The Odd Couple
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 Moon5 - Remus and Sirius get a great deal on a flat: pretending to be a couple together when they're really just friends... But, when does the pretending end? Can two best friends live in an apartment without driving each other crazy...or falling in love?
Author Notes: Big thanks to jedibix783 and irish_lily for all the help! Oh, and, of course, the "quarrelling" line is so not mine.
Remus had to admit that the flat was perfect. He had been skeptical when Sirius showed him the Muggle advertisement, but the place really was ideal; a full kitchen, a living room with a fireplace, a dining room, a decent sized washroom, loads of closet space, a small balcony and a bedroom with more than enough room for two beds. Separate bedrooms would have been nice, but he and Sirius had already decided that one could take the couch when the other brought a date over. The most perfect part of the flat, however, was the price. At only fifty pounds per month, Remus had to wonder how the place was still available. He snapped out of his daze when he realized he hadn’t been paying attention to anything the landlord had been saying.
“Oh, pets are alright,” Mr. Johansen, the landlord and manager, said brightly to Sirius. “Don’t make too much noise, do they?”
“No, no,” Sirius said, his infamous charm oozing out with every word. “We sometimes watch a friend’s dog, but he’s very well-behaved. And sometimes Remus likes to keep owls, but not for very long.”
“Owls?” Mr. Johansen asked. “Ah, well, to each his own. My wife, bless her, kept iguanas for years. As long as they don’t bother the other tenants, it’s perfectly fine. So, when were you boys planning on moving in?”
“Beginning of July,” Remus said. “We’re finishing up our last year of school.” He paused to admire the hardwood floors. “This place really is amazing!” he exclaimed, unable to contain his awe.
“Thank you, lad. My wife and I spent our lives keeping this place up. We were never able to have children of our own, so this building kind of became our baby.”
The old man smiled sadly. Remus noticed Mr. Johansen’s blue eyes glazing over with tears as he ran a hand through the white tufts of hair on the side of his head.
“Excuse me if I’m being too intrusive,” Remus started softly, “but how long has it been? Er…since your wife passed?”
“Almost a year,” Mr. Johansen said wistfully. “I miss Bonnie terribly, but the tenants have all been so kind to me since she died, letting an old man pop by for dinner or a chat every now and then. And seeing all you happy couples…well, it reminds me of all the good times Bonnie and I had.”
Remus froze at the old man’s words and shot Sirius a sideways glance, which was returned immediately.
“Er…couples?” Sirius asked.
Mr. Johansen smiled and cuffed Sirius lightly on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, lad. Bonnie and I always kept an open mind about our tenants. Whatever you two do behind closed doors is none of my concern! Love is love, right?” He paused and looked at the two boys. “You…you two are together, right? It’s just that Bonnie and I liked to rent to couples only…”
“Oh no,” Remus said quickly, “we’re not-”
“Quite sure about the place yet!” Sirius exclaimed. He walked over to Remus and put his arm around his waist. “Come on, love, how ‘bout another look?” Remus felt himself flush and opened his mouth to protest until Sirius pinched him hard on the back of his arm.
“Er…yes, Mr. Johansen, could you maybe give us a few moments? I think we have some things to discuss.”
The old man smiled and laughed. “Of course, boys, take your time. Just remember you don’t own the flat yet, so keep it clean!”
“I’ll try, but this one is insatiable!” Sirius chuckled, planting a kiss on Remus’ cheek. Another pinch told Remus he should be laughing too, so he complied until Mr. Johansen left. As the door clicked, he immediately disentangled himself from Sirius’ arms and pushed him away.
“What the hell are you doing?” he hissed.
“What?” Sirius said, innocently, “He said that he only wanted couples here, so-”
“So you lied to a sweet old widower and dragged me into it!”
“Oh come on, Moony, you want this flat, don’t you? I saw you looking at the kitchen and the floors and the high ceilings!”
“We can find a million other flats like this in London!” Remus insisted, the volume of his voice involuntarily raising.
“For this price? Not a chance! Look, I don’t want to live alone and you’re too stubborn to let me pay your way. The only other option I see is that I move into Wormtail’s tiny flat and you go back to Scotland to live with your mother. Does that sound appealing to you?”
“No! Of course not!” Remus said, cringing at the thought of his mother fussing over him night and day like he was a child. He sighed and walked back to Sirius, who was inspecting the fireplace. “But do you realize what this whole farce would entail?”
Sirius shrugged. “So what’s a little show for the neighbors when we’re coming and going? You know how to act like you’re with a bloke, you’ve done it before!”
“Yeah, but you haven’t!” Remus shot back. “Do you have any idea what people think of homosexuals? Do you know what the Muggle laws are? Anyone in this building could call the police, and then we’d be locked away as sodomites and sex offenders!”
“So what? Mr. Johansen obviously doesn’t have a problem with us being a couple, so why should anyone else here care? And if someone does have a problem, it’s nothing we can’t take care of.”
Remus sighed. “Look at this practically, Padfoot. Neither of us would be able to bring dates back here. What are you going to do when your girlfriend wants to spend the night?”
“If Gemma wants to come over, she can Apparate or Floo! It’s not a problem, Moony!” Sirius huffed. Remus could tell his friend was getting tired of this conversation, but he continued regardless.
“Did you listen to what Mr. Johansen said about popping in on the tenants? That means we would have to act like a couple for an extended period of time. That means we could only have one bed, in case he wants to peek into the bedroom. Do you want to sleep with me every night?”
Sirius rolled his eyes. “So we’ll get one bed and take turns sleeping on the couch. We were going to do that anyway when someone else slept over.” He sighed and looked at Remus. “Really, Moony, there’s no reason this can’t work. The worst case scenario is that we live here for a few months until you save up enough money for another flat. I know you don’t like lying, but you are gay, so it’s not a complete lie, is it?”
Remus rubbed his eyes. “Sirius, it’s just-”
He was cut off by a knock on the door. Before either of them had time to answer, Mr. Johansen entered the flat.
“So, boys…do we have a deal?” the landlord asked, his eyes twinkling.
Remus glanced at Sirius, who was staring back with pleading eyes. He sighed, put on a smile, and walked to Sirius, wrapping his arm around his friend’s waist.
“We’ll take it.”
“Put it in the box.”
Sirius groaned. “Oh, come on, Moony! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this lamp!”
“You’d be right, if these were normal circumstances. However, we are trying to furnish a flat that you and I, a ‘gay couple’, live in. No respectable gay couple would have a lamp like that in their home. It’s absolutely horrid and that shade of orange won’t go with anything, ever. Put it in the box.”
