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Au Pif

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Tuesday April 13th

 

“Coffee?” 

Remus looked up from his computer. He had been staring at the same inventory line on a spreadsheet for the past five minutes, taking in nothing. Mary was holding a nearly empty french press. She inclined her head, quirking an eyebrow questioningly. 

Remus held up his mug. 

“Yeah, cheers,” he yawned. 

“Your last wedding client will be here in a few minutes. Do you want me to set a table up?”

“Is it that late already?” Remus asked in alarm, glancing at his computer to confirm the time. 

“Afraid so. Do you want me to grab the file for you?” 

“No, I’ll be out in a moment,” he sighed, giving up the inventory as a lost cause and closing out the tab on his computer. 

He leaned back in his chair and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to stave off a headache. He was on his third day of working sixteen-hour shifts. His shop was his life, but even for him it was getting a bit ridiculous. Still, it was early April and wedding season was about to descend on them in full force. It seemed the season started earlier and earlier every year. Or perhaps it was just their growing popularity.

He and Mary had set up their shop a decade ago, just out of culinary school, in an idyllic coastal town where nearly half of the little cottages by the sea were vacation rentals and there were a plethora of rustic wedding venues to be booked. Au Pif was a bakery and cafe, where Mary made the food and Remus made the baked goods. The town only had a few bakeries and a good tourist population, so they had a fairly steady business right from the outset.

Unlike other bakeries in the area, they tended to be fairly relaxed when it came to last minute orders. For weddings in particular, this was unheard of. The other bakeries in their area booked at least six months in advance, no exceptions. For the first few years of their existence, the workload wasn’t a problem, so it made sense to take last minute orders. As the least established bakery run by the youngest proprietors, wedding planners hardly ever recommended Au Pif to their clients. Couples without planners tended to go with whichever bakery popped up online first, usually the older established ones. 

Nevertheless, Remus and Mary had slowly grown a loyal client base, gotten enough glowing online reviews, and established enough good relationships with the wedding planners in town. Each successive year was more and more chaotic, and Remus was finally starting to see why other bakeries had such strict deadlines.

It was busy, but manageable. Then, two years ago, he and Mary had brought on additional help, recruiting their fellow culinary school graduate Marlene from the snooty French bakery two towns over. With her came Dorcas, Marlene’s partner and Au Pif ’s new business manager. With additional help came expanded hours, new ideas, and more customers.

It started innocently enough. Dorcas had started arranging events to drum up business - singles nights, poetry readings, and the like. Dorcas, who was non-binary, had declared that they wanted to make the most inclusive events in the UK. Remus and Mary had, of course, agreed to the plan (even if Remus had grimaced the first time he saw the colorful signage that promised crowds of people in his normally quiet shop). Their reputation for inclusivity grew. When another bakery in town refused to bake a cake for a trans man and woman’s wedding, Dorcas found out about it and made sure Au Pif stepped in, providing the cake free of charge. The resulting press coverage had been enormous. Remus, naturally shy and extremely private, had hated the attention but loved the resulting surge in business. 

Even more than that, he loved the new atmosphere that came to the bakery. Au Pif quickly developed a reputation as a store that rooted for the underdog. Remus handed out day-old pastries for free to anyone who asked. Troubled teenagers hung out there after school, enjoying no-questions-asked snacks that Dorcas or Mary slid onto their tables without comment. Couples dealing with unexpected pregnancies came in frantically, looking for a two week turnaround on a cake for a June wedding, just so they could have a ceremony that pleased their conservative families. Remus had even created a special the previous summer for the many elopements that came through the area: a picnic lunch, a bottle of champagne, and a perfect miniature wedding cake, decorated with flowers and frills and all. 

It felt good to help. Not to judge, not to pry, just to help people celebrate the creation of their new family on whatever terms they wanted. So while they had been talking seriously about not taking anymore last minute special event orders, even now - exhausted and running on his third pot of coffee - Remus couldn’t find it in his heart to turn away couples who had short engagements. Publicly, he justified this as a business decision: it just made sense to take in as many orders as possible, regardless of inconvenience and extra work. Secretly, it was because he was a bit of a romantic and quite a big pushover.

He swallowed a paracetamol to further ward off the headache and tried to meditate on all of the soppy wonderfully romantic reasons he chose to do what he did. He sighed.

Last appointment of the day. He could do this.

He wandered through the busy bakery kitchen and grabbed the last file that was in the plastic holder on the wall that held each day’s appointments. He stifled another yawn and tried to remember all the reasons he’d decided to open the shop. He didn’t want to let the bureaucracy of running a business drag him down, but it was something he was finding increasingly challenging. He groaned as opened the file - it was empty.

The folder was neatly labelled “Potter,” but the detailed wedding profile sheet that Remus had his staff members fill out when booking appointments was missing. 

“Someone started a file for this client but didn’t fill out the profile,” Remus grumbled as he pushed open the staff door that led from the kitchen to the counter. 

“Let me see,” Dorcas said, quickly snapping the folder out of his hands, “Potter, Potter…” 

They tapped the surname into the computer system as Remus sat down on a stool behind the counter and drank his coffee.

“Looks like Marlene booked the appointment yesterday. She put a note in the system that said to do the client sheet during the tasting. Apparently the person who made the appointment was sick or something and had to run.”

Remus sighed unhappily. 

“Want me to make up a tasting tray?” Dorcas offered. 

“No, I can do it,” he said, leaving the file on the counter and retreating back to the kitchen. Dorcas began to protest, but let him go.

“You look dead on your feet,” they shouted as the door swung shut. He flipped them off through the window, praying no customer had decided to enter the shop and look through the staff door at that exact moment. 

He was dead on his feet, but fortunately he could make a tasting tray in his sleep. He cut three slices of the most popular flavor combinations from the cakes they sold by the slice daily and plated them nicely. He also had a series of unassembled wedding cake components: ten cake flavors, a dozen or so fillings, and another dozen frostings. Nine out of ten couples would choose one of the three conventional slices, but every once in a while a couple would have fun experimenting with different flavor combinations and create something truly unique. It meant a good deal of frosting and cake went home with employees at the end of the night rather than being sold, but Remus liked the playfulness of the tastings too much to give them up. He only met with special event bookings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he felt it was a waste he could afford. 

He assembled the tray and brought it with him to his office, thinking he would return to the inventory sheet for a few minutes before his appointment arrived. The room was jam packed with papers, boxes of equipment, and foam display cakes. He spent much more time in the room answering emails and balancing invoices sheets than he preferred. In the past year or so he felt as if he lived in the cramped little room, which was a far cry from his favorite way to spend time in his shop. Experimenting with cakes and pies and breads and everything in between was much more rewarding.

But alas, work had to be done. He had just begun recalculating the amount of bread flour he needed for the next shipment when Dorcas’s voice rang through the kitchen. 

“Appointment’s here!”

“Thanks,” he called back, standing with a groan.

As he pushed open the door separating the bakery floor from the kitchen, he glanced around. Dorcas was at the counter talking to a tall man with disheveled hair. Remus set the tray on the end of the counter near the empty file and joined them. 

“...a beautiful venue!” Dorcas was saying. 

“Thanks,” the man said, flashing them a smile. He looked over as Remus approached. 

“Mr. Potter?” Remus asked.

“That’s me,” the man said brightly, holding out a hand, “James is fine.”

“Hi James, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Remus Lupin, he/him pronouns” they shook hands.

“Nice to meet you as well. I’m James. Er- right I just said that. Pronouns, yeah, he/him too I suppose.” 

“So, are we still waiting on anyone or are you going to be doing the tasting on your own?” 

“No, we’re just waiting for my better half,” he said, glancing at his watch. 

“Excellent. Well, why don’t we head over to a table in the cafe,” Remus gestured to the dining area on the far side of the shop, “can I get you anything to eat or drink?” 

“A coffee would be wonderful.” 

“Sure,” he said as he led James to the four person table in the front corner of the cafe that was reserved for tasting appointments. Dorcas followed behind them with the sample tray.

“So, I’ll sit here,” Remus said, setting the file down at his seat, “so you can see these different size and shape options above me.” 

He gestured to the wall behind him, which held a set of foam cakes on shelves behind his seat.

“Settle in here and I’ll be over in a couple of minutes with the coffee. I’ll leave you with this…”

He pulled the binder filled with photos of wedding cakes he’d designed in the past down from the shelf that held the display cakes.

“Just mark anything that you’re interested in. And of course feel free to get up and look at some of our designs if you’d like.

”He placed the binder and a package of sticky notes down on the table, then gestured to the other side of the shop, where the majority of the display cakes were held.

“Cheers,” James said with a laugh, “you’re so organized. We’ve been winging this whole wedding thing, so it’s a refreshing change of pace.” 

Remus smiled warmly, “Happy to help.”

He walked behind the cafe counter to pour James a cup of coffee. He stifled a yawn and hoped against hope that the appointment would be a quick one, but remembered that the wedding profile sheet had yet to be filled out. He asked his employees to transfer special event bookings to either him or Marlene. They were meticulous with their notetaking, writing down the couples’ color schemes, venues, themes, other vendors they were using, important imagery and more; basically any information a couple volunteered would be recorded. It took a good half an hour, or more if the couple wanted to gush about their engagement, their ring, their plans… 

The bell on the front door chimed. Remus looked up to see a man in a suit entering. He looked around and made a beeline for James, who was now on the other side of the store in the bakery area that held most of their decorated sample foam cakes. Remus watched as the fiancé snuck up on James, who was leaning down, examining a tray of cupcakes in one of their lower refrigerated counters. The man placed his hands on James’s shoulders, startling him. James spun around and laughed, looking happily surprised. Remus couldn’t quite make out what James was saying, but he appeared to be making fun of the other man’s suit. He ran a hand down the lapels, then reached out and straightened his tie, smirking. 

Remus turned away to pour a cup of coffee for himself, and to get a tray of milks and sugars ready to bring to the table. He placed two empty cups on the tray, and tossed a box of tea bags on there as well, in case the fiancé wanted something other than coffee. He pinched the bridge of his nose and breathed deeply. Almost done with the day. 

“Hey Dorcas? Can you set the table up with all this for me?” 

“Sure thing.” 

As he headed over towards the couple, he caught a glimpse of James’s fiancé and swallowed thickly. The man was beautiful . James wasn’t bad looking, not by any stretch of the imagination, but the man with him was nothing short of an adonis. He was in a well-tailored suit and had long black hair, which he was oh-so-casually running a hand through as leaned against the refrigerated cupcake display. He caught Remus’s eye and flashed him a bright smile. Even his teeth were perfect. 

“Hi,” he said, approaching the man, “it’s nice to meet you mister…?” 

“Sirius. Just Sirius is fine.” 

“Nice to meet you, Sirius,” he said, shaking the man’s hand, “I’m Remus Lupin, he/him pronouns.” 

“Nice to meet you as well,” Sirius said, eyebrows quirked, “ you’re the owner?”

He had a lovely, rich voice. Remus couldn’t help but notice the man giving him a subtle once-over. He wondered vaguely how sleep-deprived he looked. Evidently he looked disheveled enough that Sirius didn’t think he was up to the task of running his shop.

Remus nodded, “Mhm. I’m the owner and the chief baker, so I handle all of our wedding cakes. Did you two see any designs that interest you?”

“That one, for sure,” Sirius said with a grin, pointing to a styrofoam display piece. It was a pride cake they’d created during their bout of publicity. The top was decorated rather simply, but it was cut open to display the inside, where each layer of cake represented a different color of the rainbow. 

James pulled a face and Sirius laughed. 

“Well,” Remus said slowly, watching James’s reaction, “that’s easy enough. If you’d like something more subtle though, I can-” 

“No, ignore this one,” James said, giving the other man a light shove on the shoulder, “I will not be doing a pride cake and he knows it. No offense,” he added quickly, looking at Remus wide-eyed and embarrassed, “we did choose your place because you’re so inclusive, but--”

“Completely fine, everyone has different tastes,” Remus said placidly, “now how about we head back to the cafe for a tasting?” 

“Great.”

They reached the table and Remus motioned for them to sit down.

“Please, help yourself,” Remus said, gesturing towards the coffee. He glanced down at the table again and groaned. He had forgotten his calendar and a copy of the wedding contract. He fought the urge to slam his head facedown on the table, instead pasting a hopefully-not-too-fake smile on his face.

“I just have to run back to the office for a second.” 

So much for James’s impression of him as organized and professional. He cursed himself as he jogged back to his office. He walked briskly into the kitchen and ducked into his office, where he had left both items on his desk. He scooped them up quickly and headed back to the cafe. As he approached the table again, he saw the men conversing quietly and seriously in hushed tones. Passing the counter, he turned to Dorcas and gave them a questioning look.

“Is everything okay?” he whispered.

They just shrugged. 

“-n’t forget you owe me,” he heard Sirius whisper urgently.

“Alright,” Remus said somewhat loudly, trying to alert the pair to his return. 

He slid back into his seat. Sirius turned and gave him a bright smile. James, who was watching him, rolled his eyes. He pulled out his phone and began typing furiously.

“So, er,” Remus glanced between the two men, hoping he wasn’t interrupting anything, “right, let’s just get started. So, unless you have something specific in mind I find the best thing to do is choose flavors first and then tackle the design. But I do like to have as much information about the wedding as possible, so I can get a sense of what you might be looking for and help suggest different options. So, while you enjoy your coffee would you mind answering a few questions for me?”

“Sure,” James said. 

“Wedding date?” 

“June 13th.” 

“Of… this year? Next year?” 

“Yeah. This year.”

“Okay,” Remus said, tempering his surprise. He glanced at his calendar and penciled in the Potter wedding. Fortunately, they were only delivering for one other wedding that day.

“Yeah, sorry it’s a bit last minute. I told you we were winging it.” 

“That’s perfectly fine,” he said with a smile, “what time does the reception start?” 

“One o’clock? I don’t really… we’re not doing a church, just getting married and then starting the reception, I suppose.”

“Lovely. And the venue?” 

“Just my parents’ garden.” 

“Oh, that’s nice. Can you give me an address for delivery?” 

James rattled the address off. 

“So, could you both spell your names for me?”

“James Potter,” he said, spelling it out. 

“Er, you want my name too?” Sirius asked, surprised.

He glanced at James, who shrugged and then Sirius muttered, “I thought Lily gave all of this information?”

“It was supposed to be Petunia who called,” James said with a wrinkled nose, “but apparently she didn’t want to use this bakery because… well anyways she called other places but they were all booked… then Lily found out what she did and insisted and… anyway...” 

“Bridesmaid drama,” Sirius said to Remus with a wink.

“Right,” Remus said, hoping to cut them off before he had to hear more of the story and end up staying at the bakery all night, “So, Mr. Black could you spell your name for me?”

He turned back to Remus looking bemused, “Alright. Sirius - that’s S-I-R-I-U-S, like the star - and black like the color.”

“Okay. And I like to have two alternate contacts because we don’t want to have to bother you on the wedding day if we have a question about delivery.”

“You can bother me,” Sirius said quickly, a surprisingly flirty smile on his face. 

“Uh,” Remus was flustered, but tried to recover, “how about just one additional contact then? One of the bridesmaids perhaps?”

“Take Petunia’s number,” Sirius said quickly, flashing James a bright grin, “it’ll drive her crazy.” 

James spelled out her name and read her phone number to Remus from his own phone. 

“So are there any other vendors you’re using? The wedding industry is fairly small around here so we tend to work with the same folks often and like to get a sense of who we might be collaborating with. For example, if you wanted a lot of floral decor around the cake table, we can work with your florist to set that up so it compliments the cake decorations. Less to worry on the day of, you know.”

“Oh, uh,” James said, looking overwhelmed. He ran a hand through his hair. “You’re the first thing we’ve booked, to be honest.” 

“Okay,” Remus said, making a note and wondering exactly how screwed these men were going to be, “Well if you need recommendations, just let me know.”

Remus made a note.

“So, home venue, no vendors yet. How about a theme?”

They glanced at each other, then back at Remus, completely nonplussed.

“A lot of people have certain styles they’re going for - rustic, modern…”

No response. 

“How about colors?”

“Um. White?” James offered. 

Remus set down his pen and fought the urge to slam his head down on the table. He smiled placidly and counted backwards from three, breathing deeply. 

“Okay. So if we have a blank slate to work with, you’re pretty much free to choose anything you’d like for the cake. Like I said earlier, I think it’s best to tackle flavors first then choose a design, but that’s really just a recommendation. So, first things first I suppose, did you have anything specific you wanted, either in terms of taste or looks?”

“No, not at all. Something that tastes good, I suppose,” James said.

“Tastes good,” Remus repeated softly with a grin, “I think we can do that. Though you’ll have to be the judge, I suppose.” 

He pushed the three slices of their most popular cakes towards the men.

“I’ll have you try these first. But before that, I do need to ask one more question. This time I promise it’s about the cake, not the wedding as a whole. How many guests are you having? Just a guess is fine at this point.” 

James glanced helplessly at Sirius. 

“Well, I don’t bloody know,” Sirius said with a laugh.

“I think it’s like a hundred.”

“Right,” Remus said. He had never seen a wedding where both spouses-to-be were this disinterested in the planning. He was half-tempted to tell them about the elopement package, but shook his head, tabling those thoughts. He wasn’t the wedding planner, he was just the baker.

He rattled off his standard spiel: “So for a hundred guests I’d recommend a three tier cake, with a 12”, 9”, and 6” round. Something like this,” Remus pointed to the middle foam cake on the shelf behind him without even looking. He could practically do this part in his sleep, especially after his four previous appointments that day.

“If you didn’t like a round, there are other options,” he gestured vaguely to other shelves around the room, which held more geometric shapes: rectangles, hexagons, and more. “But, like I said, settling on a flavor first is probably your best bet.” 

“So here are our three most popular wedding flavors. First there’s a vanilla cake, vanilla-almond mousse filling, and a vanilla almond buttercream. This one is a vanilla cake with strawberry mousse filling and a lemon-vanilla frosting. It’s popular with summer weddings. Finally, a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and a vanilla buttercream. This is popular with people who like chocolate. Most people don’t want a chocolate frosting for the exterior, so they go with a chocolate cake instead. But that’s up to you of course.

And then I also have these to sample,” he pushed forward the tray of unassembled cakes, frostings, and fillings.

“These are our standard cake flavors: vanilla, almond, chocolate, a marbled vanilla and chocolate, chocolate hazelnut, lemon, red velvet, spiced rum, carrot, and strawberry. We can do a ton of other flavors if you have something in mind, of course, but these are the basics.” 

He gave a similar run down of the fillings and frostings. He explained that they should take their time to try different combinations to find something they were interested in. He also mentioned that he could do essentially any cake gluten-free or vegan, if they were interested. After he was done speaking, he glanced back up at the pair and smiled. James was staring at him open-mouthed. Sirius was leaning back in his chair looking impressed.

