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Silence Gives You Space

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Horrible. This was horrible.  They hadn’t been there twenty minutes and Remus best friend had been stolen away and, besides Peter the birthday boy, he didn’t know anyone else present.

He didn’t want to be there. However, James had convinced him and it would make Peter happy. But now James had abandoned him, had disappeared with his new friend.

Remus cringed at himself, even his thoughts sounded bitter. But he was not bitter. He was… left alone in an uncomfortable situation… and also a little bitter. He felt he had the right to be a little bitter.

The situation was not improved by the fact that the one doing the friend-stealing had done it so perfectly or that he and James seemed to be meant for each other. They fit together like a puzzle. It had been both amazing and frightening to behold.

Now he could see them on the other side of the room, surrounded by people they didn’t seem to notice, grinning at each other and discussing something with great enthusiasm. He could see something in James’ eyes that he had learnt to dread. It was the look that meant he had a plan. And those plans often ended up getting them into trouble, because of course he would always drag Remus with him down. But not this time. This time he had a more willing companion. Maybe it was for the best.

And Peter, where was he? He was, in honor of being the birthday boy and host, perfectly busy getting smashed.

So Remus was awkwardly stuck in a couch, trying to blend in. The music, the people, the heat, the smell. It was already getting to his head. He figured he should get hold of Peter for a while and then get the hell out of there.

However, that proved harder than he thought. Peter’s attention was in high demand, and he was enjoying it just as much as he should. Watching his friends enjoying themselves was at least something.

Something. Not enough. He would leave.

But James had the keys.

That had seemed like a sensible idea at the time. Only bringing one set of keys. Now? Not so much.

So he would go and get the keys from James. He would go up to James, James and his friend with the hair. Hair that had no business being so perfect when it belonged to someone like him.

Yeah, no. He would not do that.

He would stay put, and do what he always did. Which was as little as possible.

Sadly, that didn’t last long, because the next time he looked up James was on his way over, with company.

The two were not very similar, except for the dark hair. But they did have the exact same twinkle in their eyes, the same air of being perfectly at ease and the same confidence in their movements.

“Moony, my Moony! Why the sour face?”

He didn’t mean to glare at James, but he did anyway. James’ good mood was mocking him. An hour had passed, he felt he could leave without seeming too rude.

“Can I have your key?” He hated the harshness in his voice, but he couldn’t keep it out. James’ smile faltered and his brow furrowed. Remus knew what was coming and he didn’t much care for it right now. “My head is killing me, man.”

James did not look pleased. But he did fish his keys out of a pocket and hand them to Remus.

“You talked to Pete, right? Re-“

“Yeah, I did. See you at home.”

He left.

No.

He escaped.

On his way home he tried really hard to forget the disappointment in James’ face. Or the cold verdict on his friends. Sadly that verdict came from a face that was hard to forget.

 

“Moony, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s okay.”

“No it’s not. You’re angry, you have The Look.”

“Prongs, I swear, I’m not angry. I’m just tired. And this speech is stressing me out.” Remus threw down his pen and took up the cup of tea his roommate had discreetly bribed him with. James was sitting opposite him and Remus meant it. He was not angry. “So are you going to gush over your new boyfriend before you combust or not?”

James face lit up with that excited puppy look.

“Sirius! I can’t believe I’ve never talked to him before, it’s like I’ve wasted twenty years of my life! You know, he studies history too-” Remus knew. “-but like, he started a year after us because he took a gap year and worked in a pet store. A pet store, Remus. And the best part, can you guess?”

Remus raised an eyebrow.

“He knows Lily Evans!” James was practically bouncing in his chair. Remus sighed.

“I don’t even want to know how that came up.”

“He’s watching her hamster.”

“… What?”

“Her hamster. She’s away, and they’re neighbours, and he’s watching her hamster.”

“That’s wonderful, Prongs. You’re practically dating her already.”

“Oh, cut the sarcasm. This is an opportunity, and I’m not going to miss it!”

“Does this mean you’re going to start hanging around my school again?”

“Yes! Uh, I mean, maybe?”

Remus reached over and patted James’ shoulder.

“Maybe Sirius can help give you advice on how to do this marvelous thing known as Talking to Girls… Or more like: Talking to the Girl That Is Lily Evans.”

“You think so?”

“Absolutely. Now, can you let me get back to my speech?”

“Sure, I’m taking Cookie for a run.”

Cookie was James’ dog. She was big, she spread black hair on everything in the apartment, and she had on several occasions eaten books belonging to Remus. She never ate anything belonging to James. Remus was convinced this was not a coincidence.

They left and Remus could focus on his tea and his stupid speech on English folklore.

 

 


 

 

Sirius handed over Spock the hamster to Lily Evans two days after he’d met James Potter. He did this before going to library, where he spent an hour drawing hamsters on the edges of his notes. When sufficiently bored with this he started watching people. He was sitting on the second floor and had a great view.

At one of the closer first floor tables he found a familiar face. With a laptop and a notebook and a pile of books James’ friends sat, chewing on a pen.

He could not remember the name, but he did recognize the light brown curls… and the three very distinct scars running down the left side of his face. Kind of hard to forget those.

Sirius watched him have a staring contest with his laptop screen for a while.

When two girls came up to his table he shut the laptop in defeat. Sirius could not hear what they were saying, they kept well within the library’s sound limit, but it was evident that they were studying. More precisely, that Scar-boy was helping them with studying. Interesting.

He was meeting up with the James today, and a glance at his phone told him he should leave. So he gathered up his things and did.

 

James Potter could read his mind. James Potter was magical.

There was no other explanation. Because this was the second time they met, and it felt like they’d know each other for years. It felt like there was a little more color in the world now. Because his world had James Potter in it.

“So… Lily?” They were sitting on the library stairs. The sun was shining. It was lovely.

“Yeah, Lily”, James sighed.

“Why? I mean sure, she’s nice and all, but…”

“Nice? She’s perfect! She’s beautiful and amazing and smart and wonderful and her hair is so pretty and her eyes, man her eyes!”

“Eloquent, very poetic.”

“But she just ignores me, she’s been ignoring me for years. And Moony just rolls his eyes at me whenever I mention her.”

“Moony?”

“Ah, my roommate, he was at Peter’s party?”

Sirius nodded.

“Well she likes to talk about music and books, or well, that’s what I’ve been talking to her about.”

“Books? Like what kind of books? And I am so bad at books; it’s a constant complaint of Moony’s.”

“Well, you gotta talk to her about something.”

“Awe, I had hoped I could get by on my good looks alone.”

“It’s a shame, really”, Sirius said, shaking his head. He heard the big doors behind them open, saw James turn his head and smile.

“Moony! Imagine seeing you here, it must be fate, bringing us together!”

Scar-boy walked past James, ruffling his hair in passing.

“A true miracle”, he said dryly.

Sirius looked up at him, met his eyes for a moment, there was no warmth in them.

“Sirius, this is Remus, he is going to be a history professor.” James smiled, apparently not minding the glare he got from sca- Remus.

Remus. Remus hair was golden in the autumn sun. It went very well with his autumn colored clothes. Sirius wondered if he did it on purpose. He looked down at him again. Sirius smiled. Remus frowned. Very interesting.

“Are you going home?” James asked.  Remus shook his head.

“No, I need to talk to Lovegood about Thursday first.”

“Alright, see you later.”

Remus nodded and left, and Sirius saw James’ smile die.

“Wanna go get coffee?”

 

Sirius learnt that James was a football coach, junior league, and a personal trainer. He had a dog named Cookie. He lived a 10 min walk from the University. And they liked all the same movies, all the same music, and foremost, since it was what had brought them together, the same football team.

After going through these subjects they ended up at Lily Evans again. James did not have a bad word to say about her, he was well and truly gone. Sirius almost envied him. Not the pining, but the way just her name made his face go all dreamy.

“Ah, this has been great! But I guess I should head home and check on Remus. He’s been a bit strange lately.” James caught Sirius eyes. “He’s actually very nice.” So he had picked up on that. “He gets a bit… down sometimes. But he has stayed my friend for ten years so I am sure you’ll get along.”

“Or maybe he thinks you are enough?”

“Hmm, nah, I don’t think so, who couldn’t use more people like us in their life? Anyway, talk to you later.”

“Yeah, that’s true. Have a lovely day, James.”

“Same to you! Bye, Sirius.”

Sirius had a weird feeling settling in his stomach. A mix of excitement and dread. Like he had had a little too much good luck lately, and it would surely turn around. And when it did it would turn all at once.

He shook the hair out of his eyes and ignored it. If something bad was going to happen he would worry about it when the time came.

 


                                      

 

 

“Mooooooooony!”

“Yes?”

“Are you alright?”

Remus raised his head. James was patting Cookie’s head and looking at him with his worried expression… again.

“Yes.”

“Are you sure, you seem a bit… out of sorts?”

“It’s fine, you know I just changed my meds, and they’re making me a bit twitchy.”

“So this is not about me ditching you at Peter’s party? About Sirius?”

“No.”

“It just feels like you… don’t approve of him?” James and Cookie had matching expressions. Remus couldn’t look at either of them.

“It’s just.” He made a vague gesture with his hands. “It’s Sirius Black.”

“Yeah- wait how did you know?” James pushed his glasses up, head tilting to the side. Remus sighed.

“As stated, it’s Sirius Black, the only one who could have avoided knowledge of who he is would be someone busy thinking about, oh say, a certain redhead.”

“Oh.”

“And he’s just so over the top. Like he thinks he’s better than everyone else just because he’s him.”

“… that’s what Lily said to me last time I met her…” Remus looked at James, James was pouting.

“He’s worse than you.”

“I think you’re being a bit judgmental”, James said. He was right, but Remus didn’t feel like admitting it right now.

“Whatever, I’m sure he’s lovely.”

 

He is. He is charming and energetic. He smiles a lot and laughs too loud. He winks at people. Remus hates it. Because he catches his smiles dying as soon as people turn from him, sees him roll his eyes when he thinks no one’s watching.

It’s a façade. It’s a lie. It’s like he’s always trying to make people like him. And it works. And it’s infuriating.

But he seems more true, more himself, with James and Remus has to stand it. James is happy and Remus, Remus avoids them as much as possible.

Sirius does it to him too, though. Greets him with smiles and makes vain jokes and are all sorts of friendly. It would probably have been nice if it didn’t feel like he was being made fun of. He would probably not mind if it had been real.

 

 


 

 

Becoming friends with James was one of the best things to ever happen to Sirius. There was no denying that. James was all sunshine and rainbows. James was an endless pool of conversations and jokes. No moment was wasted with him. It was exciting, it was fun and easy and comfortable.

What was not sunshine and rainbows was Remus.

Remus did not like him. Not at all.

Remus looked at him like he had the plague. Remus rolled his eyes at him. Remus communicated with sarcasm and snide remarks.

Sirius had tried at least five different approaches. All had failed. Actually it had probably made it worse. He was not going to give up though. Because Remus was James’ friend and James wanted them to get along, and so did Sirius.

He was once again at his look-out place in the library. Watching Remus study and trying to not feel weird about it. But it was something soothing about the scene. Not having Remus glare and sneer at him made it much easier to appreciate the small things, like how he muttered curses at his books sometimes, or the way he kept pulling at the sleeves of whatever he was wearing, or the curl of that lock of hair that he kept brushing out of his eyes.

Sirius sighed and sank deeper into his chair. It was not an ideal situation. It was awfully distracting. And stupid. And potentially hazardous. So there was no way he could leave it alone.

He could make Remus like him. Of course he could. He was Sirius Black. Making people like him was his specialty.

 

 

Chapter Text

“Are you any good?”

Remus started and dropped his pen. He turned to glare at Sirius Black, who had somehow managed to approach him unnoticed and was now lounging in a chair at his table. It was a very Sirius thing to do; lounging. Like he couldn’t just sit like any other person.

“What?”

Sirius gestures at the books and papers spread on the table.

“Teaching. You seem to have a faithful little band of students.”

Remus tried, he really did. He tried for a whole second before letting his face settle into a scowl.

“Do I even want to know why you know I help people study? Because I’m not sure.”

Sirius gasped in offence, or well, mock-offence.

“This is a library, my dear Remus, a University library, belonging to the University that I just happen to attend. Is it that hard to believe that you’re not the only one spending time here?”

“Most spend it reading or studying, not playing games on their phone, though.” Remus knows he made a mistake as soon as the smile appears on Sirius’ face.

“Now who is it that knows a little too much, huh?”

“Oh please.” Remus shaked his head and turned back to his book. “You’ve been thrown out at least twice this week already for having your feet on the tables, and the sound on on your little game. And, as you so clearly pointed out, this is a library. Makes those things just a tad bit hard to miss.”

Sirius shrugged, still smiling.

“What can I say, I get bored, trouble focusing on my work. I should get help with that. So, to return to my earlier question, you any good?”

Remus turned back to him, slowly, trying to discern what’s going on.

“Why do you care?” he said, after a heavy silence.

“Is that not obvious?”

“It’s not.”

“Well, you are a person of helpful nature, and, or so James assures me, of great intellect, and I, although very skilled in many things, have come upon some trouble in understanding what’s been going on in my recent lectures.” How charming. “And judging from the honestly beaming looks on your students as they leave, I assume you are good. But it’s not nice to assume things about people. So therefore I am asking, like one is supposed to.” Too bad he hadn’t gone into politics; he was good at spewing bullshit at least. “I, Sirius Black, most humbly ask for the honor of receiving guidance from the most remarkable and ingenious Remus Lupin.” It was a speech that did not lack passion and conviction. Remus was actually surprised he hadn’t leaped up onto the table, or fallen to his knees.

“Leave me alone.”

“Pretty please?”

“No.”

“Do you have no compassion for your fellow students?”

“I don’t have time.”

“That can’t be true.”

“Fine, I simply don’t want to.”

“That’s just cruel.”

“I am in no way obliged to help you, Black.”

“No, but it would make me very happy. I could help you in return.”

“Why would I need your help with anything?”

“I am a person of many talents.” Sirius winked at him. Remus wondered what he had done to deserve this.

“I really hope you are not insinuating what you seem to be insinuating, because, I’m sorry to tell you, it’s not helping your case at all.”

“You offend me, Remus. I am being honest here, practically begging you for help, and that is what I get?”

“Must be horrible.”

“Devastating. So what would help my case then?”

“It would probably help if you were serious about this.”

“I am always-“

“Don’t.”

“Just tell me what would make you consider helping me?” Sirius was leaning towards him, eyes pleading. It was a very Jamesy look. He heaved a sigh.

“Fine, explain to me what it is you want help with. If it sounds good enough I’ll help you.”

“Really?” Sirius beamed. He really shouldn’t be looking that happy. Remus nodded, regretting it instantly.

“If it means you’ll stop pestering me.”

He really didn’t understand why Sirius was insisting on this. He was not the most welcoming tutor to be found. In fact, Remus was pretty convinced he could have gotten anyone to help him, more than help. But he did do a good job of presenting his trouble, a lot to do with his lecturer just ranting information without any context or explanation.

So Remus agreed. He wasn’t sure why but guessed it had something to do with feeling bad about being so hostile.

He really couldn’t help it. He had tried over and over again to go into a conversation with Sirius without being agitated. But as soon as he saw those smiles, heard the ridiculous flirting that seemed attached to everything, flung at everyone. He got so annoyed. It was grating on his nerves. It was making him say things he didn’t want to say. And that made him in turn feel bad. And on and on it went.

Sirius Black was like poison.

Remus knew it wasn’t good for him. Probably not good for anyone else. It wasn’t healthy. But he didn’t know how to get away from it. And no amount of rude and callous replies made Sirius go away.

How did you tell someone that their presence made you hate yourself?

                                                      


 

Sirius considered it a victory. He had gotten Remus to agree to spend more time with him. Sure, he would probably have to actually study now, but he figured it was worth it.

He was happily whistling to himself when he walked out of the building, only to run into Lily Evans.

“Good morning, neighbour!”

“Good morning.”

Lily studied medicine. Sirius was unsure of any specifics. But she was on her third year and he had a sneaky suspicion she was very smart. She looked smart.

“What are you up to on such a beautiful day, Evans?”

“Oh, you know, school.”

“Hm, can’t say I’ve heard about that.”

“I wish I could say the same”, Lily said with a sigh. “So it is not the excellence of school that has you in such a good mood?”

“It is actually related to school in a way, to studying at least.”

“I didn’t know you did studying, I thought you charmed your way into good grades.”

“Evans, I happen to be both smart and beautiful, just like my newly acquired tutor.”

“Oh, I see.” Lily smiled at him. “Good luck with that, Sirius. But I should head on in and get this done with.” Her gaze went towards the door behind Sirius, she smiled again. “Hello, Remus.”

Sirius almost tripped on the stairs as he turned around.

“Hey, Lily.” Remus was smiling back at her. Smiling, an honest smile bereft of any scorn. Sirius felt blessed to be a witness. He was also very pointedly not looking at Sirius.

“Now, I really gotta go. Bye, Sirius.” Lily went up as Remus came down.

“Are you going home?” Sirius asked. Remus nodded and walked straight past him. Sirius followed him. “Excellent, I am meeting James, we can have company.”

They walked in silence, but at least Remus didn’t seem to mind, much. Sirius considered at least a hundred different things to say, but decided against them all. Maybe silence was better. If he didn’t say anything, there was nothing for Remus to remark on, was there? He settled for a bit of humming.

 

It was football night. That meant he and James would scream at a screen, Cookie would eat their food, and Remus would be nowhere to be seen.

But it was nice. This week like the last three. It was one of those things he could get used to. Was already used to actually. It felt right. But it was over too soon and then he was walking home, James and Cookie accompanying him.

“Remus agreed to help me study”, Sirius said. James’ face lit up.

“Really?”

“Yepp.” Sirius shoved his hands into his pockets. “I still don’t think he likes me.”

“No, it’s weird. He’s usually not that-“ James waved a hand.

“It’s okay, though. It’s not like he’s obliged to like me just because you and I are friends.”

“Remus… he’s very decided about certain things. And then there’s- but it’s not for me to talk about, really. But I don’t want you to feel unwelcome or anything.”

“No worries, it really doesn’t bother me.” It did. It bothered him a little bit too much.

When they were outside Sirius’ building they ran into Lily. She looked exhausted.

“Don’t tell me you’ve been at school until now?”

“Oh, no, I’ve been with a friend.” She smiled at him and then shifted her eyes to James, and then quickly down to Cookie, and back up at James again.

“Uhm- hi, Lily”, James managed to say, Sirius was impressed.

“Hello, James. I didn’t know you knew each other.” The look she shot Sirius spoke of betrayal. He shrugged, grinning.

“Long lost brother, separated at birth, finally brought together, it’s a very touching story”, he said.

“I’m sure it is… is it your dog?” Lily and Cookie looked at each other, one with doubt the other with utter joy. James nodded.

“Her name is Cookie.”

“Oooh, she’s very cute.”

“Uhm, yeah.”

Sirius rolled his eyes; he could see why James had not gotten far in his Lily-endeavor. It was as if the air had gone out of him.

“Lily, are you going to Dorcas’ tomorrow?” Sirius asked. She nodded. “Cool, so are we, right, James?”

“Yes, definitely.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow then. You coming in?” Lily held the door open; Sirius followed her, turning to wave and wink at James. He looked ridiculous.

 

Remus was good. He was excellent and although Sirius didn’t consider himself to be lacking intelligence he quickly felt stupid. The condescending tone whenever he made a mistake didn’t help either.

“Are you even trying?”

“I’m bad at remembering numbers.”

“Good thing there’s never any numbers in history, is it then?”

“Why does it even matter what year it was, it was like a thousand years ago, isn’t that enough?”

“Try telling your teacher that.”

“You can’t say you’ve memorized all these timelines?”

“Most of them.”

“Why?”

“It’s interesting. If you don’t even care, why are you studying this? It’s not going to get easier.”

“I do care, just not about every aspect of it. I like the names and stuff.”

“Names and stuff.” Remus sneered. “Then just add the numbers to the names.”

“I try!”

“You’ve drawn a cat.”

“Doodling helps me focus.”

“Bullshit.”

“Could you keep your voices down a bit?” They both looked up at the girl glaring at them. Remus apologized and gave Sirius a murderous look.

“I’m sorry”, Sirius said.

“Yeah, whatever. Look, can we continue this another day? My headache is fucking killing me.” Remus dragged his hands down his face. Sirius noted that he did indeed look a bit miserable.

“Yeah, I have a lecture soon anyway.”

He left Remus in the library, feeling odd. All the excitement from yesterday gone, replaced with the unnerving notion that this was a mistake. That they were just getting on each other’s nerves. He didn’t like it.

He was trying. He really was trying to give Remus nothing to complain about. It wasn’t working. Instead he got annoyed in return. Because Remus was so nice, so very nice, to almost everyone. Sirius was not one of them.

He barely heard what was said in his lecture. Barely cared. He had thought he’d made a breakthrough when he got Remus to agree to help him. But he could have been wrong. He was obviously doing something wrong. But he couldn’t understand what.

 

 


 

 

“I am not being unreasonable. It’s disgusting.”

“Disgusting?”

“Yes, I mean, James can be pretty unbearable from times, but he’s still James. He acts the way he does because that’s who he is. But Sirius, it’s all a charade.”

“Maybe he has a reason for doing that? You know some people have a hard time knowing how to act around others.” Peter gave Remus a pointed stare.

“This is not like that. He enjoys it. And he acts like it’s not noticeable.”

“I still don’t see why it’s got you so worked up. I mean, it’s not like he’s a bad person. He’s actually really cool.”

“Cool? Insufferable. And he won’t leave me alone.”

“Maybe he’s drawn to your positive energy?”

“Shut up, Pete.” Remus leaned back in the couch and closed his eyes. He was in a foul mood, it wasn’t made better by the topic being Sirius Black. “I don’t like it when people make fun of me.”

“Is he?”

“Sure feels like it. Everything is a joke to him, me included.”

“Wow, Remus, that’s dramatic, sure he isn’t contagious?”

“And apparently to you too.”

“I maintain that there is more to this than you’re telling me, because the Remus Lupin I know doesn’t freak out over something like that.”

Peter was right. That was frustrating.

“Can we just watch this stupid movie?” he asked.

“Sure”, Peter said, and so they did. It wasn’t very good, but it was their tradition. Movie nights when James left for parties, the times Peter didn’t join him. This time Remus was relieved once the movie was over and Peter left.

That gave him time and space to think.

He had been telling the truth. He was annoyed at the way Sirius acted, but it was more than that. There was also the fact that he wanted to like him. He didn’t want to be angry. But anger was so much easier, it was distracting, it helped him forget everything else.

Arguing with Sirius was better than being open and honest with Sirius. And fuck, he was doing just the same thing he accused Sirius off doing, himself.

It would be easier, better, if Sirius would just leave him alone. He didn’t feel like making more excuses, he didn’t feel like having more people look at him the way James did.

With pity.

With worry.

It was suffocating. Although he loved James, and he knew it was because James cared about him. But he didn’t want it.

Not from him.

 

 


 

 

James was making actual conversation with Lily. Sirius felt so proud. It had taken some nudging to get it started but then he could slip away and they didn’t even notice. Sure, Lily did scowl at him every now and then, but he seemed to be doing fairly well, a lot better than ever before.

Sirius himself was not in a partying mood, or even in a chatty mood. He was mostly tired, and still annoyed after today’s Remus-interaction. So he sat back and did nothing, sipped on something unidentified and rather nasty.

He was not giving up. As bad as he knew it was, a challenge like this just made him more determined. And… and… and any reason was a reason, right? So, no, not giving up but the opposite.

 

A week later Sirius considered himself out of his mind.

 

 

Chapter Text

Sirius chose to embrace his madness; thinking it would make things easier.

It didn’t.