Pouting, Sirius took one last look at his lamp before tossing it in the ‘too straight’ box. “If you’re going to insist on throwing away all of my things, then I don’t want to hear your stubborn arse complaining when I pay for the new furniture,” he grumbled, before turning his attention to one of the many boxes of books.
Remus smiled to himself. Maybe this whole charade wouldn’t be so bad after all; it was giving him an excuse to get rid of Sirius’ gaudy knick-knacks. He wouldn’t complain about money as long as Sirius allowed him to do the actual shopping…and so far Sirius wasn’t arguing with his taste.
He looked over as Sirius bent to lift one of the boxes onto the coffee table. A tingle of pleasure burst in Remus’ stomach as he tilted his head for a better look. It wasn’t that he fancied Sirius…at least, not in a romantic way. But, as Remus reminded himself after every dirty thought and fantasy, he did have eyes. How could he not notice Sirius’ aristocratic good looks, the way his eyes glittered when he laughed, or the crinkle that formed above his nose when he concentrated? For that matter, he would have had to been blind not to observe that Sirius had the most perfect arse ever known to man. And since Sirius was straight and had been happily attached to Gemma Hollings for the past year and a half, there was no harm in a little daydreaming.
“Like what you see, Moony?” Sirius asked, wiggling his arse. “I know I’m irresistible, but do try and remember that we’re only pretending to be a couple.”
Remus blushed and looked away, cursing himself for staring too long. “Don’t flatter yourself. I was just making sure you weren’t messing up any of my books.”
He was grateful when Sirius’ comeback was cut off by a knock on the door. Silently thanking whoever had caused the interruption, Remus sprinted to greet the visitor…or rather visitors.
Two women were standing out in the corridor. The one on the right was a short, plump woman who looked to be in her fifties. She wore huge, plastic-rimmed glasses, the type of pantsuit that Remus’ mother favored, and a warm smile. She used the hand that wasn’t holding a casserole dish to push some of her loose grey hair back into the messy bun on top of her head.
The other visitor was younger, around twenty-five. Her hair was long and blonde, and her eyes a bright blue. She was wearing a faded pair of denims and a large t-shirt that Remus assumed belonged to her boyfriend or husband. Like her companion, she was also smiling.
“Hello,” the young woman said cheerfully. “Are you Remus or Sirius?”
“Remus,” he replied, extending his hand.
“Very nice to meet you, Remus. I’m Jennifer Kinney. My husband, Tim, and I live in number 5. This is Pamela Burton. She and Howard live right next door to you.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you both,” Remus said as shook both of their hands. “Would you like to come in? We’re still unpacking, so the flat is a little messy…”
“Oh, we don’t mind,” Pamela said, pushing past Remus. Jennifer shot him an apologetic look as she entered.
The ladies had already introduced themselves to Sirius by the time Remus closed the door. Pamela was not-so-discreetly peering into the various boxes on the floor, while Jennifer politely admired what had already been unpacked.
“I take it you boys like books?” Jennifer said, smiling.
“What gave us away?” Sirius replied, motioning to the mostly-full bookcase behind him.
“So where are you lads from?” Pamela asked, thrusting the casserole dish into Remus’ hands.
“Er…I’m from Kirkcaldy,” Remus began, placing the foul-smelling meal on the coffee table. “Sirius is from London.”
“Ooh!” Pamela squealed. “Are you from this part of the city? Do your parents live near-by?”
Remus saw Sirius shudder. “No, thankfully not.”
Picking up the tension, Jennifer quickly spoke. “So where did you two meet?”
Remembering that they were supposed to be a couple, Remus walked over to Sirius and gently took his hand. “Boarding school, up in Scotland,” he replied, smiling.
“That’s lovely,” Jennifer replied. “Isn’t that lovely, Pam?”
“Oh, yes,” Pam replied. “And how long have you been together?”
Remus felt Sirius tighten the grip on his hand. He struggled for a moment before replying “Almost a year”…just as Sirius said “Two”. Remus mentally prepared himself to re-pack their belongings when he saw the confused looks on the ladies’ faces.
“I’m sorry,” Sirius said suddenly, moving his arm to Remus’ waist, “you see, Remus and I shared a dormitory for seven years, so it’s difficult to keep track of the time we’ve spent together. Remus was right; it’s only been a year. I’ve just fancied him for two.”
Remus blushed as Sirius placed a soft kiss on his lips, but was relieved when he saw that Jennifer and Pam were buying it.
“I wish Tim still talked about me like that,” sighed Jennifer. “Been married for six months, and he thinks he doesn’t have to be romantic anymore.”
“Talk to me after thirty years, darling,” Pamela drawled, smiling.
“Oh, I’m sure they’re perfectly good blokes to have wives like you,” Sirius said, laying on the charm.
“Yes,” Remus agreed, “We look forward to meeting them.”
Pamela and Jennifer stopped smiling and shared a worried look.
“Er…you may want to wait a while before meeting the rest of the building,” Pamela said, wringing her hands slightly.
“Oh,” Remus replied, pulling away from Sirius. “Is it because…Sirius and I?”
“Well…” Jennifer began, avoiding their eyes, “it’s just that some people need time to adjust to a couple like you. I mean, I’d never met a gay person before Tim and I moved to the city. I’m fine with it, and so is Pam, but…”
“A lot of the couples here are somewhat old-fashioned,” Pamela finished. “The Johansens were very open-minded people, but many of the neighbors just don’t feel comfortable living with fairies.”
“Is there going to be a problem?” Sirius asked cautiously, “Like with the police, I mean?”
“Oh no,” Jennifer said quickly. “If Mr. Johansen likes you two, then nobody will do anything. Everyone here loves Ben to death. We’ve all been looking after him since Bonnie died, so I’m positive no one would do anything to upset him.”
“Just as long as you don’t wind up like the Franklins…” Pam muttered under her breath.
Jennifer swatted her friend on the arm. “Please, anyone could see that Sirius and Remus are not like the Franklins!”
“Excuse me?” Remus asked, now thoroughly confused.
Pamela sighed. “The Franklins were the so-called couple who lived in this flat before you two. They seemed perfectly lovely; Joe and Vanessa were actors. Said they were living here until their careers took off. Turns out they weren’t even a couple! They were just friends who decided to pretend just so they could pay cheap rent! They even took turns sleeping on the couch! The fools blew their cover when Joe drunkenly decided to bring another girl back to the flat. Broke poor Ben’s heart, considering it happened right after Bonnie had passed. Can you imagine such a thing?”
Remus felt his stomach drop. He jumped a little when Sirius took his hand and squeezed it.
“That’s terrible,” Sirius said. “Absolutely terrible.”
It had taken them nearly a month and a few frustrating shopping trips, but Remus and Sirius had finally finished setting up the flat. Instead of using the night to catch up the sleep they had missed due to their new jobs and to unpacking, they decided to have everyone over for a night of celebration.