“I know it can be overwhelming,” he said, turning his attention to James in particular, who looked nothing short of terrified. James nodded vigorously in agreement. “Honestly, the best thing is to just start eating,” Remus said, pushing a little cup of spoons towards them.

“Can’t argue with that, eh, Jamie?” Sirius said with a smirk.

The men grabbed a pair of spoons.

“So, I can leave you here to try everything or I can stay and talk you through some of the choices,” Remus said, “up to you.” 

“Stay,” Sirius said quickly, “please,” he added. 

James stifled a laugh and rolled his eyes again.

“Okay...” Remus said, trying not to glance between the two in an attempt to figure out whatever he was missing from the conversation, “So, this first one is a vanilla-almond. It’s the most traditional wedding cake flavor.” 

“Hm. Boring,” Sirius said as he scooped up a bit with his spoon. He licked up the frosting in a delightfully sinful way. “Oh my god,” he moaned, “nevermind. This is not boring. This is incredible!” 

Remus smiled warmly. 

“This next one the vanilla and strawberry. It’s a bit more popular than the almond, which, as you say, can be a bit boring.” 

The pair ate their way through the rest of the cake tray, with Sirius animatedly pointing out the combinations that excited him the most. He frequently asked for Remus’s opinion, grilling him on the most popular flavors, the most unusual ones, the best flavor combinations, Remus’s personal favorites... Remus rattled off the popular flavors and gave his professional opinion on combining cakes, fillings, and frostings. 

“But what do you like, Remus?” Sirius asked for the second time. He was resting his chin in his hand and giving Remus a distinctly sultry look.

Remus glanced at James, who appeared disinterested in the suspiciously flirtatious behavior of his fiancé. 

“Er. Anything with our strawberry buttercream is popular? That’s what I’d choose to serve a large group of people, it’s a pretty universal crowd pleaser. 

“No, no, no,” Sirius looked up earnestly, a little smear of chocolate ganache on his lower lip. “Not what would you serve, what would you like ?” 

“Well,” Remus said slowly, “One person’s opinion should never dictate your choice of wedding cake. A couple should make the decision based on their own tastes.”

Sirius licked his lip and grinned. 

“But if you could only have one kind of cake for the rest of your life…?” 

Remus gave him a wry grin. 

“You’re not giving up, are you?” 

Sirius looked up again, smiling and shaking his head. 

“Something with chocolate.” 

“What exactly, though?” Sirius asked, chin propped in his hand. 

“I suppose a chocolate espresso cake, with whipped hazelnut filling, and… hm. Probably chocolate ganache.” 

“That sounds amazing.” 

“It’s pretty good, yeah. Here…” 

Remus picked through the fillings and frostings, pushing a slice of chocolate hazelnut cake and a whipped espresso filling forward. 

“This is a bit backwards, with the filling and cake flavors, but add a bit of that chocolate ganache there and it’s pretty close.” 

Sirius did, eating the little makeshift bite with his eyes closed and a dangerously lovely moan on his lips. Remus watched his throat as he swallowed.

“Try this James.” 

Remus cleared his throat and looked back at the file.

He’s getting married, Christ Lupin. 

“That is great, yeah,” James agreed.

Sirius nudged him, shoulder to shoulder. As Remus glanced up, he saw them share a series of looks, communicating in that non-verbal way couples sometimes do; entire conversations reduced to telepathic eyebrow raises. Remus fought back a sigh; it had been awhile since he was in a relationship. And come to think of it, he wasn’t sure he’d ever been in a relationship strong enough to communicate through a shrug here or a grin there. 

“So, you obviously have better taste than we do,” Sirius said slowly after their telepathic discussion had ended.

He looked expectantly at Remus, who just shrugged. He’d only spoken to the man for forty-five minutes or so, but he’d already found it best to just agree with Sirius, who was something of a force of nature. Sirius continued on:

“And I think what I’d really like is for you to come up with five of the most totally amazing, original flavor combinations you can think of. Maybe you can make five cakes? Not huge ones,” he said hurriedly, seeing Remus’s eyebrows raise, “just little ones like those.” 

He pointed to one of the decorative foam cakes that was on a shelf behind him. He had a selection of cakes that served various sizes, from over three hundred to just four. Remus turned in his seat to look at which cake Sirius had been pointing to. It was the smallest cake, which was part of his elopement picnic package. 

“I’m thinking maybe you can make 5 of those little cakes - I’d pay obviously - and we can decide based on that.”

“I could do that, yeah,” Remus said slowly. 

Sirius grinned. He glanced at James, who gave him a hearty eye-roll and pulled out his phone once again. 

“How long do you need? Would Friday be okay? And then I can come back and give you the answers to all of those other questions you asked. You and I can have a second cake tasting date.”

Sirius gave Remus a sinful look, eyebrow raised and mischievous smile playing on his lips. Remus looked at James. 

“Will you be free on Friday as well?” 

“Oh no, I’m sure I won’t be,” he said, his voice laden with sarcasm. Remus got the distinct feeling he was missing something.

“But I trust Sirius to choose for me,” James said quickly, glancing up at Remus and giving him a nod before returning to his phone.

Remus made some quick calculations

It was Tuesday. Friday definitely wouldn’t be enough time, not if he wanted to come up with something unique. And certainly not if he wanted to get more than a few hours of sleep each night.

And anyways, just because Sirius was engaging and gorgeous and funny and seemed genuinely interested in what Remus had to say, he was still getting married . Remus had a business to run and didn’t have time to do little favors for any pretty boy who batted his eyelashes at him. 

He inhaled deeply, looked into Sirus’s beautiful, earnest, gray eyes and answered.

“Yeah, absolutely.” 


Friday April 16th
58 days until the wedding

 

The past three days had been simultaneously the least productive and the most rewarding of Remus’s career. 

Not since his days in culinary school had he had as much fun experimenting with different techniques and combinations of flavor, texture, and design. He had gone home immediately after the Potter appointment and instead of eating a microwavable dinner and falling into bed, as was his custom, he brought out his old notebook and began looking through it for inspiration. 

On Wednesday he assigned a baptism cake —  one of the special events he liked to handle himself —  to a junior baker named Kingsley, who was fairly new but proving to be extremely competent. On Thursday he asked Dorcas to handle the rest of the inventory and devoted himself to experimentation between the normal batches of cakes and pies he made by rote. He knew he was spending far too much time worrying about the five four-inch cakes... really, a truly obscene amount of his time and mental energy was spent thinking about Sirius’s request. 

Part of it, Remus was sure, was that it was Sirius’s request. Something about the man was captivating. Well, several things about the man were captivating. The obvious, of course, was that he was gorgeous. But it was more than that, Remus thought. During the hour or so that they had spent at the cake tasting, Sirius proved himself to be exceptionally charming, but also earnest, open, sweet. He was nothing like Remus had expected, seeing him waltz into the store in an expensive-looking suit and the body of a model. He had expected something akin to a celebrity or a snobby banker. Instead, Sirius was a bit… goofy. He was quick to laugh and had a razor sharp wit, but he also made a few truly terrible puns and had gotten an indecent amount of frosting on his lips and chin. 

The best part about him, though, was that he seemed entirely genuine. He didn’t seem to put on a front, didn’t seem to have any kind of façade that hid himself from the world. Other than, perhaps, the fact that his otherworldly good looks made him appear far more suave and sophisticated than he apparently was. Remus wasn’t sure why he was so confident that Sirius was an open-book. Perhaps it was intuition, or perhaps it was too much experience with failed dates.

Whatever the case may be, Remus was fairly confident of one thing: Sirius was exactly what Remus was looking for in a partner. It was, of course, just his luck that he was about to be married. Remus had allowed himself one indulgent fantasy about the man (and, pathetic as he was, it wasn’t even sexual. He just imagined them curled up on the couch reading and talking about their days). Then he forced all thoughts about the man into a neat little vault in his head labeled Clients .

The vault door was apparently a bit rusty, though. Wednesday and Thursday passed quickly, with Remus working hard on the five cakes, and he couldn’t help but imagine that bright smile on Sirius’s face. He tried as hard as he could to relegate Sirius to the same level of attention that he would give an older lady picking up scones for her knitting group, but it was a lost cause. He resigned himself to his crush - pathetic, Lupin, you are in your thirties - and hoped that he would only need to meet with the man a few more times before the wedding day. After that, he would be clean and clear. Out of Remus’s life.

When he found himself getting too depressed at this thought, he tried to think about the good that had come out of this request: he was enjoying his job again. He had been working so hard during the past few years to run his bakery that he often forgot to be a baker . He had been spending all of his time in his office thinking about order flours and menus, becoming progressively more disillusioned with his career. And then fate dropped a beautiful man —  no, he chided himself , an average client — into his lap, requesting that he come up with dazzling and inventive recipes. It was almost as if the universe itself had set it up to reward Remus for years of hard work and lack of a social life. But then Remus would remember that Sirius was getting married to a man who looked a whole lot more attractive and successful than himself and it suddenly seemed like more of a cruel joke. 

Remus was busy contemplating whether or not there was a higher power and what he had done to piss it off when Marlene tapped him on the shoulder, making him jump and drop a sprig of lavender. She gave a little snort of laughter and bent down to pick the plant up from the floor.

“Hey I’m… what’s this for?” 

Remus gestured to the small cake in front of him.

“That’s for the Potter wedding?” 

“Yep.” 

“Nice. What’s this one?” 

“Earl grey sponge cake with lavender whip filling and lavender infused citrus buttercream.”

“Very bougie, I like it.” 

Remus rolled his eyes and glanced at the clock, it was just after one in the afternoon on Friday. 

“Thanks. So you’re off?” 

“Yep. I’ve just popped another batch of croissants in, so have someone pull those out in a few minutes. Other than that you should be set. I’ll tackle that macaron order tomorrow morning.” 

“Sounds great. Thanks, Marlene.” 

“Sure thing,” she said, handing him back the spring of lavender. 

He tossed it in the trash can next to the work bench and turned back to his cake. He carefully picked another spring from the bundle of fresh lavender that Peter, Mary’s boyfriend and a deliverer for the florist they worked with, had brought earlier that week. He gently pressed a few springs into the buttercream rosettes surrounding the cake.

He leaned back and gave the cake a once over, head tilted as he squinted at it critically. He added a bit more greenery and zested a bit of lemon peel over the top to garnish it.

“That’s lovely, Remus.”

He looked up to see Kingsley walking in from the staff room, tying his apron on as he prepared to take over Marlene’s station for the day’s second shift. 

“Thanks, Kingsley. I hope it’ll taste good, as well.” 

“Ah, your cakes always do,” he said in his calm, even voice. 

“Marlene has a few dozen croissants ready to come out of the pastry oven in a bit. She said she’ll tackle that massive macaroon order tomorrow morning, so you’re off the hook there. I think we’re a bit low on cannolis, though. Can you grab some shells from the fridge and pipe a dozen for display?” 

“Sure thing, boss. Anything else you’d like?” 

“Well, I’ll be in tomorrow morning to finish up the decor on the Hazelton wedding cake, but it’s assembled and I’ve done a crumb coat. It needs a final frost and border piping if you’re up for it. It’s actually a pretty simple design if you want to take a look and tackle the whole thing?” 

He gestured towards the Hazelton wedding file, which was lying on the far end of Remus’s workbench. It had sat there neglected for the better part of the day. Kingsley looked surprised, but approached Remus’s station and flipped through the designs. Remus typically took any printed photos the couple gave him for inspiration and then mocked up his own decor, sketching it out and sending it to the couple a few weeks before the wedding day. 

“I can do this, sure. What did you want me to leave for you in the morning?” 

Remus slid off of his stool and stood next to Kingsley to consider the design. It was quite simple. Kingsley was more than capable. And he did have two more cakes to finish for Sirius with just a few hours to bake and assemble…

“If it isn’t too much work for you, do you want to try and tackle everything but the greenery? I can put that on in the morning. Pete’s delivering a fresh batch of florals tomorrow.”

“I would love to, Remus, but are you sure?” 

Remus smiled at Kingsley, fighting down the impulse to renege on the deal and snatch back control of the cake.

“Yes, absolutely.” 

“Thank you,” he said, somewhat reverently. 

Wedding cakes were the pièce de résistance for bakers, particularly those who were interested in opening their own shop. Giving Kingsley the opportunity to work on cakes and build his skills, confidence, and portfolio was no small thing.  

“No need to thank me, you’re more than capable of handling it. I was just going to have you make spare batches of cupcakes and cookies for the freezer anyway, but don’t worry about that. If the Hazelton cake takes up your whole shift, it takes up your whole shift. I know I don’t have to tell you this,” Remus said, tugging at his apron strings anxiously, “but wedding cakes need to be absolutely perfect.”

“I know.” 

“I know you know. It’s just… no, I know. You’ll be fine. You’ll be great.” 

Kingsley gave him a slightly exasperated smile and grabbed the file, heading to the freezer to wheel the cake out and get started. 

Remus watched him go, hoping he wasn’t making an enormous mistake. Then he plopped himself back down on his stool and pulled out his recipe journal. 

Time for cake number four. 

~~~


Sirius had arranged to arrive at the bakery on Friday just after work, sometime around 6 or so. By quarter to six, Remus had carefully deposited each of the five cakes into boxes and then sat nervously at his computer, staring blankly at an unpaid invoice until he forced himself to get up and be productive. 

He was making a batch of apple pie filling when Mary poked her head in the kitchen and called for him. 

“Your appointment’s here. Want me to grab some of these?” she asked, nodding towards the little cake boxes.

“Yeah, that would be great.”

Together they carried the five cake boxes to the bakery counter, where Sirius was perched on a stool and grinning brightly. 

“Hello!” 

“Hello,” Remus said, fighting down a broad smile. 

Be professional , he chided himself. 

“So what did you make me?”

“Erm, the boxes are all labelled. They’re decorated miniatures, but obviously you and James can choose whatever decor-”

“I’m sure whatever you did is perfect. Can I take a look?”

“Oh- uh, now?” 

Sirius gave him a bright smile and laughed. 

“Yes, yes, of course now. It is okay if I do my taste testing here, isn’t it?” 

“Um, yes. It’s… of course. Do you want me to set up the table again?” 

Sirius waved Remus off and swung the stool back and forth a bit as he read the label on the first box. 

“I’m happy just to sit here at the counter if that’s okay with you.” 

Remus nodded and felt himself growing a bit warm. Despite his (selfish) daydream that the man would want to stick around and fall in love with him, he hadn’t actually expected to speak to Sirius again for any extended period of time. He assumed the man would come in, pick up the cakes, and leave. Probably to return home to his fiancé where they would feed each other cake in a marble bathtub or whatever people who wore expensive suits and looked like models did.

He busied himself with checking napkin dispensers while Sirius read off the label of the first cake box.

“Cake: chocolate whiskey, filling: salted caramel whip, frosting: caramel buttercream. Holy shit that sounds amazing, Remus,” he looked up at Remus with an earnest smile as he opened the box. 

“Um, thanks.”

‘Oh and look at this ! I need to take pictures. It’s so fancy. 

“Well, it is a wedding cake,” Remus offered, a bit embarrassed. 

“Is this edible?” Sirius asked, pointing to the gold leaf decorating the cake.

“Yes.”

“And what about this?” 

Remus set down a stack of napkins and watched as Sirius plucked a chocolate garnish from the top of the cake.

“Yes,” Remus said slowly, “Everything on the cake is edible… that’s just chocolate.”

“Is it?” he asked, fascinated by it. 

“Yes,” Remus said with a laugh. 

Sirius tucked it back into the cake gently, placing it back just so. It was a geometric design, all straight, clean lines on the two hexagon-shaped tiers. Remus had stuck with a white caramel buttercream frosting and decorated it with gold leaf and tempered chocolate.

“This is too pretty. I don’t want to eat it.” 

Remus laughed and pulled the box toward him. He disassembled the box so the cardboard was lying flat against the counter and grabbed a knife. 

“How about I cut a slice for you?” 

“My knight in shining armor,” Sirius said, throwing him a flirty grin.

Remus shook his head slightly, bemused, and cut a very thin slice of cake. 

“Here you are. Do you want me to cut one from each?” 

“Please.”

Remus busied himself with cutting the cakes, hiding his smile as Sirius moaned while he ate the first few bites of the chocolate whiskey caramel cake. After eating half of the slice he set his fork down and began exclaiming over the design of the other four cakes, which Remus had now set on the counter and begun to cut. 

“Did you do all of these yourself?”

“Mhm.”

“This is amazing! It’s so… intricate. Is it harder to do all these designs on a tiny cake?” 

“Uh,” Remus started. It was rare for people to ask about his work, “It can be. Depends on the design.” 

“I’ll need to pay you double then,” Sirius said solemnly. 

“Oh, no,” Remus said, sliding him a second slice, “I won’t charge you for these. It’s all part of your tasting.” 

Sirius shook his head and opened his mouth to protest but, but took a bite of the next cake and moaned instead. 

“What is this one?” he asked. 

“That’s an earl grey sponge cake and that,” Remus pointed each layer out with a fork as Sirius nodded along, concentrating hard on Remus’s descriptions,” is a lavender whip filling with lavender infused citrus buttercream.”

“Oh my god, it’s so good. And it doesn’t sound like it would be good, no offense,” he shot Remus an apologetic smile, “it sounds a bit like eating a garden.” 

Remus laughed. Sirius took another bite and grinned, lips pressed shut as he chewed. 

“So good, oh my god,” he muttered, “Okay!” he pushed the second slice of cake away from him and eyed the next one, “so talk me through these. Why’d you pick the flavors that you did?”

Remus considered the man, puzzled. He was looking at Remus earnestly, wide-eyed and sitting up straight at the counter like a schoolboy excited for a lesson.

“Uh, I… I don’t know. The flavor combinations seemed interesting?” 

“How can you tell if something will be good together?” Sirius asked, dragging the first cake towards him once again and inspecting the layers, “I mean I think I’d be rubbish at that. I’d say, like ‘oh, I bet raspberries and…’ I don’t know, coffee would be good together then I’d eat it and want to puke, you know?” 

“I suppose,” Remus chuckled, “I think raspberry and coffee would probably be pretty good though, actually. Chocolate-coffee cake with raspberry jam sounds very good.” 

“See! Now that you say it it does sound good, but I thought it would be shit - er, sorry - crap.”

He glanced at a mother and her young daughter who had entered the shop and were looking at cupcakes in the display case nearby. 

“Sorry,” he whispered to Remus. 

“You’re fine,” Remus said with an amused eye roll, “here, eat this one.” 

He pushed the third cake slice towards Sirius, then walked over to assist the other customers. He focused half-heartedly on their transaction while watching Sirius out of the corner of his eye. The man really was gorgeous. He licked a bit of frosting off his lip, glanced over at Remus, and smiled brightly. He gave Remus a thumbs up and made an over the top face, mouthing, “oh my god.”

Remus had to turn away to hide his smile. He finished checking out the woman and her daughter, albeit distracted through the whole transaction, and wandered back to Sirius. 

“Made any more progress?” Remus asked, noticing that Sirius had only eaten one small bite from the third cake, a lemon and burnt honey chiffon piece. 

Sirius shook his head. 

“I haven’t had dinner and I thought I should eat something before I finished dessert,” he said.

“Oh, sure,” Remus said, irrationally disappointed that his time with Sirius was coming to an end. 

The man doesn’t want to sit here and eat cake and hear about your baking process , he lectured himself, he is hungry and you are lonely and reading into things.

Remus began to rebox the cakes.

“Oh no,” he inclined his head towards the cafe side of the shop, where Dorcas was busy taking orders at the counter, “I meant eat something here, of course.”

“Oh, right,” Remus muttered, surprised and pleased.

“Can I… is it okay if I order and eat here at the counter, though? You can tell me more about your sophisticated palate while I eat, yeah?” 

Remus fought back a jubilant smile.

“I’ll go get you a menu, shall I?” 

“Brilliant.” 


