Disclaimer: These characters belong to JK Rowling and various corporations.
Era: Directly after Hogwarts.
Summary: This is loosely based on sirius_loving prompt 49, ‘After Hogwarts, Sirius was too busy to have a girlfriend.’
Thanks: To asterie_smiles, for a fast beta.
Dedication: This one’s for you, thistlerose, and for your community, sirius_loving. Have a very happy birthday!
Posted on sirius_loving and linked to my journal.
Fair Of Face
Wizards follow a different schedule, but even for them Monday is the first day of the week.
The alarm goes at seven. Remus is already awake, making coffee in the kitchen, though he works from home. Sirius has a harder time getting to his feet, stumbling to the loo and brushing his teeth, which seem to have doubled in number overnight as he fumbles with the toothbrush. He grimaces at the beautiful boy in the mirror, who grimaces right back.
Sirius fancifully sees Monday as a tall, grey building at the corner of a city street. He has no idea where this image comes from; some childhood memory probably.
Though he’s one of the two most highly-qualified students of his year at Hogwarts, Sirius has chosen the easiest job option of all, Muggle Relations, and is currently training as a Liaison Officer. It’s partly to thumb his nose at the Blacks and their expectations and traditions, and partly because he likes the work.
This week, on one of his two days at the Muggle Advisory Bureau, Sirius is going to be advising young wizards and witches on relationship problems. He rarely meets the other halves of these relationships: the trainees are broken in gently before dealing with real Muggles. He’s very much enjoying this part of his course, which he privately calls ‘A Hundred Ways to Shag a Muggle.’
‘Or not shag a Muggle, I should say,’ he confides to Remus. ‘Honestly! Imagine buying an ordinary girl a top-of-the-range broomstick. No wonder she hit him with it! Probably thought he was ordering her to sweep the house.’
Sirius normally walks the half mile to the Bureau, as fledgling Liaison Officers aren't encouraged to Apparate on working days except in an emergency. This morning, there are already six wizards waiting for tips on how to cope with Muggle girlfriends. The acrid smell of a game of Exploding Snap hangs in the air; obviously, they’ve been sitting in the reception area for a while and are getting bored. As Sirius goes into his office, he nods at the four boys he knows from school. The other two are complete strangers, because not everyone goes to Hogwarts, of course. At least one of the boys he’s counselled, Stan Shunpike, has been through the lowest echelon of the State wizarding system. Stan has been cured of Muggle girls anyway, after one of them advised him to treat his acne with some horrible smelly cream.
Sirius’s first client, a young wizard with a straggly moustache, sits in front of the desk and weeps openly. ‘Annie refuses to go out with me now I’ve told her I’m a wizard. She’s scared of me. Her mother answers the, you know, the black thing –
‘Telephone,’ interjects Sirius’s supervisor, who is sitting to one side of the desk taking notes. She performs a quick Cheering Charm, and the wizard stops sniffling.
‘Is there any chance you could persuade Annie to come in and talk to us?’ Sirius asks.
Giggling now – the supervisor’s Cheering Charms are legendary – the wizard says, ‘I would if I could get in touch.’
‘An owl,’ says Sirius. ‘That way, you can take her by surprise.’
‘She has a bird phobia,’ the wizard explains.
Sirius sighs. It’s going to be a long day. He takes a deep breath and thinks of the evening, when Remus will be waiting for him and they’ll be going to the Leaky Cauldron with their friends.
Full of Grace
Tuesday is Sirius’s favourite day, because he doesn’t work and it’s Bike Day.
He has a hangover this morning. James is still celebrating his engagement, though Lily has been wearing the ring for about a week now. First, they went to the Cauldron, then to a rather dodgy club where an ageing witch stripped off her robes to the droning accompaniment of one of Celestina Warbeck’s old songs. James and Peter seemed to enjoy themselves, but Sirius found it excruciating. ‘Like a really bad Muggle stag night,’ he said knowledgably to Remus, who had the grace to laugh at the pun.
Sirius is dreading James’s real stag night. He loves him dearly, but all the Marauders know that James has always been the wild one, even if Sirius has the bad reputation. He’s liable to demand all sorts of wacky entertainments, like girls jumping out of cakes and fountains gushing Firewhisky. James doesn’t hold his drink well: he gets maudlin, and tells everyone in detail how he came to fall in love with Lily.