He and Remus spent far too much time together considering they didn’t have any real reason too. They didn’t have any lectures together and they clearly weren’t friends. But Sirius followed Remus, and Remus didn’t really complain, not about that. About many other things but not that.

They bickered. Bicker was perhaps a too kind word; they fought. Every single conversation was a fight, an argument, full of insults and sneering.

The first week Sirius tried to be the perfect friend, then he let the madness take over and answered Remus in kind. But he kept his tone light, sarcastic and sweet to Remus harsh and disdainful one. It earned them a number of odd looks. They behaved better around James, resorting to the occasional evil glare.

So why did it go on? Why did he not leave?

Well, the moments in between were pretty nice. The silent moments. When they sat together; reading, or eating, or doing any other mundane thing. As long as they kept their mouths shut it was nice. It was in those moments Sirius could watch Remus, with all his fidgeting and habits. He really enjoyed those moments. The silence wasn’t heavy; it was comfortable, filled with relief, as if they could breathe only when the words stopped.

Sometimes Sirius could forget the other side and it amazed him how the same person that got him so aggravated could also make him so calm. But it kept his hope alive, and it was not the only thing doing so.

There was a line, a line between what was okay and what was not.

They could be screaming profanities at each other but they never crossed that line. No matter how many insults and hurtful comments they spoke, some things stayed unsaid. Personal things, the kind you couldn’t take back once said. Those things were not spoken and not unspoken either. They were never, not even in their worst moments, even considered.

Sirius thought about that a lot. For him it meant that the rest wasn’t really real. It was empty threats, easy blows. But since they never went deeper there was hope. It wasn’t hate, no, it was definitely not hate. It was war, and it was a game. It was the only way they knew to interact with.

Sirius poked Remus in the ribs.

“Stop it.”

“Make me.”

“I will throw this book at you.”

“No you won’t, you like the book too much.”

“True”, Remus said, moving away, eyes never leaving the page.

“I’m bored.”

“Why should I care?”

“Because you will suffer from it?”

Remus sighed, but actually closed his book.

“What do you want then?” he asked. Sirius was too stunned to reply at first.

“Food?” he finally suggested.

“You want food?”

“Yes, let’s get food!”

“There’s food here.” Remus looked towards the kitchen, Sirius shaked his head.

“No, not good enough, we need pizza”, he said. Remus considered it long enough to make Sirius squirm.

“Fine, I’m actually hungry too.”

So they ordered pizza and apart from the occasional attack from Cookie it was very nice. It was quiet and Remus kept yawning.

Sirius thought sleepy Remus might be his favourite.

“Shouldn’t James be back by now?”

“It’s not unusual for him to be late.”

“Only, we were going to watch Star Wars, but now I just want to sleep.”

“You are free to leave at any time.”

“Leave? When I have such lovely company right here? Madness.”

“This lovely company is going to sleep.”

“Does the lovely company want company?”

“Go away.”

“But I don’t feel like walking home… I’ll steal James’ bed then.”

“Go ahead.” Remus yawned again and got up. Sirius patted Cookies head.

“You want my company, don’t you, Cookiecrumb?”

 

 


 

 

The good thing about Sirius black is that Sirius Black distracted him from Sirius Black. When Remus was around Sirius he didn’t need to think about him, then he could dwell into anger. But he couldn’t stay angry when Sirius wasn’t around. So he never complained about Sirius following him everywhere, because he wanted him there. It wasn’t until Sirius left that he felt bad about it.

It had become routine by now.

It was dreadfully bad for him. It drained all his energy, and had the effect that he was easily agitated and short not just with Sirius but others as well. Like James. And James really didn’t deserve it. So then Remus felt bad about that too. He could probably write a decently long list about the things that made him feel bad. Then he’d probably look at the list and feel a little worse, so better not.

Instead he got up the next morning, had his tea, swallowed his pills and left for uni.

It was cold and windy, with rain looming up above. Remus hid half his face in his scarf and walked faster. At least the weather matched his mood.

He felt like he was living in a vacuum, in a blurred reality, where nothing was real, a dream that refused to end. It was not a new feeling to him, but it had been years since the last time. He had felt better, so much better, had even managed to convince himself that he was fine, that this time it was over for real. But apparently not.

Damn that Sirius Black, he had started all this, and then the rest had crashed down around him like an avalanche. It had grown too fast, he couldn’t control it. He didn’t really think Sirius was that bad, only his behavior mirrored Remus’ in a way that made it unbearable. Hypocritical. But Remus had never been averse to a little hypocrisy before.

It was Thursday, so he had his astronomy today. It was one of his favourite classes, and he took it simply because of that, because he wanted to. It had been a keen interest of his for a long time and had in ways led to James’ nickname for him.

Then it dawned on him, something he felt he should have thought about long before. He was almost at the right building now, and he stopped, and scowled at himself.

“Awe, so frowny, so early in the morning.” Remus looked up, at Sirius, awfully energetic it seemed, on a bench just to his right.

“You’re the brightest star.”

“Thank you, dearest. I knew you’d come around.” Sirius gave a happy sigh, fluttering his eyes at Remus.

“No, Sirius, it’s the brightest star… system.”

“The explanation really ruined the moment there. And to be honest, I did know that… for some weird unnatural reason. Or is this the moment I go off about twins and wolves and Rome and murder?”

“No, you may shut up about that, Dog Star.”

“As you wish, Wolf Child.”

“I’m leaving.”

“Watch me care.”

What a good morning.

As Remus sat down for his lecture he wondered when Sirius had left, he hadn’t noticed, and James had still been snoring when Remus got up. Early mornings were not his thing.

Someone slammed their books down next to him and he turned to see Mary, looming over him.

“Are you dating Sirius Black?”

“No.”

“But you like him, right?”

“Wha-”

“I mean, not that it’s my business or anything, like I don’t really care, but Julie’s been flirting with you like crazy, and I don’t think you even noticed. Which would make sense if Black is more your style. I mean, you don’t have to answer and it’s not like it matters. But-”

“I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to say?”

“I’m trying to say that most people think you’re dating Black, since you’re always together and with all the flirting.”

“Flirting? I am not a professional, but I’m pretty sure screamed insults don’t count as flirting.”

Mary shrugged. Remus stared at her.

“Some people are into that, I guess.”

“Do you really think that’s the kind of relationship I’d want?” As soon as the words left his lips realization hit. The answer to that question. Because, disregarding the specific, that was exactly what he had. His relationship to Sirius was just that, and by their choosing. He felt sick.

“All to their own, I mean people use anger to mask their real feelings all the time, like with all the tension and oh shit, I’m not saying you’re doing that and you’re looking at me really weirdly, and I’m sorry, Remus, I’ll stop talking now.”

“No, no, it’s fine… just, I’m not dating Sirius.” Remus shook his head, as if he could shake away that horrible feeling.

“Okay, he’s really pretty, though”, Mary said.

“Yeah, sure.”

 

The rest of the day disappeared in a blurry haze. That sinking feeling in his stomach refused to go away.

What are you doing to yourself?

The question kept repeating itself in his mind.

Why are you doing this to yourself?

He didn’t want to think about it. It left him feeling empty, made his mouth dry up, his chest feel tight.

Sirius seemed to pick up on his mood, because he kept his mouth shut. Remus couldn’t even focus on astronomy.

When he got home he promptly fell onto his bed and refused to move. James made a fuss. Remus ignored him.

Oh, he knew what he was doing. He just didn’t want to admit it. Admitting it would make it real. But it was already real, and it wouldn’t get better just because he was denying it. Denying it was the easy way out, though, and Remus liked the thought of an easy way out.

No. Never mind it being unfair to him; it was unfair to everyone else too. It was definitely unfair to Sirius. Sirius didn’t deserve this.

Remus had taken the anger directed at himself and moved it onto Sirius.

All that self-loathing, all that frustration.

Why?

Because Sirius was a liar. Just like Remus. A shallow surface for the outside world with something different underneath.

 

The next day he didn’t see as much of Sirius as was usual, thankfully, and he just passed James in the door when he got home. James was leaving to go do something with Sirius, Remus didn’t really listen.

Hours later, when Remus had just almost fallen asleep his phone buzzed.

From Sirius: unfuckingbelievable, Jame got a date with Lily.

From Sirius: What is the world coming to?

Remus didn’t bother answering, but he considered it pretty great news. It did however nudge him from his almost asleep state, which then refused to come back. Instead he spend hours tossing and turning, being too cold, too warm, too cold again. He didn’t know what time he finally fell asleep but he hadn’t heard James come back yet so he was a little surprised when the next morning he walked into the kitchen and found Sirius sitting there. Drinking tea. From one of Remus’ cups.

“Good morning, Mr. Wolf!” Sirius was smiling, no grinning. Remus was too tired to be properly bothered. He continued on in his quest for tea.

Put the water on. Get cup. Get tea. Put tea in cup. Get spoon. Use spoon to put honey in cup. Put water in cup. Get pills. Swallow pills aaaaaaaand there was the question. The deal breaker. The end of the voyage. The solution and the problem. The unavoidable. The now-this-is-ruined-too moment.

“Damn, did you get mauled by a lion?”

Remus had his back to Sirius. He had known this would happen just as soon as he walked into the kitchen. He had known it could be avoided no longer. He wasn’t sure if he cared anymore.

“No, a dog.”

 

 


 

 

Sirius was already a fan of sleepy Remus, and this time he got sleepy and very much shirtless Remus. With hair defying gravity and sweatpants sitting just a little too low on his hips. It was almost bothersome.

Or would have been if his attention hadn’t been diverted by the scars.

There were bite-marks on his right shoulder. And his left upper arm. And on his neck. And  lines just as jagged as those on his face going down his back.

His mind went blank and his mouth decided to fill in with perhaps the most tactless line the situation called for.

The silence that followed was long enough for Sirius to start panicking for real. Then, when the answer came, it was in a very quiet, very tired, voice. Sirius wanted to throw himself out of a window.

“Fuck, I’m so sorry”, he blurted out. This wasn’t good. This really wasn’t good. Oh shit. He’d fucked up, he’d fucked up bad.

Remus lifted up his tea and turned around to lean on the counter. Sirius couldn’t look at his face, so he looked at the cup, and his arm, and fuck. Arms might not have been the best choice.

More bite-marks on his right lower arm and... scars of a very different kind, barely visible, but very much there. Sirius dropped his gaze to the floor, cursing himself.

“Yeah, people keep saying that”, Remus said, voice dead. Sirius cringed. He wanted to apologize, but knew it would only make things worse. So he desperately tried to come up with a way to save this, a way that wouldn’t make Remus hate him for real.

“No, I shouldn’t have said that. It was fucking dumb of me. I’m sorry for that.” This was not good. But pieces started to come together in his mind. Slowly, clicking into place in a way that made him feel worse yet.

“It’s okay.”

“No, it isn’t.” Sirius dragged his eyes back up to Remus’ face, found it strangely devoid of emotion. “I shouldn’t have. You shouldn’t have to hear that. It’s not nice.”

Remus laughed, short and dry.

“Is this the time to start being nice? I mean it, I don’t care. Fucking hell, most ask the first time they meet me. It’s not that big of a deal.”

“Well, then they’re pricks too.”

“No, they’re just scars, from an accident, sure it gets a bit tedious to talk about, but it’s not like I can hide them, and it’s not like I need to be ashamed of them. I don’t care, not about them. Neither should you. So I don’t know why you’re upset about it.”

Sirius forces himself to not glance at the thin white lines on Remus’ wrists.

“I’m sorry”, he said again.

“Don’t be. It doesn’t concern you.” There was ice in Remus’ voice. Sirius nodded slowly. He felt he had ruined something, but was unsure how there had been anything to ruin. What was he afraid of? That this would destroy their mutual insult-based friendship? Because that was something that could be destroyed? Something that needed to be protected?

Yes, yes it was. But it was probably too late for that. It had been nice while it lasted. But he didn’t think he could go back to it now and he wondered if Remus thought the same. He wanted… he wanted it to be easy and natural for them to spend time together. But he couldn’t just ignore this.

“No, I know.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Remus didn’t see Sirius again that week. It was probably for the best.

James’ first date with Lily happened on Sunday and Remus had to spend the hours leading up to it trying to calm James down. He was unsure if he succeeded but James did finally leave, and was very happy when he came back.

The stream of Lily praise had resumed full force by now, Remus really couldn’t complain, at least now James had some foundation for it, and it was rather endearing.

Sirius continued to shine with his absence, to the degree that Remus doubted he would show up on their usual Friday study time. He had still not decided on what he would prefer. It had been quiet without Sirius, a bit too quiet.

He didn’t see him when he went into the library and sat down. But he did see him come in shortly after. Sirius’ walk over to him seemed to take forever. Remus suddenly feared what was coming. He had entertain the thought that they could just go on, pretend like nothing, but it seemed unlikely.

Remus turned his eyes to the table as Sirius sat down. A moment of silence that seemed to drag out followed.

“Could you… tell me what you want me to do?” Sirius asked.

Remus looked down at his hands, tugged at his sleeves, sleeves that had frayed from him doing just that.

“I don’t want you to pity me”, he said.

“What about compassion?”

Remus frowned.

“I don’t understand that, but sure.”

“You don’t understand compassion?”

“Not here, not from you.”

“Remus, I’m your friend. I care about you. I’d never pity you. But you can’t expect me to feel nothing, that’s not what friends are for.”

“Friends… are we friends, Sirius, really?”

“If we’re not, then what are we?”

Remus sighed, closed his eyes for a moment.

“I don’t know.” And he didn’t. It didn’t feel like friendship. But he had no other name to put to it either.

“Until we figure that out I’ll go with friends then”, Sirius said. “But I think we need to talk about this.”

“This?” Remus wondered if this was the best time for that conversation.

“Yes, but not now, first I need my weekly dose of Teacher Remus.” And apparently Sirius agreed.

 

When they walked out of the library it was raining, and the wind had picked up. Remus knew they would be soaked in seconds; it was that sort of rain. Next to him Sirius swore.

“It’s a lot closer to my place”, he said. Remus thought he heard hesitation in his voice.

“I’m not running”, Remus replied.

“Neither am I. I will walk very fast, however.”

Sirius place was closer, it was on University grounds after all, but, true to Remus prediction, they were still soaked when they stumbled in through the buildings doors.

“Fuck, why does it have to be so cold!” Sirius continued grumbling as he unlocked his door. Remus agreed, he was practically shivering. “Don’t drip on anything important.”

“I’ll try.” Remus had been here once before, along with James and Peter. It was just one room, along with kitchen and bathroom, but it was cozy, if a bit clustered.

Sirius dumped his leather jacket on a chair, took one look at Remus, told him to wait, and disappeared into the bathroom. A second later he leaned out and threw a towel at him.

“I’ll get you some clothes”, Sirius said. Remus was going to complain… but he was really cold, so he didn’t.

When both dry and provided with tea he slumped down on Sirius couch.

“Does that sound like thunder to you?” Sirius asked. Remus listened, heard a faint rumbling, and nodded. “Great.” He sat down next to Remus with a heavy sigh.

“So, what did you want to talk to me about?”

“Oh, you know. Our friendship. Our stance to each other.”

“Yeah…” Remus really didn’t want to have this conversation.

“I said it before, and I’ll say it again; I consider you my friend, Remus. I know we don’t get along, shit, I don’t know if you even like me. It doesn’t really matter, but you can’t expect me to feel nothing. And I’m sorry, I know you don’t want me to worry about you or anything like that, but I do, and that’s not a bad thing.”

“It’s still unnecessary and annoying.”

“Sure.” Sirius shrugged. “Won’t change anything, I’ll still care.”

“And I can’t stop you, but you have no responsibility to me, Sirius, I don’t think we’re that sort of friends.”

“What, the sort that share personal things? Not just insults? We could be, we’ve sort of tripped over that one anyway.”

Remus bit his lip, twirled the cup in his hands.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know if I can do that.”

Sirius pulled his legs up into the couch and nodded slowly.

“That’s fine, I just want you to know, that the possibility is there.”

“Mm.”

“And… whatever is fine, it really is. But I don’t want to make guesses and end up doing the wrong thing.”

Remus didn’t have a response. He was unsure of what Sirius was trying to say. But he knew he couldn’t talk to him, not now, not like this. There was too much still in the way. Too much anger. So he said nothing, and they sat in silence. A silence filled with words, heavy, uncomfortable. But neither broke it, neither could.

 

James Potter got along with most people. James got along with everyone who got along with him and James was easy to get along with. But there were also some he didn’t get along with at all.

Remus and James had spent the last ten years nigh inseparable, so what affected one sort of affected the other one, too. Especially when it came to people. Remus had tried to keep out of trouble, James hadn’t. So when trouble came for James it came for Remus as well.

When James didn’t get along with someone he did so loudly, and most of the time it was answered in the same way. There had been fights, there had been detentions. Remus had agreed with James most of the time, because the ones James fought with were not, in Remus’ opinion, very nice people. Although Remus had tried to not get involved, he still had been. Because those that disliked James also disliked him, and often picked him out as the easier target. And some things, or people, never change.

Evan Rosier was such a person. And he attended the same University as Remus. They had never spoken to each other, but Remus knew he was recognized by the glares.

He tried to stay away from people like Rosier, knew nothing good would come out of it.

But here he was. Right in front of Remus. In a hallway. Where Sirius had just grabbed Remus’ arm to get him to turn around. It was one of those moments that seemed far longer than possible. Remus saw Rosier’s gaze go over him, saw the smirk break out on his face. He knew without looking, because he could feel it, and Sirius seemed to notice, because he snatched his hand away. And Remus’ sleeve dropped down again.

“Lupin.” Rosier was still looking at Remus’ hand. “Nice emo-scars. Shame you didn’t follow through.”

Remus was frozen, wishing it wasn’t real, that it could somehow be undone. That he didn’t need to be here. That he didn’t need to go through a confrontation of this sort.

Then Sirius was there, his fist slamming into Rosier’s face. Remus barely processed this before it evolved into a full on brawl, and someone, Lily, was tugging at his arm. James was there too, trying to pull apart Sirius and Rosier. Remus let Lily drag him away.

She asked if he was okay. He said yes. She was fussing.

“Hey, Lily, thanks, but it’s okay. Really, I just want to be left alone.” She looked at him, frowning.

“Okay, should I send James your way?”

“No, it’s fine. You’d better check on Sirius, I think.”

She left, and Remus walked out, sat down on the stairs. It was cold, but not raining.

He rested his head in his hands and closed his eyes.

He didn’t want it to bother him. He tried really hard to not let it bother him, to dismiss it, to not care. But he couldn’t. His hands were shaking. He was angry. That familiar hot anger that urged him to lash out and scream at the world. That anger that he had bound down and pushed inwards instead. He was just so tired, so tired of pretending that everything was alright. To alter himself to please others, to avoid this sort of thing. He was tired and angry at everything, but mostly at himself.

He pushed his sleeves up, stared at those damned scars, wondered why they would cause trouble when he had so many others, so much worse.

It had just been about pain, about distraction. A focus point that made other things seem smaller. It had been a different way of doing what he was still doing.

The door behind him creaked and he turned to see Sirius, ruffled, with a split lip and blood trickling down his cheekbone.

Remus wanted to say so many things. He wanted to say thank you. He also wanted to scream at him, he wanted to…

“That was fucking dumb”, he said. Sirius shrugged. “I really don’t need you to start fights for me.”

“Maybe I did it for my own enjoyment then”, Sirius said.

“Or maybe you like to feel heroic. But it’s just annoying, and I’d rather you don’t.” Remus stood up, sudden rage surging forward.

“No, I should thank you for giving me an excuse, always hated that fucker.”

“Well, you’re welcome then.”

They were staring at each other, in anger, frustration. Remus turned his back to Sirius, started to walk away.

“Should have someone look to that, wouldn’t want your pretty face to get scarred now, would you.” He spat the word out, like they were acid in his mouth, and tried to ignore the burning in his eyes and throat.

 

 


 

 

Sirius wiped the blood of his cheek with his shirt-sleeve. He was still breathing heavily, heart pounding in his chest. Soon the adrenaline would die down, and the pain would come. Now he just tried to come back to reality.

Remus was angry with him. That was fine, he was angry with Remus too. Although it was more frustration with that Remus had to be so damn difficult.

“Hey, Sirius. Are you okay?” Lily joined him on the stairs. Her green eyes worried, she was worried about him, because she was his friend. How about that, huh, Remus?

“Yeah, could have been worse.”

“Did you find Remus?”

“He just left and he’s not happy with me.”

“Getting in fights is pretty stupid.”

“He thinks I’m trying to defend him.”

“Aren’t you?”

“Yes, but he doesn’t like it, thinks I do it because I feel sorry for him or something.” Sirius gently touched his lip and flinched. “Why were you even there, with James?”

“Hey.” Lily smiled, carefully nudged Sirius with an elbow. “Make love not war, Sirius.”

“Hah, right, try telling that to Remus.”

“Do it yourself. But maybe do some explaining beforehand.”

“I just don’t get it. What am I doing wrong?”

“I can’t answer that, but I think you two got some issues that needs to be resolved… James knows, he asked me about it, he was worried about you feeling pressured to get along because of him.”

Sirius shook his head.

“We really should work this out, for James’ sake if nothing else.”

“Sirius, dear, you should work it out for your own sake. And try to be patient.”

“Yeah, thank you, Lils.”

 

When he got home and looked at himself in a mirror he wondered if it had really been a good idea to get in a fight with someone like Rosier, who had a couple inches and a good few pounds on him. But he had been so angry, he was still angry, just thinking about it.

How could anyone say something like that to another person? What kind of fucked-up thing wasn’t that to do?

He leaned his forehead on the mirror glass, tried to breathe calmly. Of course Remus had stayed calm, he who had the most reason not to. That had added to his anger. That had been his reason. He needed to do it because no one else would, Remus would have let it slide, would have backed away. It wasn’t fair, and Remus deserved better.

Deserved better… Sirius raised his head and looked at himself again.

“He probably deserves better than you, too, Sirius.” It was possible, but he refused to believe it, that would mean giving up. He didn’t want that. He wanted… he wanted Remus to let him care. Wanted him to trust him, to feel safe with him, and not be so damn defensive.

His phone started buzzing, the screen showing The Jamiest.

“Yeah?”

“Are you home?” James asked.

“Yes.”

“Good, now tell me what the fuck that was about?”

“The fight?”

“Yes of course the fight! I’d ask Remus but I don’t think he wants to talk to me.”

“Well, that guy-

“Rosier.”

“Yeah, okay, Rosier, decided to be a bloody twat and I decided to punch the stupid out of him.”

“… what did he say?”

“Nothing nice.”

“To you or to Remus?”

“Remus.”

“Was it bad?”

“Yes.”

“I freaking hate that guy!”

“Yeah, me too, massive asshole.”

“Do you think Remus is okay?”

“I think you can answer that better than me, James.”

“Right, I’m out with Cookie, but he gave me the don’t-you-dare-talk-to-me look.”

“Then I think it’s best to leave him alone.”

“Yeah… and thank you, Sirius. Had I been there a bit earlier I would probably have done the same.”

“Yeah, I think you would have.”

“You sure you’re okay?”

“Yes, yes, I’m fine. I’ll try talking to Remus tomorrow.”

“That’d probably be good, but don’t get in any more fights, not without me.”

“I promise.”

“Good, bye, dude.”

“Bye.”

Sirius put his phone down and dropped onto his bed. His entire head was aching, and his hands, and his left shoulder, and his ribs. He’d have a nice collection of bruises by tomorrow, so he had that to look forward to. And a conversation with Remus, that could go many different ways.

What could he say? What should he say? Should he say anything at all? Was he the right person for this?

He had to try, or he would never know. And he needed to know.

