Silence. Beautiful, wonderful, blissful silence. No James rambling about Lily. No Peter squeaking about sweets. No Sirius and his obnoxious bark of laughter at inappropriate moments. It was just books and parchment and quill. Well, there was one more thing. One more person he should say.
His Gryffindor bravery had finally surfaced. Remus John Lupin had finally asked someone out. James would probably kill him for it, but that was why he was not planning to tell the Marauders about his date. Friends should not go out with members of rival House Quidditch teams. Especially when the match against said rival team was imminent. At least he wasn’t a Slytherin. That was something Remus would never have been allowed to live down.
Almost finished with the paragraph he was working on, and needing to look up more information to argue his next point, Remus reached forward to pick up the book that lay between them. His fingers brushed with Michael’s. Instead of pulling apart at the accidental contact, they looked at one another. Michael linked their fingers and, after he glanced at their joined hands quickly, Remus smiled to himself. This was infinitely better than studying in the Gryffindor Tower.
Remus watched as Michael’s tongue darted out to wet his lips. His mouth opened as if to speak.
“Remus!” Sirius’ voice rang throughout the library. Remus flinched and pulled his hand away, eyes darting around nervously to make sure Sirius had not spotted them. “Reeeeeeeemus, where are you?”
Moment gone and silence broken, Michael turned back to his own essay. Before Remus could apologise, he had an extraordinarily excited Sirius draped over his shoulders.
“There you are. Get your stuff together. We’ve got something to show you and you won’t believe it. Come on!”
“I’m busy Sirius; you can’t just come in and disturb me. I’ll see you all later,” Remus sighed.
“The essay will still be there later. It’s easy enough. Don’t know why you’re bothering with books. I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer so you might as well give in.”
Sirius had whipped his wand out and banished Remus’ belongings into his bag before Remus could bat an eyelash. With Remus’ bag held securely in one hand and the other wrapped around Remus’ upper arm, Sirius dragged Remus to his feet.
“I’m really sorry. Tomorrow?” Remus mouthed to Michael before Sirius could take him too far.
Michael smiled, not seeming too annoyed that his date was being manhandled out of the room. “Tomorrow,” he echoed.
Once out in the hallway, Remus yanked his arm out of Sirius’ grasp and snatched back his bag.
“What was so important that you couldn’t just wait for me to finish my essay? You know there’s a full moon on Tuesday and McGonagall won’t let me use it for an excuse if I don’t get it done on time.”
“Life changing things, Moony my lad. Life changing things.” Sirius was practically bounding down the corridor. Excitement was rolling off him in waves.
“If Lily has agreed to go out with James, that’s not life changing enough to drag me away from the library.”
“Oh, please. Like I’d be this excited if it was just Evans finally caving in. It’s so much better. In fact, you could call it a slightly belated birthday present of sorts. Why are you so slow? Move faster damn you!” Sirius grinned and doubled back to grab Remus’ hand this time and drag him along behind him.
“It had better be good. The dangers of the Animagus transformation are really important to know, it’s something that can go wrong so easily and despite some gruesome pictures, it’s really interesting to understand.”
Sirius laughed. “McGonagall just wants to scare us all into not trying it. You know that. Why else focus the essay on the bad? Besides, there really aren’t that many things that can go wrong. You just have to make sure you know your animal form before you attempt to transform, take the potions in the correct order and say the right spells. Simple.”
“If it was that simple there wouldn’t be pictures of people permanently stuck with the head of a rabbit or eagle wings.”
Sirius snorted with laughter. “Did you see the one where the guy ended up with a horse-”
“Yes!” Remus interrupted slightly flustered. “I saw that one too. Although, when have you ever cracked a book open to look at something?” He was confused beyond all comprehension that Sirius actually seemed to know the theory for once.
“Erm, I was bored and who doesn’t want to look at people with random animal body parts?” Sirius paused, looking back at Remus and for once Sirius actually seemed worried. “Right?”
Remus nodded, suspicious at why Sirius had lost his composure because Remus knew he had actually opened a book.
The common room was quiet. Most people were outside enjoying the surprisingly warm spring weather, so no one really cared as the two boys clambered through the portrait hole and flew through the room as if a frenzied cockatrice was on their heels. They were all used to the Marauders’ antics anyway. Although, it was usually James and Sirius who made all of the commotion and not the normally reserved Remus.
They paused at the door to their dormitory. Sirius’ sudden stop caused Remus to bump into him, but Sirius was quick to steady Remus. His comforting hands rubbed up and down Remus’ arms for a second before he pulled back.