James and Lily had arrived first, the Muggle way. It took Sirius and Remus a minute or two to realize that the annoying buzz echoing throughout the flat was actually the doorbell. Thankfully, Peter and Gemma had opted to travel by Floo Powder.
“Padfoot, I can’t believe you live in a place like this!” James declared, examining the immaculate living room.
“It would have been more believable if you had come an hour ago,” Remus said, throwing Sirius a dirty look. “I have to spend at least an hour a day picking up after this mutt to make the place look presentable.”
“Yeah, that’s when he’s not off gabbing with the neighbors,” Sirius replied. “Is that ‘fabulous recipe’ Jenny gave you actually going to be done this year? I’m starving!”
Remus rolled his eyes. “You’ll have to excuse Sirius. He seems to think I’m his personal chef.”
“Hey, is it too much to ask that you have dinner ready when I get home from Auror Headquarters? We agreed that you would do the cooking if I did the laundry.”
“Yes, I got so many compliments on the lovely iron print you left on my shirt this morning.”
“Listen to you two, quarreling like an old married couple,” Lily said, laughing. “Just think, James, that could be us in a month!”
“We are not quarreling like an old married couple!” Remus and Sirius yelled at the same time. They looked at each other and laughed.
“You two are still pretending, right?” Peter asked, chuckling.
Sirius thwapped Peter on the back. “Don’t worry, Wormy, Remus hasn’t seduced me yet. Not for lack of trying, mind you. Our landlord stopped by last night, and Moony was certainly laying it on thick. He’s a good kisser, though, so it could’ve been worse.”
“Prat,” Remus said, smiling, “like you weren’t playing along, too.” He thought back to the night before; Sirius hadn’t stopped touching him from the time Mr. Johansen had entered the flat to the time he left, usually keeping his hand on Remus’ neck, occasionally playing with his hair. Whenever either one of them left the room, even if only for a moment, Sirius made a point of kissing his roommate lightly on the lips. A strange sense of worry had flared at the back of his mind when Remus realized that pretending to be Sirius’ lover wasn’t actually that difficult.
Remus looked over at Gemma, Sirius’ girlfriend, who was leaning against the wall by the fireplace, scowling. It was unfortunate, really; Gemma was a very pretty girl. She had light brown hair that she usually kept hanging around her shoulders, and dark green eyes. She was smart, nice, and had been generally well-liked by everyone in their year at Hogwarts…that is, everyone except Remus.
He could never quite put his finger on it. Everyone liked Gemma, Sirius particularly. And she was an excellent girlfriend, really. She had studied Quidditch tactics for an entire month so she could join Sirius and James in their nightly conversations and never once tried to drag him to Madame Puddifoot’s. Gemma seemed to truly love Sirius, and vice versa. That was the main reason Remus treated her with polite indifference rather than straight-out malice. It was also why he couldn’t understand where their mutual dislike stemmed from.
“Can you show me the rest of the flat, Siri?” Gemma asked, walking over to her boyfriend. Remus smiled slightly; Sirius had once confided that he loathed the pet name Gemma had given him. He noticed Sirius wince before he took Gemma’s hand.
“Sure thing, love. Come on, I know the rest of you are dying to see it.”
Sirius led them through the dining room, the kitchen, the balcony, and even the bathroom, before ending with the bedroom.
“Wow, it’s really nice,” Peter awed. “Much nicer than my dinky place, anyway.”
“Thanks, Pete, but it’s really Remus you should be complimenting. He’s the one who decorated the whole place,” Sirius said, slinging his arm over Gemma’s shoulders.
“Remus, do you think you could help us out with our house?” Lily asked. “James is absolute rubbish when it comes to these things.”
“Er, no offence, Moony, but Lils and I aren’t trying to pass as a gay couple,” James said quickly.
“Don’t worry, Prongs. With all my shifts at the bookstore and the cleaning I have to do here, I doubt I would have the time, anyway.”
“Why is the bed like that?” Gemma asked abruptly. Everyone turned to look at the bed, and then back at her.
“Er…I didn’t have time to make it this morning?” Remus said, confused.
Gemma glared at him. “I picked up on that,” she spat. “I meant why are both sides unmade? Siri?”
Sirius paused for a moment before he laughed. “Oh, that! It’s quite simple, really. You remember I told you about our neighbors, Pam and Jennifer, and how they like to stop by without warning? Well, after Remus started his morning shifts at the bookstore, neither of us really had time to fold up the couch and put the blankets and pillows away. Then Pam came over one morning while we were having breakfast and noticed it, and we had to tell her we had had a little lover’s spat the night before. After that it just seemed easier to share the bed.”
Gemma glared at Sirius before turning her attention to Remus. Lily, James, and Peter were all sharing the same quizzical look. Finally, Peter broke the silence.
“Are you sure you’re still just pretending?”
The month after their dinner party had been less than ideal. Remus and Sirius were getting along fine. Great, even. They had even managed to work out their scheduling kinks, so that Sirius never had to wait for his dinner, and Remus never had to rush to work in hastily-ironed shirts.
The main reason life in the flat had become unpleasant was Gemma. Ever since The Bed Incident, she had become convinced that Remus really was trying to seduce her boyfriend. She usually showed up in short skirts and low-cut tops, as though she was reminding “Siri” what his roommate didn’t have. Sirius certainly didn’t seem to mind, and Remus found her outfits rather amusing.
Sirius and Remus had tried to tell her that it wouldn’t look right if a pretty girl was always hanging around a supposedly devoted gay couple. Nevertheless, Gemma was usually in the flat whenever Remus came back from the bookstore. Eventually they told Pam and Jen that Gemma was Remus’ cousin.
The one saving grace was that Gemma only stayed over on Saturday nights, since she still lived with her over-protective parents, who did not care much for Sirius. However, Saturday quickly became Remus’ least favorite day of the week. For some reason, Sirius and Gemma never put a Silencing Charm on the bedroom when they retired for the evening. Fearing Pam or one of the other neighbors would hear Gemma’s loud cries of ecstasy, it wound up being Remus’ job to seal the flat; but of course, he could still hear everything from his spot on the couch. It also meant that he had to wake up early to clean up his bed and remove the charm, in case Jenny or Pam popped by.
So when James announced that his bachelor party would take place the night before his Sunday afternoon wedding, Remus was overjoyed. Gemma, upset at the prospect of a boy’s night out, had even stopped coming over all the time during the week leading up to the wedding as her form of protest. Truly, it had been the best week ever.
Remus hadn’t considered, however, that Gemma’s lack of presence might have bothered Sirius. He had been fairly withdrawn for most of the week: he would come home from work, eat his dinner, and do some Order work for an hour or two before going into the bedroom. Sirius was usually asleep by the time Remus joined him.