Chapter Text

The next day was perfect. Weather wise, at least. It was a warm and sunny autumn day, the last leaves on the trees colored gold. It was the kind of weather that improved ones mood very quickly. Or so Sirius thought as he walked across a lawn towards the library. It was early afternoon, the sun already low, and it was beautiful.

Sirius was on a quest to find the elusive Remus; the library seemed a fine place to start since he had not come across him earlier in the day. He was humming as he walked, the sun seeming to dull even the pain of his bruises. He was almost sad to go inside, but he had a mission, and it was important.

Remus was not at their usual table, but he was on the second level, close to where Sirius used to sit, and he was reading. This was all normal. But he was also wearing a dark green button-up with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. It was a good look, although surprising.

Sirius pulled a hand through his hair before approaching.

“Hey, Moonshine.”

Remus looked up from his book and, gods be praised, smiled faintly. Sirius knew they hadn’t parted in a good mood yesterday, but he had hoped it was more because of the events than any personal enmity.

“I need to talk to you”, Remus said, and Sirius was stumped. That had been his line. “Hold on a sec.” Remus returned to his book, seemed to read a few lines, moved his bookmark and closed it. Then he put it in his bag and stood up. “Let’s get out of here.”

Sirius followed him out of the library, back out into the lovely sunlight. They walked out on the lawn, away from the building, until they reached a spot Remus deemed good enough. He promptly sat down, cross-legged, and looked at Sirius.

“Alright.” Sirius joined Remus on the grass. “Should have brought tea and biscuits, had a picnic.”

“That would actually have been nice, but never mind. Talking.”

“Talking.”

“I’ve been doing some thinking.”

“Wasn’t it supposed to be talking?”

“Shut up, Sirius.”

“That’s like the opposite of talking!”

“Please, don’t”, Remus implored. Sirius held up a finger over his lips and nodded. “Thank you. Now, this thinking has led me to conclude that I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be around you if we continue like we’ve done before. I can’t go on being angry, it’s messing me up.

I’d like for us to change that, if we can.”

“If we can?”

“Yeah, there’s… things that need to be cleared up first, I think.” Remus looked at him, looked him straight in the eyes and suddenly Sirius was afraid. “You are horribly annoying, do you know that? You get on my nerves, all the time. It’s like you’re so… fake, like you’re not real, I can’t stand it. And I’m sorry, because it’s not really your fault, but I strike out at you nonetheless.”

Sirius swallowed, nodded slowly.

“I… I treat you horribly, as if trying to get you to react to it, but you never do, you stay around, no matter what I say, it’s like nothing touches you, because there’s no truth in the word, mine or yours. But everything is so dull, without edges. Just like all my feelings are dulled down, and anger and pain shine through.” Remus looked down, picked at the grass.

“This would be so much easier if I could hate you, or just dislike you”, he said. “Now I just hate myself for what I’m doing to you. The way I’m using you, like a knife of a different kind to my skin. Because being with you hurts, and pain is better than nothing, and it worked, for a little while.

But I can’t continue. I can’t do this to you, you deserve much better. I’m sorry, for projecting my frustration with myself on you.”

Sirius felt like he couldn’t breathe. Like he was being crushed. It was like hearing his own thoughts reflected back at him through a different lens. And he understood. He understood all too well.

“You should be kinder to yourself”, Sirius said. “Because you’re right. It was a game to me. Everything is. I’m sorry about that, I’m not sure how to stop it.”

“I just don’t understand. Why are you insisting on us being friends? It makes no sense.”

“Sense? Not everything has to make sense. I want to be your friend, I think you’re pretty great, and I sure love James like a brother already, so I guess we’d spend time together anyway, and then it can’t hurt to do it on good terms.”

“But it hasn’t been on good terms”, Remus said.

“No… it hasn’t. But I admit I saw it as a bit of an uh… challenge.”

“Challenge?”

“Yeah, at the beginning.” Sirius saw Remus’ eyes narrow. “Uhm, because you didn’t like me, and I wanted to make you like me, I guess. A challenge.”

“Is that why you insisted on the studying? The obscure references? Was that a part you trying to make me like you?”

Sirius nodded, hanging his head.

“It wasn’t working, though”, he said

“Of course it wasn’t working! You can’t make someone like you, by what, trying to adapt to them? To carter to their interests? By lying?” So Remus was a bit upset, Sirius could understand that.

“Well, yes, it usually work you know.”

“See, this is just what I was talking about, you’re trying to be someone else!”

“Yes, because it’s far easier than being myself! Everything is easier when people like you, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons. I’m sorry if that annoys you so goddamn much.”

“You know why it annoys me? Because you don’t need it. For fuck sake, people would like you anyway, Sirius.”

“No they won’t.” Sirius wanted to get up, to pace, it was frustrating sitting down, perhaps that explained why Remus was still tearing up grass. “But what a silly thing to get annoyed over. You want me to be myself? Is that it?”

“It started out like that at least. Then it was a lot of other things too.”

“Like what?”

“Like that it was easier to fight you, once started, than to not. Like your arrogance, fake or not. The way you act as if you’re better than everyone. Or the way I’m some sort of fucking challenge to you, a joke. But I think that’s how most people feel around you. Like we’re so inferior, like we’re amusement. And then you act all protective, looking at me like I’ll freaking break. I hate it when people do that, and trust me, I’ve had enough of it, James has been doing it for the last 9 years.”

“I’m sorry, Remus”, Sirius said. “I really am, and I know an apology can’t really do anything. And I could try to give excuses for my behaviour, but… I don’t think they matter. Truth is; I want you to be my friend. So I did it the way I always have, I understand that might have been a mistake. But I really don’t know any other way…”

“Maybe you should just stop trying.”

“I thought, that if I did you’d go away.”

Remus sighed, a heavy sigh, and then he smiled.

“Really, Sirius? It might seem unlikely, but I already like you. It took me a long while to figure out why, but I do.” Remus looked up at Sirius, who found himself to be holding his breath. “Because even if I don’t agree with you on many things, you’re a great person. You’re vivid, and loud, and so there. I guess I wanted a share in that…”

Sirius was conflicted. He wanted to scream at Remus, but he also kind of wanted to hug him. For someone who had refused to talk about anything personal, he was surprisingly honest, and there was an awful sadness in his eyes.

“Maybe we should start over? Clear all things up and just… star over.”

“Maybe we should”, Remus said, as he finally took his eyes from Sirius.

“We don’t even know each other, do we?”

“No, I don’t think we do.”

“And I’ll try to do better, if you stop worrying about me worrying about you.” Remus nodded. “Excellent!” Sirius leaned forward and extended his hand to Remus.

“Hi, I’m Sirius Black. I like motorcycles and dogs.”

Remus stared at him, then he laughed and took Sirius’ hand.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Remus Lupin. I like tea and stars- and shut up, I know, shhhh.”

  


 

 

Remus discovered that once he allowed himself to enjoy Sirius’ company it was very easy to do so. It was also easier to not be annoyed at him than he had thought it would be, and he realized that half of that annoyance had come from his prejudice in the first place. After he had decided not to like Sirius it was easy to find faults in him and his behaviour, but once he went against that, the faults disappeared.

It made him feel yet more ashamed.

An element of awkwardness had also been added with their newfound insight. It was apparent that now that they thought about their actions it impeded the ease of their acquaintance. Remus didn’t think this was a bad thing, and he was convinced it would get easier again with time.

That Wednesday afternoon when Mary and Julie came to the library to study with Remus they found him playing connect four with Sirius, on Sirius’ arm. Remus was winning, he had won the previous three times as well, and they were running out of space.

“What are you doing?” Mary asked as she sat down. Remus turned to look at her.

“Connect four”, he said. Mary glanced at Julie who shrugged.

“I can see that, but wh-“

“Hah, I won!” Sirius exclaimed. Remus turned back to him.

“What, no… you cheated.”

“Did not.”

“You totally did, when I was looking away.”

“Keep your head in the game, Wolf Boy! Or face defeat!”

“You’re just a sore loser, but fine, have your deceitful victory, if that’s what you want.” Remus threw his pen at a grinning Sirius. “What are we doing today?” he asked, turning back to Mary and Julie.

“I’d like to go through yesterday’s lecture”, Julie said. Remus looked at her and remembered what Mary had said. Had she been flirting with him? How could he not have noticed? It’s not like he had been looking for that kind of thing, especially not in Julie, but he felt he should have noticed.

“Right, that sounds good”, he said.

“Are you joining us today, Black?” Mary asked.

“I doubt it’d do me any good”, Sirius answered. “But I have nothing better to do so I’ll just hang around.” He and Mary were looking at each other with something Remus couldn’t interpret.

“Okay.” Mary gave Remus a curious look then turned to her notes.

Remus was pretty sure this was about the change of atmosphere, he could notice it, and so he guessed others could too. If Mary wanted to ask he was sure she would, eventually, until then he wouldn’t bring it up.

As the three of them got to their studying Sirius seemed to be drawing, he was also humming very quietly. It was a very Sirius thing, he was always humming, unless there were no people around, then he sang.

He serenaded both James and Cookie regularly, mostly Cookie. No one complained, he had a pleasant voice.

Two hours later they felt done.

“I really need some coffee right now”, Mary said, slumping forward over the table.

“I agree”, Julie said.

“Let’s go then”, Sirius said. Remus nodded and yawned.

“Yes, before I fall asleep.” He stood up and the world turned black for a few moments.

“You okay?” Sirius asked.

“Yeah, gimme a sec.” The world came back and he sighed. “I hate it when that happens.”

 

The University was pretty well located and the closest café was very close, it was to there they went. It was surprisingly quiet and perfectly warm and cosy.

They sat by the windows, Remus and Sirius on one side of the table and Mary and Julie opposite them. Sirius eyed Remus’ tea disapprovingly.

“Do you never tire of that stuff? Never wish to sink deeper into caffeine addiction?”

“You don’t get tired of tea, it’s tea. And it comes in many different kinds, while coffee is always coffee.”

“That’s just not true”, Mary said. “There’s variation on coffee too.”

“Then how come all three of you are drinking the same?”

“It’s because we have needs, Remus, needs that can only be fulfilled by coffee black as sin”, Sirius stated.

“You put sugar in yours”, Remus said. Sirius shrugged.

“I said black not bitter.”

“Why are you complaining about tea anyway, I’ve seen you drink tea quite a lot?” Remus asked.

“I’m not complaining, but I also drink coffee, while I’ve barely seen you drink anything that isn’t tea.”

It was Remus turn to shrug.

“I told you, I like tea.”

“And staaaaaaaars.”

“Yeah, my favourite thing about them is how they never complain about my tea-drinking.”

“Aren’t you speaking at the Eclipse-party?” Julie suddenly asked. Remus nodded.

“What Eclipse-party?” Sirius asked.

“There’s a lunar eclipse happening next Thursday, so the astronomy people are throwing a party, although it’s going to be more of a seminar, with a lot of speakers and geeking over stars and stuff.” Julie sipper her coffee. “But it’s held at night, and by university student, so it’s probably going to end in a party anyway, a Star Party.”

Sirius turned to Remus, looking very grave.

“A start party, a Star Party, and I was not informed.”

“You’re informed now”, Remus said.

“I am offended. You are going to a star party to talk about stars, and I, your brightest star, was neglected. It’s a most grave offence; I doubt I’ll ever be able to look past this.”

Remus sighed, but he smiled.

“Sirius, there’s a Star Party next Friday, and since you are truly a star, a system of many stars even, you should totally go.”

“Thank you, Remus, I’d love to.” Sirius grinned at him then looked over at Julie. “Are you also part of the astronomy people?”

“No.” Remus though she looked a bit bothered as she looked down and bit her lip. “I was, for a little while, but it wasn’t my thing, and not all of us” she looked at Remus “has time to take extra classes just for fun.” Sirius regarded her with his head tilted a bit to the side.

“I see, I didn’t even know we had astronomy here”, he said.

“It’s just given as a side thing, and has turned into somewhat of a club instead of a class”, Remus said. “Our teacher is very invested, though.”

“And not just a little crazy”, Julie said.

“She’s lovely, really, a bit eccentric, but who isn’t.”

“To be honest, I don’t see how you get along with her so well”, Mary said. “But I also see it very well, you know. But she says so many weird things; I don’t know how you stand it.”

“Oh, it’s not that bad, she knows a lot, and she is very into astrology too, and it’s really interesting.”

“I didn’t take you for the kind that would buy into astrology”, Sirius said.

“I’m not very invested in it, but parts are fascinating, and it’s nice to think about sometimes, to give a touch of magic to life.”

“We could all use a little magic, that’s true.”

Chapter Text

Considering how well they had been doing Remus thought it rather strange that Sirius didn’t show up for their study time that Friday. It was the first time since they’d started that this happened and Remus hadn’t even seen Sirius all day, this was very unusual.

To Sirius: You shine with your absence

 

To Sirius: Are you okay?

Nothing. He considered asking James, but James was visiting his parents… but he could still know right?

To James: Have you heard from Sirius today?

From James: No???

From James: Should I have?

From James: He’s not answering my calls, or texts.

To James: Maybe he’s just busy.

From James: He was being weird yesterday too.

To James: I could go check if he’s home?

From James: Yes, do that, tell me what you find.

To James: Will do, say hi to your parents from me.

From James: They said u better come along next time.

To James: No, you’ll be bringing Lily next time.

From James: Har har, you jealous of our almost dating yet?

To James: Not even a little bit, now be a good son and put your phone away.

From James: Yeah yeah, go find my Sirius!

Remus put his phone down, packed down his things and headed out. He told himself it was probably nothing.

Then why are you worried? Remus Lupin, you hypocrite.

Sirius lived on the second floor, furthest away in the corridor. Remus knocked. He heard nothing, no footsteps approaching, nothing. He could turn and go home. He could- he knocked again.

Then his phone buzzed.

From Sirius: It’s open

Remus felt even weirder as he opened the door and stepped in. He was unsure of what he was doing here. Why he was here.

He found Sirius laying on his bed, staring at the ceiling. Remus stopped in the doorway and watched him. Sirius didn’t acknowledge his presence.

Are you okay? What happened? What can I do to help you?

“How long have you been doing that?”

Sirius shrugged, as good as he could.

“What time is it?”

“Just past six.”

“Around 11 hours then.”

“Have you eaten anything?”

“No.”

“Are you planning on getting up soon?”

“No.” Sirius voice was flat and he hadn’t moved.

“Go take a shower”, Remus said. “A really warm one.” He shrugged of his jacket and put it on his bag. Then he walked into the kitchen. Sirius didn’t move. “Please?” he added. He heard a reluctant sigh and movement. Pleased with that he started looking through cupboards. He felt like he was imposing on Sirius’ privacy, his home, but he also felt someone had to do it, and here he was.

He heard the shower start and he found bacon and eggs.

“Never too late for breakfast anyway, right…” He set to it, and he also found and made tea, tea was important at times like this.

He didn’t hear the shower turn off so he jumped when he turned around and Sirius was leaning against the doorframe. His hair was dripping water onto his white t-shirt.

Remus put a plate down on the table, along with two cups of tea.

“Eat”, he said. Sirius tilted his head to the side, grey eyes gleaming. Then he stepped into the kitchen and sat down. Remus slowly released a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.

He felt weird watching Sirius when he was so quiet, so drained, with such a miserable look on his face, so he looked at everything else instead. There were pictures on the fridge; drawings. He had seen Sirius draw many times, but he had never actually seen what came out of it. These were of animals, dogs and cats and birds and a wolf. They were very beautiful.

“Are you going to just stir it or are you going to drink it too?”

Remus was snapped back to reality. He had been stirring his tea since he’d sat down, but forgotten about it otherwise. He took a sip; it was below the good temperature.

Sirius was holding his cup in both hands, plate empty. He was still looking at Remus with a far too intense gaze.

“I am impressed by your tea-collection”, Remus said.

“One for every mood”, Sirius said. “And you chose Earl Grey… to fulfil the breakfast theme, I guess.” No, because he always had Earl Grey when he was upset, it was comforting. He nodded, however.

“I was not as impressed by your food assets.”

“Hm, no I was supposed to do grocery shopping yesterday.” Sirius smiled very faintly, just a twitch at the corner of his mouth. “But thank you.”

Remus didn’t know what to say, so he just nodded again, and sipped on his far too cold tea. It was far from perfect and he must have shown his displeasure.

“Something wrong with you precious tea? Stirred the flavour out of it?” At least he was still making jokes; Remus took it as a good sign.

“Too cold, Earl Grey is supposed to be drunk close to scalding.” Sirius rolled his eyes at this, which was also a good sign. Then he got up and plucked the cup from Remus’ hands.

“Let’s just make another round then”, he said. And he did, then he took the cups with him and walked out of the kitchen, Remus supposed he was meant to follow, so he did. His cup was given back to him when he sat down next to Sirius on the couch. They sat in silence. Sirius drew his legs up under him, knee slightly touching Remus thigh.

Remus waited. He drank his now perfect tea and waited. He wasn’t sure if Sirius would talk, or what he would do, but there was something hanging in the air.

“My cousin is getting married in a week”, Sirius finally said, he was cradling his cup again, eyes downcast, voice low and raw with emotion. “My mother called me yesterday… I don’t even know how she got my number. But I was invited.” A long pause. “Apparently my brother has gone and done something stupid and rebellious, something that made me look good I comparison, so it must have been quite a thing. I think mother panicked, losing one son when you had two wasn’t bad, but losing both… No, she can’t accept that. What a shame for her if she were the end of her line, oh what a shame…” Sirius laughed, a dry laugh, devoid of any real amusement.

“She made me an offer, told me this could be my chance, I could get back in if I behaved and came to Narcissa’s wedding, I could redeem myself. ‘You were always smarter than Regulus, Sirius, I know you can make the right choice. We will forgive you, Sirius.’” Sirius sneered, a vicious sound, his voice had gone ice cold. “Did she really expect that to work? What, she thought I would come grovelling back, kiss their boots and beg for forgiveness? As if I had anything to apologize for! She can go fuck herself, her and the rest of them… which was also what I replied. She didn’t take it well.”

Remus didn’t know much about the Black family. Actually, he knew nothing, only that Sirius didn’t talk about them. So he was a bit confused. But he understood some bits; mainly that there were some Issues, with a capital I, and bad feelings involved.

Sirius was angry, that was clear, but there was something else behind that anger. Sadness, so heavy Remus feared it. It was the kind of sadness that took root deep within and lived there, steady as stone, unrelenting. Remus understood that kind of sadness all too well.

“I guess it will be a race between me and Regulus about who they end up hating the least. And I am sorry, little brother, but I intend to lose. They’ll never have me back. Never.” Sirius leaned back and sighed. “It’s getting a bit old having her scream about what a disgrace I am, though. Why can’t they just leave me alone, they don’t want me anyway…”

Remus had a sudden urge to pat Sirius head. He resisted. He did understand some things now; he understood the need for the façade, for one.

“What are you going to do?”

“Nothing. Hope they’ll give up. I just… try to not let it get to me, but it does.”

“Of course it does, that you know not to listen is good enough.”

“Hah, yeah.” Sirius looked at Remus and smiled. “I’m sorry you had to listen to this, but thank you for doing so.”

“No problem, I’ll listen to whatever you want me to, although I can’t do much more.”

“That’s more than enough.” Sirius shook his head. “A crash course in Sirius’ Fucked-Up Family.

“I don’t know much, but… they seem like horrible people and you deserve much better.”

Sirius turned away, drew himself up tighter. Remus wondered if he’d overstepped.

“Thank you”, Sirius whispered, with such emotion it ached in Remus’ heart. He didn’t know what Sirius’ family had done, but he was angry t them anyway.

There was nothing else for him to say, so he didn’t speak and they sat, in comfortable silence, for a long time.

“Hey, Remus?”

“Mm.”

“Are you hungry?”

“Sort of.”

“Pizza?”

“Pizza.”

About three hours later Remus was on Sirius’ couch, trying very hard not to fall asleep.

“Reeeeeemus.”

“Sirius.”

“Why does Jamie call you Moony?”

“Oh… Well I was already interested in stars and stuff when I met him. And then the dog-attack happened on a full moon, and twelve year old James was very sure it was a werewolf, so he named me accordingly.”

“Was it a werewolf?”

“I am pretty sure it was just a dog.”

“Werewolf would be cool, though.”

“I’m not so sure about that.”

“Hm, bore, what about Prongs?”

Remus laughed and Sirius, laying face down on his bed, rolled over and looked at him.

“I’m not sure he wants me to tell you”, Remus said. Sirius grinned.

“Oh, but now you have to.”

“Yeah, he deserves it. So, when we were fifteen, there was this school dance thingy, and it was unsupervised for some reason and there was alcohol involved. Rather a lot of it for some and little James, tasting freedom for the first time in his life, got utterly wasted. He then found two forks that he held to his head and ran around with, declaring himself a deer to everyone and asking them to touch his ‘prongs’.”

“Oh. My. God.”

“Needless to say, he never heard the end of that. But we say it with love now.”

“I am not really surprised, that’s brilliant. Bloody Prongs.”

“Mm.” Remus closed his eyes. Just to rest, not to sleep. Just for a little while.

I need to leave, was his last thought before he fell asleep.

 

It was also his second thought upon waking. The first was: Where the hell am I?

He sat up, blinking. I really need to leave. He must have said it out loud because there was a mumbling from Sirius. Remus rubbed his eyes and yawned.

Sirius attempted to roll around, got stuck in a blanket and feebly wrestled it a bit before giving up. He lifted his head and squinted at Remus from under a tangled mess of black hair.

“What time is it even?” he asked, or tried to ask, it was mostly mumbles. Remus checked.

“Nine”, he said. “I gotta go.”

“You said… uhh, why?”

“I need to get home and take my meds.”

“Oh, right. Good luck.”

On his way out Remus saw that he had two missed calls and sixteen texts from James and he remember that he had forgotten him.

To James: Sorry. I fell asleep.

When he was almost home he got an answer.

From James: U SCARED ME

From James: what about Sirius?

To James: He’s okay. It was some family thing. He’s better.

From James: Good. Tell him I’ll beat up anyone that needs beating up.

To James: I already left, tell him yourself.

To James: Actually no, what have we said about fighting?

From James: You’re no fun, Moony.

 


 

 

Considering how he was dead tired it was strange that he couldn’t fall back asleep. Instead he was staring at the empty pizza boxes decorating his table.

Sirius was unsure of why yesterday had been like yesterday had been. It should have been weird, but it had been nice. It had been far too nice.

He pulled a blanket over his head and decided to never leave, he was unsure if the blankets would even let him.

How was he supposed to face Remus now? What could possibly be said to convey what he needed to tell him? He wasn’t even sure of what it was. But he was sure it was something.

He wanted to talk to James. But that would have to wait until James got back home. Until then he was stuck in this, whatever this was. Confusion.

Narcissa was getting married.

Did he care? Did it matter? If it hadn’t been for Regulus’ recent rebellion he’d probably not even been informed. And besides he was going to a Star Party with Remus. Or well Remus would also be at the Star Party he was going to.

Maybe James and Lily too?

Oh, who was he kidding? It’d be nice if they’d be there, but it hardly mattered, did it? And that was part of the problem because it should matter.

To The Jamiest: When are you getting back?

From The Jamiest: Sunday. Why?

To The Jamiest: could you come over? I need to talk about a thing.

From The Jamiest: Sure, anything for you, love.

To The Jamiest: thnx babe

Sirius dropped his phone on the bed next to him.

There were a lot of things he didn’t understand. A lot of things he didn’t know. But one thing was becoming more and more apparent.

He had a thing for Remus Lupin.

Something needed to be done about this.

Chapter Text

From Moonshine: u okay?

To Moonshine: Yeah, I think.

To Moonshine: Thank you.

To Moonshine: Again.

From Moonshine: Yeah, if you ever need me to make you afternoon breakfast again, you know where to find me.

To Moonshine:

To Moonshine: That is a dangerous thing to say, Remus.