“Are you ready for your surprise?” Remus nodded, apprehension fluttered in his stomach. Sirius was never this serious. Boy was he glad he had not voiced that sentiment. “In that case, Remus Lupin, I am pleased to introduce you to,” Sirius swung the door open and ushered Remus inside, “Prongs and Wormtail.”
Remus stared in shock at the deer and rat currently in their room, wondering how in the name of Merlin Sirius had managed to get the animals up there.
“Sirius, I don’t understand.”
Yet, instead of Sirius standing next to him, there was a large black dog.
“Moony,” Remus turned to see James where the stag had been moments before; a rather nervous looking Peter at his side. “Moony, meet Padfoot.”
Remus placed his hand on the dog’s, Sirius’, head and slowly stroked the warm soft fur. He understood.
“I’m sorry about last week,” Remus said as they walked side by side around the lake. The sun was low in the sky, an orange glow slowly dissipating into the darkness. “It’s just when you’re friends with James and Sirius your time isn’t really your own.”
“It’s fine. You’re here now and that’s what matters.” Michael smiled and moved closer to Remus. Remus considered widening the distance once more, not being overly used to being close to people, but surprisingly Michael’s proximity did not bother him. “I do have to wonder why you are friends with them though. What does a bunch of troublemakers have that keeps you with them?”
“People always want to know that.” To be honest, Remus was fed up with the question. Why people felt it was their business to know the motives behind his friendships was beyond him. “They are my friends because they are good people and they accept me for who I am. What more could I ask for?”
“They know you’re gay then?”
Remus hesitated in answering. His friends did not know. In fact, they currently thought he was out on prefect rounds. He was not ready for that revelation just yet. Part of him hoped they would just work out his preference for boys as they had his lycanthropy, come to terms with it and then confront him about it. It was so much easier that having to actually voice that no, he had absolutely no interest in chasing after girls with the rest of them. However, he could hardly tell Michael that what they were accepting of was his habit of turning into a bloodthirsty beast once a month.
“Yes. Yes, that’s it.” He settled on agreeing in the end and listened half-heartedly as Michael changed to singing the Marauders praises as not all of his friends had been so nice when he had told them. Remus hated lying. It made him want to be sick. Before too long Remus felt the need to stop him talking before he did lose his dinner. “Can we talk about something else? I’d like to get to know you and not talk about my friends. If I wanted to have a conversation about Sirius, I’d go and talk to Sirius.”
“Sure.” Michael chuckled. “I just thought that they were such a big part of your life that you’d like to tell me about them.”
“They are a big part of my life, a huge part, and it’s because of that, that I would like something separate from them.”
“Okay. I get that. Does that mean that I may get to be that separate part?”
“As I said, I’d certainly like to get to know you more.” They came to a stop on the far side of the lake. Something Remus was rather grateful for, although he would never have voiced it out loud, including to his friends, he was still worn out from his transformation a few days previously.
“I’d like to get to know you too. You intrigue me, Remus.” Michael turned to face him and placed a hand on the small of Remus’ back, pulling them closer together. Even through his robes, Remus could feel the soothing warmth. Remus felt his heart speed up slightly and his mouth craved water, suddenly dry. “I’d really like to kiss you. If that’s alright with you?”
Remus nodded. He leant forwards, close enough that their breaths mingled and he could hear Michael’s heart pounding in time with his own. At least that was what he thought the thumping was. Only it was getting louder and then all of a sudden there was an all too familiar bark and the unexpected force of a sharply clawed paw hitting his side. Michael let out a startled gasp and pulled back from Remus to see what was going on. However, he did not release Remus’ waist from his grasp. Remus closed his eyes, took a deep breath and counted to three before turning and looking into the grey eyes he knew far too well. There, with one front paw planted firmly on each of them, tongue lolling out and panting for breath, was Sirius.
“I thought dogs weren’t allowed on school grounds?” Michael mused; his free had moved to pet Sirius on the head and scratch him behind the ear. Sirius nuzzled at him affectionately.
“They aren’t,” Remus ground out. “They’re supposed to be at home with their owners and not go gallivanting around the school on their own.” He pulled away from both of them and Sirius dropped to all fours on the ground with a small displeased whine. “Stop your moaning you dirty great mutt.”
“Do you know who he belongs to? He seems to like you.” Remus ignored Sirius trying to get his attention with licks and nuzzling.
“He sort of belongs to James, I guess.” Remus was pretty certain that the disgruntled bark was Sirius’ way of disagreeing that he was anyone’s. “Has a mind of his own though.”