~~~

 

The next two hours passed in a delightful haze. Remus joined Sirius for dinner, forgoing his sad, packed lunch in favor of one of Mary’s new menu items. He had placed their orders himself, punching them into the register and whispering to Dorcas that they should prioritize the dinner customers and take their time making his and Sirius’s meals. Dorcas had glanced down the counter, frowning, but did as they were told.

“This is so good. It’s a good thing I don’t work closer to here or I’d be dead broke.” 

“Mm,” Remus swallowed a mouthful of his sandwich and nodded down the counter towards Mary, who was loading the refrigerated display case with the last batch of the day’s prepared food. I’ll let Mary know how much you enjoyed it.” 

“So she’s your chef?"

“Co-owner and chef, yes.” 

“Huh,” he said, staring down the counter at Mary absentmindedly.

He tapped his fingers on the counter, eyes narrowed. Remus wondered what he was thinking. It was a mercurial sort, Remus had found; just as prone to thinking before he spoke and making a profound announcement as he was to bursting out with an inane witticism. Remus found it endearing, if slightly unsettling. He watched the man now as he nibbled on his lower lip, apparently lost in thought. His brow was furrowed and he unconsciously kept tucking loose strands of long hair behind his ear, but never quite getting it all. Remus was seized with the sudden urge to carefully place the glossy locks there himself. He turned away and busied himself with cutting the fourth and fifth cakes. 

“Do you cater?” Sirius asked suddenly. 

“Cater?” 

“Yes, like weddings?”

“Oh! Erm, no we haven’t.” 

Sirius nodded. 

“I figured you didn’t, as you probably would have mentioned it when James was in here talking about how he didn’t have a caterer,” he said with a hearty eye roll and a bit of disdain.

Obviously James was in charge of choosing the caterer. Remus had dealt with plenty of soon-to-be-spouses who were at odds during the planning process, and he long since learned how to gracefully remain neutral to both parties.

“I can recommend some places if you’d like.” 

“Oh no, don’t trouble yourself,” Sirius said, pulling another piece of cake towards him, “just tell me what this is.” 

“This is a dark chocolate torte filled with kumquat jam, topped with white chocolate ganache and citrus zest.” 

“Ohmmm,” Sirius mumbled around a mouthful of the cake, “this is so good, Remus.” 

“Thanks,” he said, tucking his hands into his pockets under his apron and shrugging in embarrassment. It’s definitely… different for a wedding. But I think it might be really lovely for a summer wedding. The white chocolate means it sort of looks the part, but there’s enough chocolate in the torte to compensate and the citrus is just really… bright.”

He turned the little cake in a circle, inspecting it. 

“I would do a really simple design like this, I think, if you’re having the wedding in the garden, but add more florals and fresh greens. Maybe some lemons and kumquats around the base to compliment it.” 

He nodded at the cake, picturing it, then looked up to see Sirius watching at him with a soft smile. 

“Sorry… probably way too much detail,” Remus muttered, coloring. 

“No, I love it.” 

Remus gave him a little half-grin. Their eyes were locked over the counter. He was suddenly aware of Sirius’s hand - the one that wasn’t holding a fork full of cake - resting on the countertop just inches from his own. 

“How was dinner?”

He jumped back. Sirius snatched his hand off the counter and tucked his hair behind his ear before plastering a bright smile on his face. 

“Really amazing, Mary.”

“Oh, knows my name and everything,” she said, raising an eyebrow at Remus. 

“I said I would send compliments to the chef,” Remus sniffed. 

“What’d you have?” she asked Sirius.

“A brie, apple, and bacon panini.” 

“Oh, was it good?” she asked excitedly, “the brie’s from that new dairy supplier,” she added to Remus. 

“Amazing. Honestly. I asked Remus if you cater.” 

Mary laughed. 

“I’m quite serious,” he said, “James hasn’t had any luck finding a caterer this week, so he’s asked if I’ll have a look around. It’s a pity you don’t, because that food was incredible.”

“Huh. Well, it’s definitely something Dorcas - that’s our store manager,” she added for Sirius’s benefit, “has been on us about. But we just do sandwiches and finger foods, really.”

“That’s all I need,” he said quickly, perking up, “it’s a Sunday afternoon wedding - just tea. There’s not even going to be proper tables, just those tall bar ones you know?”

Mary gave him a long look, considering, then turned to Remus who put his hands up in surrender. 

“I just make cakes.” 

Sirius laughed, “Well, here’s my card. Just think about it and let me know. Preferably sooner rather than later, as the wedding’s in less than two months, but...” 

Sirius passed a card to Mary, who tucked it into her apron and headed back into the kitchen, muttering to herself. 

“Ah, see, I might have this whole wedding planned before I leave,” he said, “I just need a florist and tux.”

“Mhm,” Remus fought down a frown at the idea of Sirius in a tux, standing at the altar with James. 

Get yourself together, Lupin. 

“Right, so this last one is um... chai tea and brown butter cake with mascarpone filling and a cinnamon buttercream.”

“This sounds amazing, too.”

“Thanks,” he said, a bit shortly, “I’m just going to do the cash…” 

He wandered towards the register, leaving a slightly puzzled Sirius behind him. 

It was nearly nine o’clock in the evening, which meant that Remus had spent close to three hours with Sirius. He had been counting on the fact that his little crush would quickly dissipate once he fulfilled the wedding order and got the man out of his life. But if tonight was any indication, he wasn’t going to be shot of this stupid little infatuation for some time. Why did Sirius have to be so charming? And smart? And attentive? And genuinely interested in Remus’s work? 

He counted and recounted the cash drawer several times - never getting the same amount,as he was undeniably distracted - before Sirius came up to him. 

“Hey, I don’t want to overstay my welcome if you’re closing…” 

“Oh, no! You’re fine.” 

“Nah, it’s okay. I don’t want to hold you up, and honestly I have a bit of a drive to James’s place. I’m going to drop the cakes off for him tonight.”

“Oh, that’s great,” Remus said weakly. 

“Can I pay for these before you finish up?” 

“No, no,” Remus waved him off, “it’s fine.” 

Sirius gave him a suspicious look, but didn’t argue. 

“Alright,” he said, tapping the counter, “have a nice night, Remus. I had a great time. I mean I always knew testing cake would be the best part of all this nonsense, but this is… really something.” 

He picked up the little stacks of cake boxes, balancing them precariously. 

“I can help you carry them out,” Remus offered, trying to ignore the interesting mix of happiness, shame, and guilt that Sirius’s pronouncement brought forth. 

"I, er…” he tried to pick up a stack of three boxes in one hand and a stack of two in the other. Both stacks wobbled dangerously. I think I’ll take you up on that.” 

“Of course, just give me a moment.” 

He closed the cash drawer, rounded the corner, and took a stack of cakes from Sirius. 

“Just lead the way.”      



Sunday May 2nd
42 days until the wedding



Mary had agreed to cater the wedding, and Sirius was apparently determined to eat his way through the entire menu before choosing the sandwiches he wanted to serve. As a result, Sirius dropped into Au Pif nearly every day. Some mornings he stopped in early and bought a dozen pastries to take to work and feed his whole office. Other days he called ahead and placed a lunch order, stopping in just long enough to talk to Remus for a few minutes while Dorcas made him a cappuccino and passed him his takeaway order. A few times he had stopped in when Remus was gone. On those occasions, Remus would open the shop the next morning and find little notes Sirius had left tucked under the tip jar, usually adorned with surprisingly good drawings of dancing cupcakes or sad-looking croissants. Remus squirreled the notes away under his keyboard surreptitiously, hoping no one noticed.

Talking with Sirius had quickly become the highlight of his day, despite the fact that he hated himself just a bit because of it. He had been able to convince himself, more or less, that as long as Sirius was coming to the bakery as a customer everything was fine. Chit-chat between a store owner and a client wasn’t forbidden, after all. All of the full-time staff had regular customers that they knew far too much about. Sirius was just a regular, that’s all. 

The illusion lasted for a couple of weeks, until the beginning of May, when Remus made the monumental error of offering to see him outside of the bakery. 

“I don’t know how you can possibly work here and look like you do,” Sirius had complained on Friday, sitting at the counter and finishing his second sandwich of the evening. 

“What?” Remus asked, bemused.

He was frosting cupcakes for the display, sitting behind the counter on a stool across from Sirius. He had begun taking more and more work from the back to the counter so he could talk with the man while he prepared his pastries. He was worried it was unprofessional, but had been pleasantly surprised when multiple customers commented on how fun it was to watch him work.

“I’d be so fat if I worked here.” 

“Oh,” Remus said with a laugh, “the novelty wears off, I promise.” 

“Hm. I dunno,” Sirius said, grabbing a cupcake right off of the tray Remus was frosting and peeling the wrapper off, “I’ve gained like seven pounds in the last few weeks,” he said, mumbling with his mouth full. 

“Serves you right for stealing my desserts,” Remus grumbled, moving the tray out of Sirius’s grasp. 

Sirius gave him a shit-eating grin and took another large bite. 

“I actually started going to the gym again,” he said, wrinkling his nose. 

“Oh? That’s…” Remus had to give himself a little shake to get the idea of a sweaty, flushed Sirius out of his mind, "that’s probably good for you anyways, though.” 

“Hm, I guess,” Sirius hummed.

He pulled out a folder from his work bag, and took several pieces of paper out. 

“Do you recognize any of these places?” he asked Remus, sliding one of the pieces of paper across the counter to him. 

Remus finished twirling a few buttercream roses onto a cupcake and set it down before glancing down at a handwritten list.

“Mishka’s, yes… Maureen’s, yes… this last one I know of but have never worked with. They’re pretty… traditional.” 

“Oh they don’t like your gay bakery?” 

“Something like that.”

“Well fuck them, then,” he said, scratching out the name of the florist vindictively. 

“I’m pretty sure all of these places are going to be booked up though,” Remus warned. 

“I figured,” Sirius sighed. 

“A lot of people do fake flowers,” Remus offered. 

“Lily would kill me,” Sirius said, shaking his head. 

For all that Sirius visited, he rarely talked about the wedding. When it was brought up, it was strictly in relation to the food or baked goods they were eating that had potential to be served. He seemed strangely disinterested in the whole thing. Both bridesmaids on the other hand seemed to have a million opinions; Lily’s usually being reasonable and tasteful, while Petunia’s were just headache-inducing. 

“Have you thought about making your own?” 

“I mean, I personally haven’t thought about it all that much, to be honest. But now James has been asking me to ask you about different vendors. I think he thinks you're his ‘in’ in the business.” 

Remus smiled, trying to temper down his guilt at hearing James’s name.

“Well with only - what, six weeks to go - I’d say your best bet is buying your own and making the centerpieces.” 

“And the bouquets? Would it be hard to make a bouquet?” 

Remus shrugged. 

“I mean, yeah. Florists are artists. But I’m sure you can make one that would last through the ceremony and look half-way decent.”

“Where would I even go to buy flowers?” 

“A grocer’s or a floral market, I guess.” 

“A floral market?” Sirius asked, sounding surprised, “what the hell is a floral market?” 

Remus smiled apologetically at a nearby family. 

“A floral market is like, a wholesale flower store. Florists sometimes shop there to stock their shops.” 

“And I can just... show up there with buckets and chuck flowers in?” 

“Hm,” Remus tipped his head back and forth, considering, “not usually. Most of them around here ask for a license. Either you have to be a florist or be in a business that they do bulk ordering from. Sometimes they let people in without a license, but not usually during peak wedding season.” 

“And this is peak wedding season?” 

“Unfortunately, yes.” 

“Huh,” Sirius slumped down, looking defeated. 

Remus looked up at him and considered.

He shouldn’t.

He really shouldn’t.

He knew he shouldn’t…

“Mary’s boyfriend Pete works at a florist. I go with him sometimes if I have a lot of weddings coming up, to stock up on greenery for cake decor. We’re going on Tuesday morning, if you… if you want to join us? You can just check it out, see if it’s something you’re interested in. Then you’d have to come back just before the wedding, of course.”

Sirius looked as though all his dreams had come true. Remus tried hard to pretend it was because of the pleasure of his company, and not the chance at exploiting a baker for cheap wedding florals.

“Yeah?” 

“Yes. Sure.” 

“That would be so amazing, Remus!” 

“Okay,” Remus let out a shaky breath, “okay. So we have to be there by four in the morning, just to warn you.” 

Sirius looked disgusted. 

“You wedding people keep horrific hours, you know.” 

“Trust me, I do know.” 


Tuesday May 4th
40 days until the wedding

 

Sirius agreed to meet Remus at the bakery at half-past three on Tuesday. It was a drizzly, gray morning, and still quite dark, as the sun hadn’t risen. They would be meeting Peter at the floral market. He would be bringing the company delivery truck, which could only seat a driver and a single passenger, so Remus would have to give Sirius a lift in. He had contemplated asking Sirius for his address, but that seemed too personal, too intimate. If they met at the bakery, Remus could still pretend their little outing was related to business. After all, he was a wedding vendor, his client needed wedding flowers… 

Remus shook his head, trying to clear it of the pathetic mental gymnastics he’d been putting it through in order to justify his absolutely-not-a-date with a very about-to-be-married man. He sighed as he pulled into the parking lot behind the building, hoping today wouldn’t be one huge mistake. 

He threw the hood of his raincoat over his head and tucked his hands into his pockets, walking quickly against the rain. It was quarter-past three when rounded the corner and pulled out his keys. He stopped short, surprised to see Sirius already lingering under the bakery’s awning, one longer finger tracing the gold lettering on the front window.

“Sirius?” 

The man spun around, his long hair whipping around as he turned to greet Remus. He smiled brightly.

“Hi!” 

“You’re here early,” Remus said, unlocking the front door.

“I got so nervous I wouldn’t wake up on time I set an alarm for two then couldn’t fall back to sleep,” Sirius said with a little shrug and a yawn.

“Oh,” Remus laughed, “well, I was going to make some coffee before we left, if you’d like some.” 

Sirius groaned happily and followed Remus inside. 

“I’d love some.” 

“Not normally an early riser?” Remus asked, locking the door behind him. 

“No,” Sirius said with a rueful smile, “I’m more of a showered and out the door in ten minutes kind of person.” 

Remus laughed and ambled behind the counter. He eyed the industrial coffee maker and, after half a second of deliberation, he motioned for Sirius to follow him.

“I hate using this machine. Do you mind if I just make us something in the back?” 

“No, not at all.”

Remus pushed his way into the kitchen, holding the door open for Sirius, who had stepped behind the counter gingerly and entered the kitchen with a great look of curiosity on his face. Remus tore his eyes away from Sirius’s eager face and made his way into the employee break room at the back of the kitchen. 

“Any particular type of coffee you’d like? We have, erm… hazelnut, french vanilla…”

He put on the kettle and began rifling through the cabinets, pulling out his french press and trying to find more opened bags of coffee beans.

“Anything is fine for me.” 

“Okay, great.” 

He started grinding the beans, acutely aware that Sirius had stopped gazing around the kitchen and had instead sidled up to him at the break room counter.

“This is something easy?”

Remus looked up at him in confusion. 

“You said you were going to ‘make us something easy’ rather than use the espresso machine out front.”

“Oh,” Remus said, glancing down at the french press, “well. This is pretty easy.” 

“I figured you meant a Keurig or something.” 

“Oh,” Remus wrinkled his nose in distaste and Sirius laughed. 

“Are you a coffee snob?” he asked, sounding delighted. 

“Maybe a bit. But I’m not nearly as bad as the rest of my staff,” he added hastily. 

“Oh god, well if you ever come round to mine,” Sirius said, moving a bit closer to Sirius, “I’ll be sure to pull out all the stops and make you something fancy.” 

Remus was sure it was his imagination that made Sirius’s voice sound a bit softer, a bit more hesitant. 

“I- I’m… really not that bad,” Remus said quickly, tripping over his tongue, “I’ll drink anything. I kind of have to with the hours I keep, it’s just that if I’m here and…” 

“Hey, boss,” a woman’s voice interrupted his ramblings. 

Remus spun around to face the door of the staff room so quickly he heard his vertebrae click. He winced and rubbed a hand across the back of his neck. He took a step back from Sirius.

“Hi, Marls. Coffee?”

“Sure,” she said, eyebrows raised, glancing between the men. 

Remus turned back to the coffee, scooping some freshly ground beans into his french press and studiously avoiding Sirius’s eyes, which he felt on him still.

“Sirius is having coffee, too,” he said stupidly, “and then he’s leaving. Er - I mean we’re leaving. To go to the floral market.” 

“Oh, nice.” 

“Yes.”

“You’re the…. Potter wedding, right?” 

“Mhm,” Sirius hummed in agreement, “and I don’t know anything about weddings. How I’ve ended up planning so much of it is still a mystery. I’m really thankful for Remus here.” 

Remus felt Sirius pat him gently on the shoulder.

“Yeah,” Marlene said slowly, “he’s uh, the best.” 

Heavy silence lingered for a moment.

“This will be done soon,” Remus said loudly, “Sirius, you can sit down if you’d like.” 

“Oh, sure."

“Marlene, do you mind if I go over the orders for today while this brews?” 

“Sure,” Marlene said suspiciously, “I’ll meet you at my station.” 

“My office actually would be better.” 

She didn’t even respond to that, just raised her eyebrows and shot a glance at Sirius, who was yawning and glancing at his phone. 

“Sorry, I’ve just got to check in with her, then we can go,” Remus added to Sirius. 

“Yeah, ‘course. Take your time.” 

Remus fled, making a beeline for his office, where Marlene was already waiting. She gave him an expectant look and he shut the door, leaning against it heavily. 

“I’m so fucked, Marlene.” 

“Because you’re in love with the charming groom-to-be?” 

Remus nodded miserably. 

“Uh-huh.” 