Sirius’ behavior didn’t change at James’ party, either. He sat with the other Marauders in their regular booth at The Three Broomsticks, but he didn’t say much the entire evening. He barely even responded when a slightly tipsy Madam Rosmerta stumbled over and asked which one of them would be taking her home. It was then Remus knew something was off.
Sirius started out nursing a pint, since Lily had threatened them all with bodily harm if any of them showed up to her wedding hung-over. But by the end of the evening, he had drunk five pints of beer and at least ten bottles of Butterbeer. James and Peter had to help Remus get his roommate back to their flat, since James insisted a splinched Best Man wouldn’t do him much good.
Once they got back to the flat, it was Remus’ responsibility to get Sirius upstairs. The process took a total of thirteen minutes: three minutes to get through the front door, eight minutes to walk up the three flights of stairs to their flat, and another two minutes to actually open their door, since Sirius kept insisting on sliding down the wall Remus had propped him up against. Finally, the two of them got through the door, Sirius hanging on Remus for support.
“Alright,” Remus panted, “do you think you can make it into the bedroom on your own?” Sirius responded with an unintelligible mutter. “Fine,” Remus said, leading his friend to the couch. “You sit here while I go get the Pepper-Up potion.”
“Mooooony,” Sirius slurred, “you…you are a…a good friend.”
Remus smiled and walked into the kitchen. He searched the cabinets, but came up with nothing. He came back into the living room to find Sirius lying on the couch with his head dangling off one of the arms.
“We’re all out. Get up, then. You need at least try to get some sleep for tomorrow, unless you want Lily to make good on her promise.” Using whatever strength he had left, Remus lifted Sirius onto his feet and gave him a little push towards the bedroom.
“D’you hear that?” Sirius said as he stumbled towards the bed. Remus paused and listened; there wasn’t so much as a cricket chirping. He gave his friend a confused look. Sirius leaned over, his alcohol-soaked breath washing over Remus’ face. “It’s quiet!” he whispered. “Gemma’s not here! You know, she’s pretty and all, but she never shuts the fuck up!”
Remus stifled a laugh; Sirius was drunk, but perhaps not drunk enough not to be offended if one of his best mates laughed at his girlfriend. Instead, he pushed Sirius onto the bed and knelt down to take off his boots.
“Do you like me, Moony?” Sirius asked, swaying a bit.
“No, Sirius. The seven years of friendship, the shared flat and bed…it’s all been a sham.” Remus struggled to keep his breathing normal as he moved up to undo Sirius’ belt buckle. In all the years of friendship and fantasies, he had never been this close to Sirius. As he removed the belt and went to pull the trousers off, Sirius grabbed his wrist.
“No! I mean do you like me?”
Remus paused for a moment before shaking himself out of Sirius grip. “I’m not blind, Sirius,” he muttered as he continued undressing his drunk friend. “But neither you nor Gemma needs to worry that I’m going to take advantage of you. I prefer my partners to actually be gay and sober.”
Sirius didn’t reply, and allowed Remus to undress him without a fuss. Once he was down to his boxers, Remus pushed him back onto the bed and pulled the blanket over him. “Comfy, Pads? Are you going to go to sleep like a good puppy?” Sirius replied with a snore. Satisfied, Remus quickly shed his own clothes and got under the blankets on the other side of the bed.
He wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep when he felt a hand moving across his chest. At first, Remus thought he was having that dream about Sirius again. He sighed and smiled, letting the familiar images fill his mind. Then he realized that it wasn’t a dream.
His eyes flew open. Slowly, Remus turned his head. Sirius appeared to be asleep, and Remus wasn’t sure if he was relieved or disappointed. He was about to wake his friend up when Sirius sighed and turned his body towards Remus’.
Remus gasped when he felt Sirius’ erection press against his thigh. He tried to will his own penis to stay soft, but gave up when Sirius began grinding against him. Remus felt lips press against his neck and he whimpered.
Suddenly, an alarm went off in his head. This was wrong, very wrong. Hadn’t he just told Sirius he would never take advantage of him? Reluctantly, Remus pushed his friend away.
He was surprised at how quickly Sirius reacted. Remus had barely touched him before Sirius sat up and shifted away from him, panting.
“Oh gods…Remus…I am so sorry…I know I shouldn’t have…”
“Padfoot, really, it’s all right. You’re drunk and it’s Saturday night. You’re just used to having Gemma here, right?”
Sirius blushed and looked away from Remus. “Yeah…I guess that’s it.” The two of them sat in silence for a moment before Sirius sighed and got out of bed.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to sleep on the couch. It’ll probably make all this a little less awkward,” Sirius muttered, staring at the floor.
Remus sighed. “Sirius, stop being ridiculous. We’re healthy eighteen-year olds sharing a bed and not shagging. Honestly, I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. Now will you get back into bed so you don’t pass out during the ceremony tomorrow?”
Sirius nodded, but didn’t say anything. He crawled back under the covers, turning so he faced away from Remus. Remus sighed and did the same, staring at the wall before finally closing his eyes. As he drifted off to sleep, he tried to think of anything except Sirius, to little avail.
By three o’clock the following afternoon, James Potter and Lily Evans had become James and Lily Potter. The ceremony had been flawless; Sirius had chugged some Pepper-Up Potion Peter had cleverly brought, and Remus had successfully kept the Muggle-Wizard relations peaceful and non-eventful.
The reception was lovely, as well. The band played songs that both the younger and older guests could dance to, the food was delicious, and the company was good. Remus felt he really would have enjoyed himself if he could have stopped thinking about Sirius for five minutes.
He knew it had all been a misunderstanding. Gemma usually slept over on Saturdays, and she had barely spent any time with Sirius the previous week. It wasn’t a surprise that Sirius reacted to a warm body lying next to him. However, the experience had made Remus aware of certain emotions he hadn’t even known he’d had. His fantasies had always been just that, but Sirius had made them tangible last night. Hours later, Remus’ heart would flutter when he remembered how Sirius’ lips felt against his skin. Now, he couldn’t stop scanning the room for his friend. Even worse, he couldn’t get rid of the rage that boiled inside when he did find Sirius…with Gemma hanging on his arm.
Snapping out of his daze, Remus quickly turned his attention back to Frank Longbottom. “Late night last night,” he said apologetically. “You were saying?”
“Oh, I was just going on about Auror nonsense. Probably good that you missed it, really nothing exciting,” Frank explained. “But here is something exciting!”
Lily blushed as she walked over and kissed Frank on the cheek. “I’m so glad you and Alice made it to the wedding. Having a good time?”