Clearly peeved at Remus, Sirius turned his attention to Michael who was more than happy to crouch down and make a fuss of the furry intruder. “He’s gorgeous though, isn’t he? I can’t believe I haven’t seen him around before.”
“He’s pretty new really, and please don’t inflate his ego further,” Remus said, wondering what exactly he had done in a past life to not only have the unfortunate experience of being a gay werewolf, but to have his friend insistent on ruining what had been promising to be his first kiss. When Sirius started to lick Michael’s face, Remus had had enough. “Stop it. You can’t just go around licking people!” He scolded and pulled Sirius back by the scruff of his neck. “I’m so sorry about him Michael. Look, I think it would be best for me to take him back to James.”
Despite Michael’s insistence that it was fine, it’s what dogs did and he didn’t mind the company on their date, Remus just felt like things were ruined and left with Sirius anyway.
“I can’t believe you,” he hissed and they made their way back up to the dormitory. Sirius looked suitably chastised, his tail and ears dropping as he padded along next to Remus. “Running around looking like that! What if someone works out what you’ve done? Don’t even think you’re going to stay in that form all the way up to our room. You’re going to change back as soon as we can find somewhere where no one will see.” Sirius licked Remus’ hand clearly in an attempt to sooth him as they rounded the last corner and were about to enter the castle. “Please don’t tell James or Peter about what you saw. In fact, I’d rather not talk about it at all. I’m just not ready.”
Once inside Hogwarts, Remus waited for Sirius to duck inside a broom cupboard to regain his normal form before they continued to the Gryffindor Tower. Neither mentioned what had happened down by the lake, not until right before Sirius turned in for the night. He paused by Remus’ bed, shuffled his feet slightly in agitation before abandoning whatever had been holding him back and sat down next to Remus.
“I’ll not abandon you. No matter what. I don’t care who you like.” He flung an arm around Remus’ shoulder and pulled him close. “You’re still my Remus.”
“Remus?” His named was hissed in his ear the moment that he left Professor McGonagall’s classroom. He turned to see Michael leaning casually against the wall waiting for him. Remus glanced at the rest of the Marauders who were deep in conversation about the prank they were planning to pull that lunchtime to blow off some near-exam stress, whilst looking good in front of Lily of course, and hastily made an exit. He was rather hoping to not get another detention this close to their O.W.L.S. However, it was something James and Sirius certainly could not be distracted from.
“How’re you?” Remus asked and fell smoothly into step with Michael as they walked together down the corridor in the opposite direction from the other students who were scrambling to get to the Great Hall. In the couple of months they had been together, this was the first time that Michael had sought him out in such a way. “You don’t normally wait for me after class.”
“I’m fine thank you. I finished up in the library a little early and wanted to see how you were doing. This time last year I wanted to tear my hair out with stress.”
“Don’t worry. I’m not panicking just quite yet. Although, I do wish there were more hours in the day.”
“I know that feeling.” Michael gave Remus’ shoulder a small squeeze. The corridor was far too crowded for any other displays of affection. They walked in silence for a few moments before Michael paused, looked around and gestured for Remus to stop also. “It’s a shame you’re not feeling too stressed out though. I was hoping to have the chance to relieve some of it.” He nodded his head in the direction of a nearby broom cupboard.
“Oh,” Remus said with a smile, “maybe I was wrong. I am feeling a bit tense after all.”
Fortunately, as they had been walking, the crowd had thinned out and they were able to slip unnoticed into the cupboard. As soon as the door was closed, Michael had Remus pinned to the cold stone wall and kissed him firmly on the mouth. Their bags lay abandoned on the floor; some of the contents had spilled out, quills and parchments lay forgotten as the two boys groped at each other blindly, both vying for dominance.
Michael pulled away and Remus whimpered at the loss of contact. “Stop fighting me and just relax. This is supposed to be about letting me help you not be so tense.”
“Fine,” Remus sighed and shrugged off his school robes letting them drop to the floor. He leant against the wall. “Do with me as you wish.”
“Mmm, don’t tempt me,” Michael purred and slipped out of his own robes before standing before Remus once more. Remus leant into Michael’s touch, his warm hands roamed over the top of his clothes, both soothing and arousing. It did not take long for the hands to start to move under their clothes as well. Remus, bored of his passive role, gave as good as he got and soon both were panting and groaning at the touch of the other.
There was a creak. They both froze. The door opened.