From Moonshine: Maybe I trust you to not use this power for evil?

To Moonshine: Bad decision, very bad.

To Moonshine: You should be careful with what you promise.

From Moonshine: That’s probably true.

To Moonshine: I’ll make you a promise in return.

From Moonshine: I’m not sure I even want you to.

To Moonshine: Sure u do.

To Moonshine: Now what can I do for you, my dear?

From Moonshine: ???

To Moonshine: How can u waste an opportunity like this one!

To Moonshine: I don’t offer promises like this to just anyone.

To Moonshine: Seize the moment, Remus!

From Moonshine: Wow, I feel so special.

To Moonshine: Sarcasm doesn’t go over well in texts. Try again.

From Moonshine: You didn’t get a choice, so I shouldn’t have one either, really.

To Moonshine: Fiiiiiiine, but remember I gave you the chance.

To Moonshine:  I, Sirius Black, solemnly swear to provide Remus Lupin with scalding hot Earl Grey if he should ever find himself incapable of doing so on his own.

From Moonshine: Define ‘Incapable’.

To Moonshine: Physically or emotionally unable.

From Moonshine: Fair enough. You have yourself a deal.

To Moonshine: Well isn’t that just marvellous.

From Moonshine: Go to sleep and stop bothering me now?

To Moonshine: It’s not even 10?? It feels like I just got up.

From Moonshine: Good for you, but I would like some sleep, in an actual bed.

To Moonshine: Awe, you could have joined me <3

To Moonshine: But be warned, I like to cuddle.

From Moonshine: Right, I’ll keep that in mind next time.

To Moonshine: Oh? There’s a next time, is there? ;)

From Moonshine: Yeah, I’ll bring you Cookie, she likes to cuddle too.

To Moonshine: You can’t fool me. Everyone likes to cuddle.

To Moonshine: You too, Remus.

To Moonshine: Nothing can convince me otherwise.

To Moonshine: I’ll prove it.

To Moonshine: hey, Mooooooooooonshine

To Moonshine: You fell asleep didn’t you?

To Moonshine: Bad form.

To Moonshine: Good night, then.

 

Sirius was screwed. The more he thought about it the worse it got. And he didn’t like it. It complicated things. He wasn’t sure he wanted to complicate things. The best thing would be to leave it alone, that way he couldn’t possibly screw something up.

He was pacing around his apartment, so bored he actually considered going to bed just to have something to do.

He’d consult James tomorrow. James would help him. Yeah, he could see that go over perfectly. Hey, James, I think I fancy your best mate, that’s cool right?

It occurred to him that he had no idea how James would react to that. A part of him was sure it would be cool, but he didn’t know. For all he knew it could ruin everything. He couldn’t afford to ruin everything. So he needed a plan. A good way to build it up. Test the grounds a bit. Maybe leave Remus out of it altogether for a while? Yeah, that was a good plan.

 

It was Sunday. James would come home in a few hours. Sirius went for a run. That was proof enough of his state of mind. Sitting still made him jittery, so running it was. The goal of the run was to calm down, this was somewhat ruined when he ran into Remus.

Remus was walking Cookie. This was strange, since Sirius was sure Cookie had gone with James.

“What are you doing with Cookie?”

“Nothing illegal.”

“What? I mean, isn’t she with Jamie?”

Remus looked down at the dog, then back up at Sirius.

“Is that a rhetorical question?”

“Is James already home then?” Sirius hunched down to pet Cookie. She licked his face.

“Yeah, he came an hour ago or something.”

“Awe, and he didn’t tell me. That’s not nice, is it, Cookiecrumb?” She responded by giving him another lick, he chose to take it as agreement.

“He kind of went straight to the gym, which is why I am here with Cookie.”

“Silly James, going to the gym this early.”

“Says the one out running.”

“That’s different”, Sirius said and stood back up. Remus smiled at him. Sirius cursed his sweaty and unfashionable person. He’d even put his hair up, this wasn’t according to plan. “Where are you going?”

“Oh, we’re heading back.”

“Right, tell James I’m disappointed in him when he gets home.”

“Sure, he needs to hear it from someone else than me, anyway.”

“Good on you, Moonshine.” Sirius saw Remus frown and grinned at him.

“Have fun running, Sirius.”

“Take care of him, Cookie.” Sirius gave Cookie’s head a final pat before they parted ways.

When he came back home he took a cold shower and contemplated his horrible life-choices.

 

James showed up just after lunch, by that time Sirius was on his floor, drawing.

“Did you miss me?” was the first thing James said. Sirius nodded.

“It was agony, ever second seemed an eternity long. I had just lost hope, but here you are again.”

“Here I am! As requested.” James threw himself down on the couch. “So what’s up?”

Sirius sat up and smiled at James, James smiled back. That was the nice thing about James; he didn’t question everything Sirius did, unlike certain other people.

“Actually, I’m going to cash in on a favour.”

“A favour? Well, whatever you want, it’s yours!”

“Yeah, about that, but no.” Suddenly he was nervous again. He didn’t know how to say any of what he wanted to say. But James was giving him an encouraging smile. He had great smiles, that James, almost as good as- Dammit Sirius, focus!

“It has been stated to me that honesty is very important in a friendship, and you are my friend, so… Like, I know we don’t really know each other that well, but I don’t want to…”

“Sirius, we know each other frighteningly well, I’d be freaked out if it wasn’t so awesome.”

“That’s true.”

“Whatever it is, it’s fine. You can honestly tell me anything, and I’ll only judge you in a friendly way.”

“Oh, uhm- well, you know I tried to help you with Lily?”

“Yepp, and it worked, thank you for that, by the way, again.”

“Well, I’m glad your problem is sorted out because then we can focus on mine.”

“Oh?” Now James sat up, as if I felt a need to concentrate on what was said. Sirius bit his lip and pointedly stared down on his half-finished drawing. I was of Cookie.

“So… while Lily is a lovely girl and girls are lovely and all, I’m not precisely adverse to other options.” He glanced up at James who nodded for him to go on. “Uhh, but it’s often a bit trickier when you…”

“Sirius, if you want to ask for Remus’ hand you should probably talk to Lyall instead, I don’t really have the authority.”

“What?” Sirius flinched and stared at James. James nodded calmly.

“Lyall, his father.”

“I- no, what, eh. Wait.” Sirius held up his hand. “First of all; Lyall? What the hell? Is that also some weird naming tradition? They figured since they had Lupin already they’d just get the others to match? I mean stars are fucking stupid, but they’re going to run out of wolf words pretty soon. Or do they just re-use them? Is he actually like Remus the twelfth?”

“No I don’t think so… I’m not sure actually.” James laughed and leaned back in the couch. “You should have seen yourself, you practically jumped of the floor, shit, I should have filmed it for Lily.”

“Shut up, explain yourself.” Sirius crossed his arms and tried to glare at James, this seemed to only make him laugh more. “James, you’re not being nice. I’ll throw you out!”

“I’m sorry”, James said, in-between laughs. “But you’re actually blushing and it’s frankly adorable.”

“Potter!”

“Right, fine, no yelling. But I’m not stupid, Sirius. You’re not as subtle as you might think.” James must have seen Sirius’ eyes go wide because he quickly added: “Oh don’t worry, he’s dense as a rock.”

“I didn’t mean to-”

“It’s fine. I mean I was a little confused when Lily suggested it, but it’s not like I mind.” James tilted his head to the side and grinned. “Although… I guess I have to tell you that Remus is my best friend, and if you hurt him I’ll come for you… and vice versa.”

“I think I need to have a conversation with that Lily.”

“We can invite her now; she’d love to see this.”

“Fuck you, Potter.”

“I changed my mind, I can’t allow that kind of language around my Moony, he’s very fragile and it’d be bad for his morale.”

“Yeah, because it’s not like he swears worse than both of us combined…” Sirius rolled his eyes, but smiled. “It’s not like there’s going to be anything to protect him from, anyway.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean we’re not- there’s not going to- We. I. No.”

“Why not?”

Sirius stared at James and wondered if he had actually been paying attention.

“You’re aware that he isn’t really fond of me, is he now?” Sirius said, slowly. James shrugged.

“Nah, he likes you well enough. You’ve stopped fighting and all.”

“Yeah, we’ve been friends for an entire week.”

“Hey, maybe you didn’t get off with the best start, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. You really think he’d care that much for someone he doesn’t like?”

Sirius considered this. Remus had been very nice to him. He had been beyond nice, wasn’t that a part of why he was in this situation to begin with?

“Maybe, but I…”

“You what?”

“I’m hardly his type, am I? He did literally tell me everything that was wrong with me.”

“Type… pfft, I didn’t think he was your type. There’s no way of knowing, is there? I don’t really think he has a type, not like that at least. He’s more a… personality person, and oh god that sounds so cheesy. But you get what I mean; he cares more for a person’s character and stuff.”

“James… He has never said an evil thing about my looks, and to be honest, how could he? But he has complained about my personality at great length, so thanks for that.”

“Awe, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that”, James said. “I’m trying to say that Remus Lupin doesn’t do crushes, like there has to be other feeling before those feelings, he tried to explain it to me once and I didn’t really get it.”

“Oh, that actually makes sense to me.”

“And look at me. I am dating Lily Evans, it took me seven years, but we’re dating. So there’s hope for everyone, just don’t give up.”

“I don’t think I have your fortitude, which is impressive, and also a bit sad.”

“Oh hush, I’m trying to be helpful here.”

“Yes, thank you, Jame. You’re the best.”

“I truly am. Now, do you have a plan?”

“Uhm, no?”

“I’m disappointed; you should always have a plan!”

“My plan was to make him not hate me; I haven’t had time to figure out the rest.” Sirius got up and forced James to make room for him on the couch. “I don’t think it’s something you’re supposed to plan out, anyway. It’s supposed to just… happen.” Sirius waved his hands around, James shook his head.

“But you need a plan in order for it to be possible to just happen.”

“I don’t really think so”, Sirius said. James reached over and patted his head.

“Do what you feel like, and I’ll try to stay out of it as much as possible.”

“I’d appreciate that.”

“And since I love you both, I promise to keep Lily away too.”

“You’re a true saint.”

 

He did a bad job at that, because it had not been more than an hour since James left before Lily burst through Sirius’ door.

“I knew it!”

“I’m not talking to you.”

“But, Sirius.”

“Don’t you ‘But Sirius’ me. What did James tell you anyway? Because I’m definitely never talking to him again.”

“He didn’t actually say anything other than: I owe you dinner.”

“Please tell me there wasn’t a bet?” Sirius looked at Lily, she was practically bouncing.

“There totally was”, she said. “There are many, not all concern you.”

“Not all?”

“Yeah, only like half.”

“You’re both the worst, you deserve each other. You’ll have to find a new babysitter for Spock.”

“That’s fine, I’ll ask Remus.”

“Good luck with that. Now how about you leave me alone and never bring up this subject again?”

“I can do the first, not the latter.”

“I don’t like you.”

“That’s okay, because you like Re-“

“Lily! I’m banning you from my home.”

He actually got up and half pushed, half carried her out the door. She only laughed and kissed his cheek before bouncing over to her own door.

“Good night, Sirius! Sweet dreams.”

 

To Moonshine: If I asked you to poison James’ food, would you?

From Moonshine: That really depends on the reason

From Moonshine: And the poison

To Moonshine: Does one really need a reason?

From Moonshine: If you’re going to poison my best friend, I’d appreciate a reason, yes.

To Moonshine: Can’t you just trust me?

From Moonshine: Sorry, but not really.

To Moonshine: Fine, not poison.

To Moonshine: But can we at least draw on his face while he’s sleeping?

From Moonshine: I asked him what he’s done and he laughed and gave me a hug.

From Moonshine: So maybe I should ask what you’ve done instead.

From Moonshine: Nope, that didn’t work.

From Moonshine: Hysterical giggling really isn’t that common in James.

From Moonshine: I’m a little worried.

From Moonshine: Should I be worried?

From Moonshine: Sirius?

From Moonshine: Why is everyone ignoring me?

To Moonshine: No sorry.

To Moonshine: I just had to google “Non-lethal but painful poison”

From Moonshine: Just keep me out of this feud.

To Moonshine: Trust me, I’m trying. But some people, not naming any names, seem to be unable to simply shut the fuck up.

To Moonshine: I’m never trusting anyone ever again.

From Moonshine: There there. It can’t be that bad.

To Moonshine:

From Moonshine: Is complaining making it better?

To Moonshine: Yes.

From Moonshine: You could always tell him you know about Prongs?

To Moonshine: That I could. You’re a genius.

From Moonshine: “How could you? I thought we were friends? I trusted you!”

To Moonshine: Touché.

From Moonshine: Awe, he’s giving me the hurt puppy look.

To Moonshine: He knows he deserves it. Betrayal for Betrayal, James!

From Moonshine: Drama Queen’s…

Chapter Text

“James asks if we want to go support his team tonight.”

“His team?”

“Yeah, football, kids.”

“They play on a Monday?”

“Yeah, sometimes. I’m more concerned about him trying to get me to go.”

“Why wouldn’t you go?”

“Because it’s boring?”

“Remus, you’re supposed to go anyway, to support your friend.”

“No, the two times he’s forced me has been cold and boring and they lost.”

“Too bad, because we’re totally going.”

Remus sighed and Sirius put a hand on his shoulder.

“See it from the positive side; you get to spend more time with me!”

“Football and Sirius Black, I must be blessed.”

Sirius put a hand to his heart and gasped.

“You truly must be! Been praying to any interesting deities lately?”

“I should prepare for Friday instead, actually”, Remus said.

“You have time for both”, Sirius said. “What are you even going to do? On Friday, I mean?”

“Stand in front of people, talk, the usual.”

“Do you do that kind of thing a lot? What subject?”

Remus shrugged.

“Often enough, it’s good practice. The subject is space; I thought you knew that by now.”

“For your future as Professor Lupin? I was kind of hoping for a more specific answer…”

“Yes. Well it’s on some theories about supernovas. You know supernovas, the thing that happen when stars get to full of themselves and end up ruining everything in their surroundings.”

“If that is a stab at me, I don’t appreciate it.” Sirius removed his hand and seemed determined to sulk.

“Sometimes they don’t though, and end up just dying or imploding or something, that’s not as cool. I prefer my supernovas flashy.”

“I recognize your attempt at flattery and choose to see it as acceptable”, Sirius declared, after some consideration.

“How gracious of you.” Remus stretched and yawned. “I’m too tired for this. I think I’ll head home.”

“I have another lecture”, Sirius said. “I’ll probably end up asleep though; she has the most soothing voice.”

“I am amazed at how you’ve gotten this far, considering you never pay attention… to anything.”

“I’m naturally gifted, can’t help it. And I pay attention to you, so those parts I don’t even have to wing.”

“It’s disgusting. But if you tried you’d probably prove better than me at, well, everything, so I guess it’s not all bad.”

“Oh, can’t take a little competition?”

“I’d rather my competition be a little more… engaged”, Remus said. Sirius scowled at him.

“I think you’re being horribly unfair, right now. I really can’t help that I’m so perfectly intelligent and good looking and charming in every way, believe me it’s a burden.”

“Oh, it truly must be, I pity you, poor soul.”

“Thank you. I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah, have fun with Mrs. Sleep.”

“Oh, I intend to.” Sirius winked at him and Remus rolled his eyes, but did so with a smile.

The weather was still surprisingly good, but cold, very cold. Cold enough to make Remus wish he had a pair of gloves as he hurried home. The weather must have numbed even his brain because he’d had a hard time making sense of anything the last days.

Sirius seemed to have recovered, although he seemed more tired than usual, as if he didn’t get enough sleep. And he’d been acting weird… weirder than usual. His laugh hadn’t been as easy, his smiled almost pained at times. Remus was worried, even though he kept telling himself not to be.

He had not yet decided what he thought about Sirius, but he knew he didn’t want him to suffer, or be miserable. Bringing it up would probably not yield any results.

It was also worrisome that he even wanted to know, because not long ago he’d wished Sirius would stop talking to him altogether. But he’d been wrong, he could admit to that. He had misjudged. Badly.

 

“That doesn’t look good.”

“What makes you say that?”

“James is screaming.”

“Well, that’s just part of his job.”

“And these twelve year old are fighting.”

“Yeah… only a little.”

“But they’re winning right?”

“Indeed they are!” Sirius beamed and Remus sighed.

“If I understood Prongs right, this is the last match of the season… thankfully.”

“It’s not that cold, Remus.”

“It is, though.” Remus turned to Sirius, he was wearing his leather jacket and a t-shirt… he hadn’t even bother to close the jacket. “It’s just you that’s abnormal.”

“I’m too hot.”

“What?”

“Too hot? As in too warm but regarding-”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. I was just unsure if you actually said that… but of course you did.”

“Oh, just sit there and be cool, then.”

“Please stop.”

“Make me.”

“I will be sure to get sick, and share my sickness with you, and we’ll both miss the Star Party.”

“You’re an evil man, Remus Lupin.”

“We do what we must to survive.”

“Indeed we- Oh god, that was a nice goal!”

 

The next day, true to his prediction, Remus felt sick. He walked out of his lecture with Mary, conceding to go home, but there was Sirius.

“Oh no”, was the first thing he said. “Moonshine, you look horrible.”

“Wow, thanks.”

“No, no, no, this is not good.” Sirius stepped up to him and put a hand to his forehead. Remus recoiled, but Sirius grabbed his shirt and pulled him back. “Not good at all.”

“Sirius, are you okay?” Mary asked, Remus though she looked about to burst out laughing. Sirius lowered his hand, it had been pleasantly cold, but kept his grip on Remus’ shirt.

“No, he can’t be sick. He needs to be not-sick for the star party!”

“Oh.” Now Mary actually laughed. “He has plenty of time to get better.”

He would get better faster if he could go home”, Remus said. Sirius let go of him, only to immediately seize his wrist.

“Indeed, we need to go”, he said. Remus wondered when it had become a we. Mary grinned at him as he looked back.

“Get better, Remus”, she said and blew a kiss.

“Sirius, you have lectures. And you’re really going to get sick too if you hang around me.”

“If you’re already sick, that hardly matter. Neither do lectures.”

“You’re priorities are a bit askew.”

“Remus, when my priority is you, I feel like you have no right to complain.”

“Well, if you’re going to drag me around, could you walk a little slower? Or even better, let me go?”

“Oh, sorry.” Sirius dropped Remus’ arm and settled for walking next to him. “You shouldn’t have left home to begin with.”

“I felt fine before. Don’t worry; your star-party is probably not in any danger.”

Sirius muttered something that sounded a lot like: we’ll see about that.

Wherever James was he’d taken Cookie with him for which Remus was grateful. He didn’t feel like being slobbered on. He just wanted to go to sleep. Sirius seemed determined that the quickest way for him to get better was blankets and tea. Not a very bad idea either, according to Remus.

So he found himself in a couch, very warm, with Sirius in the kitchen, making tea.

“What tea is best for this situation?” he asked.

“Lemon”, Remus said. “With sugar and not honey.”

“See, you have one for every mood too, don’t you?”

“I might have.”

“I tend to go for blackcurrant when sick… but lemon is also very good, probably better now that I think about it, actually.”

“Mnmn”, Remus said. There was a wonderful moment of almost silence. Then Sirius came out from the kitchen, handed Remus a steaming mug and sat down next to him. Now, there was two couches and a chair, so this wasn’t really necessary but Remus didn’t bother complaining.

He didn’t even complain when Sirius put his wrist on his forehead again, his skin was pleasantly cool.

“You definitely got a fever”, Sirius said. Remus nodded. As Sirius removed his hands his fingers brushed down Remus cheek, along the scars. Remus turned to glare at him.

“What?”

Sirius shrugged slightly, smiling.

“Sorry. Would it be inappropriate for me to say that I kind of like the scars?” he asked. Remus made a mental note to care about this later, right now his brain felt like mush.

“It’s not like I can stop you.”

“Sure you can.”

“While I appreciate that, I really don’t care. I learnt long ago that I can’t avoid being given attention for them.”

“That doesn’t mean you have to like it. But I think they’re pretty cool, really gives your character.”

“You really want to talk about the scars, don’t you?”

“Kind of, yes.”

“Right, what do you want to know?”

“Anything you’d be willing to share”, Sirius said, looking so earnest that Remus couldn’t help but laugh.

“Fine, I’ll just give you the entire story.” At this Sirius moved a little so he was almost facing Remus. “Uhm, well you know they’re from a dog, a big nasty dog, belonging to our neighbour. He didn’t get along with my father, like not at all, there was a pretty deep-rooted grudge going on there.”

“Oh no”, Sirius breathed.

“Yeah. You know dogs don’t attack twelve year olds for nothing, unless they’ve sort of been trained to do such a thing or something like that.”

“No.”

“Yes. So this dog was mostly chained in his yard, and when walking past it would practically choke itself trying to get at you. Except that one day it wasn’t chained.” Remus glanced at Sirius, who seemed stunned. “And while dogs have nasty teeth their claws aren’t really sharp, which, speaking from experience, kind of makes it worse. “ He reached up and touched the ridges on his face.

“That’s horrible”, Sirius said. “That’s absolutely disgusting, what kind of person would do that?”

“A very bitter one. I feel inclined to say evil, even.”

“I agree, it’s evil. What happened to him?”

“He disappeared. I was in the hospital at the time, so I only got the details afterwards, but by the time people got there, he was gone and the dog was left in the house, they had some trouble getting past it.”

 


 

Sirius felt like screaming, he was seething with rage. He hadn’t expected a happy story, but he’d never imagined it to be se horrible.

“Good thing was we moved as soon as I got out of hospital and then I met James. We lived on the same street, our parents still do”, Remus said. “And James is rather relentless, which was annoying but great, he made it easier.”

“James is great like that.” James was the kind of person who made you feel better just by being around; it was something in the ease with which he laughed, the way his eyes twinkled, the way he seemed to understand without saying so. Also his mischievous nature and cockiness made him, in Sirius’ opinion, perfect company.

“Mm”, Remus said, and he looked like he was about to fall asleep. Sirius picked the cup from his hand and put it on the table. “Thanks.”

“No problem, Moonshine. Do you want me to leave you alone now?” Remus nodded. “Alright, get better.” He couldn’t resist giving Remus’ head a gentle pat as he got up. He figured he should use this momentary weakness to his own advantage. Remus hair was perfectly soft. Sirius decided to leave and remove further temptation.

 

He met James on his way home.  He and Cookie had been visiting Lily.

“Sirius, love of my life! What are you doing here?”

“Oh James, my James. I’ve been at your place actually.”

“Hm, with Moony?”

“Yeah, he’s sick.”

“Poor Moony.”

“Mm, and he told me about the dog-attack.”

“Oh… that’s a nasty business.” James frowned. His eyes turning dark and grim.

“I have a hard time grasping it. It’ just so… evil, no one deserves that, certainly not Remus.”

“No, it kind of messed a lot of thing up. But he’s had almost ten years to deal with it, and I think he’s come to terms with it.” James looked down at Cookie. “At least he has nothing against Cookie.”

“How can anyone have anything against Cookie? She’s perfect.”

“Oh, watch it, you’ll make Remus jealous.”

“Shut up, James. I am honestly concerned about a lot of other things right now. And you promised to not be an ass about this!”

“I’m sorry, Sirius, but it’s almost too much fun.”

“Anyway, are you going to the star-thing on Friday?” Sirius asked.

“Yes, I’m going with Lily, and I’ve been promised a party, it’s going to be great.”

Sirius nodded. He wasn’t really sure why he was so excited about this star-party. But it sounded great, and Remus would be there, and it’d probably be really cold, but with stars and an eclipse. So, there were several reasons, actually.

“Hopefully, maybe it’ll rain and be all sorts of horrible.”

“Hardly, I feel lucky. I feel like it’s going to be perfect.” James grinned at him and Sirius had to smile back.