“Lovely time, Lils, lovely, even though Loopy Lupin here isn’t much for conversation,” Frank replied, laughing and cuffing Remus on the arm. Remus smiled politely and rubbed the spot Frank had hit.
“Hmm, if that’s the case, then I’m sure you won’t mind if I steal him away for a dance,” Lily said, hooking her arm around Remus’.
“It would be an honor, Mrs. Potter,” Remus replied, allowing himself to be led onto the dance floor. He spent the first minute of the song searching the room for Sirius, and scowled when he found him, and his girlfriend, dancing happily at the opposite end of the room.
“Are you still with me, Remus? You’ve stepped on my foot twice already,” Lily said, smiling slightly.
“I’m sorry, Lily, I just have some things on my mind.”
“Yes, I can see that. Forgive my presumption, but I do believe there is someone else you’d rather be dancing with.”
“And who would that be?”
Lily looked at him. “Do I really have to say it?”
Remus blushed and looked down at his feet. “Am I that obvious?”
“Just today,” Lily replied softly, tilting his head up, “although you two do act like more of a couple than James and I do. Did something happen at the party last night?”
Remus turned his head, making sure no one was particularly close by, especially Sirius. “If you laugh, I will have no problem making James a widower.” Lily nodded, her eyes wide and earnest. He sighed. “Sirius got drunk and then humped my leg in his sleep because he thought I was Gemma.” Lily didn’t say anything. She opened her mouth a few times, but closed it before any words came out. “What is it?” Remus finally demanded.
“Well…” she began, “er…are you sure he thought you were Gemma?”
Remus barked out a laugh, causing some of the surrounding couples to turn and look. “Are you mental? Are you suggesting that he was actually thinking about me? That maybe he knew what he was doing?”
“Well, think about it! You’ve always been close, and now you’re sharing a flat. Not only that, but you’re pretending to be a couple! Maybe Sirius is starting to realize what he could have.”
Remus rolled his eyes. “I think all the romance of the day has gone to your head, Lils. Sirius is completely straight. Even if he wasn’t, Gemma is the perfect girlfriend and they love each other very much. Anyway, she’s dug her claws into him and I doubt she’ll let go without a fight.”
“Oh, so that’s why you don’t like her!”
“That’s not why…!” Remus groaned. “Come on, this is your day. I’m sure you don’t want to spend it dissecting my love life, or lack thereof.” The song ended, and Remus separated from his dance partner. “Why don’t you go find your husband? I’m sure he’s looking for you.”
“Alright, alright, I can take a hint, Lupin,” Lily replied, smiling. “But if you want to get your mind off of Sirius, I think I may have a solution. You and Fabian Prewett messed about during sixth year, right?”
Remus blushed. “How did you…? Oh, sod it. Anyway, what’s your point?”
“Well, it so happens that Mr. Prewett is standing by the bar…alone. Just thought you might like to know.”
As Lily Potter walked away smirking, Remus scanned the room again. Sirius and Gemma were having an animated conversation with Frank and holding each other close. Growling, he tore his eyes away and glanced towards the bar. Fabian was there, and looking much better than he had during sixth year. After a moment, Remus decided he could use a drink.
No matter how hard he tried, Remus could not get Sirius out of his head. It had been nearly a month since the wedding and the night before, and Remus still couldn’t forget the memory of a drunk, sleeping Sirius and the way he had pressed up against him…
Things between him and Sirius had become awkward. Sirius, who had been acting strangely before that night, continued with his behavior. He took on two night shifts, which meant two less nights he and Remus had to spend together and share the bed. When they were both at home, they usually spent their time in silence, using Order work as an excuse not to engage in conversation.
For the first time since Sirius had begun dating her, Remus found himself missing Gemma. She had gotten a job at Gringotts, and since she had to commute from Cornwall, she only had time to come by for her Saturday night sleepovers, and nothing else. He still loathed her, but her presence meant that Remus had a legitimate excuse not to talk to Sirius, and vice versa.
That was why Remus was so surprised when he came home one Thursday after work to find Gemma sitting on his couch. She was still dressed in her work robes and looked like she had been waiting for a while. She had also helped herself to a glass of Remus’ pumpkin juice.
“Gemma? What are you doing here? Sirius is working a night shift tonight-”
“I know my boyfriend’s work schedule, thanks,” she said curtly, not looking at Remus. “I came here to talk to you.”
Remus slowly made his way over and sat down at the opposite end of the couch. He played with the cuffs of his shirtsleeves while he waited for Gemma to begin. After about five minutes, he sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Are you actually going to say something, or are we supposed to be having this conversation telepathically?”
“I’ll choose to ignore that dig at Divination,” she huffed. “I know you were always jealous that you never had the Inner Eye, and I did.”
“Oh, yes, I spent many a night lying awake because of that,” he drawled sarcastically. “Now what did you want to talk about?”
Gemma sighed. “Alright. I know you don’t like me, Remus. Don’t bother to deny it - ”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
Gemma glared at him before smirking. “Well then. I suppose I don’t feel bad now about telling you how much I despise you. Ever since I started dating Sirius, you always seem to get in the way somehow. First there was that fight you two had in sixth year over some silly prank. Merlin, he wouldn’t shut up about you. ‘I wish Remus would talk to me, I miss Remus so much, blah blah blah…” Do you have any idea how hard it is to shag someone like that? And every time you got sick…seriously, do you have an immune system at all? I don’t understand how someone can be so sick all the bloody time!”
“I’m sure there are a lot of things you don’t understand, Gemma.” Remus stood and walked into the kitchen to get a beer from the icebox.
“Anyway, whenever you were sick,” she continued as she followed Remus, “Sirius would always disappear, even if it was a Friday or Saturday night. And now with this bloody flat! You know when I’m coming over, and yet you’re always fucking here!”
Remus slammed the refrigerator door shut. “Good Lord, can you stop thinking about yourself for one minute?” he shouted, the outburst surprising even him. “I’m going to say this one more time: Sirius and I have to pretend to be a couple! I cannot go out without Sirius unless we want to be kicked out of the building! And maybe if you paid attention to someone other than yourself, you would realize that James and Lily, the newlyweds, probably don’t want someone kipping out on their couch for a night! And Peter couldn’t spend the night with a flea in that flat of his without being cramped! Where exactly do you expect me to go?”
“Oh, I’m self-absorbed?” Gemma yelled back. “What about you? The only reason Sirius is even going along with this whole gay thing is because it’s the only place your poor arse can afford! And I’m sure you never thought that this whole charade could work to your advantage or anything!”
“Gemma…just stop talking. You sound like a complete idiot, and I’m far too tired to listen to this nonsense.”