She sounded unimpressed. Remus hadn’t been oblivious to the looks Mary, Marlene, Dorcas, and even Kingsly have been giving one another whenever Sirius was around or something related to the Potter wedding came up. Mary had tried to broach the subject with him a few times, mentioning off-hand that Remus was putting more work into this wedding than any of the others, or saying that she knew he was big on customer service, but wasn’t this taking things a bit far? Remus had just pointedly changed the subject each time.

“You need to be careful, Remus.” 

“Do you honestly think I don’t know that?” he asked, letting his head fall back against the door rhythmically. 

“Stop hitting yourself. You’re being dramatic.”

“I don’t know why I keep agreeing to see him.” 

“You’re... smitten. It happens.” 

He snorted, “That’s an understatement.” 

“It’s kind of cute, actually. Since culinary school I genuinely thought you only cared about baking and breathing. I didn’t know you could feel human emotions like love.” 

Remus glared at her, offended, but quickly realized her assessment of him as an overly hard-working robot was probably more accurate than not. His withering glare dissipated, replaced by what was surely a self-pitying grimace.

“It isn’t cute. It’s pathetic.”

“A bit, yeah,” Marlene agreed, “but I wouldn’t worry about that. What I would worry about is getting yourself out of these situations in the future. If you keep spending time with him you’re going to make yourself so miserable. Not to mention, you could seriously fuck up your business. We’re all worried about you, you know, because you haven’t seemed this happy in years and… well the guy’s out of bounds…” she sighed, then gave him a sharp look, “so we’re mostly worried about you, but I have to tell you I think I’m the only one recognizing how bad it would be if word gets out that you broke up a marriage while pretending to plan the wedding.”

“I know, I know,” Remus commiserated, “but I’m not...It’s…” 

Marlene held up a hand. 

“Just help him pick out some pretty flowers for his pretty husband, then pick a bunch to go around the cake so you have some semblance of a reason for being there, and call it a day.”

Remus didn’t say anything, just rested his head against the back of the door and stared up at the ceiling. 

“When’s the last time you tried to… see anyone? Date?” Marlene asked. 

Remus let out a hollow laugh. 

“I don’t even know.” 

“I think you need to get through this wedding, have a good cry over this guy, then start dating. You’ve been so devoted to this place I think you’ve forgotten what it's like to have a real relationship.”

Remus couldn’t refute that, so he stayed silent.

“There are a lot of charming guys with leather jackets who’d want to eat cake with you, you know?” she added, not unkindly. 

“He’s… I keep getting such mixed signals. I know he’s getting married, but sometimes I swear he’s really interested in me.” 

Remus could hear Marlene’s lips part in the silent office. He waited, but she didn’t say anything. He glanced down at her. 

“That’s the weird part,” she said with a far-off questioning look, “there are definitely times he’s been in where it’s obvious he’s flirting. Dorcas thinks he might be poly. Or they could have an open relationship, but—” She looked back at him and glared, “No! No! I can see you getting all hopeful. I’m not saying this because I think you should pursue something.” 

“But I’m not crazy right?” Remus asked desperately, crossing the room to sink down into his chair.

“No. But Remus, even if he’s in an open relationship or poly or just willing to fuck you behind his finacés back… is really that what you want?”

Remus looked down at his hands.

“No. It isn’t.”

“Well, there you go.”

 

 

~~~




“Sorry. Took longer than I expected,” Remus said, rushing into the breakroom and making a beeline for the french press, “I hope this isn’t ruined.” 

“I’m sure it’s fine,” Sirius said, standing up and making his way over to the counter. 

Remus ignored his nearby presence, focusing on pouring the contents of the french press into travel mugs. 

“Any milk or sugar?” he added.

“No, black is fine.” 

“Okay. There you are. We should get going.”

He passed one of the mugs to Sirius and put the carafe in the sink, still not making eye contact. 

“Is everything alright?” Sirius asked tentatively. 

He forced himself to look at the man and give him a smile. 

“Yeah. Just work stuff.” 

“If today isn’t a good day, don’t worry about it.”

“No, no,” Remus said — partly because he wanted to honor Marlene’s suggestion to just get it over with and move on, and, to his continued self-loathing, partly because he was afraid of losing the chance to spend the morning with Sirius — “today is fine. Sorry, just need my coffee to wake up properly and… process some things.” 

Sirius gave him an odd look, but nodded and followed him out of the breakroom, through the shop, and out into the parking lot. 

“I’m just over here,” Remus said, pointing to his little beige car. It was the only one in the parking lot, Marlene having walked in from her flat down the block. 

“You didn’t... walk here, did you?” 

He knew from their many conversations that Sirius lived twenty minutes away and worked even further, commuting another half an hour in the opposite direction into the city. 

“No, I drove.” 

Sirius, noticing Remus’s confused glance around the parking lot, pointed to a motorcycle parked against the far brick wall. 

“Oh.” 

Of course he had a motorcycle. 

“Mhm. It didn’t start raining until after I left, of course. Would’ve taken my car otherwise.” 

“Right.” 

Remus unlocked the car and slipped into the driver’s side, wondering if it was possible to die from the particular mixture of awkward longing that was sure to pervade the ten minute drive to the market. At least, Remus thought, it would be a short death. 



~~~


To Remus’s surprise the ride was pleasant, though it took considerably longer than expected due to a herd of sheep who were blocking the road just outside the market entrance. Sirius flickered through Remus’s radio presets, telling Remus with a tone of wonder that the stations they listened to were exactly the same ones he had programmed into his own car- albeit in a different order. 

Of course they were , Remus had thought, tapping his steering wheel lightly.

“I grew up in London, so this is still totally wild to me,” Sirius said, leaning out the window and reaching a hand out, trying to coerce a sheep into coming closer. They were at a complete standstill, with sheep surrounding their car.

“Why’d you move here, of all places?” Remus asked, laughing as Sirius began to whisper to the nearest sheep, fingers outstretched.

“James,” Sirius said simply. 

The little glow that had reignited upon learning they shared a wildly eclectic taste in music was doused once again by an icy voice that sounded suspiciously like Marlene’s. 

“He and Lily moved out here after graduate school — they both work at the hospital and live in the city — and after that there wasn’t anything left for me in London, so I put in for a transfer. I really wanted to just up and quit but, you know,” he shrugged and trailed off, frowning slightly. 

He worked as an investment banker, Remus knew, and hated every minute of it.

“Well, it’s really nice that you moved for James. Not everyone’s that supportive.” 

Sirius gave him a weird look. No doubt he’d never been in a relationship where his partner wasn’t doting on him twenty-four-seven. Maybe the concept of a non-supportive partner was foreign to him.

“I mean, I didn’t just move for James. It was… I didn’t move right away or anything. It was mostly like…” he ran a hand through his hair, sounding frustrated, “I’m from London and my family’s there...” 

He glanced at Remus, as if gauging his reaction, “I hate my family, you see, and I kept running into them. And one day I felt like, why the hell am I staying here dodging down alleys to avoid my family when I could be three hundred miles away from these fuckers and hang out with my best friends?” 

Remus let out a surprised laugh at the delightfully honest description of his familial relationship. Remus glanced over, but Sirius had leaned out the window once again, wriggling his fingers as a sheep walked within a few inches of the car. 

He contemplated the man for a few seconds, staring at the patch of skin visible where his shirt had ridden up.

If he had moved here to “hang out” with his best friends, he and James must have started dating after he moved. From their conversations, Remus didn’t get the sense that Sirius had been in the area for very long. Something wasn’t adding up. The couple couldn’t have been dating for very long… then why the rushed engagement? If they were a straight couple he would’ve guessed a baby was on the way. Or perhaps they had a conservative family who wanted them married before they moved in together? But what sort of conservative family would care more about living arrangements than homosexuality? Then again, Remus had heard of crazier things.

Remus wanted to ask, to delve into their relationship, if only to soothe his own mind and get some closure. But he was far too afraid to ask; wouldn’t it just seem like Remus was fishing for details because he himself was interested in Sirius? Or was he just projecting?

He kept his mouth shut.

It doesn’t matter , he chided himself, because he’s just a client .

“Aha! I got one!”

Sirius turned in his seat, a huge smile on his face and his sudden, infectious enthusiasm pulling Remus back from the brink of yet another episode of shame and self-hatred.

“Got… what?” he asked in confusion, smiling and looking at the hand Sirius was holding up triumphantly.

“I touched a sheep!”

Remus’s mouth opened, but he had nothing to say. 

“I…” 

Sirius was smiling so earnestly, so happily, he could do nothing but laugh.

“Congratulations?”

“Yes, congratulations indeed,” Sirius said with a self-satisfied smile. He settled back into the passenger seat, smiling brightly at the farmer who finally came ambling up the road to lead his flock away. 

“Today is going to be a good day.”

 

~~~

 

He and Sirius spent the better part of three hours at the floral market, laughing through most of it. They’d met Peter at the entrance and gotten in using his floral license. Remus had intended to stay close to him at all times, using him as a buffer between him and Sirius, but after half an hour of stilted wedding flower talk with a very irate Pete — who was absolutely not used to a talkative Remus and just wanted to move quickly through the market and pick up the flowers on his list  — they split up. Shortly thereafter, Sirius had challenged Remus to make the most hideous floral arrangements they could think of, with the loser (in this case the one with the more normal looking bouquet) buying breakfast.

This proved incredibly difficult as all of the flowers for sale were generally, well, pretty. 

They’d ended up filling a few cartons with every flower imaginable (except lilies and petunias, at Sirius’s insistence) then sitting on a bench along the side wall, looking up ugly flowers on their phones and laughing as they paged through the results. 

In the end they’d given up the whole thing as a bad job and split the bill for breakfast, which they ate at a farmhouse diner near the market. The restaurant was small and cramped, and their legs kept bumping one another under the table. After the fourth time this happened, Remus suffered a pang conscience and brought the conversation back around to flowers and wedding cakes. He grabbed somes napkins, fished a pen out of his pocket, and began to draw up designs for cakes that would match some of the flowers they’d picked out.

Sirius had also begun to sketch. He was quite good and Remus commented on how much he loved the drawing that accompanied the notes Sirius left him on occasion. He learned that Sirius had briefly worked as a tattoo artist as a kid, apprenticing in a shop in London by claiming he was eighteen, only to get caught out a week before his eighteenth birthday when his mother passed the shop and saw him tattooing someone in the window when he was supposed to be in a cello lesson. 

He had a collection of similar wild stories, most featuring James, that kept Remus in stitches for the whole meal. Sirius’s constant mentioning of James, which at first had been so difficult to handle, became almost comforting by the end of breakfast. Sirius was obviously not trying to compartmentalize his life, or hide something from Remus. He was openly talking about the man, and had even said a few times how much he loved him for saving him from his family — though the details of that particular story Sirius didn’t share, Remus noticed. On top of that, Remus didn’t get the sense that Sirius seeing him was some kind of guilty secret; he had texted James a picture of the herd of sheep with a message “I touched one!” only to receive a slew of mocking texts back from the man, who had gone to a boarding school in London with Sirius, but lived on his parents’ country estate when the school was not in session. 

“See how he makes fun of me?” Sirius had said in mock offense, passing the phone to Remus to look at. 

Sure enough there was a string of insults, followed by a kind text that referenced Remus:

I don’t know how that lovely baker puts up with you. Tell him I said hello .

“He says hello, by the way,” Sirius said, taking his phone back. 

“I saw,” Remus said.

“He likes you quite a bit.” 

Remus had stilled, fork halfway to his mouth. Perhaps he had been reading this situation wrong entirely. Maybe it wasn’t just Sirius who was open to flirting with people other than his fiancé… Remus glanced up at Sirius, terrified that he was about to be propositioned for a threesome. 

“Oh?” he said, trying for carefree, but landing somewhere between intrigued and scared shitless. 

“Mhm. He thinks you’re a good influence on me.” 

“Oh,” he sighed in relief, “I doubt that’s true.” 

“Got me up early, didn’t you?” 

“I suppose,” Remus said with a chuckle.

“Good enough for James. Next he’ll try to trick you into making me go jogging,” he said with a wrinkled nose. 

“Ugh, I promise I won’t do that.” 

“I knew there was a reason I liked you.” 

 

~~~


 

The morning rain had cleared up by the time they finished their breakfast and headed back to the bakery. Remus pulled into the parking lot and stopped the car, turning to give Sirius a wide-eyed look. 

“I didn’t even realize… you came on your bike.” 

“Yeah?” Sirius asked, unbuckling his seatbelt. 

“You don’t have a way to get the flowers back to your place.” 

They both glanced into the back seat, where several cartons of flowers had been stacked up, their colorful petals dancing in the warm breeze. 

“Oh shit. I… I have no idea how I didn’t think of that,” Sirius said, turning back to Remus with a similar look of panic. Remus pulled his seatbelt back on, clicking it in place. 

“I’ll drive you back to yours, then you can come back with me to get your bike,” he offered. 

“Oh, no, Remus you don’t have to do that.” 

“It’s not a problem. I’m not due in for another hour or so.” 

“I—”

“We can’t let the flowers go to waste. How else will you make the world's ugliest bouquet for Petunia?”

Sirius laughed, and they pulled out of the parking lot.




~~~




An hour later, after Remus was unloading the last of the flowers into the garage attached to Sirius’s little rented cottage, he found himself sitting on the porch in front of the little house. They’d spent far too much time talking as they’d unloaded the flowers and had migrated to the covered porch once the sun had gotten too high in the sky and they needed to squint to see one another in the bright sunlight.

As Remus had stacked the last carton of flowers in the garage, Sirius had slipped inside and returned with two bottles of water, which they drank slowly on the porch, enjoying one another’s company. After twenty minutes or so, Sirius had asked him if he wanted to come in. The question was tentative. Remus met his eyes and shivered as something passed between them. As generally obtuse and out of practice as he was, there was no mistaking that look.

Yes, Remus thought desperately.

“No, I...I should get back to work,” Remus said quickly, swallowing down his want. 

Sirius tore his eyes away from Remus and glanced back towards his house, nodding absentmindedly.

“Right,” he muttered. 

“It’s not that… erm…” Remus changed tactics, not knowing how to explain everything that was flitting through his mind, “did you want to come back with me to get your bike?” 

“I’ll get it tomorrow,” Sirius said, once again peering at Remus, this time with an unreadable expression.

“Okay.”

“Okay,” Sirius said with a hesitant smile, “then I’ll see you tomorrow.” 




Wednesday May 5th
39 days until the wedding

 

The back door slammed shut and Remus looked up from the elaborate cake he was frosting, a giant book-shaped confection commissioned to celebrate the reopening of the town library, which had been under construction for months. 

“Bike’s gone.” 

Remus let out a sigh of relief and returned to the cake, not missing the way Dorcas rolled their eyes as they headed towards the other side of the kitchen. He rolled out pieces of colored fondant that would serve as the book’s covers, cursing as he spread it too thin and had to scrape it back together and start again. 

All day he had been distracted. He had had a single glorious day with Sirius, basking in his attention and their shared happiness. It had been so easy to push thoughts of the other man’s impending marriage to the side, ignore his own morals, and pretend. But that evening all of his doubts came creeping back, sleep escaping him as he instead ran through the scenarios in which he would inevitably ruin his life, his business, his heart… 

He rerolled the fondant monotonously, glaring at it as though it had done him great personal wrong. 

Sirius had returned for his bike, but hadn’t asked to see him. 

Theoretically this was the ideal situation; after lying awake for several hours in misery, Remus had committed himself to heeding Marlene’s advice. From that point forward, he vowed he was going to be as professional as possible.

Still, it was painful that Sirius hadn’t looked in on him. A small, tratorious part of him knew he would cave, would find himself desperate to talk to the man again...

And cue the spiral of mental anguish.

Why are you incapable of making the right choices?

Mary’s voice floated through his brain, interrupting his latest mental self-flagellation.

“...wants to talk to you.” 

“What?” he said finally, looking up. 

She frowned at him. 

“Sirius is on the phone. He wants to talk to you. I have him on hold in my office. Want me to transfer the call to you?”

His elbow slipped off the workbench, rolling pin dragging a square of bright blue fondant to the edge. It dropped with a splat on the floor. 

“What?” he said again, “why?” 

“We just finalized the catering menu and I think he wants to finish up with the cake.”

Remus swore and Mary raised an eyebrow. 

“Everything okay?”

“Yes. No. I mean… yes. Can you take a message?” 

She snorted and turned back towards her office. 

“Sure. I’ll tell him you’re too busy having an existential crisis to talk, yeah?” 

He stooped to grab the ruined fondant and swore again. 




~~~




Remus took his time returning to his office, trying to force himself to return to some semblance of professionalism and finish the damn book cake for the library. It had taken him several hours longer than normal to complete the decorations but he’d finished and, by late afternoon, he was out of activities to keep from checking the messages in his office.

As it turned out, Sirius had wanted to discuss business, not their maddeningly frustrating personal relationship. The little note Mary had left on his desk detailed a cookie order Sirius wanted to place for the rehearsal dinner, which was happening the day before the wedding. 

He stared at the mobile number, which he already recognized. It was late afternoon and, if Sirius’s previous lunch-time patterns were anything to go by, he was probably back at work. If Remus called now he would probably miss him and have to leave a message. If Remus waited another few hours, he’d likely have to talk to him directly. 

He stood there holding the note, seized with indecision, before finally dropping into his chair and grabbing his phone.

“Hello?” He recognized Sirius’s voice, sounding slightly disgruntled.

“Hello this is Remus Lupin, looking for Sirius Black?”

“Oh, Remus! I’m sorry I missed you today. Marlene said you weren’t in… but I swear I saw your car…” he sounded perplexed but pressed on when Remus didn’t say anything.

“Anyway, I wondered if I could place an order for cookies for the rehearsal dinner.” 

“Yes, of course. How many would you like?” 

“Whatever you recommend is fine. It’s not that big, maybe 20 or 30 people are coming.” 

Remus scribbled the information down on the scrap of paper. 

“We sell 30 piece trays. I’d recommend two unless you’re having another dessert as well.” 

“No,” Sirius said quickly, “no, just your cookies. Sorry, give me a second-”

“No, no,” he heard Sirius said to someone else, voice muffled, “I don’t give a damn. Just… no, tell Kellerson to look at the account again. No. No! Just… hold on. Sorry,” he said to Remus again, apologetically. 

“No problem. We’re all set here, if you don’t mind assorted flavors. I’ll just put you down for two trays and you can pick them up on the day of the party.” 

“Oh, er… actually I was wondering what types of flavors you have. Shit, can you…?” 

He heard Sirius speaking to his colleagues again, sharp and frustrated. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, acutely aware that his mind had gone from wanting to end the call to stay professional to wanting to ask Sirius about his day and comfort him.

“What flavors do you have in now?”

“Now?” Remus asked, bemused, “I’d have to check. I know we have-” 

“Can you set a few of each kind you have aside? Maybe I can pick them up tonight?”