“Sirius!” Remus yelped when he saw who was standing on the other side of the door. He was certain that his cheeks were flushed red from more than pleasure. Sirius seemed to not be fazed at all finding Remus and Michael with their hands down each other’s pants. “Close the door!” The light that had spread over the dusty floor when Sirius had opened it, quickly vanished, but Remus stared incredulously at his fellow Marauder who had closed the door from what Remus considered to definitely be the wrong side. “From the other side!”
“No can do, Remus. The Slytherins and McGonagall are on the war path and I am not going back out there.” Despite the fact he did not seem flustered at what was in front of him, Sirius was deadly intent on keeping his eyes focused solely on Remus’ face. “Nice seeing you again, Michael.”
Remus cursed himself for having left his wand in his robes because right now he wanted nothing more than to hex Sirius and have him out of their hair so they could be alone to finish what they started. He wished they had started on wandless magic this year because he sorely wanted to use it. How they had been stupid enough to forget to lock the door was beyond him. Remus quickly glanced at Michael and he was pretty sure his sentiments about getting Sirius out of there were shared. For a second, when he returned his gaze to Sirius, he could have sworn Sirius’ eyes had flickered up from looking lower down, but clearly that had to be a trick of the low light.
“I’m going to kill him,” Remus muttered into Michael’s shoulder. “No one will miss him, right? I’ll just dispose of his body and then we can finish this like nothing ever happened.” Michael’s chuckle in response shook Remus’ body.
“I don’t think James would appreciate that and Sirius is one of your best friends.”
“Not right now he isn’t.”
“You two are going to stop with me in here, aren’t you?”
Remus sighed and he and Michael extricated themselves from their compromising position, not that there was much space to move in the cupboard especially with a third person, and straightened up their clothing. “It’s not like we have much of a choice. Where are the others anyway?” The only thing Remus could find to be grateful for was that it was only Sirius who had chosen their cupboard to hide in and not Peter and James as well. There would have been no space at all then and given his current condition being pressed up against his friends would have been uncomfortable on so many levels.
“Erm, Pete got caught, I think, and James, the jammy git that he is, just sort of disappeared.” Sirius mimed putting the Invisibility Cloak on.
“Which left you running down the corridor, quite a way I might add, and hiding in the first supposedly unoccupied space you could find?”
“You could say that, yes.”
“Well, you failed in that respect,” Michael said coolly. “Don’t go making a habit of it.”
“Believe me,” Sirius replied in a tone just as icy, one Remus had only heard him use around his family before. “Walking in on you two is the last thing I want.”
“Clearly, I should have been dating prefects long before you.” They had sneaked into a deserted classroom after hours. Remus knew where and when the prefects were patrolling and the room where they currently resided had long since been searched for errant students. Unfortunately, he had been unable to find the Marauder’s Map to ensure that the others would not seek him out, but he was pretty certain that they were too busy with their own lives to care too much that he was not around.
“I don’t know about that. I don’t think that many prefects are into sneaking around after curfew. That comes from being friends with such troublemakers.”
“Well then, I’m very glad you are friends with the scourges of the school.”
“Not questioning why I’m so loyal to them anymore then?” Remus grinned before settling himself on one of the desks and pulling Michael to stand in front of him, each relaxing into each other’s embrace. Trysts between members of two different Houses were too difficult to achieve in Remus’ mind. The boys may very well not be able to go into the girls’ dormitories, but at least intra-House couples could spend time together easily without having to find neutral ground.
“Certainly not. I’m rather fond of this side of you.”
“Good, since you’re the only one who gets to see it.” Remus’ fingers strayed under the hem of Michael’s jumper, brushing lightly against the soft skin.
“How about you sneak us into the prefect’s bathroom next time? I’m sure we could have some fun in there.” Michael pressed kisses to Remus’ neck.
“Oh, you don’t want to go in there. The after effects of James and Sirius’ latest prank are still around and you’ll just come out smelling worse than when you went in.”
The kisses stopped.
Michael pulled back to look Remus in the eye. His expression had turned serious.
“You took them to the prefect’s bathroom, but you won’t take me?”
“Take is such a strong word. It was more that I avoided hours of them trying to convince me to let them in by just giving them the password straightaway.” Remus shrugged.
“We’ve been together a year and you won’t let me see you naked, but they can?”
“What does me being naked have to do with anything? We don’t go and have baths together. They wanted to prank the prefects. I’ve told you I’m not ready for that yet and you said you were fine with it. I don’t understand why you are bringing this up.”
“Because you always put them first.”
“I’m here with you now, aren’t I? I spend a lot of time with you.” Remus huffed indignantly.
