Lay Low at Lupin's
Author: Emily Rugburn
Archiving: All FQF will be archived solely at this site until September 30th, 2004. At that point, the author may post the fic elsewhere or may be contacted to have this fic archived at different sites if they so choose.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: New Moon #22: When Sirius went to "lay low at Lupin's" he finds evidence that during their first time together, Remus was unfaithful to him. With who, and why. Sirius can’t honestly be expecting much else, but when he finds out Lupin wasn’t completely celibate through the thirteen years he was away, he still has trouble accepting the circumstances, and the person.
He woke up at dawn to wait. The owl had come the night before, bearing the letter from Dumbledore. He’d not slept remotely peacefully, and the fitful night did nothing for his nerves. Sighing, he made tea in the gray-blue light of the kitchen. He worried dreadfully about the shape of the place. Sirius knew what circumstances he was in. He hadn’t found steady work in over a year, not since leaving Hogwarts, and what with the war brewing… Yes, Dumbledore had written him a short note explaining, in crude detail, the events of the Triwizard Tournament. Still, he wanted to get a clearer picture from Sirius, and was waiting for the Animagus to arrive with anxious anticipation. As long as Harry was alright…
Truthfully, though, Lupin knew very well that his anxiety was only in part due to the soon-to-be war. It did disturb him a great deal to think of what the next few months, and even years, would be like for all of them, and he hoped dreadfully that Harry was up to it. He had no doubt the boy was, but there were so many other things he had to be getting on with- Voldemort’s return had to be slight in comparison to all the pressures of being fifteen.
Lupin chuckled. It had been so long since he’d been that age. He remembered it, though truthfully, not all too well. Really, that year was a combination of memories, all fuzzy but all wonderful. Running through the Forbidden Forest the first full moon with Sirius and James and Wormtail by his side… He shivered at the gust of wind blowing insistently through the cracks in the walls of the dilapidated flat.
Sighing, he realized that maybe his shivers had less to do with the morning breeze and more to do with the idea of Sirius coming to stay. Well, Sirius…he’d changed. A lot. But something told Lupin not to give up hope that things could still be all right. They’d never really been all right. But Lupin hoped that maybe this time would be different.
The dog scratched at the flat at just past noon. Lupin opened the old maple door to reveal a large, bear-like dog looking up at him with pale blue eyes. He smiled slightly and let him in, and after he’d shut and locked the door, turned around to see a very human Sirius. He was tanned and looked slightly healthier and cleaner than the last time Lupin had seen him, but he was still terribly thin. Lupin resisted the urge to touch the exposed flesh that appeared from beneath the worn robes. His chest was emaciated, but he had retained the look of his youth as a shadow; his face wasn’t stretched so much and had regained some of its usual color. Lupin was surprised to realize it made him feel relieved to see Sirius in such this condition. He’d never be the same, but it was so good to know he wasn’t lost forever.
Smiling although he wasn’t entirely sure why, Lupin brought out the tea to the shabby pine table that sat in the middle of the flat. The two time-ravaged men sat down silently and sipped their tea. Lupin noticed Sirius casting furtive glances across the table every so often. Finally, he put his cup down.
“Amos Diggory’s son is dead?”
Sirius started at the abruptness of the question. “Yes, and Harry would be too, thanks to that miserable Crouch boy, and Wormtail. Little Peter. If only I’d gotten my hands on him, the bloody coward…”
“We decided to let Harry make the decision. In retrospect, maybe not the most brilliant of ideas, but he had a valid point.”
“Speaking of James,” Sirius looked slightly pained, “Dumbledore is looking for a new Headquarters.”
Lupin raised his eyebrows. “You’re not thinking-“
“Why not? The place isn’t good for much else and I’d rather like it to be put to a use my mother would disapprove of.”
“I rather thought so.”
They continued to drink in silence, but it wasn’t awkward; it was more the compatible silence of two people who have known each other far too well for far too long. The intimacy of the quiet moment wasn’t overlooked.
“I’m glad you’re here.”
Sirius grinned widely. “I was hoping you would be. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?”