“Er, yes, of course.” 

“James will want to try them, so,” Sirius said quickly, “so, er, you know. I should drop in to pick them up.”

“Right.” 

“Will... will you be in tonight?” 

Remus hesitated.

“God sorry,” Sirius said, picking up on his discomfort, “I can just get the cookies from anyone, of course.” 

“I’ll…” Remus swallowed and pinched the bridge of his nose, “I’ll be in. We should chat anyway. I need a final answer on the flavors and design you want for the cake.” 

“Oh right.” 

“Yes.” 

“Okay,” Sirius said, “so maybe quarter past six or so I’ll be in, is that okay?” 

“Perfect.” 

“Okay. See you then.” 

Remus dropped the phone back in the cradle and let out a long breath that he hadn’t known he was holding. He shuffled through some of the papers on his desk, fishing out Sirius’s wedding file. It was time to sort the rest of this mess out and close the file for good.


~~~

 

Remus was sitting at a stool behind the counter at quarter to seven, bouncing his long legs up and down in anxiety.

He glanced sideways, glaring at the refrigerated display case to his left that held an assortment of cookies. He had considered pre-packaging a selection for Sirius but he wasn’t sure if this would make him come off as needy — for presumably thinking about Sirius and his cookies preferences during his downtime — or, somehow even worse, as rude — for presumably wanting him to leave as soon as possible. 

He decided against packaging the cookies, then spent another ten minutes wondering if he should set up the cake tasting table again. Not necessarily with anything to sample, but just because it might be a more professional location, as opposed to chattering away at the bench. He poured a coffee — two creams and no sugar — before he second guessed himself. Was this putting in too much effort as well? Surely he should just emerge from the back as if he was busy working on a million things and didn’t have time to think about Sirius at all.

That seemed like the most transparent ruse of them all, though.

In the end he did nothing; just plopped himself down on the stool and frowned at the wedding file, wondering if other people in their thirties ever felt quite as pathetic and childish as he was feeling at that moment. 

The bell on the door jingled and he looked up, hopeful and nervous. He plastered a rather false smile on his face when he saw the customer was not Sirius, but a haggard-looking woman with a gang of children in tow. 

“Don’t touch that!” the woman hissed, grabbing a small hand before he could grab a fistful of brochures. 

“Hello,” Remus said, breathing a sigh of relieved disappointment, “how can I help you?” 

“Oh, hello — don’t touch that! — I’m just looking for a dozen cupcakes.”

“No problem,” Remus said, leaving his perch and heading towards the display case that housed cupcakes. 

Several chaotic minutes ensued, during which time Remus tried his best to listen to the requests of each screaming child and box up the desserts. Halfway through helping the family, the bell on the door rang and Remus looked up, knowing it would be Sirius. Sure enough, the man was in the doorway, holding a wild-looking bouquet of flowers and giving Remus a little wave. He nodded back in acknowledgment, biting back a grin.

“Right,” Remus said, returning to the till and trying his best not to focus on Sirius, who was now wandering around the shop, “that’ll be £28.00.” 

The woman paid and, after what felt like a lifetime, gathered up her children and left. Remus busied himself with wiping down the counter, trying his best not to appear too eager.

“This is the ugliest thing I could manage,” Sirius said as he approached the counter, lugging an ornamental vase piled with twisting greenery, dahlias, peonies, and strangely oversized tulips.

Remus looked up and considered the arrangement. He plucked at a thorny-looking branch and smiled. 

“It’s not too bad.” 

“Everything I tried to make last night looked good. Lily and I were trying to make Petunia something really awful, but tragically it seems I’ve missed my calling as a floral designer.” 

“Well, I wouldn’t go that far,” Remus said with a laugh, tugging at an errant flower that was drooping out of the vase so far the petals were grazing the counter. 

“This was all Lily,” Sirius said with a little shrug.

The bubble of happiness in Remus’s chest deflated slightly with the knowledge that Lily had made the bouquet.

“So, cookies?” Remus asked, gently moving the vase to the side.

Yes,” Sirius said with relish, “can you show me what you have in?” 

“Of course,” Remus said, pulling the trays out of the display case. 

He laid them all out and talked Sirius through the flavors, smiling as the man made noises of delight. 

“Can I buy one of everything?”

“Sure,” Remus said, trying to calculate how many of each type would be in each tray.

“Excellent. And do you mind if I try them here? Are you terribly busy?” 

“Oh, for… now? Not one of each type for the trays?” 

“Well, I don’t know yet, do I?” Sirius said, snagging a chocolate chip cookie from the tray and taking a large bite. 

“Definitely this though,” he said, his voice muffled, “so fucking good.”

Remus smiled again, then turned away to grab a box, which would surely hold a dozen cookies with large bites taken out of them by the end of the night. The bell tinkled above the door and Remus looked up quickly to greet the customers, who nodded and moved towards the cafe side of the shop.

“Can I stay here? Or do you want to put me at a table so I don’t scare away your customers.”

“Here’s fine. Just move a bit this way, yeah?” 

Sirius obliged, moving further down the counter away from the till, where Remus placed the empty pastry box not coincidentally across from his own stool. 

“Are you closing soon?”

“In half an hour or so.” 

“I won’t keep you long, then.” 

“No, that’s okay. I’m here until closing tonight anyway. Short-handed.” 

“Ah. Well in that case, ignore me and go about your business if you have to.” 

Remus shrugged, sinking down onto the stool. 

“I’m pretty much done for the day. Can’t bake anything else right now and I’m avoiding putting in a supply order.” 

“Small business owning sounds exhausting.” 

“It truly is.” 

“Cheers to you then,” Sirius said, holding up a cookie in salute.

Remus laughed. 

“It’s not so bad. Actually, speaking of supply orders, depending on what cake you choose I’ll need to special order ingredients. Any final decision yet?” 

“Yes, actually. We’ve had a breakthrough,” Sirius said, throwing down a lemon sherbet cookie and picking up his phone, scrolling through it quickly, “it’s the… sorry I can’t remember exactly what you said it was."

“That’s alright. I think I’ll remember if you describe it.” 

“The dark chocolate and kumquat thing. You said it would be really nice for a garden wedding.” 

“Oh, lovely. Yeah, I think that would be good. Different, but good.” 

“Yes. You said you’d do greenery and lemons and… what ?” 

“Nothing,” Remus said quickly. 

“What?” Sirius pressed him again, “why’d you give me that look?”

“I didn’t give you a look!” Remus protested, laughing and fumbling around to find the wedding file he’d brought out with him, an excuse to hide his blushing face.

No doubt he had given Sirius a startled look; he hadn’t expected the man to remember so much about his commentary on the cakes. Sirius made a little harrumphing noise, but settled into the next cookie, eyeing Remus shrewdly. 

“Hm. Well,” he said slowly, “sorry it took so long for me to give you an answer. Do you have to special order anything?”

“No,” Remus said slowly, running through the ingredients in his head, “I should be able to get everything from my normal suppliers. I’ll just need your final sign off on a design. What were you thinking?” 

“Anything you want,” Sirius said, shrugging him off with a wave of his hand. 

Remus raised an eyebrow.

“Seriously, anything you design will be better than something I think of. I saw all of the designs you did on the sample cakes. They were beautiful.” 

“I’ll keep it simple and do florals then.”

“Perfect. Now what’s this one?” 

Remus spent the next few minutes pointing out each of the dozen or so flavors. Mary made her way over to the pair close to closing, wiping her hands on a towel and holding a tray filled with leftovers aloft. 

“These ones can’t go to the shelters. Any takers?”

“Shelters?” Sirius asked, already snagging one of the little quiches off of the tray, adding a quick, “thanks Mary.”

“We each take turns bringing the leftover food and pastries to different shelters at the end of the night. But they’ll only take certain things. Like they usually don’t have enough space to refrigerate things, so we don’t give them anything that can’t sit out overnight. So rolls and breads and some pastries, but not usually food or pastries with cream or dairy,” Remus explained.

“You do this every night?”

“Mhm,” Mary said, “Remus and I have done it since the beginning because we can’t stand wasting food, but when Dorcas came on board they found a bunch of tax incentives we can take advantage of.”

“We still usually just give stuff away at the end of the night though,” Remus, nodding his head in the direction of the front door, which had just opened up.

“Yeah, can’t imagine why the last 15 minutes is our busiest time,” Mary said with a hearty eyeroll. She left the quiches out on the counter and Remus pushed them forward towards an thin, older gentleman who was evidently preoccupied at the counter to the side, looking carefully at the cupcakes.

“Hello, sir.” 

“Hello. Your usual?”

“I… I think so, yes,” the man patted down his pockets, pulling out a few coins. 

“That’s fifty pence, but won’t you take some quiche? It’s going to get thrown out, otherwise” Remus said, casually. The whole thing had the air of an elaborate performance that had been rehearsed many times over.

“Well, if they’ll just be tossed. Perhaps one or two.” 

“Take as many as you’d like.” 

“I’ll leave some for the young’uns, I expect you’ll see them soon. I saw them wandering through the park earlier.” 

“I’ll look forward to it,” Remus said, putting a roll and a few quiche into a paper bag.

The man pressed the money into Remus’s hand and shuffled out of the store, clutching the bag to his side.

“He comes every night?” Sirius asked when the door had shut. 

“Not every night, but a few times a week.” 

“What’s his story?” 

“I’m not sure. I don’t even know his name. He always insists on buying something small, though. Doesn’t want charity.” 

“Perhaps he doesn’t need it,” Sirius said with a little frown. 

“What’d you mean?” Remus asked, glancing at the clock.

It was only a few minutes to closing, but Remus was loath to close out the register and lock the door until the group of kids who were allegedly en-route had had a chance to come in.

“Well, I mean what if he’s just taking advantage of you? What if he can easily afford whatever he wants? If word gets around that you’ll just hand out free food to anyone at the end of the night, won’t people just wait until later on and, you know, not pay for things during the day?” 

Remus shrugged and began pulling out the rest of the unsold food — some scones, croissants, and buns that could go to the shelter and three cupcakes and 4 danish that would need to be given away or tossed out. 

“In my experience, people who spend a lot of their time and energy on getting a couple of bites to eat do it for a reason. There are definitely people I’ve known can afford it and abuse it, but—”

“Oh my god, do you remember that one bride!?” Mary called from the far side of the counter, where she was bagging up bagels and a few extraneous loaves of bread.

“Yes,” Remus said darkly, before turning to Sirius, “we had a nightmare client who came in just to yell at us about making her mint-green cookies look too mint green instead of a blend of mint and sage green…”

Sirius scoffed. 

“I know. Anyway she saw me give food away and sort of questioned me about it, like, ‘well then can I just take these cupcakes?’ and I said sure, I usually give them to people experiencing homeslessness or food insecurity, but if you want them go for it. And she took them, right in front of some folks who were obviously hanging around waiting for food. Then she came back a few more times that week to get eclairs.” 

“What ever happened to her?” Mary asked, heading towards Remus to grab his leftovers. 

“She moved, thank god.” 

“How do you know?” Sirius asked. 

“Oh, she told me. By the end she thought we were like close friends,” Remus snorted, “or more likely she just liked to talk about herself. But she moved to London to get out of this ‘terrible, tiny town’, as she put it.”

“Sounds like a charmer.” 

Remus nodded and picked a chocolate chip cookie up absentmindedly, taking a bite. 

“I didn’t know you eat sugar!” Mary said, feigning surprise. 

“Very funny. I didn’t eat dinner.”

“Uh huh. So you chose that over my quiche.” 

Remus just shrugged and took another bite, grinning. Mary glowered. 

“Are the rest of these going to the shelter? I want to get out of here in a few.” 

“Here, you take these,” Remus pushed the majority of the cookies towards Sirius, so he had at least two of each type, “I’ll keep these,” he said, pulling two small sugar cookies from the tray and plopping them on top of the wedding file for himself, “and you can take the rest.” 

“Cheers. You okay to close up if I take off?” 

“Yeah, of course. Thanks for doing that tonight.”

“Mhm. Goodnight, all.” 

“I should go,” Sirius said, looking somewhat uncomfortable as Mary pushed open the door to the kitchen.

“No, it’s okay. Finish up. I’ll be at least fifteen minutes or so.” 

He glanced towards the door, reluctantly pulling the keys from the cash register. 

“Waiting for the hungry youths?” Sirius guessed. 

“Yeah,” Remus said sheepishly, “there are a few kids that we sort of take under our wing. I don’t really know what their story is, but there’s a little gang of them that Dorcas has taken to talking to and helping with homework and… ah! Here they are.” 

“Hi, Mr. Lupin!” one shouted as the door burst open, and a crowd of six or seven kids tumbled through the door. 

“Sorry we’re so late!”

“Sh! He has a customer!”

“He doesn’t care.” 

“Is there any…?” 

“Ouch!” 

Remus held up a hand to quiet the cacophony; the teens stilled and looked at him expectantly. 

“Alright, alright,” he said calmly, “hello everyone.” 

He pushed forward the last of the leftovers as the kids echoed their hellos again, much more meekly this time around. A few gave Sirius a curious glance, but most came up to the counter, picked up a treat or two and made their way back towards the door quickly. 

“Thanks, Mr. Lupin,” said the final customer, a young-looking teenager who had become something of a special project of Dorcas’s after learning they had run away from home the previous year.

“How’d your test go, Kat?” Remus asked, lifting the now empty trays off of the counter and wiping them down with a rag.

“Um, okay.” 

“Did you get a grade back yet?” 

“Yeah, I got an eighty.”

"That’s amazing! Congratulations… here,” he passed the kid one of the two cookies he had saved for himself. 

"Better than I ever did,” Sirius added with a wry grin.

“Thanks,” Kat said, smiling shyly at both men, “um, goodnight.” 

“Goodnight.” 

Remus waited until they had left the shop, watching them through the glass windows that made up the front of the store. They walked away down the street in their little mismatched group slowly, laughing, and were quickly swallowed up by the night. 

“I have to lock up,” Remus said finally, pulling his eyes away from the scene.

“I’m sorry,” Sirius said, hopping up off of his stool, “I’m such a jackass, sitting here all night while you have work to do.” 

“No, stay,” Remus waved him back towards the seat and grabbed the key to the shop’s front door, “just let me lock the front door and turn some lights off so we don’t have people banging on the windows.”

Remus walked quickly around the counter and across the shop, flicking the overhead lights off and locking up the front door. The lock was sticky — he made a mental note to call a locksmith — then turned back to see Sirius, outlined by the soft glow of the lights in the display case and the few lamps above the counter. He had tucked his hair behind his ears and was inspecting an elaborately frosted cookie. Remus swallowed; he should have thought this through, but too late. He and Sirius were alone. 

“So. How are the cookies?” 

“Amazing, of course.”

“Thanks,” Remus said wryly. 

“You never seem to believe me,” Sirius said, shaking his head. 

“I do, I do,” Remus laughed, “I mean I’m obviously doing something right,” he waved a hand around the bakery vaguely, “but you’re overly complimentary.” 

“I am not! These are wonderful. Sublime. Miraculous. Simply asto—”

“Alright, alright,” Remus rolled his eyes, pulling the wedding file towards him so he could start the order form for the rehearsal dinner cookies. He plucked one of the sugar cookies he’d saved for himself off the top of the folder and took a bite. 

“So…. Mmm. That is good,” he said in surprise, glancing down at the cookie in his hand.

Sirius laughed.

“What, is it not your recipe?” 

“No, it is,” Remus said, swallowing a larger bite. 

“I see, just humble then.” 

“Oh shut it,” he laughed, “no, I just don’t think I’ve had this in years.” 

“Do you have crazy good willpower, or did you just get sick of eating sweets early on? You’re so fit.” 

Sirius’s eyes widened slightly as he realized what he said. He cleared his throat and looked away, biting off a big chunk of a cookie.

“I, erm—” Remus blushed and pulled out the order form, “a bit of both I guess.”

“Hm. So—”

“I haven’t made—”

“Sorry—”

“Sorry—”

Sirius laid a hand on Remus’s wrist to stop them speaking over one another.“

"Sorry,” he said, “you go.” 

“Oh, nothing. It’s nothing. We can… work on this,” he said, tapping the order form with a pen.

Sirius gave him a contemplative look. 

“No, no. What were you going to say?” 

“It’s nothing,” Remus waved him off, but Sirius didn’t speak. Finally, Remus looked back up at him.

“It’s just… this is probably the first thing I learned to bake really well. It’s the same recipe I’ve used since I was a teenager, and I make them so often it doesn’t even occur to me to taste them to make sure I haven’t messed anything up, I guess.” 

“You’ve been baking since you were a teenager?” 

“Yeah. Well, not professionally obviously.” 

Sirius smiled, “I like the idea of you as a kid getting all frowny over your recipes.” 

“'Getting all frowny over my recipes ?’” Remus repeated incredulously. 

“Yeah. You get all frowny when you’re thinking.” 

“I do not!” he protested. 

“You do.”

“I… I don’t even know what to say to that.”

Sirius just smiled at him. 

“So why’d you become an expert at sugar cookies, of all things?” 

Remus shifted uncomfortably. 

“Er— my mom really liked them.” 

“Oh, that’s nice.”

“Yeah. She,” Remus took a deep breath, “she was going through chemo and wouldn’t eat anything except cookies. So I started baking constantly. She really loved sugar cookies.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Sirius whispered.

“It’s alright. It’s not… it isn’t as horrible as it sounds, honestly. We had a lot of fun trying recipes together, whenever she had the strength to sit up with me in the kitchen. She was sick for years, but baking gave us time to be together. I’d rather have those memories than think of her in a hospital bed.” 

“That’s really nice, Remus,” Sirius said, giving him a soft smile.

“Yeah,” Remus smiled, “she actually left money aside in her will for me to go to culinary school. I thought it would be a waste of money and my dad… he was supportive and still is, obviously, but with her medical bills he couldn’t really justify it. But she was so determined that I go that she literally put the tuition aside and said I could either use the money to go to culinary school or I couldn’t touch it until I was twenty-five.” 

“That’s so great. She sounds like a lovely person.” 

“She really was. She’s responsible for so much of this,” he waved around the bakery again, “even the name.” 

“Yeah I’ve wondered about that. It’s like a French idiom, right? Off the top of your head or something right?”

“Of course you speak French well enough to understand obscure idioms,” Remus said with a laugh, “well. In baking it’s like… doing something by feel, if that makes sense? Like you don’t need a recipe because you just know what the piece needs to be perfect.

“My mother always hated following recipes,” Remus said fondly, “she said that the best cooking and baking is done using family recipes for people you love.”

“It’s sappy, I know. And I always kind of rolled my eyes at her, until I studied to be a pastry chef and, god, I just absolutely hated everyone in my class.”

Sirius let out a delighted laugh, “What? Why?” 

“They were just so obsessed with perfecting these overly complicated techniques and making these elaborate, innovative things, even if they tasted like shit. All of my classmates looked down on people who made boring and simple things, even if they tasted amazing. Like, once I was partnered with someone once and he was determined to make salmon mousse. Like whipped fish. For dessert. It was horrifying.”

They laughed, then lapsed slowly into a comfortable silence, looking at each other in the dim light. Remus peered at Sirius’s lovely face, open and earnest. He wanted to kick himself for sharing so much with the man. Hadn’t he wanted to get the order finished and keep things professional? Hadn’t he, just last night, chastised himself for falling too hard?

Sirius swallowed thickly. Remus was suddenly aware of how much closer they’d gotten over the course of their conversation. The lights were dim, the shop was quiet, and they’d drifted closer and closer to one another, both tucked up against the counter and leaning into one another’s space.

“I really love the name. Of the bakery, I mean,” Sirius said quietly. 

“Thanks,” Remus said, voice almost at a whisper. 

“I’m sure everything you bake is from the heart and all,” Sirius said with a little grin, nervous this time, “but I feel like you’ve really gone out of your way for me…” 

He stared at Remus earnestly, eyes wide.

“Yeah,” Remus said breathily, not sure exactly what he was agreeing too. He was too captivated by Sirius’s bright gray eyes. His eyes flickered down to the other man’s lips. He saw Sirius do the same. Now would be the time to… to… pull away? Move closer? His brain was short circuiting. Sirius wasn’t moving closer, just waiting patiently, expectantly.

“I—” 

A chime interrupted them. Sirius swore under his breath and looked down at his phone. The offending device was lying on the counter in between them. He flipped it over and the screen glowed, displaying an incoming text from James. 

He looked at the name and pulled back as if doused in cold water. 

“I, hm,” he coughed a bit, trying to find his voice. 

“I just like to go out of my way for customers,” he said shakily.

He looked back at Sirius, who was watching him with a small frown. He took another step back and took a deep breath, dreading every word that came out of his mouth.

“It’s the professional thing to do,” he said firmly.

Sirius took a step back as well, nodding and giving Remus a sad look. 

“And being professional in all aspects of... your business... is probably important to you,” Sirius said.

Sirius hadn’t phrased it as a question, but somehow Remus knew it would be the most important answer he’d ever give. He inhaled deeply, thinking quickly. He thought of his shop, of his coworkers whose livelihoods could be affected if he was caught sleeping with one half of a couple who’d purchased a cake from him. He thought about his mother and her hopes that he’d keep baking for those that he loved. He thought about himself, alone in the kitchen for sixteen hours. He thought of how happy he was when he was with Sirius. He thought about James’s lopsided grin and how happy he seemed to make Sirius.

“Yeah, I’m sorry. It is.” 

Sirius just nodded a few more times, looking pensive. 

“Alright. That’s…” he sighed and gave Remus another sad smile, “I understand. Good luck with everything and, you know, I’ll probably see you around soon.” 

“Of course,” Remus muttered, swallowing thickly around a lump in his throat that felt a bit like regret. 

Sirius gathered up the cookies and made his way across the dark shop to the door.

“These really are spectacular, you know,” he said, turning back one last time, “you’re one of a kind, Rem.”



Friday June 11th
3 days until the wedding

 

Remus was perfectly aware that he hadn’t actually dated Sirius, but it felt like a breakup nonetheless. He went through the typical rollercoaster of sadness and denial (he was perfect for you, you fucking idiot), self-righteousness and anger (what the fuck was he doing cheating on his finace, anyways?), all interrupted by moments of near-insanity (showing up at his house with pastries wouldn’t be too much, would it?) and increasingly longer episodes of maturity (you made the only responsible choice).

A month after their last meeting he was finally feeling at peace with his decision — a state he was able to get to after all of this time no doubt due to the fact that Sirius wasn’t popping with his perfect hair and his wonderful smile and his insightful, caring questions about Remus’s day and…

“You alright there?” 

“Huh?” Remus jumped and threw down the dough he was kneading on the workbench. 

Mary quirked her eyebrow. 

“Has that dough offended you personally, or…?” 

Remus sighed and smiled, “Very funny. Just… thinking.” 

“About a certain wedding this weekend?” 

“Yeah.” 

“We’ll handle it.” 

“I know.” 

“You stay here and run the shop with the part-timers. Dorcas, Marlene, and I will handle the deliveries and catering.”

“I can handle it if you need help.” 

“We don’t need help, though,” Mary said pointedly.

“Alright, message received. I’ll stay here and… distract myself I guess.” 

“Yeah. Experiment more with all of your breakup food.” 

Remus glared. He had been experimenting with new recipes as a way to keep himself distracted (and satisfy his desire for endless pints of ice cream). The new menu items had been incredibly popular, much to the delight of his coworkers who, as far as Remus could tell, were enjoying the combination of their two favorite hobbies: teasing Remus mercifully about his poor relationship choices and profiting off of his misery.

“It’s not break-up food.” 

“It’s break-up food,” Dorcas said, appearing suddenly through the doors from the store front back into the kitchen and coming to a stop in front of Remus’s workbench, “but don’t worry, it’s wonderful and I wish you could spend the weekend creating more fattening desserts for us but…” 

They inhaled and looked between Mary and Remus dejectedly. 

“Marlene’s grandmother just passed away.” 

“Oh, god I’m so sorry, Dor,” Mary said. 

Remus murmured sympathetically.

“Yeah, Marlene just called. We’re supposed to be back in Calais tomorrow.” 

“I don’t need to go,” Dorcas said quickly, “with the deliveries and catering this weekend…” 

Dorcas and Mary glanced worriedly at Remus. 

“I’ll be fine,” he said. 

Mary looked at him doubtfully. Dorcas snorted.

“I’ve already put a few calls in to the part-timers to see if they can help out. I’ll keep you updated. Do you mind if I take off now though? We need to pack and I want to get back to Marlene… you know how close she and her grandmother were.” 

“Of course, whatever you need,” Remus said, his mind racing.

“I’ll cover front-of-house,” Mary said, pulling off her apron and trying to dust off some errant flour streaks on her blouse.

“Thanks,” Remus said, “I’ll finish this up and be out to help in a few minutes.” 

“Thanks, Rem. And don’t worry about this weekend. I’m sure we’ll get someone to help with deliveries, and if not, I’ll go.” 

“You have to cook for Sunday. It’s our first catering job. It has to go well.”

“Yes, well,” Mary said placidly, “we’ll figure something out.”





Saturday June 12th
Day of the rehearsal dinner

 

They had not figured something out. 

Remus had arrived early on Saturday morning to find out they were short-staffed, stressed out, and overly-caffeinated. Marlene and Dorcas were gone, Mary was cooking, their counter help employee didn’t show up, Kingsley’s bus was late, and Remus spent the first few hours before the shop opened throwing together his recipes for the day while silently convincing himself that delivering the cookies they’d almost kissed over to his definitely-not-ex would be a totally professional, not at all uncomfortable thing to do.

Kingsley finally arrived and — after being told he could try to drive the delivery van without a license or learn to use the cash register — accepted a quick training on the point-of-sale system from Remus while Mary started on the wedding menu in the back. Once he was confident that Kingsley could muddle through the first few hours of the day without incident, Remus headed back to the kitchen to check in on her. 

“How are you holding up?” he asked. 

She glanced up from her workbench, shooting him an icy glare. 

“Oh great,” she said sarcastically, “it’s not like I need Marlene here to make the ciabatta, or need Dorcas here to manage the front of house, or need Fletch here to run the fucking cash register, or need you—” 

Remus crossed the room quickly and laid a hand on her shoulder.

“I’m sorry. Hey, it’ll be alright though. We’ll get it done.” 

She threw down a mangled looking ball of dough and gave a derisive snort. 

“I’ll do this,” Remus said, wincing as he picked up the ciabatta dough and, feeling that it’s texture was beyond repair, tossed it in a food waste bin. 

“Let me pull the cookies from the oven in a few, make the ciabatta, and deliver the cookies at noon. I’ll check in with… a bridesmaid or something to get the details for where to park and set up tomorrow morning. I’ll be back by four and can handle the front of house. Sound okay?” 

Mary took a few deep, calming breaths. 

“How about I handle the Potter wedding and you…” 

“Stay here and cook up the tartlet fillings?” Remus asked in disbelief, “do you honestly trust me to not butcher your recipe?” 

Mary looked guiltily at Remus, “...Yes?”

“You’re too nice for your own good, Mare. We both know it would be a disaster,” he said with a smile. 

“No! You’d… okay, I should make them. But I feel terrible sending you to the wedding.” 

“It’s fine. It’s my job.” 

She opened her mouth to argue, but Remus waved her off and headed back to his side of the kitchen.

“It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine.” 

 

 

