Sirius coughs impressively, and the assembled wedding guests look up at him. “May I welcome Mr. and Mrs. Potter to the dancefloor!”
There are claps and cheers, and Lily takes James’ hand and draws him upright. Sirius beams at them, and looks down at the sound system he’s standing behind. “Right,” he mutters. “Right, I’ll just be pressing this—“
Peter hovers next to him. “Uh, no. Not that one. Do you want me to—“
Sirius backs away, eyeing the stereo warily. “It doesn’t like me,” he says.
Peter laughs, and starts the music. Some Muggle song Sirius doesn’t know plays out, but he’s too busy watching the bride and groom to pay much attention to it. Lily’s leading, he notes with a smile, because it’ll be some sort of a miracle if James manages to get through the evening without treading on her train or her shoes – two left feet at the best of times, poor lad, and on today of all days, when he’s been wandering around in some kind of stupefied, delighted daze, there’s not a hope for him.
Sirius takes a long gulp of his drink, and though he’d never admit it, it’s partially to counteract the lump forming in his throat. He catches Peter’s eye, exchanges a grin, and then looks around, expecting to reach out and find Remus there, but he’s nowhere in sight. Sirius frowns and slips out of the hall. Outside, it’s already dark, but he can make out a distinctly Remus-y figure seated on a bench some distance away.
“You’re missing the party,” he says mildly when he gets closer.
Remus jumps. “Oh. Sorry. Didn’t hear you.”
“Evidently.” Sirius sits down next to him. “You okay?”
“Fine, yeah.” Remus looks apologetic. “I’ll be back in a minute, promise.”
Sirius shrugs. “Doesn’t matter, they won’t miss us for a bit.”
“James is concentrating hard, I take it.”
“He hasn’t cocked it up so far, he’s doing very well,” Sirius says. “So, you going to tell me what’s going on?”
“What do you mean?”
“Any reason in particular you’re out here brooding on the moors?”
“I’m not brooding,” says Remus. “Just needed some fresh air.”
“It really bothers you? James and Lily getting married?”
“What? No, of course not.”
Sirius sighs, runs a hand through his hair. “Then what?”
“It doesn’t matter. You should go back to the reception.”
“Remus, could you stop being infuriating?” Remus turns to look at him properly then, wide-eyed. “You’ve been a nightmare all day,” Sirius tells him.
Remus starts to protest, then he frowns. “I’ve been that bad?”
“More or less.”
“Christ, I really didn’t mean to be. It’s just—actually, I thought you’d get it.”
“Get what? Your inexplicable discontent at our two friends enjoying the happiest day of their lives?”
“It’s not them, it’s the whole . . . thing,” Remus says with an all-encompassing hand wave. “Weddings,” he clarifies. “All this pomp and ceremony, the propaganda that this is the happiest day any of us could hope to achieve, but the Ministry’s never going to change and so I’ve been sitting there all afternoon just thinking—“ He breaks off. “I can’t marry you,” he finishes, looking miserable.
Sirius stares at him, not knowing what to say.
Remus colours. “Sorry, I didn’t— that wasn’t some kind of proposal, it’s not like we’re—“
“Shut up,” Sirius says, and Remus does. In the silence, Sirius takes his hand, smiling until Remus laughs and ducks his head.
“I’m an idiot,” Remus says.
“No, you’re not.” Sirius looks up at the evening sky, then he gasps. “Woah, what’s that?”
Above their heads, a star is streaking across the night, followed by another, then another.
“I think I saw something in the Prophet about meteor showers around now,” Remus says. “See, being out here isn’t so bad after all.”
“Course it isn’t,” Sirius replies. “You’re here.”
He brings his gaze back to earth in time to see Remus watching him, a real smile on his face for the first time all day. And Sirius is still elated by James’ happiness, not to mention hopelessly in love himself, and somehow he finds words. “Weddings aren’t important, not really,” he says. “Not that James could resist a chance to show off to the world just how lucky he is. But it doesn’t change anything that really matters. They’ll still just be James and Lily tomorrow, just with some nice new legal benefits. We can get by just fine until someone gets some sense knocked into them.”
After a moment, Remus nods. “Yeah. Yeah, I know.” He takes a deep breath, brings forth an even better smile. “We should go inside.”
“Probably.” Sirius looks up at the celestial light show again. Music is drifting out over the grass, a waltz Sirius half-remembers from a long time ago. “But maybe not just yet.” He grabs Remus by the hand and tugs him upright, ignoring his laughing protests. “I think I know this one,” he says, and rests a hand against Remus’ back, pulling him close until they’re moving to the music, dancing out in the night. “I’d have said yes, you know. If you’d been asking.”
“Oh.” Remus laughs against Sirius’ cheek. “If I’d been asking.”
Above them, meteors continue to shoot across the sky, entirely unnoticed.