius said.
“That’s fine, talk away.”
Sirius sat down in the couch and started the TV. Remus forced himself to sit up so he could drink his tea. He leaned on the wall and closed his eyes again, turning out the sounds and enjoying the warmth of the tea.
Sirius wasn’t watching anything. He was decisively not watching. He was especially not watching Remus, hair tussled and eyes closed, sitting in his bed.
It was beginning to seem like he had to actually do something about this, before he turned as ridiculous as James. But what? How? It came as a bit of a surprise to him when he realized he didn’t know what to do. Hey, Remus, I like you and I kind of want to kiss your stupid face. Not that your face is stupid, it’s in fact a very good face, but… Yeah no, maybe not.
He glanced over at Remus again and found him looking back with a rather amused expression. Sirius had a moment of panic, thinking he might have said that out loud.
“You’ve forgotten your tea”, Remus said and Sirius relaxed. It was true that his tea stood untouched on the table in front of him.
“Yes, I don’t think I even wanted tea.”
“What do you want?” Goddammitremus.
“Cheesecake”, he said. “Entertainment?”
“Tell me a story.” Remus moved to put his cup away and then laid back down.
“Do you know how hard it is to come up with anything when asked? Because I can’t think of a single interesting thing right now.”
“Well, who’s the boring one now?” Remus turned his head and raised an eyebrow at him.
“But I don’t have any fun stories.”
“Doesn’t have to be fun.”
“I can’t think of anything!”
“Tell me about your family.”
Remus gave him a long look.
“Tell me about your family?”
Sirius bit his lip. He tried to avoid that topic as much as possible. But part of him wanted to tell Remus. He’d told James.
“Right, but I’m joining you”, Sirius said. He shut the TV off and did. Remus didn’t look like he was moving so Sirius sat leaning on the wall with his legs over Remus. It was very nice.
“Family. Where to begin…” He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. “My family consist of father, mother, me and my little brother. But The Family is the Black family and that’s all of them, I don’t even keep track, so many cousins and uncles and nasty old women with loud voices.
But, Mother is Walburga, bit more theme based name there, and father is Orion, pretty straight up. Reg you-“
“Wait”, Remus interrupted. Sirius opened one eye and looked at him. “They both have the names?”
“Second cousins”, Sirius said, grinning. “Gotta keep the blood pure, you know. Makes me happy I’ve taken myself out of the gene-pool.”
“They’re all a bunch of pretentious assholes. I left when I was sixteen, haven’t really met them since.”
“What did you do?”
“Anything, worked any job I could get, tried to stay in school. My uncle helped me; he’s one of the better ones. He pulled some strings, helped me get a place to live, and helped me change schools. I missed a lot and had to actually make an effort to catch up.
They didn’t like me before I left, they likes me less after. I was legally and publically cast out and disowned, so technically they’re not even my family at all.”
“Disowned? Is that an actual thing that happens in our modern age?”
“Trust me, the Black family is not about being modern. They’re all about tradition, and honor and pride, and all that upper-class fuck-all.”
“I didn’t like them before, and I still really don’t”, Remus said. Sirius laughed.
“Thank you, neither do I.”
“Yes, French, you don’t have to go far back for that. Also…”
“Do you speak Russian?”
“And yet again I’m disappointed.”
“Yet again you use the word I feel would suit you better.”
“Do you speak any other languages, Remus? Italian maybe? Or what about that Latin?”
“I’ve studied Latin, I can read it sort of well, but you don’t really speak Latin. There’s no one to talk to.”
“Hm, I only speak French because my mother insisted on using it. My father speaks Russian; he liked to mutter in it.”
There was a knock on the door, then the door was opened.
Both Remus and Sirius looked up to see James… and Lily.
“Sirius, we need food!”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“Make us food!” James dropped down in the couch and dragged Lily down with him. She was smiling sweetly at Sirius, he glared back.
“Fine. But only because I’m so much better than you.” Sirius pushed at Remus to make him move. Remus did so grudgingly.
“Shall I put down cooking in the list of Things Sirius Black Is Excellent At? Or is it more on the piano level?” Remus asked, which earned him wide smiles from both James and Lily, that he thankfully didn’t see.
“I am very excellent indeed”, Sirius said, now on the edge of the bed, looking in the direction of the kitchen, contemplating how much he’d rather just stay. “I started avoiding family dinners at eleven, and instead snuck into the kitchen to feed myself. The chef, a lovely lady, took pity on me, she taught me quite a lot.”
Remus sat up. Sirius saw him nod once, then look over at James, face devoid of any emotion.