~~~



A few hours later, Remus found himself pulling up to a beautiful country home. The house itself was large and stately, a mansion of light-colored stone with a large circular drive in the front of the house. Remus pulled the delivery van up the drive and peered up at the imposing front door, which was shut tight. He had hoped there would be a flurry of activity going on, so that he might slip into the house with other vendors unnoticed. But luck was not on his side. He slid the wedding file from the passenger seat and rifled through the paperwork until he found the client sheet, which had alternate contacts who he could bother, to spare the grooms from doing the busy work so close to the big day. 

He smiled to himself, looking down at Petunia Dursley's contact information. He remembered the night they’d filled the sheet out so clearly, Sirius throwing him disarming smiles and making disparaging remarks about Petunia. He punched the first few digits of her phone number into his phone, already dreading the call, before he was interrupted by a tap on the window. 

“Hey, mate. Are you from Au Pi—?”

Remus straightened up quickly in surprise and ducked his head out of the window. He found himself face to face with a temporarily speechless Sirius Black. 

Sirius recovered rather more quickly than Remus did, as he was too busy taking in the sight of Sirius. He looked good. His hair was a bit shorter than Remus remembered and it looked freshly cut, though it was a bit disheveled. He was in a pair of jeans and a shirt, both of which seemed a little wrinkled and stained, as though he had been working all morning.

“Hey, Remus,” Sirius said warmly, the surprise melting off his face into a cautious smile after a few seconds. 

“Hi, Sirius.” 

“I didn’t realize you’d be coming personally,” Sirius said, stepping aside so that Remus could exit the van, “not that I’m not happy to see you,” he added quickly. 

“Er, yeah, I don’t typically do deliveries but we’re short-staffed this weekend.” 

“Oh, that’s too bad.” 

Remus nodded as he walked to the back of the van, where he had trays of cookies for the rehearsal dinner that evening, along with some of the equipment they’d need for catering the next day.

“So how’ve you—?”

“Um, where—?” 

Sirius laughed somewhat awkwardly as they tried to speak over one another. Remus swallowed his nerves down and stayed silent. 

“I’ll show you back to the kitchen. Can I help carry anything?” 

“No, that’s alright. If you can show me the way, I'll unpack everything and let you know when I’m finished.”

“Alright,” Sirius said, his smile faltering at Remus’s overly polite response, “right this way, then.” 

Remus followed behind him with the trays of cookies first. He figured it would be best to wait until Sirius had left before he embarrassed himself by carrying heavy equipment inside. Sirius led him up the steps and through a spacious entry hall. The floors were polished marble and two sweeping staircases of mahogany led upstairs to wings on the east and west side of the property. They walked through the hall, past the staircases, and turned right down another spacious hallway, this one lined with at least a dozen doors. At the very end of the hallway, they turned into the last door on the left. It opened onto a dimly lit passageway with a small set of stairs that led to a second shut door. Remus couldn’t help but think of the many historical house tours he’d been on in similarly old and imposing estates. The kitchens in these houses were servants quarters, tucked away and ill-used. He vaguely wondered if James’ family had household staff. Sirius pushed open the second door.

Oh ,” Remus said involuntarily. 

The room was easily the size of Remus’s kitchen at the bakery and, upon initial inspection, it looked to be about as well-equipped. There was a set of french doors along the back wall, which looked as though they opened onto the back garden. Through the windows he could see another modern looking outdoor kitchen and bar.

Sirius turned and gave him a smile. 

“Yeah, it’s amazing isn’t it?” 

Yes . It’s not what I expected. I mean...” Remus stopped himself from rambling and glanced up at Sirius, who was smiling broadly. 

“I knew you’d like it. Effie and Monty — those are James’ parents — love cooking. They actually wanted to make all of the food for tomorrow but we talked them out of it.” 

“It’s... really incredible,” Remus wandered over to inspect the ovens, which were professional grade, “they’re not in the business are they?”

"Nope. Just rich and bored, as they like to say.” 

“Wow.” 

“Mhm.” 

“Erm. Are any of these fine for the cookies?” 

He gestured towards the set of refrigerators. A separate bank of sub-zero freezers stood next to them. Convenient for tomorrow’s catering job, he thought quickly, as they wouldn’t need to bring their own smaller refrigeration units.

“Anywhere you’d like,” Sirius quipped happily. 

“Okay,” Remus said slowly, still taking in the kitchen and wondering what pieces of equipment they might be able to use on-site, “er. Would it be okay if Mary uses some of our equipment tomorrow?” 

“Of course. You guys can use anything in here you like.” 

“Alright… I think... yeah, this will work well.” 

Remus trailed off, trying to mentally inventory Mary’s needs in comparison to the kitchen in front of him. He was uncomfortably aware of Sirius watching him. 

“Do you mind if I call Mary to go over a few things? You’re free to go, of course. I can, you know, lock up behind me when I leave.” 

“Um. Yeah. Alright,” Sirius said, looking a bit put out, “did you need any help carrying things in though? I know you said you didn’t but… it looked like an awful lot of stuff.” 

“I don’t think I’ll need much of it now, honestly, if we can use this space. I didn’t realize we were going to have a professional kitchen to work with.”

“Sorry,” Sirius said, rubbing the back of his neck, “I should’ve mentioned. I didn’t… I mean I didn’t really know what you’d need and—”

“No, of course,” Remus said quickly, “this is all wonderful.” 

He smiled reassuringly at Sirius, who smiled back, eyes bright. 

“I knew you’d like it,” Sirius said again, voice soft.

Remus’s phone was heavy in his hand but couldn’t quite remember why he’d pulled it out.

“So how’ve you been?” Sirius asked softly after a moment. 

“I’ve been okay,” Remus said with a touch of sadness, before realizing he was sounding very much like the ex who came off worse in a breakup, “I’ve been good,” he said more confidently, “busy with work.”

“I bet,” Sirius said, “probably best that I’m not in bugging you everyday.”

Remus swallowed again, staring at Sirius with wide eyes. He wanted to tell Sirius that, while yes, it actually was a relief to have the extra time to work during the busy season, he desperately missed their visits. His lips parted involuntarily, desperate to reassure Sirius and himself that there had been something there, that the pain of missing him had been exquisite and terrible and worth it, that—

“Sirius? Oh there you— oh! You must be our caterer?”

Remus jumped and turned his head sharply to the left, glancing at the entrance to the kitchen where a woman stood in the doorway, looking between Sirius and Remus with a slight smile on her lips.

“Hey, Effie. Yes, this is Remus Lupin. Remus, this is Euphemia Potter. James’ mother.”

They moved towards one another across the kitchen and shook hands. She gave him a long, appraising look.

“It’s nice to meet you. We’ve heard a lot about you.”

He wondered how much she knew about his and Sirius’s… Almost-relationship? Flirting? Mutual interest? How she must loathe him. He suppressed a groan.

Remus felt Sirius shift next to him and heard a slight intake of breath. In his periphery he saw Sirius widen his eyes and give her a look reminiscent of a teenager wondering why their parents were embarrassing them. Euphemia looked between them again quickly, eyes flickering almost imperceptibly. 

“Well!” she said suddenly, “let me show you how the set up will work tomorrow.” 

“That’s wonderful,” Remus said, “thank you.” 

“Sirius, why don’t you go help James with the tuxes.” 

“We did that yesterday…?” Euphemia inclined her head slightly, and Sirius nodded quickly, “er, right. I’ll go help James.” 

Sirius gave Remus an apologetic smile and touched his arm lightly, “Thanks Remus, it was good to see you.” 

Remus smiled at him, then turned back to Euphemia, catching a fleeting frown on her face just before she pulled her expression back into a sunny smile as she turned to Remus. He schooled his own expression back into something more stoic.

“We’re so pleased to have you catering for us,” she said as she crossed the kitchen towards the large french doors at the back of the room. 

“Oh, thank you,” he said awkwardly, “it’s my partner Mary who does the food side of things, though. I’m just the baker.”

“Well, we’re thrilled about that as well. I can’t tell you how many baked goods Sirius has brought us. And everything is just divine… here we are.” 

She flung the french doors open onto an expansive back garden. There was a large patio with an outdoor kitchen, bar, and fire pit. Up the hill, fifty yards or so from the house, a large white tent had been erected. 

“The party will be out there,” she said, gesturing at the tent, “and we’re really not fussed about timing. I expect the ceremony will be twenty minutes or so, and then you can bring everything round. We’re not doing anything formal. Sirius said it’s all finger foods, yes?” 

“That’s right.” 

“Perfect. Just perfect. Well! Let’s take a walk up there and you can see the tables we have set up for you.” 

“Great.” 



~~~

 

 

Half an hour later they returned from the tent, Remus, having received a thorough tour of the site, was feeling much better about their first catering job and much more at ease with Effie (as she had insisted he call her). They made their way back down the hill towards the house while she regaled him with a tale of James and Sirius’s teenage years. 

“...and you’d better believe we told them we’d never bail them out of jail again,” she said with a chortle, pushing open the doors to the kitchen. 

James, Sirius, and a man who could only be James’s father were standing around the stove, making sandwiches. Sirius looked up quickly as they entered. 

“Tell me you are not telling him the story of the jam incident,” he said, eyes closed in apparent psychic pain. 

“He’s a baker, dear, I’m sure he found it fascinating.” 

Remus laughed. They joined the trio by the stove.

“Nice to see you again, Remus,” James said warmly, shaking his hand. Effie interrupted, grabbing Remus’s arm and turning him towards her husband.

“Remus, this is my husband Fleamont. Fleamont, this is the incredible baker who’s handling all of the food tomorrow.” 

“Well! It is a treat to meet you! I’ve wanted to pick your brain about your technique for—”

“That’s enough, now, Monty,” Effie said. 

Sirius and James rolled their eyes. 

“He desperately wants to be a baker,” James explained, “but he burns just about everything he puts in an oven. Sandwiches though,” he said, picking up one of the toasted cheeses, “delicious.”

“Have one, have one,” Effie said. 

“Oh no,” Remus said hurriedly, “thank you, but I really couldn’t…”

“Oh, please,” Effie said, grabbing a sandwich and thrusting it into his hands, “please join us for lunch dear. We’ll walk you through the schedule tomorrow and settle up the bill.”

“Oh, er. That’s… okay. The bill certainly isn’t due until after the wedding though, and—”

Effie waved him off and marched the group outside to the patio table, where they spent the next hour talking amicably, reviewing the schedule and, much to Monty’s delight, sharing recipe tips. The hour passed quickly. Remus found himself comfortably ensconced in the little group, chatting and laughing, surrounded by their familial warmth. Remus could easily see how Sirius had been charmed by James’s family, particularly after having had such a difficult, loveless upbringing himself. 

Remus looked up from Monty, to whom he was explaining the finer details of mixing choux pastry, and saw Effie patting Sirius on the side of his face, leaning in to whisper something. They were both smiling broadly. Sirius’s eyes flickered to Remus’s. He grinned softly at Remus and Monty, rolling his eyes fondly as Monty continued to pepper Remus with questions. 

Remus answered half-heartedly, one eye still on Sirius, James, and Effie. Both mother and son were now playfully tugging at the ends of Sirius’s hair. He was laughing along with them, looking carefree and relaxed. Remus turned his full attention back to Monty suddenly, realizing with a sharp pang that Sirius was happy.

“Never open the oven mid-bake,” Remus warned, pulling his eyes back to Monty and scrambling to find a pen in his jacket to write his recipe down. 

“Ah see, that’s his problem,” Sirius said, having popped up and started clearing plates, “he sits there like an excited child and can’t help himself.” 

“I understand the temptation,” Remus said with a rueful smile. 

A hand dropped on his shoulder and he glanced up to see Sirius. 

“When you’re done here, come to the kitchen? I’ll write the check and we can… finish up.”

“Sure.”

“I’ll leave you be, then.” Monty said with a chuckle. 

“Yes, please do leave him be, Mont,” Effie said, chastisingly, “we should get back inside too. The girls will be back from picking up their dresses in a few minutes, anyways.”