“You missed my birthday last month!”
Remus paused before answering. It had been the full moon, of course it had. The one thing that he could not avoid, no matter how hard he tried or what he wanted to do. That it had caused him to harm himself for so many years before his friends had become Animagi for him. So yes, he may sometimes put the Marauders first, but not always because it was his choice to do so.
“I couldn’t help that. You know my mother is ill,” he managed calmly after a minute. Despite Michael’s increasing agitation, Remus did not plan on getting into a screaming match over nothing.
“You couldn’t have waited a week to go and see her?”
“No, I couldn’t.”
“Why do you always lie to me? I know you weren’t visiting your mother.” This was it. Remus cringed. He had always known that dating a Ravenclaw was not a smart move. If three nearly second year Gryffindors could work out that he was a werewolf, then surely a Ravenclaw would have to exert only the minimum of effort to come to the same conclusion. All he had now was the hope that Michael was as unhinged as his friends were, and would want to keep him around. Then again it was not as though his friends wanted to sleep with him, so the chances were not looking good. “I heard Sirius laughing and joking about what a good night you all had. How can you stand there and deny it?”
Remus was going to kill him. That complete and utter wanker just could not keep his bloody mouth shut!
“He was joking and just saying things to wind you up. I did not pick them over you. There was no way I could have celebrated your birthday evening with you and I’m sorry about that. I love you, Michael. I love them too, but in a completely different way. Please believe me when I say I wanted nothing more than to spend that night with you.”
“Sometimes, I just need the actions as well.”
Remus stood. Confusion and anger surged through his body. He just didn’t understand where this was coming from. His behaviour around his friends was no different to how it had always been, in fact he was spending less time with them than he used to and yet Michael seemed to think it meant Remus did not care for him as deeply as he claimed.
“Is this about my friends, or is this about me not wanting to sleep with you yet? I don’t say things lightly, Michael. I’m telling you that I love you and I do. What more do you want?” Remus reached out needed to have some contact with Michael to stop the swirling lost feeling that was pulling him down.
“No, nothing like that. I just want to know I come first sometimes. I’d like some time for just the two of us. Do you maybe want to come home with me for Easter?”
Remus paused and quickly calculated where the full moon would fall in the holidays. “Yes,” he said slowly. “I’d like that.” Slightly surprised that despite the fact the trip would mean meeting Michael’s parents for the first time he actually wanted to. “I normally stay at Hogwarts over the holidays, so if I’m not going to be here, I’ll have to visit my parents for the first week. All yours after that though. If you want me?”
Michael grinned at him and pulled him into a kiss. When he leant back he was still smiling. “Of course I want you. I can’t wait to have you all-” There was a crash as the door burst open and Sirius fell through it in an unusually undignified manner for him, “to myself...” Michael finished, turning and looking at Sirius with little surprise.
Remus was sure he saw a very familiar piece of parchment being shoved into Sirius’ pocket before Sirius addressed them. “Filch. In the corridor. Keep it down.”
He sighed and leant his head on Michael’s shoulder. “All to yourself.”
“I think,” Michael said slowly as they strolled down the high street in Hogsmeade. “I think we need to talk about something. Fancy a drink?”
Remus’ heart felt like it had stopped for far too long. It wasn’t accompanied by the pleasant buzz of his heart skipping a beat, but instead felt like it had been transfigured into lead and sunk right down to his feet. Michael had been quiet with him for the last week or so. With N.E.W.T.S rapidly approaching for his boyfriend, Remus had hoped that was the reason for the sudden distance that had sprung between them, yet it appeared his original fears might hold true. Their relationship was what was wrong. Not the exams. He just knew it.
“Of course.” Denying Michael what he wanted to say would get him nowhere. If it was something bad, it was better to get it over and done with, and not let it fester between them.
The Three Broomsticks was surprisingly empty for a Hogsmeade weekend, but then the fact it was a gloriously sunny day despite what Remus felt like was his impending doom, probably had something to do with it and people had not been inclined to remain indoors. At one of the tables, Remus spotted James and Sirius joking with Peter and by the looks of it attempting to push him into asking out the fifth year he had had his eye on for a while who was sitting with a group of her friends at the only other occupied table.
“Rem?” Michael asked, looking at him enquiringly. “I asked if you wanted a Butterbeer.” Remus nodded and reached for his money, but Michael stopped him. “Will you please let me treat you just this once?”
“This one last time you mean?” Remus found his voice enough to ask.
“How about we wait until sitting down before we talk about this?”
“I’m not wrong then.”