There’s no alarm on Tuesdays, so Sirius doesn’t wake up until nine. Remus, unusually, is still in bed, lying on his back absolutely silent. When he first started sleeping with Remus, Sirius used to wake up in the middle of the night with his heart pounding, dragged from his dreams by the total lack of sound from the other side of the bed. He’d shake Remus awake in terror, positive he was dead. Now, he knows that Remus just breathes very, very quietly.
‘Better than your snuffling!’ Remus always points out.
‘I don’t snuffle. Only dogs snuffle.’
‘Exactly,’ says Remus.
These circular arguments can go on for a while, and usually end pleasurably enough. This morning, Sirius debates waking Remus for a quick shag, then decides against it. There’s no time for idle pursuits on Bike Day.
The bike, for the record, is a magic machine, a Wizarding brand called a Marley, after Marley’s ghost, who was a nuisance at Hogwarts for a while. It bears very little relation to any conventional bike: for a start, it can become invisible at the turn of a switch. The Marleys don’t usually fly, which is where Sirius’s is unique, though they can of course go well in excess of 200 mph.
The Marley is kept in one of the lock-up garages rented out to flat owners at vast expense by the freeholder. Even the Wizarding world has its sharks. Sirius doesn’t mind the outlay at all, though money is tight and Muggle Relations poorly paid, at charity level.
Sirius has christened the bike Ruby, because she’s deep red, almost purple, a colour that responds well to washing and polishing. Her engine is tuned so finely that you’d be hard pushed to find a single thing more to do to it, her petrol tank permanently brimming with the finest fuel Galleons can buy, her tires at exactly the right pressure, her lights in perfect working order. Sirius does all this without magic, because it’s a lot more fun.
What does need tweaking is her flying mechanism. It’s nearly right, but the engine has cut out a few times at high altitudes. Of course, Sirius carries emergency broomsticks just in case, but it’s a pain, as well as being dangerous. If he bails out, he’ll lose his beautiful machine.
While he’s giving Ruby her second rinse – a bike can get a bit dusty and neglected in a week – Remus comes out with a couple of mugs of coffee. He often perches on Ruby’s seat and watches Sirius as he taps the wheels with his wand, trying to find the weak spot in her system.
‘Looking good,’ Remus says. ‘Any chance of taking her out later?’
‘Plenty, but I’m sticking to the roads today. She seems to have a bit of wheeze somewhere, but I can’t quite locate it.’
The manual gives useful tips on how to install the conventional extras, like a Hot Air charm in winter, and an Ice-Cold charm in summer. Sirius decides that it’s time for a Hot Air one: it’s halfway through October, and the Wizarding Met Office has forecast a freezing winter.
When he’s finished with the requisite spells, and Remus has gone inside to get more coffee, he talks to Ruby. He often does, but never in front of anyone else.
‘You’re beautiful,’ he whispers, patting her gleaming chrome handbars, running his fingers over her leather seat. ‘I wish you’d fly for me, baby.’
He then puts on a slightly higher voice and says, ‘But I do fly. You’ve just got the spell wrong, idiot.’
He continues to converse with Ruby in this way, looking round furtively from time to time, and stops abruptly when Remus emerges from the flat again.
Full Of Woe
Wednesday is Order day. ‘I wish we didn’t have to remember there’s a war on,’ Remus says gloomily every Wednesday morning, toying with his toast.
The meetings are in the evening, but the Ministry of Magic has decreed that the rest of the day is for practising spells. Not every witch and wizard belongs to the Order – in fact, very few do – but they all have to be vigilant.
Sirius would rather go to work then go through the usual Wednesday routine. He’d even prefer a repeat of the time he had to prise Stan Shunpike off a small, shrieking Muggle woman, and that’s saying something. But no wizard works on Wednesday, except the Unspeakables, who never stop, and those already out on Order business.
It’s comforting in a way, Sirius supposes, to imagine wizards all over England with their wands at the ready, practising jinxes and hexes. Remus has a theory that it’s the collective power that’s so important. ‘If we’re all doing it together, we’re much stronger than one individual performing one spell,’ he explains, so carried away that he absent-mindedly spoons jam instead of sugar into his tea. ‘It must be like hitting a wall, to a Death Eater.’
Sirius doesn’t want to remind him that Voldemort won’t strike when the power is high, but sneak in when his opponents are at their most vulnerable.