“Now, you should really get home and take care of your Moony.”

“I can go back to Lily if you want to-“

“No, I’ve been dismissed.”

“Kindly dismissed?” James asked.

“Yes.”

“I’ll talk to you later then.”

“Yeah, bye, love.”

“Bye.” James blew him a kiss as he walked away.

Sirius set to humming as he continued home. He weighed what Remus had told him, and what he’d learnt before, against his own life. The verdict was that they’d both been fucked over, although very differently. As different as their responses to it had been.

But maybe it hadn’t been so different after all, only directed differently. Sirius looked at Remus and saw someone who guarded his pain, who kept it inside, who turned inwards, and Sirius… well he had gone outwards. He was loud, Remus was quiet. In contrast Remus’ scars were visible while Sirius’ wasn’t.

“Aren’t we quite a pair”, he muttered.

 

Remus didn’t show up the next day, but Mary and Julie still came to the library to study and Sirius decided to join them. They eyed him wearily, but didn’t question his presence.

“How’s Remus?” Mary asked. Sirius shrugged.

“Donno, haven’t talked to him today.”

“Hm, isn’t that unusual?”

“No?” Sirius looked up at Mary, who had a little smirk going on. “What?”

“Oh, you just seemed so concerned yesterday; I’d have guessed that’d keep up.”

“I’m still concerned, bothering him doesn’t help.”

“You’re adorable, Black.”

“What?”

“A-d-o-r-a-b-l-e.”

“Of course I am, still, what?” Sirius glared at her but Mary just smiled.

“I’m even a bit envious. But don’t tell Remus that.”

“Why does this keep happening to me?”

Chapter Text

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?”

“What?”

“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…”

“Nerd.”

“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?”

“Sleep?”

“But Remus, I’m booooooored.”

“J-”

“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.

“A story?”

“Yes, anything.”

“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.”

“What?”

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.”

“Go on.”

“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.”

“But… French?”

“Yes, French, you don’t have to go far back for that. Also…”

“Also what?”

“Ehm… Russian?”

“Do you speak Russian?”

“No.”

“And yet again I’m disappointed.”

“Twat.”

“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.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“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…”

“Yeah?”

“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.”

“Sure.”

“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?”

“Exactly.

“You’re so considerate, James.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty great. You could always come with us, we can double-date.”

“Oh?”

“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.”

“James.”

“Yes?”

“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.

Chapter Text

Remus overslept. Normally James didn’t let this happen, but he probably thought Remus needed the extra sleep. He didn’t complain, he felt more rested than he had in a while, and only a little stressed. But he had to leave immediatly if he wanted to catch his next lecture; this meant he didn’t have time to have his morning tea. Dreadful.

But the sun was shining, the air had that crisp and raw feeling to it that made everything seem a little more real. It was almost a shame to lock oneself up inside, but at least the inside was warm.

Remus tended to sit close to the front, to Mary’s dismay, so he also tended to avoid using his phone, to be respectful. But after it had buzzed at least five times he felt compelled to check what was going on.

From Sirius: Are we still studying today?

From Sirius: Or will you be busy busy?

From Sirius: With preparaaaaaations?

From Sirius: because today is a special day???

From Sirius: Star Party Day!

From Sirius: Moooooonshineeee

To Sirius: You’re still studying. I’ll even keep you company while I do my preparing.

From Sirius: Worth it.

Mary nudged Remus with an elbow.

“Tell the boyfriend he’s bad for your education”, she whispered. Remus scowled at her and put his phone away.

“I have a hard time seeing how anything could be worse for my education than you”, he said.

“True, I don’t even come with any nice perks”, she said and winked. Julie, on Mary’s other side, elbowed her and they both shut up.

 

Mary decided to come with Remus to the library, Julie disappeared on their way there.

“When does this thing even start?”

“At nine.”

“How long does it last?”

“Officially or…?”

“I see.”

“The eclipse doesn’t start until one, so it’s supposed to cover in that”, Remus said, and he was actually worried about there not being enough things to fill up the time.

“Oh well, it’s Friday, not like anyone has anything better to do with their time.”

“Hopefully not.”

They saw Sirius already seated at their usual table, busy with his sketchbook. Remus sat down next to him.

“What are you drawing?”

“A shark.” Sirius turned the paper so Remus could see, it was indeed a shark, and it was wearing a tutu.

“Do you only draw animals?” Remus asked. Sirius shrugged.

“Nah, I do a lot of people too. I’ve draw every single lecturer I’ve ever had, several times if they’re boring.”

“Have you dawn Remus?” Mary asked. Sirius grinned at her.

“Of course I have. I mean look at him, how could one resist?”

“Oh, of course”, Mary said. Remus was unsure if it was a compliment or not.

“Mary, if you don’t have anything planned, why don’t you try helping Sirius? And I can ignore both of you?”

“Horrible idea”, Sirius said. Mary nodded.

“How about you do it anyway?” Remus asked. They did, Mary moved to the other side of Sirius and Remus picked up his speech. He was pretty sure he knew it all, but it could never hurt to be over-prepared. What he had not considered was that Mary and Sirius both loved to talk, and apparently had a hard time focusing.

“Can I see the drawings?”

“No, they’re mine.”

“Oh, you can share; it’s not like I’m going to steal it.”

“Maybe I don’t trust you?”

“That’s your fault not mine. I am completely trustworthy.”

“You have done nothing to earn my trust, Mary dear.”

“Why are you so boring? How can I earn the trust of Sirius Black then?”

“Hmm, I don’t actually know.”

“You do know that I know a lot of things I’m sure you’d be very interested in knowing?”

“Oh… that’s probably true. Maybe we can work out a deal after all?”

“I think we can.”

Remus glared at them and they both smiled innocently back, but they stopped talking, although they seemed to be passing a piece of paper between them, and giggling.

Even without them to distract him he couldn’t focus. There was something picking at his brain, something he should be thinking about. A string of half-formed thoughts that he felt he could make sense of if they slowed down a bit. He supposed it would become clear sooner or later, at a time when he wasn’t tired and busy with everything else. It was annoying though, because he was missing something, a joke that everyone else was in on, and he didn’t like it.

 


 

 

“I’m going to meet up with some people, I’ll see you later.”

Sirius turned to Remus as he got up to leave.

“Yeah, bye.”

“Good luck with the thing, Remus”, Mary said. Remus smiled at her before he left. “He seems a bit… absent-minded today.”

“Does he?” Sirius hadn’t noticed.

“Yeah, maybe he’s just thinking about tonight. Anyway, I’ll be off too.” Mary leaned back and stretched. “I have a date before the star party, I need to get home and shower.”

“I don’t have a date, but I might go home and do the same anyway.”

“Maybe you’ll get one before the day is over.”

“Very unlikely.”

“Look on the bright side, neither does Remus.”

“You know, that’s actually true, and at least there’s that.”

“Well, good luck with that, lover boy.” Mary got up and ruffled Sirius’ hair. “See you under the stars.”

 

At eight it started to rain. At eight-thirty it stopped raining. Although everything was wet it was perfect from then on. The clouds had disappeared completely by nine and the stars were glorious and the moon huge.

Sirius was practically buzzing with energy as he went outside. First thing he did was meet up with James and Lily, they in turn were talking to Peter. Together the four of them walked in amongst lights and people. There were a lot of lights and a lot of people, a lot more than Sirius had anticipated there to be. He had no idea how to find Remus; he had no idea how to find anything.

Everywhere he looked groups were gathered, some sitting on blankets on the ground, some in big open tents.

Sirius quickly lost James and Lily, Peter had vanished even earlier. He drifted around in some sort of haze. Some people he almost knew stopped him and he sat with them for a while, then he decided he really needed to find Remus. He had sent him a text that had gone unanswered.

Just as he left his company someone called out for him.

“Sirius!”

Sirius turned to see Mary and Julie.

“Oh, hey.”

“Do you know where Remus is? We just got here.” Mary was wearing a skirt dotted with stars.

“No, I was just going to look for him.”

“We’ll join you”, Mary said and grabbed Sirius arm.

It didn’t take them too long to find Remus. He was in one of the tents. There were a lot of other people also in the tent. When Remus saw them he didn’t come over, but he held up four fingers and gestured to the front. Sirius interpreted it as four minutes until Remus’ speech.

Mary pulled Sirius down beside her on one of the rows of chairs.

“Oh, this is exciting, I haven’t heard Remus speak in forever”, she said.

“Is he good?” Sirius asked. Mary turned to him, eyes wide, and nodded gravely.

“He’s great! It a good thing he wants to teach because he’ll be perfect.”

“He gets really into it”, Julie added. “It’s very engaging.” Sirius smiled at her, she wasn’t looking at him, which was probably good because Sirius wasn’t sure his smile was genuine.

“What do you want to do with your life, Sirius?” Mary asked. He shrugged.

“I really don’t know. It’s on my list of things to figure out.”

“So you’re studying to..?”

“Waste time, yes. I’m unsure if I’ll continue.” Sirius watched Remus talk so a woman with bright blonde hair. She seemed older than them; her dress had stars on it, a small silvery moon hung from her neck. Sirius had a feeling that his was the professor, he couldn’t recall her name. She was smiling at Remus, Remus was smiling back, they seemed very friendly.

“What about art?”

“Huh? Oh yeah, art would be cool, I guess.” Sirius glanced at Mary then back at Remus again. “I’m not sure if I want it to be more than a hobby.” Remus checked the time; the blonde woman patted his shoulder.

“Here we go”, Julie breathed. Sirius held his breath as Remus stepped in front of the gathered people, and there where quite many. Silence slowly fell.

For the next thirty minutes Sirius briefly wondered if he should feel ashamed for the fact that he barely heard a word that Remus said. Or, he heard, he heard the sound of them, he heard the tone and melody, but he did not understand them, he wasn’t listening to them. He also wondered if he looked as mesmerized as he felt. He was staring, from start to finish, unable to look away, unwilling.

Remus talked with certainty, barely hesitating. He was gesticulating more than usual with his hands. The light, made up of a silly amount of candles, and strings of fairy-lights cast shadows over his face as he moved, sometimes bringing out the scars as vicious dark streaks, casting a golden gleam to his eyes.

Sirius could have stayed there forever, the only sounds Remus’ voice against a faded backdrop of voices and laughter. The night air biting cold and crisp. The lingering feeling and smell of rain. It was surreal. And far too soon it was over.

Sirius was jerked back to reality by Mary poking his cheek. Her face was just a few inches from his.

“Earth to lover boy, you look ridiculous.”

He leaned away from her.

“Stop it.”

“Come on and let’s go talk to him then”, Mary said. Sirius nodded.

It was a little harder to get to Remus than they had expected. It seemed like half the audience wanted a word with him, then he spent a good while talking to his professor. Then, finally, he joined them and sat down in the closest chair with a sigh and a yawn.

“I don’t think I can utter another complete sentence before I have something to drink”, he said. Sirius handed him the glass bottle that he had completely forgotten about since leaving those that had given it to him. Maybe it was a little responsible for the buzzing feeling.

“This is- uh, I actually don’t know, something apple-ish.”

Remus accepted the offer, bur grimaced when he drank.

“That’s gross”, he said. “But it does taste like apples.”

“Remus, I think I will have to do uni all over again later, just to listen to your lectures”, Mary cooed.

“If you do I’ll call on you for every single question.”

“I’d be fine with that.”

Gross or not, Remus raised the bottle to his lips again.

“I’d kill for tea”, he declared. “Actually, I know where to get it without having to commit murder.” He stood up.

“Me and Julie are going to look for something more interesting than tea”, Mary said and grabbed a surprised Julie by the arm. “But good luck with that.” Both Sirius and Remus looked after them as Mary practically dragged Julie along with her.

“Right”, Sirius said. “Where’s the tea?”

Remus pointed to the school building to the left.

“In there, let’s go.” On the way there they met James and Lily. James handed Sirius something more interesting than tea, that didn’t taste like apples, more like happiness followed by regret. Sirius decided that giving it the company of tea would probably be for the best.

Inside it was dark, and someone had put a trail of glow-in-the-dark stars on the walls, the trail led to the tea, which was on a table manned by two people Remus seemed familiar with.

Provided with tea, they left again, to trail to the edge of the party, away from the mass of people and the lights. The University grounds were home to a pond, a pond that had seen more drunk students in it that it would ever fish, but a pond nonetheless. Benches were placed around it. Several were occupied.

Remus sat down on the first empty bench they came across. Sirius joined him. They sat there, under the stars, sipping tea from paper cups, watching the moon reflect in the water. It was, according to Sirius, absolutely magnificent.

Sirius looked at Remus and his mind was screaming things like: you’re gorgeous and I want to kiss you.

He drowned those thoughts in liquid regret.

 


 

 

It was a beautiful night and Remus wanted to sleep. The adrenaline had gone away, leaving him drained and powerless.

“This is nice”, he said.

“Yes, it is”, Sirius answered after a short silence. His voice sounded distant. Remus glanced at him. He was leaning back, head tilted up and eyes on the moon. With the reflection his grey eyes seemed like moons themselves.

“What are you thinking about”, he asked. Sirius twitched and when he turned his eyes to Remus the shadow painted them black. He stared at Remus for a few breaths.

“The moon”, he said. “I might be in love with the moon.”

Remus slowly shook his head.

“It’s just a rock, dependent on another, bigger and richer, rock, stealing light from a star, billion times brighter and greater.”

Sirius was silent for a long while.

“It might be small, but powerful enough to pull at the ocean, and even in reflection more beautiful than any mere ball of fire.”

Remus turned his eyes to the moon, in an hour it would start getting blocked out, robbed of its light, turned dark and cold. Then he laughed.

“Doubt thou, the stars are fire.”

“Remus Lupin, are you quoting Shakespeare at me?”

“No, but at the moon, and the stars!”

“Ah, yonder blessed moon.”

“Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon.”

“We did Rome and Juliet in high school”, Sirius said.

“Were you Romeo?”

“No, I was, of course, Mercutio, and I was the greatest Mercutio to ever be!”

“That, I don’t doubt”, Remus said, and he didn’t.

“It is tradition to do Romeo and Juliet, didn’t you?”

“No, but we did do Shakespeare.”

“Hamlet?”

“No.”

“Macbeth?”

“No, the Tempest. James made a marvellous Prospero, with Lily as Miranda and Peter as Caliban. It’s amazing we actually managed to get through that play… I have no idea why our teacher thought it’d be a good idea.”

“And you?”

“Uhm, Ariel?”

“Are you kidding me? Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have seen that.” Sirius stared dreamily into the distance. “My brother played Tybalt, we had to be physically dragged from each other a few times. Good thing we were using foam swords…”

“Ain’t no drama like a Shakespeare drama.”

Remus closed his eyes and took a deep breathe.

“This is nice”, he said again.

“It is.”

Chapter Text

By the time the eclipse actually started the organized part of the evening was over and a lot of people were drunk. This included Sirius and James.

Remus and Lily stood in united horror as they tried to climb unto a roof to “serenade the moon, because it’s worth it!” They spend more time arguing about the best way of climbing than actually climbing, and most part of the climbing on the ground in a giggling pile.

“Maybe we should just leave them”, Lily suggested.

“Yes”, Remus said. They turned around in unison and started to walk away. They did not get far before James ran after them. He threw one arm around Lily and one around Remus and would have fallen if he hadn’t.

“Hey, where are you going?”

“To watch the eclipse?” Lily said. James nodded solemnly then turned around to call to Sirius.

“Leave the roof!”

“I already have.” Sirius seemed to appear out of nowhere on Remus other side, grinning like an idiot. “Hey there are a lot of people over there, let’s follow them!” Remus was not left time to oppose as he was seized by the arm and dragged away from James.

It seemed like everyone was buzzing with energy, voices were loud, and singing was heard. Then the lights started to get put out, and the park was thrown into relative darkness. The mass of people as one migrated onto the open grass and dropped down

Remus was unsure of where the initiative started, but he found himself lying on the grass among them all. Staring up into the sky. Sirius was next to him, James on Sirius other side, Lily with him.

Someone was still singing. Besides him Sirius began to laugh, an uncontrollable laugh. But it spread.

There they were, laying on the damp grass, watching an eclipse, laughing. It was glorious.

As the eclipse started to uncover the moon again, people started to drop away.

James and Sirius, still full of energy had other plans, they dragged every willing friend of theirs with them to James’ and Remus’ apartment.

More drinking was done, and a lot of singing, to Cookies delight, she loved singing. Remus sat with them for a while, enjoying the atmosphere, without really participating. Towards three o’clock he decided to go to bed.

Mary had fallen asleep on the couch next to him. James and Lily were kissing in the kitchen. Remus had been yawning almost constantly for half an hour.

He was tired, very tired, but content. It had been nice; all of it had been nice.

When at last he fell face first into his bed he realized just how tired he was. He was almost too tired to sleep. His head was spinning, and he knew that it needed to calm down first. But he couldn’t move. He arm was twisted in a rather uncomfortable way. But he was far too tired to move.

His door was opened and closed and he barely had time to roll around and hear the words “Lily’s here” before a human-shaped weight dropped onto him.

“Sirius, what are you doing?” The human shape that was Sirius murmured something in response and shoved at Remus to make himself more comfortable. When he was situated along Remus side, with an arm thrown over his chest and his head on Remus shoulder he yawned.

“Lily’s here, and I am not getting in the middle of that. And I am not walking home. Now shhhh.” It was a little hard to hear what he was saying since he barely bothered to lift his head. There was a distinct smell of alcohol over him.

Remus considered moving Sirius away from him, but he was very comfortably warm, and it seemed to require more energy than he had. So he just rolled his eyes and made himself comfortable. A strand of Sirius hair was tickling his neck, he raised a hand to brush it away. As he let his hand fall down again Sirius lifted his head a little, his breath warm on Remus’ collarbone.

They stayed like that for a while, until Remus looked down and saw Sirius watching him, although he could barely keep his eyes open.

“What?”

Sirius smiled faintly.

“I want to kiss you”, he said, whispered, murmured. Remus’ mind went blank.

“You don’t. You’re drunk”, Remus said.

“Not that drunk”, Sirius said, eyes sliding shut.

“Drunk enough.”

“I still want to.”

Remus wondered if Sirius could feel, could hear, his heart beating. Where he lay he must.

“But you won’t”, he said.

“Mmm”, Sirius said. “Not now.”

“Not now”, Remus repeated, himself wondering if it was a question or an agreement.

“Later”, Sirius almost said, it was a bare mumble against Remus’ shirt.

“Later.”

Apparently content with this Sirius’ face was turned down again and seemed to fall asleep.

Remus was frozen. There was something in his mind screaming at full volume. There were a lot of things he needed to sort out, quickly. Highest on the list was the need for him to revaluate his relationship with Sirius.

I want to kiss you. What sort of thing was that to say? Did he? Sirius Black, drunk version, wanted to kiss him. That sort of implied a very different interest than Remus had understood there to be. So, for the sake of the argument, say that it was true: Sirius did want to kiss him. What did that mean?

Remus did a quick search of the last weeks. He found enough evidence to support his case and the screaming in his head picked up a notch.

So, there was very much a possibility that Sirius, the same Sirius that he had fought so viciously with only a few weeks before, liked him. Like liked him. Wanting to kiss liked him. This was… this was … unexpected.

Next problem was for Remus to figure out how he felt about this. He admitted that he should maybe have given the thought some consideration before; it would have saved him from having it all dropped on him at once. But he really hadn’t even considered it.

So now he looked down at Sirius and considered it.

He was pretty. He was, in fact, drop-dead-gorgeous. Even with a few pieces of grass and dead leaves stuck in his hair, a smear across his cheek and smelling of dirt, sweat, and alcohol. But that had never been questionable. He knew it, Sirius himself certainly knew it, and probably everyone who had ever laid eyes on him knew it.

Now Remus added the word Attractive to the equation.

He looked at the way Sirius’ eyelids were fluttering slightly, the lock of hair that curled along his jaw, the hand that was curled in a light grip on Remus’ shirt.

He thought about Sirius singing while drawing, constantly pushing his hair out of his face although it fell back down just as quick. Fidgeting, he only did it when he was drawing. He thought about smiles and small touches, about quiet moments and cups of tea. He thought about now, about the warm weight on his left side. He thought about the softness of Sirius voice as he’d said: I want to kiss you.

Okay, he decided, he could probably tick in Attractive.

But the most important part remained. How did he feel? Did he want Sirius to kiss him?

He couldn’t possibly reach a conclusion, he needed more time.

If he was lucky Sirius wouldn’t remember it when he woke up and he wouldn’t have to worry. Unless… unless it was still true. Then the problem would remain, and probably surface again at some other time. So he’d better get his thinking done either way, just to be on the safe side. But as much as he needed to clear his thoughts up he needed sleep.

No more had he thought about it before his mind unfocused and he drifted into sweet sweet sleep.

 


 

 

Several things quickly came to Sirius’ attention when he woke up. First was: where am I? second was: oh shit, I am here. He then continued on to note how uncomfortable it was to be sleeping in jeans and how very comfortable it was to be sleeping next to Remus. He didn’t want to move, didn’t want anything to change, he needed to save this moment.

Remus’ hand was on Sirius’ back, Remus’ cheek was resting against the top of Sirius’ head. It was nice and warm and possibly really stupid.

And it would probably be over at any- the door was slammed open. Sirius nearly fell out of the bed when Remus jolted awake.

There was James, smile as wide as his face. He turned his head to look over his shoulder.

“Lily, you owe me!” he shouted. Then he turned back, smiling. “Catch”, he said and lobbed something at them that neither even tried to catch. “Remus, you should have been up two hours ago.”

Sirius looked at the pill-bottle that had just barely missed his head.

Remus muttered a string of unkind words and let his head fall back down. Sirius, having sat up in his surprise, blinked a few times then looked back at James.

“Now kindly fuck off?”

“Breakfast in ten minutes!” James said as he turned and closed the door.

“How can he be so energetic?”

“Smnh mmnmgh mnn”, Remus said.

“What?”

“He lives of other people’s misery. Like a vampire, but different.”

“A werewolf and a vampire, fucking knew it.” Sirius picked up the bottle and gently balanced it on Remus’ forehead. “Now have your little friends.”

Remus tried to look up at the bottle then grabbed it with a sigh. As he sat up he stopped mid movement and looked at Sirius.

“Do you know what these are?” he asked.

“Uhm… anti-depressants, right?” He wasn’t perfectly sure, but Remus nodded.

“Could you move?”

“Oh, yeah.” Sirius moved so that Remus could swing his legs over the edge of the bed, now they were sitting next to each other. “Uhm… yesterday, did I say anything weird?” Sirius knew it was a loaded question, but he needed to know where to start.

“You were pretty drunk”, Remus said.

“Yeah.” Sirius was pretty sure that they both knew exactly what they were not saying. But if Remus was willing to let it pass for now Sirius wouldn’t complain. He had not been that drunk, he knew exactly what had been said, exactly what he had been thinking. And Remus knew too, he would leave it up to him to bring it up again. If he wanted to bring it up at all.

Sirius realized what it not being brought up again would mean, but if that was the way it would go he’d have to live with that. But… there were too many possibilities, too much was unknown. He desperately wanted to know.

 

Sirius was, over all, not a fan of breakfast. Nothing about being half-awake made him want to eat. Food had to come later. So his breakfast was often what most would call lunch. However, as it was almost lunch-time, he did enjoy James’ breakfast. Remus only made faces at the food and downed a cup of tea.

“I need to go, I’m meeting up with Julie for lunch”, he said.

“Have fun”, James said.

“It’s raining” Lily said.

!!!!!!, Sirius thought.

As soon as Remus was gone he let his head fall down to the table with a groan.

“Are you okay?” Lily asked. Sirius shook his head, meaning he rolled it a bit to each side.

“No, I fucked up.”