“Nonsense? I don’t think so. Living with Sirius, pretending to be Sirius’ boyfriend, sharing a bed with Sirius…it really never crossed you mind that this might finally be your chance?”
Remus felt his face grow warm but was able to keep his expression blank. “What exactly are you implying?”
“Please, Remus, I know you’ve fancied Sirius for years! That’s the main reason I’m here, actually. I just wanted to let you know that I’m not going to let this little seduction continue for another minute.”
“Alright, playing along with your delusions of paranoia, let’s just say that I am trying to lure Sirius away from you,” Remus said, returning to the living room and plopping down on the couch. “What exactly are you going to do about it?”
Gemma smirked and reached into her robes. She threw a Gringotts bag on the coffee table, which landed with a loud jangle and thud. Remus looked back and forth between the money and Gemma, who was standing with her arms folded across her chest and smug look on her face.
“What the bloody hell is that?” he asked.
“I’m not surprised you don’t recognize it,” she said, circling the couch. “That, Remus, is money. It’s often exchanged for goods and labor. That bag contains five hundred galleons, to be exact. I was able to get an advance on my next paycheck.”
“And you brought it here because…?”
“Because I am giving it to you.”
Remus blinked as Gemma planted herself in front of him. “Why would you give me five hundred galleons?”
“Because Sirius won’t marry me as long as he has to support you,” she replied, smiling cruelly. “I figured that this money combined with your wages from the bookshop would be enough for you to find a pathetic little flat of your own. That, Remus, is how I intend to put a stop to this fantasy of yours.”
Remus rose from the couch and locked eyes with Gemma. “What makes you think Sirius wants to marry you? You only see each other once a week. Doesn’t sound like a very strong relationship to me.”
Gemma stepped forward, the smile never leaving her face. “You’re his roommate; surely you’ve noticed that Sirius has been acting strangely lately? Now that I think about it, his behavior has been odd ever since I stopped coming by as often…and ever since his best friend got married. You don’t think that maybe James and Lily making the ultimate commitment gave Sirius an idea or two? That maybe his new attitude is due to the fact that he’s considering some major life changes?”
Remus felt like he had just been punched in the stomach, but he struggled not to let it show. “And what if I refuse to take your money? What then?”
Gemma’s face soured and she began to sob. “Oh, Siri! I tried to do something nice for Remus…help him get on his feet…I got an advance on my check just to help him…and…and…he told me he didn’t want my money and…and…he called me…he called me a….” She ended the statement with a high-pitched wail before regaining her malicious smile.
“I want you to know that I’m only doing this because I love Sirius,” she said. “I wouldn’t resort to such drastic measures if I didn’t. But, considering the circumstances, I find I have no choice. It’s really quite simple: take my money, move out, and allow true love to take its course, or keep your pride, lose all your friends, and move back in with Mummy. Either way, I expect to be Mrs. Sirius Black by Valentine’s Day. Now which is it going to be?”
Sirius was late getting back from work the next night. When he hadn’t heard from his roommate after an hour, Remus placed a Floo call to James and found out that there had been no Death Eater activity that day, and Moody had even let them off early. Remus grumbled as he threw Sirius’ dinner back in the oven, reminding himself that this was one reason he wouldn’t miss his roommate.
When Sirius did get home around ten o’clock, Remus was sitting on the floor between the couch and the coffee table, a quill in one hand, and the Prophet spread across his lap. He didn’t look up when Sirius came through the door, but then again, Sirius didn’t acknowledge his presence, either. He sat down on the couch, kicked off his boots, and then rose and left the room. Five minutes later, Sirius emerged from the bedroom, having changed into an old t-shirt and a pair of pyjama trousers.
“Hungry?” Remus asked, chewing on his quill.
“I could eat,” Sirius replied, shrugging.
“There’s some pot roast in the oven for you.” Sirius silently accepted the offer and retrieved his dinner. After he let the plate cool, he came back to the living room and settled himself on the couch behind Remus.
Had the circumstances been different, Remus would have chastised Sirius for eating somewhere other than the kitchen or the dining room. As it was, this wouldn’t be his flat for very much longer. Anyway, Sirius had paid for the couch, so it was his to stain.
“S’dry,” Sirius proclaimed around a mouth full of meat.
Remus looked up from the advertisements and turned around. “Excuse me?”
“The roast. It’s dry. It’s like chewing on a bloody boot.”
“Maybe I could have done something about that if you had called and told me you were going to be five hours late,” Remus muttered, returning his attention to the paper. “And speaking of boots, do you think you could move yours? While the aroma is lovely, they’re completely in the way. One of us is going to trip over them and break his neck.”
Sirius didn’t respond, and Remus didn’t push the issue any further.
“So where were you?” Remus asked after a few minutes.
“Just went to a pub. I just have some things on my mind. Figured a pint or two might help.”
Remus thought back to what Gemma had said yesterday. He wondered if Sirius had been thinking about proposing, or even if he had gone to a pub at all; maybe he had been searching for an engagement ring or something. Sighing, he circled a promising advert and continued reading.
“What are you looking at, Moony?”
“Housing vacancies,” he replied flatly.
“Oh, we’re moving, then? Pam and her smelly casseroles getting to be too much? Tired of Jenny going on about those brats she teaches? It’s all a bit annoying, but I don’t know if it’s worth a move.”
Remus felt his stomach churn and his cheeks flush. “Er…actually, I’m looking for a flat for me…just me,” he replied, staring at the paper. He cringed when he heard Sirius drop his knife and fork on his plate.
“What? Moony, why are you moving?” Sirius demanded.
Remus made himself shrug. “I don’t know. I just figure it’s time. Can’t be living with my mates forever, you know. Anyway, wasn’t this part of our original plan?”
“But you haven’t got the money! I know what you make at the shop-”
“Maybe I’ve been saving up.”
Sirius didn’t respond right away, but Remus could tell he was angry from the way his breath was coming in ragged puffs. “So you’ve been thinking about this for a while, have you? Can’t stand living with me? Rather live by yourself than spend anymore time with me than you have to?”
Remus wanted to explain. He wanted to tell Sirius everything Gemma had done and said the day before, but that would mean admitting that he had taken her money and that he had feelings for his friend. Instead, all he could manage was “I’m sorry.”
Sirius huffed. “Fine. You want to move out? Great! I can find a nicer place than this easily.” He picked up his dinner again, took a bite, and groaned. “Fuck it. I’m going to get some ketchup so I can drown this roast and actually make it edible.”
The last thing Remus expected to hear next was a loud thud. He certainly didn’t expect that thud to be the sound of Sirius falling on him, knocking him down on his back.
“Bloody hell, Sirius!” Remus exclaimed as the pain began to radiate throughout his head. “You tripped over your bloody boots, didn’t you?”