The werewolf looked up quickly. “Since?”
“We’ve been…like this. Alone. Together. It feels so…”
They continued in this fashion until the tea was gone and Sirius had eaten enough to keep him from starving. Lupin was rarely hungry. It was one of the differences between them that never ceased to fascinate either.
“Are you sure you don’t want any, Moony?”
“Oh, quite, thank you. I really don’t enjoy week-old bread with the remains of sausage links adhered to it with expired jam.”
Sirius made a face. “Really, I didn’t mind before…”
“You know, I did think you were the spy. I suppose it was because you’d been acting so surreptitious then, you know? Do you remember? The lies, the awkward silences-“
“I remember. I felt guilty for not realizing you were the spy. Of course, you weren’t, but when they took you to Azkaban, oh… It was profoundly disconcerting.”
Sirius walked over to the bookshelf. It was haphazardly piled with large tomes of magic books and classic literature. “You haven’t changed a bit, Remus- What’s this?”
He held out a small, duffed-up leather book. “It’s just a date book, you know, a diary, just a little…” Lupin drifted off, sounding uncharacteristically flustered. He sighed. “It’s a journal. From before…”
“Oh.” Sirius nodded. “I’ll leave it be, don’t worry so much.” But as he put the black diary back on the shelf, a small bit of parchment fell out. He snatched it up somewhat eagerly, and began to read.
Sirius’ face fell somewhat. “It’s a Muggle telephone number from-“ he squinted-“Will…?” He looked expectantly up at the werewolf. “Remus-it’s dated July. Of 1981.”
Lupin swallowed hesitantly. “He was another werewolf—“
“It doesn’t seem too friend-like. He seems to think you two were shagging.”
Sirius looked at Lupin appraisingly. “I thought we were, then. July 1981? That’s around when Harry turned one. I recall we were still sharing this flat-“
Lupin seemed stricken. “I- Sirius-“
“And-“ Continued the other man, “-A bed.”
There was a pregnant pause. Then-“I’m so sorry.”
The blue eyes had turned icy. “For what?”
“I-we were together. Just once. It was only one night, one time. You were out, work for the Order. I was upset. We hadn’t-you and I- we hadn’t been sleeping together for months. There was too much suspicion. We kept it cordial, but it seemed like we were more of our polite, platonic selves from our first months at Hogwarts than men who had been lovers for two years. I was-frustrated. I couldn’t stand it. And then you missed the full moon-“ he shook his head. “I just-had to get out. I went to a Muggle bar in Wales. He was there, but he wasn’t a Muggle. We found out we were both werewolves, not legally allowed to associate with anyone there, really. I-we-“ A sigh. “It was completely absurd. I was so desperate. I needed to…We…did. In a cubicle in the loo. He never even came here. I wouldn’t have done that to you.”
“But you would’ve gone and done that with another man?” Sirius’ anger seemed to be ebbing away, leaving, in its place a somewhat more hurt tone. It was a voice he’d never taken with Lupin before. On the contrary, even at incidences they later laughed about, such as the Snape incident, among others, Lupin was usually the confused, suffering one.
“I was a…prat. What more can I say-I’m so, so very sorry, Sirius.”
Sirius considered him for a moment. “Do you think you can make it up to me?” He asked softly. Lupin raised his head, surprised.
“I truly hope so…” He tried to control the hope that was seeping into his own hoarse voice.
“Could we start again?”
The werewolf’s amber eyes glowed with bittersweet hope. “Please.”
The kiss wasn’t the one Lupin remembered. The one he remembered was the frantic, heated passion of two adolescent boys, just nearly men, who were rejected from every lot in life. They were two who weren’t going to be accepted by any circumstance, and they were the only ones who’d ever know of the other’s most deep secrets, most guarded desires. Sirius reveled in the ability that he alone possessed that made the weathered professor lose the control he so prided himself on. Lupin, in turn, knew of Sirius’ most dark sides, the sides Harry and James could never know. This, this was the love, the passion, of two men who knew that, for them at least, nothing and everything had changed completely.
And neither would ask for it any other way.