Michael didn’t answer, instead made himself busy with ordering and paying for their drinks. In the time it had taken them to be served, it seemed Peter had been convinced to go and talk to the girl and James was watching him on tenterhooks. Sirius glanced away from Peter as Remus passed to smile at him, but clearly Remus’ discomfort showed on his face as the grin turned quickly to a frown. Remus forced a quick smile of his own and followed Michael to their usual table; a small shred of comfort.
“It’s not that I don’t love you, because I do, but I think it would be for the best if we ended this. You’d already worked that much out though, hadn’t you? I’ve been thinking about it for a little while. I’ll be out of here in a month and there are more job opportunities out of the country at the moment. Merlin knows when I’d be able to see you and I hated the fact it was difficult enough to see you when we lived in the same castle. Not being able to see you except possibly on Hogsmeade weekends wouldn’t be enough for either of us, and you know it,” Michael rushed out.
Remus took a large gulp of his drink, the sweetness only made the sick feeling in his stomach worse. Logically, what Michael was saying made sense. He didn’t have to like it though. He didn’t want Michael to leave him. He didn’t feel ready for it all to be over.
“We could try,” Remus said after a pause. “There’s nothing to say we couldn’t at least try for a little while.”
“Remus, you know it’s for the best. If I thought it was something we could both handle then I wouldn’t be doing this. I’d really like to remain friends with you, if you think it’s possible.”
“I don’t get a say in this, do I? You just get to say it’s over and then that’s it? I don’t want friendship Michael, I want more.”
“Rem, please, don’t make this harder on me than it already is.” He reached out to take Remus’ hand, but Remus pulled back.
“Don’t dump me and then expect to still be able to comfort me,” Remus snapped quietly, hoping that the eyes he felt boring into him were just in his imagination and that he did not have an audience for this of all things.
“Listen to me Remus.”
Remus looked him in the eye. A small part of him was guiltily happy that Michael seemed to be having trouble with this. “I’m listening.”
“There is nothing wrong with you, and I’m not going to say that this is my fault either, because what this is about is what’s best for both of us. Right now, that’s not each other. Just let Sirius look after you, all right?”
“I’m not a child, Michael. I can deal with you leaving me without needing to be looked after.”
“I’m not just talking about this. I mean in general. You don’t even see it, do you? The way he is around you. He would do anything for you, if only you let him. You share so much more with your friends than I think you even realise and believe it or not, I want you to be happy and I think he would make you happy, if you gave him a chance.”
“Don’t be silly. It’s just how he is with people.”
“How he is with you. Pay a bit more attention to him and you’ll see.”
“Remus? You okay?”
Remus glanced up at Sirius who, as always seemed to have trouble minding his own business where he and Michael were concerned. He did manage to always appear when they were together after all. There was a harsh scrape of wood on stone as Michael pushed his chair back and stood.
“I’m fine, Sirius.” He glanced at Michael. “At least I will be.” Remus got to his feet. “I guess I’ll see you around.” A moment of awkward silence passed over the trio before Remus turned away from Michael. “Sirius, I’m going to head back to the castle. I’ll see you guys later.”
Remus walked out in a daze. Not really sure what to do with himself, but knowing that he could not remain in Hogsmeade anymore. He had been walking for a good few minutes when he first heard the fast paced footsteps behind him. They slowed as they approached him.
“Moony?” Remus stopped and turned to look at Sirius. “Fancy some company?”
“That would be nice.”
They walked in silence most of the way back to Hogwarts. Yet unlike at the pub there was nothing uncomfortable in it. Instead, the feeling of the sadness lessened and he had the knowledge that if he wanted to talk, he could.
“He broke up with me.”
“Git! Want me to go back and hex him?” Remus watched as Sirius stopped, looking determinedly back in the direction of Hogsmeade before returning his gaze to Remus, clearly in two minds about what to do. Although, Remus was certain Sirius already had at least a good idea about what had happened earlier and so wasn’t too surprised at the news.
“If I wanted him hexed, Padfoot, I’d have done it myself. I don’t need you to defend me.”
“But I’d do it anyway. You mess with one Marauder; you deal with all of us.”
“Thanks for the offer, but I’d rather have you with me than off embarrassing him. If that’s okay with you?”
In a second, Sirius was at Remus’ side. “Of course it’s okay with me. I’m here now, aren’t I?”
Remus didn’t really believe what Michael said about Sirius doing anything for him, at least not for him specifically. Sirius was just a good friend. A loyal friend. A friend that Remus could count on when he needed him.