“Mmhm.” James reached across the table to pat his shoulder. “Didn’t seem like that to me.”

“No, that- it’s not.” Sirius raised his head with a great sigh. “I said something really stupid, and he’s going to hate me forever.”

“Dramatic”, Lily said. “Also probably untrue. Didn’t seem to be any hate going on.”

“But you don’t understand. And now he’s off with Julie.”

“You sound tragic. And Julie is his friend, yours too if I’m not wrong.”

“What did you say?” James asked. Sirius put his head back on the table.

“Nothing.”

“Sirius.”

“Hey, it was stupid the first time; it’s not going to be less stupid if I repeat it to you. Besides, it’s none of your business.”

“Oh, touchy. Well, if you won’t tell us we can’t tell you if it was really that bad or not.”

“Good, I don’t want your opinion.”

“Then why are you complaining to us?”

“I need to complain to someone, don’t I? It’s not my fault, that you’re completely unhelpful.”

“It’s really hard to help, when there’s nothing to help with”, Lily pointed out. Sirius waved a hand dismissively in the general direction of her voice.

“What am I supposed to do?”

“You could try talking to him?” Lily suggested.

“But that’s how I fucked up.”

“You could try talking to him differently. Or you know… not do anything.”

“That is a great idea; I’m going to do that.”

“What? Nothing?”

“Yes! At least for a little while.” This time, when Sirius raised his head, he was smiling. “And if nothing is said, I’ll know how to take that, and not have to embarrass myself further.”

“Did you tell him you like him?” James asked, leaning his chin in his hands.

“No”, Sirius said. “Not exactly. Almost. It was implied. I think. Sort of.”

“What did he say?”

“Uhm… I’m pretty sure he accused me of being drunk, it’s a little fuzzy, I’m currently trying to repress it.”

“That’s not the worst response. Were you drunk?”

“Not nearly enough, this brings me to step two in my plan: drown my problems in alcohol.”

“Good luck with that, buddy”, James said. Sirius made an undefinable sound, it sounded a bit like something dying. “But I honestly think you’re making a bigger problem out of this than it is, and I have faith in success being granted some way or another.”

“Is that my success or Remus’?”

“The ultimate would be both, wouldn’t it?”

“Urgh, I’m going to go home and take an hour long shower.”

“Good idea, you smell a bit… unappealing, and there’s grass in your hair.”

“It’s a good thing I am able to look gorgeous even despite that, or I’d be shit-out-of-luck.”

“Sirius”, Lily said. Sirius looked up at her. “Maybe you should adapt that attitude to your ‘plan’. Or you could abandon all attempt of a plan, because I have a recollection of those not being the best thing for you.”

“Evans, you’re damn right about that and thank you for reminding me.”

“Always glad to be of service, now go before the smell becomes permanent.”

“Maybe that wouldn’t be bad, gives me characters, a flaw, makes it easier for people to relate to me. Like ‘Yeah that Sirius Black is pretty perfect, but at least he smells weird.’ I could live with that. No wait, I can’t. That was a lie, and it would be horrible. I need to go, now, immediately.”

“Seriously…”

Chapter Text

Remus was having a weird day. He realized it was one of many weird days. But this one was a bit extra weird. He felt like his brain had been low-key screaming since he woke up.

Julie was chatting away, and he tried to pay attention, he really did. But he failed miserably. She noticed.

“Hey, have you even heard a word I’ve said?”

“Uhm, no?”

Julie sighed.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“Nothing.”

“Oh really? Because you’ve been scowling at the table for five minutes.”

“I’m just… thinking.”

“Is this about Sirius?”

“Why would it be about Sirius?”

“Everything seems to be about Sirius.” Julie rolled her eyes. “And since he’s in love with you, I figured you’d notice eventually.”

“He’s not in love with me.”

“No, of course not. That’s why he’s always where you are, and why he always smiles when he looks at you, and-”

“Julie!”

“Oh come on, Remus. Just accept it, or would that be such a horrible thing? You don’t want him to be in love with you?”

“I don’t know. That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out.”

“So you did figure it out! No, wait. Did he tell you?”

“Not really, but sort of.”

“Oh, my god. What did he say?” Julie leaned forward over the table.

“I’m not telling you, besides… It’s not like that.”

“Remus! You’re awful. What, you’re just going to pretend like nothing?”

“Yes? I mean, I don’t know…”

“You don’t know if you like him back? Well figure it out!”

“That’s not-”

“Well, what did you say to him?”

“Uhm, nothing really.”

“Right, so you’re not saying anything because you can’t figure out for yourself if you like him back? Not to be like that, but saying nothing would seem like a no. You’re aware of that, right?”

“Yes. But what do you want me to do? Tell him to hang on for a sec; I need some time for myself?”

“Yes! Maybe not in those words, but you need to say something. Just tell him the truth, that’s always a good idea.”

Remus didn’t want to tell Sirius the truth. He didn’t want to tell him anything. Because he didn’t know what to say.

 

So he said nothing. Until he saw Sirius on Monday morning. And found he still had nothing to say. As he approached he tried out a number of different emotions, but the only one that made sense was fear. Fear that whatever would happen would ruin what had been.

“Hey.”

“Hello, Moonshine.” Sirius was smiling.

“Are you going in?”

“No, I’m not even supposed to be in this building. But Julie dragged me with her.”

“Oh. Well, I gotta go. See you later.”

“Yeah…”

Remus continued this experiment for the duration of the day. He tried out feelings and ideas and options. It was confusing and distracting but it helped him.

The next day he made Sirius sit outside with him, in their usual spot.

“It’s getting far too cold for this. It needs to stop”, Sirius said.

“This is the last time then. At least it’s dry.”

“You’re the one that’s always complaining about the cold. This is not natural.”

“But the weather is nice, the sun is even shining. Who knows when we’ll get sun again.”

“Alright.” Sirius opted for sitting on his jacket. Remus deemed that to be the coldest alternative and didn’t. The grass, or what was still left of it, was sort of dry.

No one else was stupid enough to sit outside. So at least there was that.

Sirius did schoolwork. On his own free will. It was quite shocking. He even seemed to be rather into it. Remus tried to read. Tried because holding a book with gloves on was okay. Flipping the pages was harder. Without gloves it was too cold. So he had to put the book in his lap so he could hide his hands in his pockets. But that meant the wind flipped the pages for him, and never when he wanted it to.

So he stopped reading but kept the book up. A pretence of activity. Instead he watched Sirius. And did some comparing.

First he categorized him as a friend. Then, as a friend, he compared him to his other friends. He compared him to James. James who was almost family at this point. It was a poor comparison. The difference was too great. Remus relationship to James was everything his relationship to Sirius wasn’t.

Then he compared him to Julie. That didn’t make much sense either. Julie was not a close friend as such. She was easy to be around, she was kind and sweet. A good friend. Sirius was… complicated.

Then Mary. And Mary was the closest thing to Sirius he had. But Mary was more distant. She was a fixed position in Remus’ life. Unchanging, loyal. He couldn’t imagine any other way for them to be. And that was the problem. He could imagine it with Sirius.

That was the thought he tried out, the Could I date this person? Could I kiss them? Thought. And the answer went: Never, no, no, maybe. This was not helping at all.

But a maybe maybe was good enough. A maybe was maybe good enough to try? Because here he was, and there was Sirius and something needed to be done. And thinking could only get him so far.

Sirius was completely absorbed in his work. This in itself was not how it usually went. He was making notes and he kept moving his hair away from his eye and it kept falling back. He was not far away. Remus could easily reach out and touch him.

Remus closed his book and put it in his bag. A decision was made.

“Sirius, do you still want to kiss me?”

Sirius’ head snapped up, shocked.

“What, yes, I mean what?”

“Good.”

 


 

 

Sirius brain was full of exclamation marks. Confused but excited exclamation marks.

Then Remus kissed him! Well, almost. A touch so light he could have almost imagined it, just at the corner of his mouth. And for moment he lost all ability to think whatsoever.

Once he had actually registered this act Remus was standing up, apparently going to walk away. Sirius scrambled to get his things together and didn’t bother getting his jacket on before catching up.

“What was that?”

“A kiss.”

“But why, but what? And that barely counts.”

“Is that a complaint?”

“No, definitely not. But why?”

“Do people need a reason for kisses these days?”

“Reeeemuuus!”

“Well, what’s the usual reason?”

“Uhm, affection?”

“Yeah, that’s a good one, we’ll go with that.” Remus smiled at Sirius. Sirius stared back.

“Okay… so what does that mean?”

“What does what mean?”

“This. Was that a one-time thing, does it mean anything?” They seemed to be headed past the university, homewards.

“That depends, doesn’t it?”

“You’re really not going to be helpful at all are you?”

“No, not really.”

“What does it depend on then?”

“What we make of it, I guess.”

“You mean it could mean something?”

“You’re very hung of on meanings and reasons, aren’t you?”

“Well, you’re not giving me much to work with here.”

“Then, yes, I could be something. It’s a maybe.”

“A maybe… okay. So… how do we change the maybe?”

“I don’t know. The usual way?”

“The usual way? What, like… dating?”

“Uhm, sure. Dating.”

“Okay, so let’s see if I got this right.” Sirius grabbed Remus arm and made him stop. “I like you, you like me, maybe. If I asked you to go on a date with me, you’d probably say yes?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh.” Sirius couldn’t help it, he was smiling. He was actually bubbling with delight. He was doing a little dance on the inside. “Soooooo, want to go on a date with me, Moonshine?”

“Sure.”

“Great!” This was turning out to be a great day. A truly fantastic day. One of the best days of late. Sirius could not stop smiling.

“You look ridiculous”, Remus said, but he was smiling too.

“I’m fine with that.”

Chapter Text

Now, several things quickly got in the way.

The first came with the realization that to date would pretty much consist of doing just what they had already been doing. Remus thought this was a bit awkward. Sirius thought it was hilarious. But it resulted in neither of them having any idea what to do.

Second, Sirius caught a bad cold.

“It’s because you never close your jacket”, Remus told him.

“Closing my jacket ruins my image”, Sirius said.

“Right. It’s more important to look cool…”

“Yes. You have to admit it’s working.”

“Indeed, it did make you sick.”

“Is that sick as in cool or just…sick?”

“What do you think? Now shut up, you sound dreadful.”

“I feel dreadful! And you’re being mean. Have some pity on my poor dying soul.”

“You’re not dying.”

“I feel like I’m dying.”

“It’s just a cold.”

“You’re not a doctor, Remus, you don’t know. I might be dying! Wouldn’t you feel horrible if I died and this is how you treated me at my last moments?”

“Drama queen.”

“Outrageous!” Sirius winced and started coughing. Remus actually felt a little bad for him. If only because Sirius had perfected looking miserable. He was in his bed bundled in blankets and glaring at Remus. Remus had placed himself as far away as possible, to “avoid contamination”.

“This is probably your fault too”, Sirius continued. “For making me sit outside. You’re the worst. Where’s Jamsie? He’d be kind to me.”

“Well, he made me sick by forcing me to that football game. So I guess if you get him sick we’ll all be even then.”

“That’s a fantastic idea! I’ll get him to come here and I’ll cough in his face.”

“Gross.”

“Or I’d kiss him, that’d probably work to.”

“Still gross.”

“It’s supposed to be gross! Or he wouldn’t get sick.”

“You’re gross. Why am I even here?”

“Because you’re cold and uncaring façade hides just how much you care. And if I die, you want to see my beautiful face one last time.”

“That seems highly unlikely. It’s probably because you wouldn’t shut up until I came here.”

“I recall no such thing.” Sirius pulled a pillow over his head. “In any case, my thing sounded a lot better.”

“I can lie if that makes you feel better?”

“Yes, please.”

“Well then, I am only here because I could not go on living if I missed Sirius Blacks last moments. You dying alone would be a true waste. But actually I’m here to make sure you don’t die because we’re supposed to go on a date, and if you leave me hanging I’ll be very cross.”

“… Thank you, Moonbeam, that was real sweet.”

“Don’t get used to it.”

“Mnmnn, I think I’m falling asleep.”

“Good, you need it.”

“Hmmnm.”

“Does that mean I can leave?”

“Suuuure.”

“Good night, Sirius.”

“G’night, Remus.”

 

When Remus got home he found James in the kitchen, making dinner. He sat down at the kitchen-table and shoved away Cookie’s face. She sat down next to him instead, tongue lolling out and trying her best to look cute. She was successful.

“Have you been at Sirius’?”

“Yeah.”

“How he doing?”

“Fine, if he tells you to go to him, it’s a trap.”

“Oh? Still thinks he’s dying.”

“Yes.”

“Good, then all is well.”

Remus watched as James stirred pots, humming to himself. Whatever was being made it smelled delicious, making Remus’ stomach growl.

“Me and Peter are going to go watch a movie on Friday, you up?”

“What about Lily? And I can’t.”

“She’s going looking at wedding dresses with her sister; she’s getting married in two months. And why not?”

“Oh, that’s nice.”

“Apparently her sister is a bit of a… hard-to-get-along-with person. So Lily’s looking forward to a week-end of probable fighting.”

“Oh, that’s not nice.”

“No, but what are you doing?”

“I have a date, hopefully.”

“A date?! Wait- with Sirius?”

“Uhhh, yeah, unless he dies tomorrow.”

“That’d be very careless of him. What are you doing?”

“I have no bloody idea. Apparently my suggestions disqualified me from deciding and it’s now up to him.”

“Good luck. Do you want me to give you helpful advice?”

“Not even a little.”

“Your mean, Moony.”

“And strangely fine with that. Now is that dinner done soon, or will I have to starve?”

“Yeah, yeah, just a sec.”

 

Remus was conflicted. And he was tired. The bad kind of tired, that no amount of sleep could cure. Still, it wasn’t made better by Sirius texting him at 1am.

From Sirius: Hey

From Sirius: When are you done at uni tomorrow?

To Sirius: Tomorrow as in today or tomorrow tomorrow?

From Sirius: Tomorrow as in the actual tomorrow, also known as Friday

To Sirius: 3

From Sirius: Excellent

From Sirius: I’ll meet you outside at 3.02

To Sirius: What? Are we going straight from uni?

From Sirius: Yes

To Sirius: That’s unfair

From Sirius: We’re on a bit of a tight schedule, it’ll be fine

To Sirius: Fine

From Sirius: C ya, then, date

To Sirius: What about tomorrow?

To Sirius: I mean today

From Sirius: Yeah imma not move from this very comfortable bed for at least 24h

To Sirius: Not any better, huh?

From Sirius: Nope

To Sirius: You know we can always do this some other time

From Sirius: Nope

To Sirius: Nope?

From Sirius: Friday is fine

To Sirius: I don’t want you coughing on me and making me sick

From Sirius: I’ll keep my distance

From Sirius: No I won’t

From Sirius: We need to hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes

From Sirius: I mean that’s like the entire point right

From Sirius: And I do feel a bit better, I’ll be fine by Friday

From Sirius: Are you asleep?

To Sirius: No

From Sirius: Do you want to be?

To Sirius: Yes

From Sirius: Good night then

From Sirius: xoxo

To Sirius: You did not just

To Sirius: urgh

 

Remus thought he might have gotten three hours of sleep. He was a bit unsure. He mostly remembered not sleeping, and waking up, several times, which meant he’d have to fallen asleep. But he did not feel even a bit rested and he was thankful to only have one lecture during the day.

Those two hours felt like eight. But he made it through; he might even have heard some of the things said by the lecturer. He did scribble something down, but he was sure that if he read it trough later it wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever.

He saw Lily as he left, she was talking to a girl with vividly red hair. Coloured red, too intense for any natural colour, very unlike Lily’s dark red. It was pretty.

Remus shook his head, trying to clear away the fog. That only sent a sharp pain through his temples.

When Lily saw him she smiled and waved, he waved back. She turned back to her friend for a moment before leaving her to go to Remus.

“Hey, you look rugged!”

“Rugged?”

“Yeah.”

“Is that you trying to be nice about me looking like trash?” Remus asked.

“No, not at all”, Lily said.

“Don’t lie.”

“Fine, you look like you haven’t slept in weeks. What’s up?”

“Nothing, I’m just very tired. And a bit sleep deprived, yes.”

“And Sirius is sick, what a great first date that’ll be.”

Remus glared at her.

“I once remember having a private life, but I guess that time is over now.”

“Hey, I’m invested in this”, Lily said. “I have investments in the two of you.”

“Bets, you have bets, not investments.”

“No, you make that sound very dreadful.”

“It kind of is, you know. I think James is being a bad influence on you.”

“Well, what can you do about that?” Lily shrugged. “Good luck, anyway, you’ll probably need it.”

“Gee, thanks.”

Remus was having second thought, mostly out of annoyance at- well… everything. Or mostly at everyone and everything that wasn’t Sirius, so he guessed that part was good. They annoyance was probably mostly due to his exhaustion than anything else too, so he resolved to stay away from people as much as possible as to not do anything he’d regret later.

Surprisingly he fell asleep almost immediately upon getting home. He’d have been grateful for this, if he’d been awake to notice it.

 


 

 

Sirius Black was not dying.

If he made a list of things that he was doing, dying would not even be on it. Because that would ruin his perfect plan. And such a perfect plan simply count not be allowed to be ruined. I would ruin him along with it, probably.

He was not dying. He was aggressively making himself healthy. Or trying to at least. It seemed to be working so far. He could breathe again and he no longer altered between being too hot and too cold. Sure, he hadn’t done much more than sleep. But sleep seemed to be the best thing to do.

Now, he couldn’t sleep.

It was 2am, he was going on a date in 13 hours. And he couldn’t sleep. Because of just that.

He’d run it through thousands of times in his head. Ways to not fuck up, ways to make sure it would be a good date. The kind that allowed for a second date to be possible.

And now, Sirius Freaking Black, was nervous. It was gross. He didn’t like it.

It was all Remus Lupin’s fault. For being so… Remus. It made everything complicated and weird and scary.

Sirius did not like it. Did not like it. Didn’t like it at all. Except that maybe he did. A little bit. But he’d never admit that to anyone, even himself.

Chapter Text

Remus was late for his date. His clock showed 15.04 when he stepped outside. That was two entire minutes too late.

Sirius was graciously waiting for him, and he… well, de didn’t look sick. Not like he’d looked the day before yesterday. No, Sirius was very casually leaning on the stair rail, hands in the pockets of his well-worn leather jacket, black hair so perfectly ruffled it must be intentional.

It was enough to make Remus grateful that he had made a small effort this morning. There were no holes in his sweater at least, his hair was newly washed. What more could one expect from him?

“You’re late,” Sirius said.

“I’m terribly sorry,” said Remus.

“I forgive you.” Sirius gave Remus a wide grin and pulled his hands out of his pockets. “But, let’s not waste time!” Hooking his arm around Remus’ he effectively dragged him along with him.

“So where are we going?”

“You’ll see.”

“I hope it’s a long walk on the beach.”

“We’d freeze to death. Besides the closest beach is ridiculously far away.”

“I’m disappointed.”

“Save that for later.”

They went to a bus stop. It was very exciting.

“You’ll have to top this next time, and it’s not going to be easy,” Sirius said.

“You sound very confident that there’s going to be a next time,” Remus said.

“I am very charming and handsome.”

“I’m still waiting for proof of that.”

“The charming or the handsome part?”

“Charming, we can all agree on the other one.”

Sirius smiled and Remus admitted to himself that it was a charming smile.

The bus ride was not long and even before Sirius ushered him off he knew where they were.

“A museum, Sirius? Are you serious?”

“Always.”

The bus drove off behind them and Remus looked up at the building in front of them.

“This is very cliché,” he said.

“You asked for a walk on a beach,” Sirius said. “Come on, let’s go in.” Sirius extended a hand towards Remus with a wide grin.

“Really?”

“Yes!”

“Alright.” Rolling his eyes Remus took Sirius’ hand.

He told himself that it was silly, but it felt nice. It was cute. And it might cause a slight flutter in his chest. Another point for charming then.

The museum was big and old and it was a Museum of Natural History. As soon as they got in Sirius pulled him to the left.

“We are circling around this way,” he said.

“Okay, for any specific reason?”

“Yes.”

“Are you going to tell me that reason?”

“No.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“Come on, they’ve got a dinosaur.”

“Of course they do.”

Remus let Sirius lead they and watched as he pointed out exciting things. Like dogs, or dog-like things, or things that might be a dog is you squint.

“That one looks like James.”

“That one looks like you.”

“Hey!”

Sirius’ hand stayed in Remus’. It somehow played up the excitement. Dislodged them from the surrounding world. Made it very clear that they we’re there with each other, that the visit itself wasn’t as important as the company. Sirius was great company, quick-witted and prone to touch things with signs that prohibited touching.

“What was the hurry about,” Remus asked as they stood in front of a display of fossils.

“Oh, they close at six. I didn’t want us to be stressed.”

“We’ve been here for almost an hour, and we’re almost done?”

“Almost done?” Sirius stared at him in disbelief. “We haven’t even gotten to the main attraction yet.”

“There’s a main attraction?”

“Yes, it’d be a bit boring just looking at dead things, wouldn’t it?”

“Well, the dead things have been kind of fun too,” Remus said. Sirius smiled and lightly squeezed his hand.

“Then this will be amazing!”

“Then show this amazing thing to me?”

“I will, it’s actually very close, into that corridor there.” Sirius gestured at the way out of the room at. “But first I must ask you something.”

“Ask away.”

“Do you trust me?”

“That depends on the situation.”

“Right now, right here?”

“Ehhh… sure?” Remus wasn’t sure he wanted to know where this was leading, it was Sirius Black he was here with after all.

“Then, at the beginning of that corridor, will you close your eyes and trust me to guide you until I say you can open them again?” Sirius said this with his eyes locked onto Remus’.

“Do I have to?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, sure.”

“Wonderful! It’ll be great! Let’s go!” Sirius was practically bouncing as he moved towards their destination. Remus was filled with regret, and an equal amount of excitement that he tried to ignore.

“Alright, close your eyes, Moonshine.”

“You know, if you make me regret this I will have my revenge,” Remus said, but he closed his eyes.

“You won’t. Just follow my voice.”

“Follow your voice? I’m holding your hand?”

“I know, I just wanted to say that.”

Remus discovered that it’s harder to roll your eyes when they’re shut. Too late Remus remembered that they were not actually alone in the museum, and what anyone else would make of this he didn’t know, and he found he didn’t really care. It was cute.

“I’m surprised you haven’t been here before,” Sirius said.

“I’ve known it was here and then never thought more of it really.”

“You are a bit of a shut in, Lupin, do you know that?”

“It has been pointed out to me before.”

“Not that that’s a bad thing or anything. As long as you don’t mind company to be shut in with you sometimes.”

“I don’t. Meeting people without going places is much preferred actually. It’s neater.” Remus found he gripped Sirius’ hand firmer as he was gently guided forward.

“Oh, that couple literally stopped and stared at you, Remus, you look that ridiculous.”

“What I don’t know won’t hurt me… but now you brought it to my attention and I’ll have to inform you that this is all on you.”

“Yeah yeah, there’s a little ledge here. And we’re going down a few steps.”

“Sirius! Steps, really? Can’t I just open my eyes?”

“Not yet. We’ll go slow.” Sirius pulled him closer, so that their arms touched, from shoulder to fingers. “And I’ll be right beside you. Alright, next step is the ledge. Great!” They must have entered a new room, the sounds changed, the air changed. Remus had a feeling there was a lot of space in front and above him. “Now there are a few move steps until the steps, and wow, that sounds bad. Anyway, next step will begin our ascent!”

“I kind of hate you right now,” Remus said.

“That’s just for now. Change will come,” Sirius countered. “And down we go. This is wonderful, people are staring at us again. All three of them.”

“Worst date ever.”

“Shhhhh, none of that, Moonster. Look! We defeated the stairs without a single hiccup and we’re now on safe ground. Just a little more.”