~~~




Remus finished up his conversation with Monty and cleared his own plate, following Sirius back into the kitchen after a few minutes. He found Sirius washing dishes in one of the smaller sinks, hair falling over his eyes. He jumped when Remus set his own plate next to the sink. 

“Hey. Sorry, didn’t hear you come in over the water.” 

“That’s alright.” 

“So, er,” Sirius turned and leaned against the countertop, looking at Remus nervously, “I thought I could write the check now, so we don’t have to worry about it tomorrow.” 

“That’s fine. We can always bill you for it later though. I feel bad taking money before we’ve actually done the job.” 

“Nah it’s fine. I trust that you’ll show up tomorrow.” 

Remus laughed, “we will,” he reassured him. 

They stood silently for a few seconds after that, just looking at one another. There was nothing left to say about the job: the logistics had been explained, menu planned, equipment accounted for. Soon the check would be written and Sirius would be out of Remus’s life. Sirius was apparently thinking along similar lines. 

“So, I guess after tomorrow we’ll be all set, then.”

“I guess so.” 

“And, erm…” 

“Yes?” Remus prompted him.

“Well,” Sirius gave a little grin and nodded slightly, not meeting Remus’s eyes, “I don’t suppose you’ll, erm, stop being so professional after that?” 

“What do you mean?” Remus asked, breath catching in his throat. 

“I… god, Remus,” Sirius ran a hand through his hard in frustration, staring hard out of the window at the now-vacated patio, “you know what I mean.” 

Remus just stared at him wide-eyed and unmoving, unable to speak. Unable to think. Sirius finally looked back at him, eyes bright. 

“You do know what I mean, don’t you?” he said softly, taking a few steps towards Remus. 

They were inches apart and Remus was still unable to think, unable to breath. “Yes, but… I mean… I think…” he was stumbling over his words, trying his best to force the whirring thoughts in his subconscious (the ones screaming no, married, bad idea) into the forefront of his brain. It didn’t work. Instead, he glanced down at Sirius — his parted lips, his hopeful eyes, the brow creased with worry — and just exhaled, helplessly. 

“Maybe you should stop overthinking this?” Sirius offered. 

Remus opened his mouth to argue, to say that he needed to overthink this, to say that this type of monumental mistake could hurt his business, his heart, his whole life. 

But his mouth was quickly occupied. 

Sirius pressed himself against Remus’s torso, kissing him soundly, arms circling around his waist. 

He moaned into the kiss in surprise, startled, and jolted slightly, bumping their noses together, but not quite pulling apart. 

He shouldn’t. He can’t. He needs to stop. 

And yet, he just can’t seem to help himself. 

Without waiting for his conscious mind to catch up and stop him, Remus brushed past the initial awkwardness, grabbed at Sirius’s hips and repositioned the pair, kissing back hungrily and pushing Sirius back against the counter. Sirius made a desperate sort of noise and ran his hands greedily down Remus’s back. Remus moaned softly into Sirius’s mouth, kissing him faster, dropping all pretense of gentleness or hesitation.

A tongue brushed his lips.

A hand snaked up under his shirt.

They were moaning, panting, Remus was making his way down Sirius’s neck, pausing to take a moment to look at his lovely flushed face. Sirius smiled up at him in delight, lips swollen and hair disheveled. He bit his lip and stifled a laugh. 

“I knew you knew what I meant,” he told Remus, bringing his hands up to cup either side of Remus’s face and pull him back in for another kiss. 

Remus glanced down at the long, beautiful hands. Slender fingers, slight wrists. Soft, pale skin, uninterrupted by the glint of gold that would surely be on his finger tomorrow. Remus caught his left hand. 

“Wait,” he whispered. 

Sirius gave him a puzzled look. 

“Wait,” Remus said again, voice sticking in his throat, the words costing him every inch of resolve he had, “I can’t… I can’t do this.” 

Sirius stared up at him, some mixture of disbelief and pity growing on his face.

“Remus…” 

Remus dropped Sirius’s hand and took a few steps backward. Took a few deep breaths. He chanced a glance back at Sirius, who was looking dumbfounded and hurt.

“This just... isn’t right,” he said finally. 

“...what?” Sirius said after a beat. 

Remus turned on his heel in frustration and strode a few paces around the kitchen. 

“Look, this is… I don’t mean to say it isn’t right. It’s fine… it’s… to each their own. I’m truly not trying to judge here. However you want to live your life is fine. It’s great, even. But this just isn’t something I can be a part of. It’s not you, it’s me. God, I know that’s stupid to say but as much as I like you—”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Sirius took a breath and pinched the bridge of his nose, “What do you mean this isn’t right ? You think this,” he gestured between them, “is wrong? I mean, I knew you were conflicted about getting involved with a customer, which is kind of sad, by the way, but are you telling me that Mister Progressive-Fucking-Pride-Cake-Bakery thinks this is wrong?” he asked in disbelief, anger edging into his voice.

“No,” Remus said desperately, “I didn’t mean that. Truly. I just meant that this…. Erm, lifestyle isn’t something I’m interested in pursuing.” 

Sirius stared at him.

“I…. I’m….” he let out a hollow sort of laugh and finally said, “just get the fuck out.”

Remus swallowed nervously and wrung his hands together. He glanced around for his paperwork and grabbed it. 

“I’m really sorry, Sirius. I didn’t meant to offen—”

“Just leave, please,” Sirius said tensely, already across the kitchen and holding the door open for Remus to exit through.

Remus shoved the few stray bits of paperwork he’d taken out back into the file folder for the Potter wedding. He walked across the kitchen quickly, not meeting Sirius’s angry glare.

“I’ll still be here tomorrow,” he said quietly. 

“Great.”

The door to the kitchen slammed shut behind him, with Sirius on the other side. He made his way through the cavernous house alone, and headed out to the van, dejected and chastising himself for letting the inevitable happen. 







June 13th
Day of the Wedding



As they pulled up to the manor in the delivery van, Remus felt Mary’s nervous gaze on the side of his face. He frowned harder and took a slug of coffee. He hadn’t slept. 

“Stop staring at me like I’m going to burst into flames, Mare.” 

“Sorry,” he whispered, patting his hand.

They’d had the conversation at least ten times already that morning.

He slowed the van down at the entrance to the driveway. A number of cars had arrived despite the early hour, presumably other vendors or members of the wedding party. A valet approached the window.

“Catering staff?” he asked, once Remus had lowered the glass. 

“Yeah.” 

“Great,” he said happily, “you’ll be around the back. Just take this little alleyway on the right up until you hit the side door. It should be propped open, then you can head right into the kitchen.” 

“Thanks,” Remus said anxiously. He wondered who had been briefed on the falling out between Sirius and Remus, and if they’d been told anything damning about him. 

“Okay,” Mary said when he parked, “let’s just get this over with.” 

“Cheers,” he said darkly. 




~~~



They worked quickly and silently for a few hours. Remus stored the cake in one of the refrigerators, trying hard not to think about all of the times he and Sirius met to choose the flavors. He avoided the prep counter where he had, just yesterday, pressed Sirius against its edge and snogged him silly. He tried to keep his mind blank as he prepped vegetables for the hors d'oeuvres trays, broiled pear and goat cheese tartlets, and sliced turkey for the little crudité sandwiches Mary would be passing around in a few hours. 

Mary, mercifully, stayed silent as well and did her best to keep pained looks of sympathy to a minimum. Both of them jumped anytime the kitchen door opened, but Sirius had yet to make an appearance. Effie had popped in with a check, and signed the contract with a flourish. She was cheerful and spoke to Remus happily, chattering away about the nice weather and beautiful guests who were due to arrive at any time. He breathed a sigh of relief, assuming Sirius hadn’t told her anything, until the very end of their time together, when he bent low to sign the contract and give her the duplicate for her records. She gave him a searching look and smiled sadly, signing with a flourish then patting him on the cheek. 

“Thank you for everything, Remus. I know I speak for everyone when we say you’ll be the most dearly missed part of this whole planning nonsense.” 

Remus’s voice caught in his throat once again, and he just nodded mutely. He stared after Effie as she made her way out of the kitchen, then tucked the original copy of the contract into the file folder and let out a shaky breath. 

“Almost done,” Mary reassured him quietly from across the room. 

Remus’s already bad mood worsened throughout the rest of the afternoon. It was, truly, a beautiful day for a wedding. Remus worked diligently to plate the food and prepare trays, all the while watching as a steady stream of guests arrived and trickled into the tent in the back garden. Remus watched warily, on high alert for any flash of long dark hair. 

“He’s probably getting ready, not mingling with guests,” Mary said offhandedly after spotting Remus looking up sharply for the third time in twenty minutes whenever someone with dark hair and suit walked by. 

Remus just grumbled unappreciatively. 

“Here, plate these. It’s nearly one.” 

Remus glanced at the clock in surprise. The morning had flown by. He looked around the kitchen and was relieved to see their work was nearly finished. Everything was chopped, sliced, assembled, and almost entirely plated on trays and ready to be taken to the guests. He straighed up and stretched. 

“Right,” he said, sliding the last of the canapés onto a tray, “I’ll get the cake ready to be brought out then.” 

Remus made his way to the refrigerator and began loading the cake onto a trolley. 

“Alright. Deep breathes. One trip out then you’re back in the kitchen for the rest of the day.” 

“Right. Let’s go.” 

Fortunately a path had been set up from the house to the tent so that guests’ shoes weren’t sinking into the grassy garden. Remus and Mary wheeled the cake out to the tent, navigating rather precariously through the crowd. People parted for them, murmuring their oohs and ahhs as the cake, decorated simply with bright florals, went by. 

Remus nodded briefly in thanks to those who complimented the dessert, but otherwise kept his head down. They stopped in front of the cake table, which was similarly decked out in matching greenery. The pair lifted the cake carefully and slid it from their trolley to the table. Remus breathed a sigh of relief when it was done, wiped his hands on his apron (when had his palms gotten so sweaty?) and turned swiftly to head back to the kitchen. 

He was nearly back to the house when he heard Effie in the distance, voice amplified by microphone, telling everyone the ceremony was about to begin. He turned back towards the tent and glanced at the crowd, which was slowly coalescing into a tight group under the tent. His eyes searched through the crowd quickly, though he wasn’t quite sure what he was looking for. It wasn’t as though Sirius would be mingling in the crowd moments before he was set to walk up the aisle. 

He turned back with a sigh and ran nearly headlong into James. 

“Hey Remus,” James said, his voice croaky.

“Hey.” 

“Thanks for everything. You and Mary really outdid yourself. Well, I’m sure you did. I haven’t actually seen anything,” he gave a nervous laugh and compulsively loosened and straightened his tie, “I’m so bloody nervous. Happy. But nervous. You know?” 

Remus just nodded along and smiled patiently, despite the fact that he very much did not know. He was used to comforting grooms in various states of giddiness or panic. 

“Oh my god. Argh,” James laughed breathlessly and jumped a bit, shaking his head to apparently return him to his sense. He looked at Remus more directly, smile still on his face, “will we see you later on at the party, then?” 

“Er, no. We’ll be finishing up by four or so then heading back.” 

“Oh, you should stay for the party, though! I thought Sirius had asked you to stay yesterday. And Mary too, obviously.”

Evidently James had not been made privy to the falling out.

"Oh, he did,” Remus lied quickly, “but I have another job to get to and…” 

Sirius rounded the corner, faltered slightly upon seeing Remus with James, then redoubled his pace, walking up the path quickly. Remus took a step back as he approached. Sirius was glaring at him coldly, and Remus’s stomach dropped. James turned to greet his fiancé, and Sirius plastered on a fake smile.

“He’s busy, James,” he said, obviously having heard the tail end of Remus’s excuse, “Sorry, I meant to mention it. But no time to talk about poor Remus’s schedule, eh? We’ve got somewhere to be in about, oh, five minutes, remember?”

James flinched. 

“Right, right. Let’s go. See you Remus. Thanks again.”

Remus nodded his goodbye to James. Sirius hesitated for a second before following, mouth opening briefly as though he wanted to take a final parting shot at Remus, but left without speaking. 


~~~

 

Remus probably washed the same knife fifteen times over the next two hours. He wasn’t sure and didn’t really care. He just kept his head down and focused on cleaning up, not allowing himself to look out the french doors and up the hill at the wedding. 

He periodically refilled trays of food, spent a few painful minutes cutting the sheet cakes and plating them, and started repacking their equipment. 

Mary flitted in and out, looking exhausted, but mercifully never complaining or making Remus feel bad about hiding in the kitchen. During his final stretch of downtime, after he had cleaned everything, packed everything he could, and plated the last of the food, he pulled out his phone and began looking around online for a suitable thank you gift. 

The downside of working at a bakery and dating a florist was that chocolates and roses no longer held much sentimentality. He was debating between a gift certificate to a local bookstore and an elaborate, monogrammed raincoat for her dog when Mary reentered the room and called for him in a strange voice. 

“Remus?”

“Yes?” 

“You need to come out here.” 

“Uh, no I do not,” he said pointedly. 

“Yes, you do,” she insisted calmly. 

“Can’t you slide the cake back onto the cart on your own? It doesn’t really matter if it drops at this point,” Remus said heavily, “You said there are still slices of the sheet cake left over.”

“There are but we still can’t ruin the cake,” Mary said in exasperation, “you really think you could charge th— wait, wait, wait. Shut up.” 

Remus arched an eyebrow. 

“It’s not about the cake,” she said, “Just come out here.”

“Mary, I am not going out there. Just about the only thing that could get me out there is the threat of you ruining my cake and even that isn’t really going to—”

Sirius didn’t get married."

“... and even that isn’t,” Remus repeated, speaking loudly over her interruption, until Mary’s words finally sunk in. He stopped speaking, lowered the hand that he had been gesticulating wildly with, and stared at her blankly. 

“What?” 

“Yeah.” 

“He didn’t go through with it?”

“He… what? No ,” she crossed the kitchen and grabbed Remus by the arm, marching him to the french doors and out onto the patio.

“What am I looking at?” Remus asked as Mary grabbed him by the chin and pointed him in the direction of the tent. 

“The lady in the big white dress.” 

“Lady…?” The crowd parted, and Remus distantly saw two people dancing: a man with messy hair and a woman in what was unmistakably a wedding dress.

“Oh.”

“Yeah.” 

Remus took a few steps forward unconsciously. He watched the newlyweds dancing — James dipping the bride, her laughing — then scanned through the crowd until he found a familiar silhouette. Sirius was leaning against the bar a few feet from the dance floor, holding a glass of champagne and watching the couple with a sad, pensive look on his face. James spun his wife around a few times, then turned towards Sirius, who plastered on a smile and joined them. 

“Oh, but… but he said… and didn’t…” 

“Yeah, I don’t know either.” 

He watched Sirius dance with the bride, leading her through the dance gracefully, as though he had been born to do it. He looked good in a tux, Remus realized. Not that that was much of a surprise. He watched the pair sadly, his brain trying to piece together everything James or Sirius had ever said, wondering why he had assumed they were together, revisiting old conversations. 

He felt himself go cold suddenly, remembering how the pair had parted just the day before. 

Are you telling me that Mister Progressive-Fucking-Pride-Cake-Bakery thinks this is wrong? 

“Oh my god,” Remus whispered, turning to Mary with wide eyes, “I think he thinks I’m homophobic.” 

“...what?” she asked with a laugh. 

Remus stayed silent, trying to replay the entirety of the conversation they had had yesterday in his head. If James and Sirius weren’t in a relationship… if Sirius didn’t realize that Remus hadn’t been expressing his disinterest in joining a polyamorous relationship a soon-to-be-married couple, he wasn’t sure how else Sirius could interpret it.

“It isn’t funny,” he said, finally talking over Mary’s disbelieving snorts of laughter. 

“I know,” she said consolingly, “I’m just thinking… that won’t really be a hardship to disprove, will it? Just tell him that you fucked up and jump in bed with him.” 

Remus didn’t dignify that with a response. 

“I can’t… I mean, I shouldn’t go talk to him now. He’s obviously busy today. Do you think he’s the best man?” Remus mused. 

“Yeah. I caught the tail end of his speech when I went to put out the last of the sheet cake slices. Speaking of which, we probably should go grab the cake and check to see if we need to cut more from the actual display piece.” 

Remus looked at her in alarm.

“Well, I can’t go.” 

“You’re not actually homophobic, you know,” Mary said.

“I know that Mary,” Remus hissed, “but he doesn’t. And interrupting him in the middle of dancing with the fucking bride to tell him oh by the way, I’m not actually a monster, I’m just a stupid, stupid, man with communication issues isn’t exactly what I want to do right now.” 

“You’re going.” 

“I’m not.” 

Remus held his ground until Mary literally shoved him up the hill. 

“You stay here, I’ll go back and get the cart.” 

A few minutes later they were sliding the cake onto the trolley. Remus tried his best to keep his eyes on his work, but it was as though Sirius was drawing him in magnetically. He saw him through the crowd dancing. Monty and he were both dancing with Effie, dancing for a few steps, then twirling her dramatically, spinning her between them and making her laugh. Sirius looked happy, though Remus had no doubt the smile would melt right off of his face if he were to see Remus. He hurried away before Sirius could catch sight of him.