It had been four months, one week and a day. That was enough time, right? Surely that was long enough, because his patience was wearing dangerously, dangerously thin. Sirius Black was not one known for patience, or waiting, or not getting what he wanted, and right now he had been doing all of those things for what seemed like a lifetime.
In their fifth year, Remus had gone and got himself a boyfriend. Now there was nothing wrong with that. Remus was free to date whomever he wanted. There was one small problem with it though; Remus’ boyfriend was not Sirius. Instead it had been some know-it-all Ravenclaw, who granted, was bookish and also a Quidditch player and clearly had the best of both worlds going for him when Sirius only had his natural brilliance both at magic and plotting pranks. So Sirius had waited. He knew it couldn’t last too long, especially when he managed to interrupt as many of their dates as possible. Unfortunately, Remus was far too sneaky and had confiscated the Marauder’s Map as much as possible when he snuck off with Michael. Still nothing seemed to make them want to break them up. The fact he wanted his best friend to get dumped by his boyfriend was something Sirius knew he should feel bad about hoping for, but he just couldn’t help himself. He wanted Remus and to have Remus, Michael needed to be out of the picture. Then, it had happened. Sirius had his chance. Remus was single and there was nothing standing in his way. Only there was. Now, Sirius had to make sure that Remus was over Michael enough to want to go out with him instead, because there was no way Sirius was going to have waited for over a year for Remus to be single, only to have Remus use him to fix up his feelings and then leave. Not that it was really something Remus would do, but people who were grieving often did not always act in character. Also, Sirius felt it important to point out, in all that time he did not go on one date at all, thank you very much James for spreading those rumours about him and Marlene McKinnon in the Astronomy Tower, complete lies.
So Sirius’ patience was tried once more and he was pretty certain that four months, one week and a day was definitely his breaking point and had therefore better be sufficient time for Remus to move on from his first wonderful, amazing, handsome boyfriend whom he had loved very much. Not that Remus had been sappy enough to ever voice those things to Sirius, but surely he must have felt something for the guy he would sneak off with and abandon the Marauders for.
That meant today was the day that Sirius was going to ask Remus out on what he hoped to be their very first date of many. He would definitely do it today. After their last lesson because then there would be fewer distractions and less reason for Remus to need to rush off somewhere.
This was it. The day. Today.
As always when excited, time crawled by slower than a flobberworm, or a lesson about a flobberworm, which was essentially torture so Sirius decided to move up the whole conversation to lunchtime as long as Remus didn’t hide away in the library as he had taken to doing. He could do that. Lunch. Only one hour, five minutes and twenty-three seconds of double History of Magic to go. Why had he taken History of Magic again? The chance to catch up on sleep if he had needed to, that was right. Normally a lesson that was all writing and no wand waving would have never crossed his mind. It helped that Remus had taken it too.
Remus. Sirius looked over in the direction of his friend. He was hunched over, hand flying across the page in a rough scrawl that Sirius knew well, making sure he got down every word that Binns said despite being the most boring wizard in the history of the world. A stray lock of hair fell forwards and Remus didn’t miss a beat in quickly tucking it back into place in a practiced sweep of his hand, his forehead crinkled slightly in frustration at the slight break in concentration it caused him. As his hand fell back onto the nearly covered parchment, Sirius noticed the movement had transferred a small smudge of black ink onto Remus’ nose. He smiled to himself and tore off a corner of his own, mostly untouched parchment that had jotted down the basics of the lesson of in the first few minutes before getting bored.
You’ve got ink on your nose. Sirius wrote in his perfect calligraphic hand. There were some things he had been taught at home he could not escape from.
He levitated the note carefully over to Remus’ desk in the other boy’s line of sight, but not so it blocked what he was writing. Seven years of writing notes in class to Remus had taught him not to push his friend into looking at anything unrelated to the lesson they were in until he was good and ready. A few seconds later Remus paused in his writing to look at what Sirius had sent him, gave Sirius a small smile of thanks before rubbing his nose and returning to his work.
Is that the only answer I get? I’m bored. Entertain me, Moony.
We’re in class. Do work.
Sirius sighed. One hour, two minutes and fifty seconds. If time was going to move any more slowly, it might as well start moving backwards.
I’ve got a question.
It can wait until after class.
But I want to ask it now. If I ask, will you answer me?
I’m going to ask you anyway, okay?
Remus John Lupin, would you do me the honour of accompanying me to Hogsmeade this weekend?