Remus let Sirius pull him further into the room, there was a whirring noise coming from something in front of them. And even with his eyes closed he understood it to be pretty dark.

“Okay, here we are. The perfect place to bring one Remus Lupin on a date! You can open your eyes.”

He did.

And would have burst out laughing if he wasn’t stunned silent.

They stood in a circular room, dark, doomed ceiling above them. A spinning globe in front of them.

There were stars and planets all around.

It was a planetarium. And it was beautiful. And Sirius might just be right. It was pretty close to perfect.

He was vaguely aware of Sirius grinning at him but he ignored him to let his eyes roam over the star-studded ceiling.

“Do you still hate me?”

“I can’t say that I do.”

“Good, I wouldn’t want that.”

Remus finally turned to look at Sirius and right then and there, under this artificial night sky he would have kissed him, if he hadn’t been very aware of the other visitors in the room. But maybe Sirius saw some of this is his eyes because me smiled and ran his thumb once over Remus’.

“There’s a show starting in twenty minutes,” Sirius said. “We’re watching it.”

“Of course we are.”

They made their way to the last row of seats.

“Tell me, how do you plan to top this?”

“I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

 


 

 

The show was amazing. Watching stars and galaxies move by over them with Remus’ hand still in his was a good way to spend a day, according to Sirius. He’d like to stay like that. But it was over far too soon and it was time to move on.

“We should go get some food,” Sirius said.

“Yes, that’d be great, I’m starving.”

“There’s a nice place just down the block.”

“How do you know this?”

“I did research!” Sirius said. “And by that I mean that I asked Lily.”

“I’m impressed.”

In fact he’d asked more people that just Lily, but she’d been the most helpful. She’d been over enthusiastic to help in fact. Sirius suspected another bet to be the reason. He didn’t much care. What mattered was that they were here, on an actual date, with actual hand holding, very exciting stuff.

And he wasn’t about to let this date end as early as this.

So they made their way outside and down the road.

The place in question was a teahouse. Very small and crammed and generally cosy. Or that’s what Lily had said and Sirius trusted her. It was called A Spoonful of Sugar, because why wouldn’t it be?

Remus huffed at the name but didn’t comment on it.

As it was a Friday afternoon it was pretty crowded but they found place in a corner on the second floor. With them they brought mismatched cups of tea and a bagel for Remus and cheesecake for Sirius.

“I’m not sure that counts as food,” Remus said.

“It’s cheesecake, it’s above mere mortal food and can, like chocolate, be substituted for anything.”

“… Mortal food?”

“Yes. Don’t argue with me.”

“I’m not.” He wasn’t. In fact Remus was smiling and it was making Sirius’ chest do weird fluttering things. “So what about chocolate cheesecake?”

Sirius looked down at his cheesecake. It was raspberries on it.

“Of course all kinds of cheesecake are amazing. Chocolate cheesecake is a combination of two amazing things and is therefore double-amazing.”

“Right, of course.” Remus smiled down at his tea and Sirius couldn’t believe that they were here on a date, like a romantic date, like more than friends date. He wasn’t convinced about it not being a joke of some kind just yet. Not that it really mattered anyway. At least they could have this.

“I guess this is where we would try to get to know each other, but we’ve got the basics covered already, don’t we?”

“I feel like we do. That particular process is very similar to the friend making process.”

“So what do we talk about?”

“I think we can talk about anything we want. Like how cool planetariums are. It’s basically sitting inside and watching starts instead of sitting outside and watching stars!”

“Your irony is not lost on me, Mooncakes.”

“Mmhm, but it’s false irony, because I really do love planetariums.”

“I knew you would.”

“Here’s to a good first date!”

“May there be better ones!”

Chapter Text

Remus couldn’t tell who was more excited to see him when he got home, James or Cookie. But at least James didn’t run up to him at the door, so points to Cookie. James was however obviously waiting.

“Heeeeeey, Moony.”

“Prongs.”

“Soooooo, how was the date?”

“An utter disaster.” Remus sank down into the couch and threw a dramatic hand over his eyes. “A horror, completely disgusting. I’m so glad that’s over.”

“…”

“I’d like to file a complaint, you need to get a new friend, the other one is no good.”

“Remus, have you been infected by a certain somebody’s dramatic flair?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, good sir.”

“Oh come on, just tell me!”

“I have told you.”

“Booooooooriiiiiing.”

“Really, do you want us to sit around and talk boys? Should we braid each other’s hair too?”

“No, not after last time. But at least tell me something?”

“Fine.” Remus sighed. “It was fine, it was nice.”

“Ah, a sound endorsement!”

“What do you want me so say? It was nice. We went to a museum.”

“Oh my, neeeeeerds.”

“Shut up, don’t you have better things to do?”

“No.”

“Whe—”

“Lily’s camping out for Sirius.”

“You two are the worst. This level of investment is a bit creepy, to be honest.”

James smiled at him, a wide, toothy smile.

“It’s all for a good cause.”

“And what cause would that be?”

“You’ll see.”

“Urgh, whatever. I’m going to bed.”

“It’s not even eight.”

“And yet I am tired, imagine.” Remus got back up and headed towards the bathroom.

“Are you going on another one?”

“Yes.”

Remus closed the door before James could say anything else. He was tired, that was true, but it was a very pleasant tired, a kind of warm and soft tired.

He stopped in front of the mirror and smiled at himself. Maybe this horrible idea wasn’t such a horrible idea after all. Maybe it was a good idea. Maybe it’d be good. At the moment he felt rather hopeful about that.

But the thing is, it didn’t last.

When he woke up hope had turned to doubt.

And doubt had a tendency to cling harder.

So instead of getting up Remus turned around and tried very hard to go back to sleep. And failed. His mind was buzzing with what-if’s and excuses and lists of reasoning’s that didn’t really make any sense.

Trying to ignore it made it worse. So he let it go.

The thing, this thing with Sirius, was a bad idea. It was a bad idea that would never work, would never be anything more than a bad idea that would just ruin the fragments of friendship they had. Because how could it work? They just weren’t compatible, too different.

Besides, he didn’t have time for it. He had studies to focus on, friendships to maintain, his own health. He didn’t have time to get into a relationship; those take time, and effort.  There’d be expectations.

And Sirius. Sirius was a lot. And Remus couldn’t keep up.

What made it all worse was that he really liked Sirius. He liked spending time with him, liked listening to him, talking to him, watching him. He liked him far too much to allow him to suffer for Remus’ mistakes. Remus would inevitably drag Sirius down with him if he let this continue.

He thought about trying to explain this to Sirius. But he doubted he’d be able to. He wouldn’t get it right, would make a mess of it. So he really didn’t know what to do. Never leaving his bed again seemed like a good option.

He should check his phone.

He didn’t want to.

He didn’t.

 


 

“Ah, if it isn’t the future Mr. Evans. What can I do for you on this fine day, good sir?”

“Well, Mr. Black, you could let me in to start with.”

“A fine idea, a fine idea indeed. Please step into my humble abode.”

“Much obliged. You’ll have to excuse me for calling on you this early, but as they say, I was awake anyway.”

“Fantastic, so was I! Can I offer you some tea?”

“Why yes, that would be appreciated.”

Sirius made an elaborate bow and headed for the kitchen. Behind him James went straight to the couch.

“Cookie didn’t get to come with you?”

“I’ve already been on a run with her, she’s on Remus-duty now.”

“When do you ever sleep, mate…”

“That’s my secret, I don’t. I just live on energy drinks and willpower.”

“Sounds perfectly healthy.” Sirius put some sugar in his tea, paused for a moment and doubled the amount.

“I kind of expected you to be asleep still.”

“Nah, I pretty much crashed as soon as I got home yesterday, still not at maximum after my near-death-experience. Think I got a solid ten hours.”

“That explains it.” James took the cup Sirius handed him and leaned back. “Thanks.”

Sirius sat down next to him.

“Is there’s a reason I get to enjoy your company this Saturday morning?”

“Not really. I mostly wanted to check in on you.”

“I am alive, so no need to worry, mum.”

“Don’t take that tone with your mother.”

“Sorry.”

“No, but I haven’t had much time to talk to you lately.”

“It’s almost like you’ve been busy making bets with your girlfriend.”

James gasped loudly.

“I think that’s a little unfair.”

“How is that unfair? I’ve been dying and you’ve been making bets. Actually yes, that does seem unfair, to me.”

“You two are being too sensitive about this.”

“Just out of curiosity… how many bets are currently on and can I get a list of them?”

“Telling you about them beforehand would kind of ruin them, wouldn’t they? And there is… not that many.”

“I will get back at you for this one day, James Potter, trust me on that.”

“Awe, you’re so cute when you’re threatening me.”

“I am always cute so that statement makes no sense.”

“You know we will stop the bets if you guys want us to?”

“I’m fine with them if Remus is.”

“I’ll ask him. He might just glare at me again, that boy’s got a good glare.” James placed an arm over Sirius’ shoulders and smiled at him, a foreboding smile. “Sooooo, did Lily catch you yesterday?”

“If you mean, did Lily jump me the second I turned the key, then yes. She caught me. She caught me in a web on evil smiled and prodding questions.”

“Did you answer them or did you pull a Remus and insulted her and left?”

“I do admire his style. Sadly I couldn’t escape because Lily followed me in and refused to leave. Has she not told you all this yet?”

“… No. uhmm, there’s, uh, ah.”

“Is this about another bet?”

“No?”

“What, who can get the most information about Sirius and Remus without getting murdered?”

“Sure, let’s go with that.”

“So are you allowed to question me on this?”

“Yes.”

“You two are weird.”

“We’re fun and cute. We take time to make sure our friends are doing well.”

“Jamie, my man, you two are weird and lack any kind of respect for personal boundaries, which I respect.”

“Sirius.”

“James.”

“Your cousin got married like a week ago, right? Have you heard anything else from them?”

Sirius shook his head.

“No, They reached out to me, so graciously, so I think they consider it to be up to me to act on that now. Which I won’t… which they won’t like. So I guess there’s some screaming to be anticipated. Thanks for reminding me.”

“Sorry, I just wanted to know if they’re pestering you about it.”

“It’s fine. I just don’t want to think about them, they’re dumb.” Sirius lowered his head onto James shoulder. “I kind of want to know what Reg is up to, though.”

“Hopefully mischief.”

“Hopefully. I’m hungry.”

“Hi hungry, I’m James.”

“Hi James, wanna get food?”

“Yes.”

 


 

 

From Sirius: why are fish so weird

From Sirius: they’re just so weird. And freaky

To Sirius: what?

From Sirius: fish are sooooo weird

To Sirius: okay?

From Sirius: and the ocean. We don’t even know what’s down there, could be anything. Don’t you think that’s freaky?

To Sirius: I have not thought about it much, tbh

From Sirius: Good. Save yourself.

From Sirius: Is there like, research going into this? An Ocean-NASA?

To Sirius: Probably? Why are you asking me? And you’ve heard of Marine Biology I assume?

From Sirius: Yes, but like a big organization kind of thing.

To Sirius: Google it. Why are we even having this conversation?

From Sirius: Okay so NASA monitors the ocean from space. That’s cool.

From Sirius: And there’s a lot of research thingies

From Sirius: Oh shark tracking!

From Sirius: I can follow sharks around, how did I not know about this before???

To Sirius: Are you having fun?

From Sirius: Yes, yes I am.

To Sirius: Glad to hear it

From Sirius: This is so cool

To Sirius: I thought you said it was freaky and scary and weird

From Sirius: Yes, but that doesn’t exclude cool, it can be all things

To Sirius: Okay, good?

From Sirius: Yes!

From Sirius: I have a feeling you’re not very excited about this

To Sirius: not really no?

From Sirius: Should I stop bothering you?

To Sirius: no, go ahead

From Sirius: Has Jamie gotten back?

To Sirius: Yeah but he left again to go do something with Lily

From Sirius: Are you okay?

 

Remus stared at his phone until the screen went black.

He was fine. No he wasn’t. He wasn’t okay. But he was okay enough. He… He didn’t want to talk to Sirius. Or he did, but also he didn’t. Mostly he didn’t want to think about anything.

 

To Sirius: yeah

From Sirius: Suuuure?

From Sirius: because if you’re annoyed at me you should tell me. That worked last time

To Sirius: I’m not annoyed at you

To Sirius: I’m annoyed at myself

From Sirius: Do you want to tell me why?

To Sirius: Not really

From Sirius: Fair enough

From Sirius: But you know I’ll listen if you change your mind

To Sirius: Thanks. But that won’t be necessary

From Sirius: Alright

From Sirius: Do you want to talk about something else?

To Sirius: I don’t know

From Sirius: Okay but listen to this

From Sirius: It’s almost Halloween

From Sirius: Like, in a week

From Sirius: and we need to go trick-or-treating

To Sirius: We are in our twenties

From Sirius: I know???

To Sirius: sooooo

From Sirius: I’m thinking an emphasis on Trick

From Sirius: And costumes of course

From Sirius: you shall be a wolf

From Sirius: A werewolf

To Sirius: that’s funny

From Sirius: You’ll be adorable

From Sirius: James shall be a stag! With magnificent prongs

From Sirius: I guess Lily’s going to be there… she can be whatever

To Sirius: And what will you be?

From Sirius: a dog

To Sirius: That’s scary

To Sirius: I was going to mean that sarcastically but then I remembered my own life so yeah okay good choice

From Sirius: Well, dog-star. I can’t really dress up as a star

From Sirius: actually

From Sirius: That’d mean setting myself on fire and it’d be great

From Sirius: but no, maybe not

To Sirius: Yeah, maybe not

From Sirius: Who else shall we bring?

To Sirius: Peter?

From Sirius: okay. He’ll be

From Sirius: a rat

To Sirius: wow

From Sirius: He looks a bit like a rat

To Sirius: I don’t even know what to say to that.

From Sirius: Just go with it

From Sirius: We should wear masks, for our integrity

To Sirius: … What are you planning?

From Sirius: Fun things

To Sirius: Yeah okay, just make sure that it’s you, and possible James, who gets the blame for everything

From Sirius: Deal

From Sirius: you and Lily be the distraction

To Sirius: And peter?

From Sirius: He’s the creep, gotta have one, it’s Halloween!

To Sirius: You know he’s our friend right?

From Sirius: Yes, he’s ratty, creepy, friendly person

To Sirius: okay, just checking

From Sirius: Anyway it’ll be great

From Sirius: So we have that to look forward to!

To Sirius: sure

From Sirius: Great!

From Sirius: Also, we have to find out how many pumpkin-flavoured things we can get our hand on in a week

To Sirius: That sounds like a good plan

From Sirius: It’s fantastic!

 

Remus smiled at his phone.

Sirius was very good at topic changes; he’d have to give him that. And, deliberate or not, it helped. It helped a lot.

Because maybe Sirius would drag him with him into his wild, and probably dangerous, schemes but that could be good for him. It was James doing the same thing that had got him this far. So yeah. Maybe not such a bad idea. Maybe not. Maybe even a good idea?

He’d like that.

Chapter Text

Remus had an 8am lecture. Sirius didn’t have any; he was enjoying a morning doing nothing. Just after 10 he got a text from Remus that just said he was coming over. Sirius told him the door was open.

Around five minutes later the door opened and from his place on the couch Sirius got to observe as Remus discarded bag jacket and shoes, and with barely a glance at Sirius went straight for his bed.

“That kind of day, huh?” Sirius had his laptop on his stomach and one leg over the back of the couch.

Remus cracked open one eye to look at him then he scooted in towards the wall and Sirius took that as his cue. He closed his laptop and got up to join Remus.

Face to face, knees touching.

“How are you, mooncake?”

“Tired.”

“Sleep?”

“Maybe.”

“I do mean it when I say you can talk to me. About what’s bothering you.”

“It’s not—I’m not bothered. Or annoyed, or anything like that. I’m just tired, and I can’t get my mind sorted out.”

“Okay, we’ll, if you tell me what I can do to make things easier I will.”

“You’re not doing anything wrong, Sirius.”

“Okay.”

“It’s like the opposite of that. You’re so… you. And I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know.”

“What is it you think you don’t know?”

“What to do, or say, or feel.”

“There are no rules to those, no right or wrong.”

“That’s not true, but I appreciate the sentiment. It’s just this thing. I don’t know what it is or what to do about it.”

“This thing? Like, us?”

“Mm.”

“We will always be what you feel comfortable with. I would not risk your friendship or making you uncomfortable for anything else. I don’t expect anything from you; we can stop this if you want?”

“No, that’s not what I—I don’t think that’s what I want. I don’t know. I want us to be friends.”

“We are friends.”

“The dating thing is also really nice, just… intimidating.”

“Oh.”

“It just seems like we’re so different and I don’t think I can keep up.”

“Keep up? With what?”

“With you.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know.”

“Remus.”

“I’m sorry, I can’t verbalize it.”

“I think you’re thinking too much about this. I like you just the way you are, doing just the things you do. You don’t have to be anything else and if you feel like you need to then this is not a good thing and it needs to stop.”

“Sirius.”

“No, I mean it. I don’t want to be the cause of you feeling bad. I can’t do that. I want us to have fun and make each other feel nice things, happy things. If we don’t… that’s not good for either of us.”

“But it is nice. Everything about you, with you, is nice. I-I just don’t know if I—If I deserve that.” Remus voice trailed off into a whisper and he was keeping his eyes away from Sirius face.

“Hey, Remus Lupin, you listen to me. You are a person, who makes your own choices. I am also a person, yes? I can also choose. And you said deserve right there. And I will not have any of that. It doesn’t work like that, people aren’t trophies. If you think I’m nice to be around, great! Because I like to be around you too, I want that, and we can have it, all for free.”

Remus drew a shaky breath and glanced up at Sirius.

“I know that. I know. Part of my brain just don’t agree.”

“It’s a dumb part and it should stay out of our business. Remus, if you ever feel like you don’t deserve nice thing please tell me and I will remind you that you deserve all of it, every little bit. I don’t care how many times I need to say it, because it will always be true.

It’s okay, it really is. It’s okay, it’s enough. You are enough.” Sirius reached out and brushed a soft curl away from Remus face. “I like you.”

Remus huffed but there was a hint of a smile on his lips. He reached up and took Sirius’ hand, moved it to lie between them, threading their fingers together.

“I like you too”, he said. Then he didn’t say much more because he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. Sirius was happy to watch him fall asleep and as Remus’ breath evened out he closed his own eyes and let himself drift of.

 

He woke up because his pants were vibrating; it took him longer than he’d like to admit to discern the reason. He was also a bit tangled up in Remus and, once he was awake enough to know what going on, he was had to shuffle around to reach his phone, waking Remus in the process.

It was made worse when he saw who was calling him.

He could always ignore it. Maybe it’d go away.

Unlikely.

Better get it over with.

He got up into a sitting position and swept his thumb across the screen.

“What do you want.”

Well hello to you too, dear cousin.

“What. Do. You. Want. Bella.”

Right now I’d like to know why you insist on being so rude, it not very charming.”

“Oh no.”

How are you doing, Sirius? You do sound a bit… hmm croaky.

“Maybe because you woke me up with this apparently useless call, so I’ll just leave now.”

But if you do that you won’t know why I called, and it will vex you.

“Then tell me and we can go back to ignoring each other for the rest of our lives.”

Awe, that makes it sound like you don’t like me, little cousin. I am hurt.

“Good. I don’t like you. In fact, I rather despise you, and seeing how that feeling is mutual, why don’t you get the fuck on with it already.”

Fiiiiiine, if you insist. So, have you perchance heard anything from little Reggie lately?” Now this was an interesting turn.

“Why do you want to know?”

Oh, no reason in particular. Have you?”

“What makes you think I’d answer that, honestly?”

Hm, see the interesting thing here is that; either you have talked to him, and know what he’s done, and you’re now covering for him. Or, you have no idea where he is or what he’s doing, but you still try to protect him. Oh, it’s just so sweet I might actually throw up.

“Your point?”

My point is that it would be in your best interest to pass on any information you have concerning our dear Reginald, as it would be good for you.

“Hhmm, let me think. Nah, I’ll pass.”

You didn’t come to my sister’s wedding.

“A real shame.”

You were offered a very gracious chance to redeem your past mistakes, and yet you insist on spitting in our faces? You’d rather make enemies of those who could be your most valuable allies, your family? You are a disgrace, a shame to us all, and you insist on continuing this charade of petty rebellion.

“Yes, I’m sure our ancestors would be rolling in their graves if they weren’t busy burning in hell.”

You want to know why I called you? Why I subject myself to even hearing your voice? I have the honour to explain to you that there will be no more chances for you. There will be no coming back. You may still call yourself a Black, but you will never ever be one. Neither will your brother, you may consider him dragged down with you, a loss to your mother I’m sure, but I’m sure she’ll get over it. It is only a pity that you are still alive out there, a constant taint. A real shame, yes.

“One day this entire: I wish you were dead, routine is going to get even less intimidating than it already is, I’m sure, but keep it up. Now if you have no more bile to spew out maybe fuck off?”

You’re going to— ” Sirius hung up and glared at his phone, as if it was to blame. There was a hand touching his back and he turned to glance at Remus. Remus was frowning but he didn’t say anything, just kept his hand lightly pressed against Sirius’ shoulder blade.

Sirius sighed and tossed his phone onto the bed next to him.

“Have I mentioned that my family is fucked up? Because they’re genuinely insane in all the worst ways.”

“I kind of got that idea yeah,” Remus said. Sirius turned towards him and half tackled him with a hug.

“I am getting a bit curious about what Reg has done though,” he murmured with his face pressed against Remus’ shirt.

“Do you know how to contact him?”

“Not really, but he can get to me if he wants to.”

“Then maybe he will.” Remus was dragging his fingers through Sirius’ hair and Sirius really wanted to get back to the napping and not have to think about anything else at all. So he did

Chapter Text

Remus came home to a dark house. Which made little sense since he knew that James was home, but all the lights were off. Cookie was the first to greet him in the dark hall, her usual excited self. It became very clear what was going on as he stepped into the living room doorway and saw two heads turn towards him, slowly and in perfect synchronization. But it wasn’t two human heads, no of course not. It was a dog and a stag.

“We’ve been waiting for you,” they said. “Join us.”

Something flew through the air towards him and landed at his feet. It was a wolf head. Mask.

“I see you’re having fun,” Remus said as he picked up the mask, it was rubbery and surprisingly life-like.

“We have a plan, Moony!” The dog vaulted over the back of the couch and bounced up to him. “It’s going to be great, try on your face!”

Remus sighed put pulled the wolf-head mask on. It smelled horrible.

“Perfect!”

“So what’s the plan?”

“The plan,” James declared. “Is to provide a service to everyone in this town, that it desperately needs!”

“And we have the perfect place and we’re going to stake it out tomorrow, and you’re coming,” Sirius filled in.

“Perfect place?” Remus asked.

“For the haunted house!” Sirius turned around and high-fived James. Remus tried to glare at them but realized it probably wasn’t very effective through the mask.

“Ah yes, the haunted house,” he said. “Obviously that. Who else is in on this?”

“Peter,” Sirius said.

“We’re working on Lily, I’m sure she’ll give in soon, we even have a mask for her.” Indeed, James was holding another deer mask. “We couldn’t get any without horns,” he said. “But I’m sure it’ll work anyway.”

“Awe how cute, matching Halloween outfits,” Remus said. James managed to somehow stare at him without any facial expressions. “What?”

“What? Look at you!” He gestured with Lily’s mask at Remus and Sirius.

“Hey, that’s unfair,” Sirius said. “We didn’t choose, it was chosen for us long ago, written in the stars and all that. And going by that logic shouldn’t you be wearing a pot on your head? And Lily can be a beautiful flower!”

“Well, I’m not following your logic, star-dog, so I’m keeping my beautiful prongs!”