Instead of shouting back, Sirius blushed and averted his eyes. “Yes,” he replied, the embarrassment evident in his voice. Neither of them moved as they tried to fully comprehend what had just happened.
“Remus?” Sirius asked softly, still collapsed on top of his friend.
“Did you break your neck?”
The next thing Remus knew, he was laughing. Not just laughing, but laughing– the kind of laugh that you can feel everywhere in your body, the kind that makes your cheeks sore and your eyes tear. Remus noticed that Sirius was reacting the same way, which only made him laugh harder. It didn’t seem possible that they had been fighting just minutes prior.
After a few minutes, they both calmed down substantially. The laughter had become random giggling, but Remus could still feel Sirius’ chest heaving against his.
“Oi, Padfoot! You can get off me now, you know.”
“Oh, yeah,” Sirius replied, looking Remus in the eye. After a minute, he still hadn’t moved. An errant glimmer of hope flared in Remus’ mind – why wasn’t Sirius moving? And for that matter, why was he leaning down? Remus subconsciously licked his lips and slightly arched his neck.
The moment was ruined, however, when green flames appeared in the fireplace and Gemma stepped out, brushing off her robes. “Siri!” she called. “My parents went away for the night so I decided to-” She stopped when she saw her boyfriend lying directly on top of his roommate. Her face turned red and she sputtered for a moment before screaming.
“I knew it! I fucking knew!”
Sirius quickly scrambled up and dashed over to Gemma. “Knew what? Gem, it was an accident! I was getting up and I didn’t see my boots-”
“You!” she yelled, pointing at Remus. “You bloody pervert! Not trying to seduce my boyfriend, eh? You give me back my fucking money this instant, you queer bastard!”
“Hey!” Sirius cried, grabbing her arm, “I know you’re upset, but there’s no need to talk to one of my best mates like that! And what money are you talking about?”
“She paid me to move out,” Remus answered softly, staring at the floor.
Sirius turned back to his girlfriend, his eyes blazing. “What the fuck did you do that for? What made you think you had any right to do such a thing?”
“Oh, wake up, Sirius! Can’t you see that Remus always gets in the fucking way? When was the last time that we were alone – not just in a bedroom, but really alone? And you can’t honestly tell me that you actually like living here, pretending to be a poof! If Remus moves out, then we can get our own flat and settle in before we get married!”
Sirius released Gemma’s arm and backed away. “Hang on! Who said anything about us getting married?”
Gemma faltered for a moment. “Well…I mean…I just assumed…we love each other…and it has been almost two years, Siri!”
“Don’t fucking call me ‘Siri’! I hate it when you do that! And last I checked there wasn’t a deadline for a proposal! Have I ever once mentioned anything about marriage?”
“No,” Gemma answered sullenly. “I guess I was maybe over-reacting a bit.” She smiled and wrapped her arms around Sirius’ waist. “I suppose we could just live together for a while. My parents won’t be pleased, but if it’ll give you some time to get used to it-”
“I don’t know if that’s a very good idea,” Sirius said, untangling himself from Gemma. Her smile faded and her eyes narrowed.
“Are you actually choosing that faggot over me? If that’s your decision, than you can just forget about me ever coming over again!” she shrieked. “So who is going to be: me, the woman who loves you and would do anything for you, or the great poof?” Sirius studied her for a moment, and then turned his gaze to Remus, who was still sitting on the floor.
“I’m choosing my friend,” he replied calmly.
Remus was surprised that Gemma didn’t even demand her money back before she Disapparated. He actually felt bad for…until he remembered that she was an evil harpy who had tried to blackmail him just the day before.
“Well,” he began, finally rising from the floor, “I’ve been waiting for that moment for the past year and a half. I’m just glad I was actually able to witness it.”
Sirius shook his head and stormed out of the room. Remus winced as he heard the sliding door that led to the balcony open and then fiercely slam shut. He waited a moment before he followed.
Sirius was smoking, something he had picked up from his many hours at Auror Headquarters. Remus hated it, but allowed Sirius to indulge in his disgusting habit on the balcony. Waving the smoke from in front of his face, he slowly approached his roommate, who was leaning on the railing.
“Are you alright?” Remus asked, trying to not to cough.
Sirius took a long drag and exhaled before he answered. “Not really.”
“I’m really sorry, Padfoot. You and Gemma were together for a long time. I shouldn’t have made that joke. It was incredibly insensitive.”
“You’re not sorry. I know you never liked Gemma,” Sirius said softly before he inhaled again. “Anyway, I’m not upset about her. I’ve been thinking of breaking things off for a while now. Would have done it sooner if I knew she was just trying to get a ring out of me.”
“Oh,” Remus replied. “Er…I’m sorry I took her money?”
“M’not upset about that, either. I mean, I’m a little angry that you thought you had to…but I know you wouldn’t have done if you hadn’t thought you were trying to help me in some way. Although, I would’ve pegged you as the last person who would sit back and let me marry Gemma.”
Remus blushed. “Well…er…it wasn’t quite as noble as all that. She made it quite clear that if I didn’t she would do her best to turn you, James, Peter, and Lily against me.”
Sirius laughed. “Determined lass, isn’t she? Come on, Moony, even if she hadn’t just proved that she was a complete nutter, there’s nothing she could’ve said that would make me hate you.”
‘I’m not so sure about that,’ Remus thought as he watched Sirius flick his cigarette butt off the balcony. “So,” he began, warily, “why are you upset?”
Sirius didn’t say anything. Instead, he stared out into the city, his facial expression blank. Remus was about to repeat himself when Sirius answered.
“I don’t think you want to know.”
“I asked, didn’t I?” Remus laughed. “Padfoot, you just said that there was nothing I could do that would make you hate me. You don’t think it works the other way around?”
Sirius took a moment to think this over. He hung his head and stared at the ground. “You.”Remus was sure he had misheard. Why on earth would Sirius be upset over him? Unless…unless he somehow figured out that Remus was lusting after him. Merlin, he must have picked up on what Gemma had said!
“Shite,” he groaned. “Sirius, let me explain something-”
“No, Moony, I need to get this off my chest. Just…try not to interrupt me, okay?”
Remus nodded, sensing that now would not be the best time to point out that Sirius had interrupted him. His stomach churned as he watched Sirius light another fag and waited for him to begin.
Sirius waited until he was half-way through his cigarette before he began. “I don’t even know how to say this, Moony. This all seems so ridiculous and yet so serious at the same time. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and I still can’t figure it out. I mean, I never noticed any of this during the seven years we shared a room at Hogwarts. But ever since we’ve moved into the flat and started pretending to be a couple-”
“Padfoot, please, I-” Remus stopped abruptly when Sirius glared at him. “Sorry. Go on.”