“The chef”, he just said. James shrugged. “The Chef.”
“Honestly, Remus, of all things, that’s really not the big shock.” Sirius said.
“Most people don’t have chefs”, James said.
“The chef had two assistants too. And there was a maid, wore an apron and everything. Oh, and the butler, I didn’t like him, it was mutual. And a gardener… And a chauffeur.”
“James”, Remus said. “You know how your family used to seem so strange to me? I’ve gotten over it.”
James laughed and Sirius shook his head at Remus.
“Oh, it gets worse”, he said, but finally decided to get up and set about that food business. He had a tingly feeling in his chest. And he was enjoying this far more than he liked to admit, he desperately wanted more of it.
Sirius hadn’t been lying. He was excellent, the food was delicious.
James and Lily refused to move from the couch so Remus and Sirius were assigned the floor, but that was fine, in company like that anything would be fine.
Lily was leaning on James and James didn’t stop smiling, and when James was smiling like that it was hard to not smile back.
“Sirius, would you like to elaborate on how exactly it gets worse?” James asked. Sirius shook his head.
“Nope, I’ve done enough talking. I’ll save the rest for later”, he said. Remus suppressed a yawn.
“But how are we going to stay entertained? Look at Moony, he’s falling asleep!” James said.
“Why don’t you share a story, Prongs?” Sirius retorted.
“Don’t you dare, Sirius! I have higher power here, and I am not afraid of using it.”
“Oh, I would. Lily would film it.”
“I would”, Lily said.
“You ungrateful bastards.” Sirius glared at James, James winked back. Remus yawned again.
“How about, instead of any of that, we just sleep?” He suggested. The other three immediately turned to him. “What?”
“That’s actually a good idea”, Lily said. “Tomorrow is a big day, and there won’t be much sleep.” At this Sirius lit up.
“The Star Party!”
“Yes, Sirius, please no screaming.” Remus rubbed his eyes. He felt like he could fall asleep on the spot.
“Sorry, Moonshine.” Sirius gave him an apologetic pat on the head. “We’ll only use small words now.” Remus swatted his hand away.
“Shhh. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Remus got up and yawned again. “James?”
“Yeah, I’m coming.”
As soon as he stepped outside Remus felt more awake. He blamed the cold air that hit them like a wall.
They walked in silence for a few minutes. James seemingly unbothered by the cold, jacket not even closed.
“So”, James said eventually. “You and Sirius…”
“You’re cool now?”
“I guess.” Remus didn’t want to talk. He wanted to sleep.
“You seem pretty friendly now, is all. That’s good. But I can’t help but wonder, with how aggressively you disliked him before.”
“I got over it. He’s not that bad.”
“No, he’s not. I just want to make sure you’re not just trying to be nice. You actually like him, right?”
“Yeah, pretty sure I do.” Remus saw James give him a weird glance. “Why?”
“I really like Sirius”, James said. “And I want the best for him. But you’re my best friend, Remus. And I want to know how my best friend is doing, what he’s thinking.”
“Right now I’m mostly thinking about my bed. You really don’t have to worry, James. I like spending time with Sirius, I really do. I know it’s probably strange, and I admit that I might have been a bit narrow-minded before. It’s not like that anymore.”
“Good, that’s very good. Because he’s fond of you, you know. I think you might be good for each other.”
“Especially since I’ll be abandoning you for Lily quite a lot in the future.”
“Right, you go with Lily, and you won’t feel bad about deserting me because I’ll have Sirius?”
“You’re so considerate, James.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty great. You could always come with us, we can double-date.”
“Actually no, it’s worse enough as it is?”
“Hm?” Remus had to concentrate to keep his eyes open. He really hoped he wouldn’t be this tired by this time tomorrow, that wouldn’t be great for his speech.
“You know, I’ve really had to put some thought into my loyalties lately” James said. “You’re not making it easy on me, so I really wish someone would do something about that and save me from further difficulties.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about”, Remus said.
“See, that’s kind of my point. I’m debating whether I’m supposed to tell you or not. But I think you lose, for now. Wait a few weeks and I might have changed my mind.”
“Please, shut up?”
“Okay, shutting up.”
Remus sighed and raised his eyes to the sky. Not a cloud in sight. The moon just almost full and so very bright. Start, millions of stars. It was beautiful. It was quiet and cold and beautiful.
Hopefully the weather would keep until tomorrow. If tomorrow was anything like this it would be a success.
He was excited. It would probably be fun. It would surely be cold.
There would be stars. Of many kinds. And that was pretty great.