“Dog-star, Prongs!”

“Alright, alright, so where’s this house?”

James and Sirius had a silent stare-down for a good few second before they turned their attention back to Remus.

“Like a block away from uni,” Sirius said.

“It’s very abandoned,” James said.

“It’ll be really great, you’ll see tomorrow.”

“I’m coming to meet you after your lectures… when would that be?”

“Three,” Sirius said.

“Five,” Remus said.

“Three it is! And we can plan while Remus learns more things.”

“Alright, me and Prongsy will pick you up at five, and we’ll impress you with the greatest Halloween plan of all time!”

“I can’t wait,” Remus said, and he was smiling behind his mask. “Now can we take these animal heads off and turn on some blood lights?”

“Oh, right, yes, let’s do that.”

 

One his way to bed Remus stopped by James open door to look at the pile of limbs that was probably once two humans.

“Hey, Sirius, when’s your first lecture tomorrow?”

“Ten,” came a voice from somewhere in that pile. “Will you walk me to class, Mooooony?”

“Yeah, I guess I will.”

“Yaaaaaaay.”

“Good night weirdos.”

“Noooo, Moony!”

“Don’t leave us!”

“Join us, Moony.”

“Become one with us, Moony!”

“We’ve been waiting for you.”

“I’m surprised you’re not doing Evil Twins for Halloween,” Remus pointed out. A head popped out of the pile.

“Oh… Prongs! That’s a brilliant idea!”

“No it’s not, we don’t look anything alike,” James said.

“Nonsense, that could be fixed, I’ll write it down as a plan for next year.” Sirius untangled an arm and reached for Remus. “Remus, come save me from James’ snoring.”

“How will my presence help with that at all?”

“We can band together to smother him in his sleep and then he’ll be quiet?”

Remus considered it.

“Good plan.”

“Yes! Jamestown, move over!”

James’ bed was bigger than Remus’, it was however not in any way meant for three.. unless you made a pile, and they made a pile. And somehow, despite never being comfortable and there always being an elbow in someone’s ribs, they fell asleep.

 


 

 

To Moonster: do your friends dislike me?

From Moonster: What?

To Moonster: they glaaaare

From Moonster: They don’t glare. And why wouldn’t they like you, everybody likes you

To Moonster: They’re scary

From Moonster: They’re not scary, are you awfully bored?

To Moonster: Yeeeeessssss

To Moonster: This class is booooooorinnnggg

From Moonster: How unfortunate

To Moonster: Don’t you be boring to Remus Lupin, come play wiiiith meee

From Moonster: No?

To Moonster: please? Pretty please? I’m so very very bored and I’ve got an hour left and it’s agony

From Moonster: Have you tried paying attention?

To Moonster: And how would that help? Maybe it would put me to sleep and I wouldn’t have to listen to this dude drone.

To Moonster: he DRONES Moony. Like a constant stream of words in the exact same tone. And he doesn’t make facial expressions. I don’t think he wants to be here either, maybe we can escape together. Be free

From Moonster: Don’t run away with your lecturer.

To Moonster: Maybe we’d be happy, maybe it’s what he’s been waiting for

From Moonster: Oh I’m sure he’d be delighted but you’d break James’ heart and I don’t want to have to deal with that.

To Moonster: hmm

To Moonster: that’s true. Jamesy needs me

To Moonster: We need to make a haunted house!

From Moonster: Yes. Apparently you do.

From Moonster: Why don’t you spend your time working on that?

To Moonster: oh yeah guess I could do that

From Moonster: Did that not even occur to you?

To Moonster: no?

From Moonster: Well. Do that, and leave me alone

To Moonster: Alright alright, thanks <3

From Moonster: Bye

 

Sirius made plans. He mostly made plans for cool decorations, and he drew a total of eleven pumpkins. But it was something to do and it did pass the time as the clock ticked slowly so very slowly towards three o’ clock.

When the lecturer let them go ten minutes early Sirius was one of the first out the door, he needed to find James and he needed to tell James everything he had thought about. He was sure they’d make a great thing although they only had a day and a half to set it all together and also make sure people knew about it but didn’t know too much about it. It was a delicate thing.

James and Peter had laid siege to a table in the building where Remus had his next lecture. They didn’t notice Sirius until he dumped his sketchbook on the table with a very satisfying Thump.

“Are you ready to get spooky!”

“Fuck yeah!” James said. Sirius high-fived him.

“Sure?” Peter said. Sirius shook his head in disappointment at him.

“Is that all the excitement you harbour for this the finest of holidays?”

“Well, I’d probably be a little more excited if I knew what we ere doing, but since no one has told me…”

“Oh! James, why didn’t you tell him? Okay listen.” Sirius pushed in next to Peter. “Listen very closely, my Petery friend… We’re doing a Haunted House.”

 

“Behold! The soon to be haunted house!”

“It’s a dump.”

“I already don’t wanna go inside.”

“Our Mansion of Madness, our Cabin in the City, our House of Horrors, our Lodge of.. uhh.”

“Lunacy?”

“Yes thank you, Lodge of Lunacy!”

“More like Shack of Sadness.”

“Oh that’s good!”

“Didn’t mean it as a good thing.”

They were standing in front of the house that Sirius and James had found just earlier that week. It stood on the corner of its block in dilapidated glory. It’s front door was missing and the windows where already boarded up-

“What happened to it?” Lily asked.

“Well, I asked around and it seems to have been used as a greenhouse for weed, that got busted. And then it was just left alone because no one wanted it.” Sirius was proud if this find. It had Potential.

“And we’re going to set up our haunted house here?” Peter asked.

“No, we’re going to make this into our haunted house. It will become the scariest spot in town!” Sirius and James were watching the reactions of theirs friends and found them lacking.

“How are you not excited about this?” Sirius slung an arm over Peter’s shoulders. “It’s the perfect plan!”

“Well, let’s go have a closer look before we start throwing words like perfect around,” Remus said.

“Yeah, come on, it has a basement that I don’t wanna go down into in full daylight.” James grabbed Lily’s hand and pulled her with him towards the door. “You’ll be king of the basement, Peter, isn’t that great?”

“What? No! I don’t wanna be king of the basement. James!” Peter hurried after them and Sirius turned to Remus.

“Soooo, what do you think?”

“I think you’re right. It could be good. We don’t have much time to work on it though, you’re aware of that right?”

“Yeah yeah, we’ve got a plan. We’re going to scout it out, decide on what’s going where and then go get supplies and we’ll set it all up tomorrow. How long do you think it takes to hang up fake spider web anyway?”

“So fake spider web is your plan?”

“Oh no that’s only part of it. My plan involves a sound system.”

“What, like spooky music?”

“No, like spooky sounds, screaming and stuff. Oh howling!”

“Oh great, a screaming shack.”

“Yes! Come on Moony, let’s go pick a room for the werewolf!”

Chapter Text

They picked a room for the werewolf; it had a broken floor, and a perfect corner for lurking in.

“We’re getting some plastic chains for you,” Sirius told Remus, “and just a lot of fake blood, an ohhh we should have some previous victims!”

“What, like some arms?”

“Yes, we can find that right? Rubber limbs! And maybe some torn up clothes? With blood on them!” Sirius clapped his hands together and spun around. He caught Remus shaking his head at him out of the corner of his eye.

“And what will you, the very scary… dog, be doing?” Remus asked.

“Whatever I want,” Sirius said. “I’ll be our unpredictable one, sneaking around! Come on let’s go look at the rest.”

Sirius grabbed Remus’ hand and pulled him through the house.

“We’re making this the throne room of the Stag King.”

“The Stag King?”

“Prongs.”

“I kind of guessed that.”

“We’re going for a surreal horror here. And it already has the chairs!” Sirius motioned towards the old chairs stacked against a wall. “We’re thinking skulls and dead flowers and red lights. And fake blood.”

“Is there any place that won’t be covered in fake blood?” Remus asked.

“Hopefully not! Let’s go to the basement!”

They moved back into the hallway, to the door that lead down some narrow stairs into a basement that was creepy even at the best of times. Lights flickered down there as James, Lily and Peter moved about.

Sirius bounced down the creaking stairs.

“Hello, how’s the kingdom of rats?”

“I don’t want to be left alone down here,” Peter said.

“But Pete, you will be the scary thing! You have nothing to fear, it’s everyone else that should fear!”

“That doesn’t really help, Sirius.”

“Channel that fear into being fearsome!” Sirius patted Peter’s shoulder. “Do you want me to stay down here with you?”

Peter eyed him wearily.

“No,” he said. “I can do it myself.”

“That’s the spirit!” Sirius looked around the basement. It was small, and full of old trash. Perfect for hiding behind. “Are we putting any light down here?”

“Nah,” James said. “People got phones don’t they. Those have flashlights. That’ll be scarier.”

“We do need bones, though. Just to spread around. And a lot of cobwebs and fake spiders. Oh, and maybe some fake rats?”

“Yes!” James matched Sirius smile and the two of them turned towards the other three.

“What do you think?”

“It will be great, right?”

Lily shrugged, Peter nodded, and Remus sighed.

“I’m just worried about the time,” Remus said. “We haven’t gotten much time to set up.”

“That’s why we should get started,” James said. “Me, Sirius, and you, are on decorating duty. Lily and Peter will go out and spread the word.”

“So, let’s waste no time! We want to be ready to go at nine.” Sirius held up a finger and looked around the room. “And no revealing the secrets to any outsiders.”

There was a murmur of agreement and they broke up to take care of their tasks.

 

Sirius and James had acquired some of what they needed the day before, like the sound system that Sirius was borrowing from a friend. But now they had a list that they brought to the closest store that stocked Halloween things.

James had found a recipe for fake blood online, which had the advantage of being consumable, but they still needed the ingredients. Most of it was corn syrup and red food dye.

“Lucky for us, bad lighting will make these plastic things look more real.” James picked up a plastic skull and held it up to show the other two.

“The true trick behind any horror; not being able to see shit.” Sirius gestured with a skeletal arm. “Candles would be great, but I don’t trust people to not burn the house down so maybe not.”

“We could get some fairy-light strings,” Remus suggested. “The ones that run on batteries. You could probably get those in red.”

“Yes, excellent!” Sirius picked up a bag of plastic spiders and inspected them. “I know that these are fake, but they’re kind of gross anyway.” He put them in the cart.

“Are we going for dried flowers or fake flowers?” James asked.

“Dried flowers would be better, right? More death and decay and all that.”

“The house smells pretty bad already, so we don’t need to do anything about that at least,” Remus said.

“Oh, look at this!” Sirius picked up a witch hat and plopped it down on his head. “Can I be a witch instead of a dog? I want to curse people!”

“Ohhh, we can do a witch’s cabin next year!” James said. “Bubbling cauldron and cages with kids in them and all that.”

“That’s great, maybe you can wait until after this year’s Halloween to plan next year’s?” Remus suggested. He didn’t think he deserved the judgemental looks Sirius and James gave him. “Just a suggestion.”

“Anyway, how much fake cobweb do we need?”

“More.”

“More?”

“Just more.”

 

James mixed the fake blood in an actual bucket, while cackling a fair bit. Remus was covering every available surface with cobwebs and fake spiders. Sirius was setting up the small speakers.

They set up drapes in the doorways so that people couldn’t see into the rooms before they entered. They had also changed clothes, so that if they got blood on themselves it wouldn’t matter.

Remus was wearing a pair of jeans that had been torn off at the knee, and then shredded, along with a t-shirt that was more holes than shirt.

James, for some reason, wore a brown tweed suit, complete with waistcoat and tie.

Sirius was just dressed in all black, including a black fake-fur jacket and leather gloves, but he said he’d take of his shoes when they got started, for better sneaking.

When James was done stirring his bucket of blood he used the ladle to drip trails of blood from the front door to the three main rooms, the werewolf room, the throne room, and down the stairs into the basement. He also dipped his hands in and smeared it on the walls. Then he moved onto what he called “the proper bloody mess”. He started in the werewolf room and just flung blood at the walls, floor, and ceiling. The result was indeed a bloody mess.

By the time Remus got started on the throne room Lily and Peter returned. They too had changed clothes. Lily into a long dress she’d found at a second hand store and Peter in jeans and a long-sleeved grey t-shirt.

Lily took charge of the throne room and Remus was pretty happy to just help her.

They placed two of the best looking, sturdiest, chairs in the middle of the room, facing the door, and tied dried flowers to them. They hung plastic skulls in bunches from the ceilings and set up the red lights behind the chairs.

Lily also had some torn sheets that she dipped in the blood-bucket and hung up over the windows.

“I picked these up when I walked through the park,” she said and showed Remus a bag of rowan-berry clusters and some pine cones. “For that woodland feeling.”

“You’re almost having as fun with this as James and Sirius are,” Remus said.

“Oh, don’t pretend like you’re not having fun as well, Remus. They may behave a bit like over-excited twelve years olds, but that shit’s contagious.”

“Alright, yeah, I guess it is.”

“Now help me build an altar to the stag gods.”

 


 

 

It was almost nine o’clock.

Sirius was pumped up on energy, and there was already some people gathered outside.

Everything and everyone was in place. The sound system was up and running. The house was screaming, it had caught him off-guard several times already. It was going to be perfect.

All that was left was to check everyone was ready and then throw the doors open.

With his dog-mask in hand he followed the blood-trail through a cobwebbed hallway to the basement stairs.

It was a decent into darkness.

He fished up his phone from a pocket and clicked on the flashlight and made his way down, humming a bit as he went.

Ratty sheets had been thrown over some of the things that had been deemed not scary enough. Bones lay strew across the concrete floor. There were cobwebs strung up so you’d have to duck to get around the room.

Sirius knew what he’d find and he still jumped as he turned a corner and his meagre light caught a hunched over figure in the corner, holding something fleshy in its hands.

“Holy shit, Peter, that’s better than I would have hoped for.”

Peter hissed at him.

“Yep, leaving now.”

“No, come back and feast with me, Sirius!”

Sirius backed away.

“Nope. I’m out.”

He climbed the stairs and turned right towards the Throne Room.

There was a red glow coming through the almost, but not quite, sheer curtain across the doorway. He pushed it aside and stepped into a particular kind of hell.

James, in his old-fashioned suit, stained with blood up to the elbows, a wine-glass full of blood in one hand, and a stag head with cobwebs strung between the antlers. And equally stag-headed Lily in her pretty red dress, her bare arms also soaked in blood, a hand resting on a skull in her lap, the other intertwined with James’.

They sat without moving, surrounded by a mound of skulls and dried flower, backlit by a red glow, and before them the altar.

It was a low table they’d found in one of the other rooms with a blood-stained white cloth over it and a metal bowl on it, the bowl held three glistening human hearts. Sirius had been quite happy about finding those.

“This is also creepy,” Sirius said. “I feel threatened.”

“Have you brought sacrifice to your King?”

“No?”

“Foolish mortal!”

“So you’re ready to go then?”

“Yes,” Lily said.

“Excellent, you’re doing great, I’m so proud.”

Sirius left the throne room and skipped along towards Remus.

He was proud of the werewolf room. It was completely trashed, and they had not needed to do much more than add blood.

Chained to the wall was their werewolf. Also known as Remus, who had patiently allowed Sirius to splash blood on him.

The great thing about the werewolf was that he didn’t need to do much to look scary. The surroundings did most of the job.

“Moony! You look absolutely stunning.”

“Thanks, I think this might be my new look from now on.”

“I’m kind of into it.”

“Slightly worrying.”

“It’s probably the blood and exposed skin.”

“Still worrying.”

The speakers let out a howl and they both jumped.

“Are you ready to scare some people?” Sirius asked.

Remus nodded and tugged a bit at the plastic chains.

“Too bad they don’t rattle,” he said.

“Maybe next year.”

“I though we’re doing a witch’s cabin next year?”

“We can still have rattling chains.” Sirius pulled on his dog head and flung out his arms. “How do I look?”

“Creepy, but in the I’m-not-sure-what-drugs-this-person-is-on way not in the ghosts and monsters way,” Remus said.

“I’ll take it.” Sirius bounced up and down a bit. “Let’s get this party started!”

He left Remus and went to the front door. He could hear the sounds on people from outside and grinned inside of his mask. At least the turnout would be decent.

He waited until the next long wail from the speakers before he threw the doors open and stepped outside.

The gathered people, around a dozen so far, most people he recognized, turned their attention to him.

He stepped aside and with a flourish and a bow presented the open door.

There was a cheer from the people and soon the first, a group of three, stepped up the stair and into the house. Sirius closed the door behind them and, as they moved inwards, slipped out of sight.

And so it was in motion. He let in people and let out people, keeping quiet as he did so. And every time he heard a surprised scream or swearing he smiled.

The first dozen people weren’t the only that came, indeed more and more trickled by, some in pairs, some in larger groups. The front of the house turned into an impromptu party of itself, some even wore costumes.

Sirius moved about the house, sometimes sneaking up behind people and placing a hand on their shoulders, sometimes just waiting behind them until they turned around.

James’ voice regularly boomed through the house as he called for sacrifice. Many screams came from the cellar. It was a good night.

They kept it up until midnight, and by then Sirius had lost count of how many people had come and gone. He was pleasantly tired but not exhausted as he went around the house to gather up his friends.

Together they stepped out of the house to the cheer of those that had stuck around outside. Sirius bowed deeply.

“Thank you all for visiting our shrieking shack!”

“Next time remember to bring sacrifice to the Stag God!” James called out. “But for now I’ll accept your help in cleaning up instead.”

In the end some actually stayed around to help them. Like Mary and Julie. This did make the clean-up go pretty fast. Although clean-up wasn’t the right term. They did absolutely nothing to clean up the fake blood. But they did pick down the decorations, and, most importantly, the sound system.

 


 

“I really should get back to Cookie,” James said as he lifted the last box into his car. “Poor girl has been alone far too long.” He turned to Lily. “You wanna come pet my dog?”

“Sure, as long as I can also take a shower and get this blood of off me,” Lily said.

“Deal.” James yawned. “You coming home too, Moony?”

Remus shook his head.

“I kind of feel like taking a walk?” he said.

“Alright, weirdo. Peter you want a lift then?”

Peter agreed to this and the three of them drove off.

Sirius and Mary were sitting on the stairs outside the front door. Julie had just left.

“Thank you for the help.”

“No problem, it was fun,” Mary said. “Not the cleaning, the haunted house.”

“What did you like about it?” Sirius asked. “So I know what we need to do better next year.”

Mary laughed.

“Well, the sounds were great, very atmospheric. And the stag room was really cool!”

“More sounds and more stags, got it.”

“Yeah. But great night, boys. Now I just need to find the strength to bike back home.” Mary grimaced and threw one arm around Sirius, gave him a side-hug and got up to give Remus a proper hug but stopped herself. “No, you’re covered in blood. No hug for you.”

“Fair enough.” Remus shrugged and as she biked off he went to sit in her spot next to Sirius.

“Did you have fun?” Sirius asked, tentatively.

“Yes,” Remus said. “It was fun, probably the most fun I’ve had at Halloween.”

“That’s good.”

“Yes, it is.”

Remus had put on a sweater over his not very warm t-shirt. But it was still very cold, now that he’d stopped moving.

“Come for a walk with me,” he said.

“Okay. Where are we going?”

“Don’t worry about that.”

“That’s not menacing at all.” Sirius eyed Remus with great distrust and Remus burst out laughing.

“It’s a surprise?” he tried instead.

“Okay, that sounds better.”

Remus stood up and offered his hand to Sirius who happily took it.

“So… best Halloween ever, eh?” Sirius smiled and Remus could do nothing but smile back.

“Yeah, best Halloween ever.”

Chapter Text

The sky was clear and strewn with stars. The moon shone big and round, not quite full, but close enough. The night-air was crisp and clear.

They walked through the park connected to the university area, hand in hand.

“Parks are notoriously known for being safe places to walk in the middle of the night,” Sirius said.

“It’ll be fine,” Remus replied. “There’s no one around, and it’s Halloween, the monsters will keep the creeps away.”

“Right.”

“This way.”

Remus led them to the pond, then to the small bridge that spanned the narrowest section.

“Hey, it’s so dark you can’t see the trash in the water! I could almost pretend there’s fish.”

“We’re not here to look at the water, Sirius.”

“Alright, what are we looking at?”

Remus pointed up.

“The stars.”

Sirius tilted his head back and looked at the stars. The air he drew into his lungs was cold, Remus hand in his was warm.

“They’re nice stars,” he said.

“I’ve been thinking,” Remus said. “About dating.”

Sirius felt a wave of worry wash over him. But Remus hand remained where it was.

“It’s a bit silly, isn’t it,” Remus continued. “Like, the idea is very nice and all. But maybe… maybe we skipped that part before we started?”

“How do you mean?”

“I mean we don’t need to date because we are dating and have been for a while. And that’s a bit strange because it feels like this is the way it’s always been but also like it was just yesterday when I couldn’t stand the sight of you.”

“That’s both sweet and harsh, thanks,” Sirius said. “But what does it matter?”

“It matters,” Remus said, “because I like definitions and I don’t have one for this.” He gestured between them.

“Oh, definitions…” Sirius thought this over. “Like boyfriends? Because that’s what we are right?”

“Are we?”

“I mean that’s up to us, I think? We could be?”

“Hmmm. I guess.”

Sirius scowled in Remus’ direction, but Remus wasn’t looking at him so it had little effect.

“You were the one who asked for a definition!”

“I know,” Remus said, and he was smiling. “And you provided one.”

“Which you seem extremely excited about.”

Remus finally turned to look at him and he looked to be holding back laughter.

“I was giving it due consideration.”

“And what conclusion did you come to?”

“I think I like it.”

“Great,” Sirius said. “Can I take it back? I think you’d be a very annoying boyfriend.”

“Nah, you’re stuck with me now, deal with it, Dog-star.”

Sirius rolled his eyes and Remus gave his hand a slight squeeze and another smile. Then he turned his gaze back to the stars above.

Sirius watched the moonlight reflect in the water, listened to the muted sound of cars and voices that drifted in to them. He pressed closer to Remus in an attempt to leech more heat, Remus seemed to catch on to this and dropped Sirius hand to place his arm around Sirius’ shoulders.

They stood like that for a long drawn-out moment before Sirius spoke again.

“We should probably do some negotiating. Or that’s not the right word… uhh we should lay down some rules?”

“Rules?” Sirius could hear the lifted eyebrow in Remus’ voice.

“I’m a very clingy person,” Sirius said. “I want to know what’s okay with you and what’s not.”

“Oh okay. I’ll make sure to tell you, when I figure that out.”

Sirius tilted his head up to look at Remus, albeit from a very awkward angle.

“Like kissing,” he said. “Because this would be an opportune kissing moment.”

Remus glanced down at him and the corner of his mouth twisted up in a smile. Then he tilted his head and kissed Sirius’ forehead.

“Sure is.”

“That was me asking if I can kiss you.”

“Was it? I thought you were just stating facts. Providing examples.”

“Moonsteeeeeeer.”

“Yes.”

“Why are you like this?”

“No, that was my answer. Yes, you can kiss me. But I’m starting to doubt you will.”

Sirius twisted out from under Remus’ arm so he could grab at his jacket and tug him down from his great heights so that Sirius indeed could kiss him.

And kiss him he did.

 


 

Remus really didn’t mind kissing, not at the right place, at the right moment, with the right person. This was the right everything. So he closed his eyes and fell into it. Smiled as Sirius fingers released his jacket to travel across his neck.

The kiss itself was slow and soft, almost tentative. And then they just stood there, faces together, eyes closed, pressed together. The world around them faded away to nothing, alone in a void.

Then Sirius sighed and fully wrapped his arms around Remus in hug.

It was cold, and Remus was starting to freeze, he was also exceptionally tired. But that was fine, because he’d soon be able to go inside and hide under layers of blankets. And Sirius would be there with him. And all would be well.