Sirius had been patient. Really patient and now he just couldn’t wait anymore and Remus was being difficult about it. He had floated scrap of parchment after scrap of parchment onto the other desk, and other than a slight raise of his head, there was no indication at all that Remus was even looking at them. So much for waiting until lunch. When Remus finally looked at the last note - it took him three minutes and forty-five seconds to drag himself away from goblin rebellions - he actually stopped writing.
You already know I’m going with you. We discussed this earlier in the week. I don’t get why this is so important.
Well, it will just be the two of us...
Merlin! I know you are not this clueless, Remus. I want to go to Hogsmeade with you on a date. Is that clear enough?
Sirius looked up from the single word answer to see Remus smiling happily at him. It was the first time in a long while Sirius had see Remus look that content. After Michael, although he had not been moping about like a lost puppy, he had been quieter and more reserved.
I’ve been waiting for you to say something.
Why didn’t you just ask me then?
Because it’s much more fun watching you squirm. You’ve been dying to ask since not long after Michael left school. I wanted to see how long it would take you.
There was a sudden surge of movement around them as the students scrambled to shove their things into their bags and head off to the Great Hall for lunch. Sirius hadn’t even realised the time. Not wanting to waste more time in the classroom than he had to he hastily put his own things away.
“So?” He prompted Remus when no answer was forthcoming.
“Let’s go and have lunch down in the kitchens and we can talk.”
Disinclined to turn down alone time with Remus, Sirius readily agreed and in no time at all, the House Elves were scurrying around them providing them with whatever they wanted to eat despite Remus’ protests that what everyone was having in upstairs would be more than good enough.
“Those times you interrupted my dates, they were all on purpose?” Remus asked after a moment where he seemed to carefully consider what he was asking. Sirius had thought it would come up sooner or later. “It’s just that you happened to find us quite a bit.”
“Not at first. The second time especially was a complete accident. I just went out to stretch my legs and what can I say? I was over-excited, despite you lying to us about where you were, and just had to come over and see you. But after that, I’ll admit it: I was trying to find you. I didn’t have anything against the guy, but I just didn’t like the thought of him with you. I’d have much preferred for it to have been me with you.” There didn’t seem to be a point to lie about it. Remus knew that something had to have been going on for Sirius to stumble across them so often.
“Michael suspected you did. He told me that you’d do anything for me. At first I refused to believe him. I was mad at him for leaving and I didn’t understand why he was telling me, but then I realised I had been wrong. You don’t treat me how you do James or Peter and it’s not because I’m the brother you always wished Regulus was.”
“No, it’s definitely different to how I feel about James.” Sirius had certainly not woken up on multiple occasions sticky but pleasantly satisfied after dreaming about James. However, that was not a fact he felt the need to share over food.
“So when I realised what he said was true, I decided to see just how long it would take you to actually act on it. I understand now why he left, it was for the best and I think he was right about another aspect: you do make me happy.”
“Does this mean that it’s a yes to Hogsmeade?”
“I don’t want to go to Hogsmeade.”
Sirius’ face fell. After all of this waiting, Remus didn’t even want him. He couldn’t believe it. He had been so certain that his feelings would be returned. He was Sirius Black after all. Everyone thought he was good looking.
“Right, okay then. I understand.”
“No, I don’t think you do. What are we going to do in Hogsmeade? Walk around and talk about our lives? Can you tell me anything I don’t know?”
“I’m sure I’ll be able to think of something.”
“I was thinking that maybe we could do a different type of discovering. James and Peter will be gone all day and with no interruptions, I’m sure there will be lots to learn.” Remus’ eyes sparkled with mischief and Sirius laughed to himself caught up in the moment.
“Whatever would people say if I told them you were the one trying to corrupt me? The golden prefect of Gryffindor scheming to deflower the black sheep of the Black family.”
“Deflower? You big girl!” Remus chuckled. “Don’t go getting ahead of yourself though. There won’t be any ‘deflowering’ as you put it just yet. I’ve got a lot of things to teach you before we get that far.” Remus stood and pulled Sirius to his feet. “I know exactly where I want to start.” He murmured and pressed closer to Sirius, the hand that had so effortlessly brushed Remus’ hair out of his eyes in class now reached to cup Sirius’ face. His thumb brushed slowly across Sirius’ lips. Sirius felt his breathing falter and heart flutter. Remus was right, he was a big girl. “If that’s all right with you?”
Sirius’ voice for once in his life failed him. Instead, he just nodded. For once he wasn’t waiting. He had exactly what he wanted and as Remus’ lips pressed against his own, Sirius never wanted time to move forwards again.