2009, fic, rated pg13
Fic: Turn the Night on Fire for such_heights
Title: Turn the Night on Fire
Highlight for Warnings: *smoking of unidentifiable grass*
Word Count: 1,173
Summary: In December 1978 celebrating solstice according to Lily's idea means waiting for the sunrise and more.
Prompts: sunrise (and a first time, and a specifically Wizarding winter tradition)
Beta: The amazing framlingem. Thank you so much, Em!
Author's notes: This small thing can stand on its own, but it also belongs to the big story of my Remus's life and of his love for Sirius which I've been writing since 2003.
Turn the Night on Fire
When I step out onto the balcony with the second jug of firecider, Lily's spread her carpet near the railing. Peter's poking with his wand at the coal in the head of the hookah, while she's forcing the mouthpiece on James.
"Nox!" Remus says close to my ear. The rest of the lights in my flat – the moons and stars in the Christmas tree – go off. In the darkness he slips one hand into the back pocket of my jeans while wrapping the other one around the neck of the jar. Instead of taking a swig he turns to brush his nose against my cheek.
A blue flame flares up for a moment together with Lily's laughter. In the cold flicker that remains I see she's not looking at us, but at the tip of her wand. Still, I struggle free and stumble forward.
Cider splashes on my hands when I slump next to James. He's started coughing and he hardly notices me, but manages to throw the mouthpiece past me towards Peter, then grabs the jug.
And now Remus is here again. He's kneeling between Peter and me, blowing into the coals. "These are getting cold."
Lily stands up and closes her fist around the blue flicker at the wandtip. "Look. They've taught me how to move it onto my palm."
What's so great about that? We all learnt as first-years to start real burning fire with our wands. I reach out and heat the coals with mine.
The smoke of these leaves irritates my eyes. It's been a long night. Obviously. It's the longest one of the winter.
Peter must have resumed sucking at the mouthpiece. The water gurgles in the glass bowl. My eyes have closed and I'm hugging my knees against my chest.
It's crazy to stay sitting outside, even if there's no frost or rain. I'm swaying a bit, it seems, or Remus is – I'm leaning against his side now, it's all right in front of them all, too, as long as he doesn't look like he pays much attention.
But I shift position, and… either I just wish to get warmer, or there's another reason for the need which changes me – in any case I'm now curled up with my snout close to the tip of my tail, and his cold hand is right there for me to sniff, then buried in the fur of my neck.
I can feel him fully focused on me. Somewhere detached from this there rings the sound of his replies to Lily's excited talk and insistent questions. "No," he says, "I can't remember."
"But you used to tell us about the goblins at your mother's theatre. I'm sure you once talked about their Magic of Fire, too. Let's try…"
She's so fond of those creatures ever since she started working with them at Gringotts. And even now that they've sent her on another treasure-hunting adventure, and she's returned with more of these oriental artefacts, she dwells on the local traditions which only goblins have kept alive.
"Try to set the night on fire." The vibration of Remus's offhand comment, sung in a low voice, penetrates me. One of Pad's ears is against his chest now.
But why should we entice and welcome the delaying sunrise with humble flames on our palms when wizards have always been able to do better than that? I can't figure out what's behind the rumours that the Ministry uses non-humans in the war. Why not us? They say only gold is needed. That's why they send any curse-breaker apprentice out to seek a trove. And we auror trainees just have to wait…
Remus is humming and stroking my neck with nimble fingers. "The time to hesitate is through…"
I'm jerked awake to sense amazing warmth of his palm pressed tight against my bare skin lower, under the collar – then under the hem – of my shirt. Yes, I'm a man again, and my head's in his lap. Blue flames leap along the railing.
Peter shrieks, "Girl, we couldn't get much higher!"
"No way, not in the Baccara style," James grumbles. He's already resigned: cradling the jar, he's finding his comfort where he can, having proposed again as soon as Lily got back, in the first wild party at her and Alice's place, and tonight as well, in vain. He'll still stay with me. There's no need to change anything, except the shapes of our bodies at times, of course. Peter's happy, too. And now stoned enough to actually start the dance with Lily.
I know Remus can't resist this. He's the crazy one in Muggle discos. I won't dance with him in public. But the coloured lights seem to draw movement from him, so he dances by himself, and loves the silliest songs… And this must be the one he asked to hear in the record store, when he also found the poster of the dead singer he kept returning to stare at – so that I considered buying it for him, so at least he'd do his staring in private, so… I'm staring up at his chin. My constant. Everything else is swirling.
"Come on, baby, light my… I'll keep you on your feet." He pushes me to sit up. When getting up he's clearly stiff. How long did he stay here immobile, holding his Pads? Lily's old carpet is thick and uncannily warm, but still… He shakes his body to the rhythm of Peter's singing, resumes singing along, then crouches and leaps up in that original singer's style. Now finally turns back to me with a smirk. "Try now we can only lose… On the two of them. Two feet! Don't change!"
Now he's swirling, too, but I'm swirling with him, guided by the arms. The two of us collide with Lily and Peter, and we all burst into laughter, and with it mixes the clink of the cider jar hitting the hookah. I turn to see the jar roll aside and James scramble to his feet, and I lose my balance and find myself with my crotch pressed against Remus's bony hip.
"Propose to me." James's voice is surprisingly clear, and he's steady on his feet very close to me, his hand on Lily's shoulder, though. "You propose to me, okay, when you are ready. To stay or to take me with you, whatever."
With a huff Peter retreats, bending down, towards the hookah, perhaps. "You'll still do it anyway. Propose. Every day."
"Of course. Lily, will you marry me?"
"I will. Not yet, but I'll tell you when." She's still talking when James brings his grinning mouth to her lips.
I don't think I want to watch a kiss, and I turn – to face Remus and to learn that I want to kiss him right here and now when the sun rises, meeting our fire.