June 21st
1  week and 1 day after the wedding

 

For a full week after the wedding Remus worried. 

He worried about whether or not the fact that he assumed James and Sirius were getting married, despite having no evidence one way or the other, was an early sign that his brain was slowly deteriorating.

He worried that Sirius, or someone from the Potter family who heard about their falling out, would contact the press and out Au Pif as a rainbow-marketing phonies who were secretly homophobic.

He worried about whether or not he should contact Sirius to explain his mistake. Was it fair to put the man through so much? Was it better for them both just to put it behind them and move on?

After a week of restless nights, Remus made a decision. He rolled out of bed at half-past three and dressed himself quickly, not even bothering to shower or shave. He scrounged around the end table in his living room, in whose drawer he had stashed a business card that Sirius had given him months ago, his cell phone number scribbled on the back. He wasn’t looking for the phone number, though (and at any rate, he had already stored it in his phone long ago). He had decided against calling or texting Sirius. It was just a bit too desperate for him. 

Instead, he landed on the only communication method he felt comfortable with. By four, he had dragged himself into the bakery and began rifling through the equipment under his work bench. He pulled out his favorite bowl and spatula. He almost never used them. Firstly, they were old —  the bowl tarnished and the plastic of the spatula a bit ragged at the edges — and secondly, all of his recipes called for electronic mixers. Still, for some reason it felt right to mix this by hand. 

He threw flour, baking powder, and salt in his ratty old bowl, then grabbed a second one to cream the butter and sugar together, then added eggs and vanilla. He was just stirring the wet concoction into the dry when Marlene came in.

“Hey, you.”

“Hi, Marls,” Remus said. 

“How are you doing?” She asked. 

“I… don’t know. Maybe better? Maybe worse?” 

Marlene laughed, “that sounds about right. What are you making?” 

“Sugar cookies.” 

She wandered over to his workstation and stared down into the bowl. 

“Testing a new recipe?” 

“No. It’s my mom’s. Or, you know, mine that I made for my mom.” 

“And you’re making such a small batch because…?” 

“I’m going to bring these to Sirius.” 

“Oh!” 

“Yeah, I know.” 

“And how are we feeling about that decision?” 

“I… don’t know. I was feeling pretty good until you asked me,” he leaned back, staring down at the dough morosely, “now I’m second guessing it.” 

“Don’t. Just give them to him, then you’re done. Ball’s in his court.” 

“Yeah. That’s kind of my thought. I just need to… I don’t know, get some closure. Just set the record straight. I don’t know if anything will come of it, but you know. At least I tried.” 

He returned to the dough, spooning and dropping pieces onto a baking sheet. Marlene rubbed his back. 

“Good luck, Rem.” 

 

~~~



Remus walked out of the parking garage and made his way towards Sirius’s office building. He had originally planned on showing up at Sirius’s house, dropping off the cookies and note while he was gone, but then he remembered the dozen or so times Sirius came to visit him on a lunch break, telling him that the best part of his workday was eating one of Remus’s pastries. He pulled the business card from his pocket and double-checked the address. Sirius’s building was glassy and modern. Remus pushed his way in and made his way to the reception desk. 

“I’m looking for office suite 1109?”

“Second bank of elevators, eleventh floor, straight at the end of the hallway,” the young man at the desk said in a bored voice. 

Remus made his way up to the office, pushing open the glass doors. 

“Can I help you?” 

A polished young woman behind the desk gave Remus a shrewd look.

“Yeah, um, I wanted to drop something off for Sirius Black?”

“Riiight,” the woman drawled slowly, looking Remus up and down.

He glanced down at himself, hoping he wasn’t covered with streaks of flour or butter.

“Are you a client?” 

“No, a...friend, I guess?” 

“A friend,” she said doubtfully. 

“Yes.”

“Well Mr. Black is in a meeting,” she gestured towards a conference room behind her.

Remus took a step to the right and leaned to the side, looking around the assistant at the desk. He saw Sirius in profile just on the other side of the glass, looking at a screen with some graphs and numbers with a very bored expression on his face. As if sensing Remus’s gaze, he turned sharply to the left. Remus saw his impassive expression change swiftly to one of surprise. Remus nodded awkwardly in greeting, and held up the box of cookies in explanation. 

Sirius’s expression darkened and he turned away pointedly. 

“You can wait if you’d like or I can take a message?”

“Erm, no. No need for a message. Can you just give these to him?”

“Sure.”

He walked out of the office slowly, hoping he hadn’t made an enormous mistake.








December 17th
6 months and 4 days after the wedding

 

The bell over the shop door tinkled. Remus stood up from his crouched position behind the counter, where he had been loading lemon cupcakes into the refrigerated glass display cases. A heavily pregnant young woman had just entered. She was standing in the doorway, looking around the shop curiously.

“Hello. How can I help you?” Remus asked.

“Oh, I’m just looking around.”

“Alright. If you need any help, just let me know.” 

He finished loading the cupcakes, glancing at the woman every now and again. She seemed content to wander around, peering in all of the cases. Remus picked up the empty cupcake tray and pushed his way back into the kitchen to swap it out for a tray of cookies. When he returned the woman was still looking around. He watched her for a few moments. He thought he recognized her; she had the same sort of vague familiarity as many of his regulars, but for some reason he didn’t think that’s where he knew her from. 

“Are you sure there’s nothing I can help you with?” he asked again. 

She looked up and gave him a tense smile.

“You made my wedding cake.”

“I thought you looked familiar,” Remus said, sending her a bright smile, “But I’m sorry… I can’t quite recall. What was the date?” 

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to put you on the spot or anything. I certainly don’t blame you for not remembering,” she said quickly, looking awkward, “it was six months ago. June 13th.” 

The date hit Remus like a punch to the gut. His expression must have changed equally abruptly, because the woman’s smile faltered. 

“Er, right. I think you… well, I know you had a… er, a bit of a falling out with the best man and… strictly speaking, I’m not supposed to be here, as the whole family has sort of sworn off this place, but I’m having a terrible craving.” 

She pressed a hand against her protruding abdomen.

Remus furrowed his brow. 

“Well, I can… put something in plain packaging for you?”

Lily looked at him shrewdly. She opened her mouth, narrowed her eyes, then shut her mouth again. She looked around until her eyes landed on the display case of sliced cakes. 

“Do you have any…” she crouched down to try to peer into the case, tottering dangerously and rubbing her stomach. 

“Here, please,” Remus said quickly, “let me take these out for you. Don’t try to…” 

He walked to the cake display and crouched down to slide the doors open ,”I’ll tell you everything we have. You don’t need to do be down there.”

She stood with a groan. 

“I was just looking for that chocolate cake from my wedding. I cannot stop thinking about it. What was it again?”

“A dark chocolate torte with kumquat jam and white chocolate ganache.”

“Yes! Do you have any in?” 

“No, I’m sorry that was actually a special order.”

“Really? Sirius said…well.” 

She trailed off uncomfortably, and Remus looked away. He looked around frantically for something to distract from the growing tension.

“I have this chocolate torte available, though. It’s a… a coffee-chocolate torte with raspberry filling.”

“That sounds pretty good.”

“Here,” he cut her a piece quickly and rifled through the counter to find a plain white box, “have a few slices of this one and I’d, um, I’d be happy to make the dark chocolate torte for you. I could have it ready by tomorrow when we open?”

“Um. I, no, I shouldn’t. This’ll have to do.”

She grabbed the box and glanced around surreptitiously, as though worried she might be caught at the till. She fished a wallet out of her purse.

“Oh no, please. Please just take it. It’s really the least I can do,” Remus said miserably. 

She gave him a withering look, bit out a terse thank you , took the box and made her way across the shop. She slowed down at the bulletin board, glancing at the flyers there. She made a noise of disgust and looked back at Remus. 

“You know, I’m sorry,” she said loudly, yanking a flyer down and marching over to Remus, “I just have to ask. How… how… how dare you advertise for this?”

She pushed a flyer for a queer singles night across the counter. 

“Oh, well,” Remus flushed, but the woman didn’t let him finish. 

“Look if you’re in the closet or uncomfortable with your own sexuality or something, fine, but you should’ve been up front about that with Sirius from the beginning. You shouldn’t have led him on the way you did! I have never—”

“That isn’t—”

“—I mean I have never seen him so absolutely destroyed by someone. I don’t think he’ll—”

“I’m not homophobic, I swear,” Remus pleaded with her, “I just—”

“Oh sure ,” she said sarcastically, “you just told him that kissing him was wrong , and that’s not homophobic.”

The woman just looked at him challengingly. 

“It was a misunderstanding,” he said finally. 

A mis—

“I thought,” Remus said loudly, “ Sirius was getting married.” 

“Well you… what?” she breathed out heavily through her nostrils, anger still flashing in her eyes.

“Yes,” Remus said, dejected, “Sirius showed up to the initial cake tasting with James and I just sort of assumed he and James… It's a long story. I wrote him a note, though, explaining everything. I gave it to him a week after the wedding.”

“Well,” she said, still righteously angry but deflating quickly, “well. I did not know that.” 

Remus grimaced and shrugged. 

“I explained everything as best I could then left it up to him to make the next move. But I didn’t want to keep pestering him. It was… it was just such a complicated situation, and I figured he might still be hurting. So I thought it was just best to… to leave it be.”

“But he didn’t… he never said…”

Remus shrugged, “He probably just wants to leave it in the past.”

The woman looked at him sadly, eyes still slightly glazed as if she were trying to take in the enormity of the situation, “I guess so.” 

They looked at each other for a few seconds, then Remus pushed the cake box back towards her.

“Well, I hope you enjoy.”


December 18th
6 months and 5 days after the wedding



Remus had been staring at the cursor blinking on his computer screen for the past hour, trying desperately to finish up his billing before he closed for the holiday. Distantly he heard the bell over the shop door ring. He glanced at the clock and rolled his eyes. Of course someone would be coming in after closing. The holiday season was a busy day for them, with everyone picking up the desserts for parties or treats for friends and families. Mary teased him for being a big softie, but she was just as much of a bleeding heart as he was. 

“Remus?” 

“Yes?” he said, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Um,” Mary was suddenly leaning against the doorway of his office, giving him an odd look, “Sirius is here. He really wants to talk to you. He said something about a note and you talking to someone named Lily…? I can tell him to go away,” she added quickly.

He sat back in his chair, exhaling sharply in surprise. 

“No, that’s alright. I’ll… I’ll come out in a minute.” 

“Are you sure?” she asked.

He turned off his monitor and stood up. 

“Yeah. I think I need to see this through.”

Mary looked at him doubtfully. 

“I’ll close up. You go on home.” 

“Are you sure?” 

“Yes, Mary,” Remus said with a smile, “I’m a big boy, I’ll be fine. You go enjoy your Christmas Eve. Give Pete my best.”

Mary hugged him. 

“Alright. I’ll see you after New Year’s. Have a good holiday, alright?” 

“I will.” 

He stood in his office for another minute, trying to compose himself. Finally, when he recognized that there was no composure to be had in a situation like this, he made his way through the kitchen and into the shop. Sirius was peering into a tray of cookies with a frown on his face. 

“Sirius. Hi,” Remus said softly.

Sirius straightened up quickly and spun around to greet Remus, eyes wide.

“I threw your cookies out. I’m sorry,” he blurted out.

“...it’s good to see you too,” Remus said after a second, giving Sirius a slight smile. 

“Lily said you left me a note apologizing. She said you thought I was getting married, not James. Or James and I were getting married to each other? But I didn’t— what?” 

Remus had sunk onto his stool behind the till, laughing weakly, and buried his face in his hands.

“Nothing,” he said, picking his head back up and running his hands over his face, “I’m just thinking about how stupid I am.”

“You’re not stupid,” Sirius said softly, creeping closer to the counter. 

“No, just… monumentally confused. Do you want some coffee? You can sit, by the way. I feel like this might take a while,” he looked up at Sirius, suddenly unsure, “that is, if you want to talk about this?"

Sirius crossed the rest of the shop in two big paces, grabbing Remus’s hands where they laid on the counter, “I really do,” he said earnestly. 

Remus smiled. 

“Alright. Give me a second then.” 

Sirius took his usual place, moving one of the customer stools from further down the counter and placing it right in front of Remus’s. Remus smiled to himself as he turned away, heading off to make two cups of coffee, thinking about the many times they’d talked and flirted in the same spot. He glanced back a few times, unable to keep his smile from growing when he saw Sirius was watching him too, a nervous, but hopeful expression on his face.

After a few minutes he had some passable cappuccinos. He slid them down the counter and turned to grab a few cookies. Sugar, of course.

“Right,” Remus said, settling back onto his stool and breaking off a piece of the cookie, “right. Let’s start again, shall we? My name is Remus Lupin.”

Sirius just stared at him for a moment, then smiled broadly.

You’re the owner?” Sirius said, parroting the first thing he had ever said to Remus, this time with a devilish little grin on his face, “at the risk of being too forward, I hope you don’t mind me telling you I'm both surprised and delighted to see someone so attractive as the shop owner.”

Remus laughed, “the owner and the chief baker, so I handle all of our wedding cakes. Which, I assume you’re here to pick out because James over there,” he nodded towards the wedding cake displays, where James Potter had first met Sirius in the shop, “just said he was waiting for his better half to show up and here you are.”

Sirius’s eyes widened and he nodded slowly, starting to understand what had gone wrong.

“Ah, no, no. I’m just here in a best-man-capacity. You see my friend,” he jerked his head back towards the imaginary James, “is getting married to a woman, but she is terribly, terribly nauseous as she’s in her first trimester and sent me as a stand-in at the last minute.” 

“Ah, that makes sense,” Remus said.

“Mhm. James proposed the minute he found out they were going to have a child and they were all set to elope, but both of their families wanted a wedding. But then Lily didn’t want to be showing, so we only had a few months to pull everything together… hence the rather rushed cake tasting.”

Remus nodded thoughtfully. He squeezed Sirius’s hands and leaned back on his stool, staring at the ceiling and trying to piece together the events.

“So they recruited you to help? You were so… involved with everything.” 

Sirius shrugged, coloring

“Sort of. Originally I just wanted to get some free cake out of it, but I, er, sort of recruited myself once I met you.” 

Remus opened his mouth, then closed it stupidly. He felt a flush creep up on his cheeks. Sirius grabbed his hands again. 

“At the risk of being too forward, considering we’re just meeting for the first time and all,” Sirius began.

Remus snorted. 

“Remus Lupin, I think you’re pretty wonderful, and I would love to take you to dinner sometime. In fact, I would love to take you to dinner right this very minute.” 

“I would like that,” Remus beamed.

“Yeah?” Sirius asked, peering up at Remus. 

“Yes,” Remus laughed, “I really, really would.”





Friday, May 2nd
3 years, 4 months and 14 days after the first date



“I can’t believe we have to wait one more day,” Sirius whispered, wrapping his arms around Remus’s waist and pushing him back into the counter in Effie and Monty’s luxurious kitchen. He was pressing wet kisses down Remus’s neck, pausing every so often to nip at his collarbone or lave at his earlobe. 

“Don’t leave a mark,” Remus said, pushing his fiancė’s shoulder away half-heartedly. 

“Mm, I won’t.” 

Remus tugged him up for a kiss, then held him at arm’s length.

“I need to finish these before people get here, which should be…” he glanced at his watch, “literally any second.” 

Remus turned around to work on the five small cakes they were serving at their rehearsal dinner. They were almost finished, save a few decorative touches. Sirius circled his waist from behind and rested his cheek against Remus’s back. 

“You’re no fun.” 

“I’m not,” Remus agreed, “I’m a terrible bore. You should probably leave me.” 

“Not a chance,” Sirius said, his hands sneaking down towards Remus’s waistband.

Remus carefully placed the piece of tempered chocolate he was working with on the top of the chocolate whiskey caramel cake, then smacked Sirius’s hand away. 

“Oi, get a room, you two!” James called as he pushed the door to the kitchen open. 

“This is a room, Jamie,” Sirius said, moving away from Remus and flipping James off perfunctorily. 

“Ha ha ha,” James said sarcastically, “You’re so funny. And stop flipping me off. Harry’s started to do it when I try to make him take a bath.”

Remus and Sirius laughed, and James gave them a sour look while Lily, Effie, and Monty all trailed into the kitchen behind him.

“People are starting to arrive!” Effie called, crossing the room and pulling Remus and Sirius into a big hug, “Mary’s finished setting up the food on the patio so we’re ready to go!” 

“Right,” Monty boomed, joining his wife, “so, we’ll have Dorcas run through the ceremony in the tent, regroup back on the patio, run through the order of the speeches — nothing lewd, James — and then do dinner.” 

“Great, thanks so much for hosting this, really,” Remus said. 

Effie hugged him again, dabbing at her eyes, and muttering something about being happy to help her favorite son-in-law. She patted him on the cheek and headed off to help her husband greet the guests. 

“What lewd speech do you have planned, anyway?” Lily asked, scooping a bit of leftover frosting from a bowl near Remus’s elbow.

“Ah well, I’m not completely set on one yet. My dad heard me practicing and wasn’t overly impressed with either of my stories.”

“Which were…?” Sirius prompted him. 

“I couldn’t decide between reading the texts you sent me while we were at my cake tasting — how you wouldn’t mind frosting his cupcake or buttering his biscuits—”

“Oh my god,” Remus said, wrinkling his nose and turning to look at Sirius, “really?”

“Or,” said James, grinning wickedly, “I was going to tell the story of how you thought Sirius was going to invite you to have a threesome with us.” 

Lily choked on the frosting.

Sirius ,” Remus hissed, turning to glare at him, “I can’t believe you told him that.”

“When was that?” Lily asked, recovered and laughing.

“When we were at the floral market for your wedding. I mean, I didn’t know at the time, obviously. In fact I only found out about it a few weeks ago, which is a shame really. So many years of wasted opportunities to make jokes at James’ expense…”

“I had no idea what was going on,” Remus said defensively, “Sirius was showing me texts from you about how I was a lovely baker and… ugh. God.” 

“Stop upsetting him on his wedding day!” Lily said, slinging an arm around Remus’s waist, “Let’s you and I get married instead,” she sniffed, turning her nose up at their boys. 

“Life would be a lot easier,” Remus said, squeezing her waist in return. 

“But so boring,” said James. 

“So, so boring,” Sirius agreed, snatching his fiancé back from Lily. 

Remus pulled Sirius into a hug, resting the side of his cheek against Sirius’s lovely hair, “You won’t tell either of those stories,” Remus warned, glancing at James, “my father and his ninety-five year old mother are here.”

“Alright,” James said heavily, “I’ll stick to something boring, like all the pining and moping we had to endure.” 

Hey ,” Sirius said, shifting in Remus’s embrace to glare, “I did not pine or mope.” 

Lily and James just looked at him. 

“Yeah, alright. That’s fair,” he said after a minute, turning back to bury himself in the crook of Remus’s neck, “but it was worth it.”