Sirius rubbed the cigarette out on the concrete railing, letting it drop to the street below. “As I was saying,” he grumbled, “Ever since we started putting on our daily performances for Pam, Jen, and Mr. Johansen…something’s changed. I remember there was one night, about a week before Prongs and Lily got married…Mr. Johansen stopped by for a cuppa. There was a point during his visit when I realized…I mean…it just hit me…” Sirius paused and rubbed his eyes. “Do you think you could maybe turn around? I…I don’t want you looking at me when I say this.”
Confused, Remus complied and turned to his right. Praying that Pam or Howard wouldn’t fancy a late-night breath of fresh air, he nodded for Sirius to continue.
“Thanks,” Sirius replied, his voice shaking. “Anyway, when Mr. Johansen came over…and we were being all couple-y…I kind of noticed that…well...towards the end of his visit…I wasn’t really pretending anymore.”
Remus felt his eyes grow impossibly wide and he gasped. He turned around to face Sirius, but was quickly pushed back so he was once again staring at the Burtons’ balcony.
“Not yet, Remus, I don’t think I could bear to face you. I mean…Merlin, this is so bloody stupid and embarrassing! I don’t why I feel this way…but…pretending to be with you has been a hundred times better than actually being with Gemma, or any other girl. I can’t really explain it, but it just feels…right.
“When I realized how I felt, that I wanted to be with you…I got really scared. I’m still scared now, but…when it first happened…I figured that if I spent less time with you and more time acting like Gemma’s perfect boyfriend, it would all just go away. But we still had to share that bed…and Pam and Jenny kept coming over…and then I had to go and get plastered at Prongs’ bachelor party and molest you…and then I began to ignore you almost completely…I guess I’m not really surprised that you wanted to move out, considering what an arse I’ve been lately. I thought I wanted you to go away so things could get back to normal…but when you told me you were looking for a flat of your own, I felt the same way I did when I saw you chatting up that git, Prewett, at the wedding…like someone had just hit me with a Cruciatus.
“Moony…Remus…I…I think I might be in love with you. I know it’s a lot to ask, but if you would just give me a chance, I know you could make me happy, and I would try every single day of our lives to make you happy, too.” Sirius sighed sadly before he continued. “But I know that just because you’re gay, it doesn’t mean you automatically fancy me. You made that more than clear the night before the wedding. And…and I also understand that now you probably really want to move out, now. Just say the word, and I’ll go stay with Prongs until you get your stuff together. I’m really, really sorry if I’ve just ruined our entire friendship…but that’s how I feel.”
Remus’ mind was reeling. His mouth was dry, since it had been hanging open for the past five minutes. He couldn’t tell if he was shaking because of the cool breeze or because of the fact that Sirius Black had just confessed his undying love, but he was fairly certain it was the latter. “Are you finished?” he croaked out once his brain had remembered how to form coherent thoughts.
“Er…yeah,” Sirius answered nervously.
“Good,” Remus replied shakily, “good.” He reached for Sirius’ pack of fags and lit one, taking a long, slow drag. “Well…I guess there are some things I should tell you, then. I’ve…er…admired you for quite a while, Sirius. I’ve always thought it was purely a physical attraction, but since we’ve moved here…it’s become deeper than that. I know what you mean, when you said you didn’t have to pretend to be my lover anymore. It’s almost become more difficult, really – trying to hold back but still be realistic.
“You also said it was torturous to watch me talk to Fabian. Can you imagine what it was like to see you with Gemma? When she told me…when she told me yesterday that she was sure you wanted to marry her…it was the worst I’ve ever felt in my life…and coming from a werewolf, that’s saying something.
“And…that night…after James’ party…I didn’t push you away because I didn’t want you. I pushed you away because I thought you wouldn’t appreciate it if you woke up expecting your girlfriend and found me instead. When you started touching me, it took every ounce of my will power not to pounce on you right then and there. And ever since that night…being in the same room as you has been excruciating, never mind sleeping in the same bed-”
Remus swallowed the end of his sentence as he was physically spun around. Until he felt Sirius’ hand on his shoulder, he hadn’t even realized he was still staring at Pam’s various potted plants. He gasped and dropped his cigarette to the city below when he actually looked at Sirius; even in the dark, he could tell his friend’s face was flushed. And his eyes…they were glowing like polished silver, outlined in the darkest shade of black Remus had ever seen.
“Remus,” Sirius said hoarsely, “are…are you saying…”
“I love you,” Remus blurted. “I…I love the way you laugh at things you shouldn’t laugh at. I love how you pretend to hate doing the laundry. I love…I love that you can always make me feel special, even when you don’t mean to. Hell, I even love that you leave your smelly boots in the middle of the bloody floor!” He paused to catch his breath, and cautiously moved his hand to Sirius’ cheek when he saw his friend smiling slightly. “I love you,” he repeated softly, stroking his thumb over Sirius’ cheekbone.
Years later, Remus still couldn’t quite figure out who had actually kissed whom. Years later, he would feel guilty about using the memory of that kiss to conjure a Patronus to get a Dementor out of his compartment on the Hogwarts Express and away from Harry and his friends. Years later, he would still refer to it in his mind as The Kiss. Years later, Remus would still rate that kiss on the balcony as one the top five kisses of all-time.
Sirius’ lips were soft and his breath surprisingly fresh, considering he had just smoked two cigarettes. Remus moaned and allowed Sirius’ tongue to part his lips as his friend’s arms wrapped around his waist and pulled him close. He moved his own hand from Sirius’ face and into the mess of shaggy black hair, crushing his friend’s lips into his own, his other hand caressing the bare skin that peeked out between Sirius’ pyjama bottoms and t-shirt. Remus sucked Sirius’ tongue into his mouth, not caring that teeth were biting into his lips or that nails were digging into his skin.
They broke apart when the lack of oxygen became an issue. Panting, Sirius nuzzled his head into the crook of Remus’ neck. “You love me,” he murmured, placing soft kisses on the column of skin in front of him.
“You love me, too,” Remus replied softly, threading his fingers through Sirius’ hair. He smiled as Sirius moved from his neck, to his jaw, and then back to his lips.
“You know what this means, don’t you?” Sirius asked in between kisses.
“No,” Remus answered, trying not to break the contact. He relented when he felt Sirius’ smile grow.
“We don’t have to pretend anymore. No more lying to Pam, Jenny, or sweet old widowers. Now we can just be us.”
Remus smiled and pulled Sirius in for another kiss, mentally vowing only to stop for sleep, food, and the occasional toilet break. Vaguely, he heard a door open and a man yell, “Oh bloody hell! Pam! Those poofter friends of yours are snogging on their balcony! Do they have no decency at all?”