He stands behind Remus and puts his arms round him, pulling him to his feet. ‘Bugger the spells, Moony. Let’s make our own magic.’
They kiss for a minute, and he thinks Remus will give in, but he ducks away. ‘No. We need to practise.’
They go through the hexes in alphabetical order, because it varies the drill a bit. Practising a Hurling Hex alongside an Impediment Curse makes for some interesting moments if the recepient isn’t deflecting in time. Today, an ashtray gets stuck in mid-air between the two wands, and it takes some time to get it down. It’s a full ashtray, as well, which starts Remus coughing.
To spice up Wednesdays, they have a ritual. Sirius leaves the flat early, and sits with James and Peter at the meetings; Remus then walks in just before Dumbledore arrives and finds a seat as far from the Marauders as possible. He and Sirius don’t as much as glance across at each other.
When the meeting is over, they always linger for refreshments. Order members are expected to mingle, so after helping themselves to coffee from opposite ends of the table, Remus and Sirius gradually move closer and closer. When they can’t pretend to ignore each other any longer, they greet each other loudly, as if they hadn’t met at all during the intervening week, or possibly longer.
Remus might say, ‘Hey, Black, how’s it going?’
Sirius usually shrugs, and replies, ‘Okay. Missed seeing you around, Lupin.’ He tries to keep his body language as detached as possible: in the photo of the Order taken round this time, he and Remus are so far apart, so cool and distant, that you would think them deadly enemies. Later, this will be ironic: now, they find it both amusing and arousing.
They’ll return their empty coffee cups, fall into step with each other, and Sirius will suggest a drink at the Leaky Cauldron. Remus will glance at his watch and say something like, ‘Okay, but I mustn’t be home too late.’
Today, Remus, who’s good at hiding his feelings, manages to act so aloof that Sirius follows him halfway down the Strand before Remus deigns even to look at him. He eventually seizes Remus’s wrist and drags him into the narrow street leading to Maiden Lane, where he kisses him for a full twenty minutes, until they both revive enough to realise they’re being stared at by about half a dozen passers-by coming out of Rules. ‘It shouldn’t be allowed,’ one scandalised woman is protesting, and Sirius makes a mental note that Muggles always invoke the general when they’re offended by a particular action.
They wander through Covent Garden and find a club where the music’s so loud there’s no need to talk, and the other patrons don’t bat an eyelid at two boys dancing together. Remus has a talent for embellishing a game; as they leave the club, he asks Sirius ‘What’s your name?’ with apparently genuine curiosity, and listens avidly while Sirius tells him what he does. By the end of the evening, Sirius could almost believe they’ve only just met. They take a room at the Charing Cross hotel, and spend a few happy hours making the bedsprings creak horribly.
Far To Go
After a stimulating night, they’re both pretty exhausted as they stumble out into the weak sunlight. It’s frosty today, the first really chilly day of autumn, and Sirius drags Remus into an alley again, this time to perform a brief Warming Charm.
Because of the Wednesday ritual, on Thursdays they wake up in some strange places. Rooms at the Leaky Cauldron, of course, and sometimes at home on the sofa, and once in the bathtub. Occasionally, they’ve crawled out of a broom-closet at Order headquarters, the cramped rooms above Ollivander’s.
Though Sirius has no set coursework, all Muggle Relations trainees are encouraged to spend as much time studying Muggles as possible. London is full of them, of course, so on the Thursdays when he and Remus wake in a strange place they take the longest, most convoluted route home, usually via a gallery or museum. Some of Sirius’s greatest insights into his job have been gleaned on these excursions.
Today, they’re near Covent Garden underground and reasonably central, but Remus refuses to go in the ancient, clunking lift at the tube station.
‘What if it falls down? We’d be killed.’
‘Moony, don’t be stupid. You have a wand, don’t you?’
In the end, they take a bus to the Natural History Museum, and sit on top, at the front, pointing out to each other sights they’ve passed a million times before. In London, though, there’s always something new and enchanting to see, a familiar building transformed by a sprinkling of frost, a flight of starlings rising unexpectedly from a plane tree. They’re so absorbed that they miss their stop and have to walk back half a mile.
They buy student tickets, as usual. In the museum, Remus announces that he’s too tired to see if there’s anything new about dodos but will happily trail round the exhibit of precious stones on the ground floor. Sirius, who wants to see a particularly interesting citrine, is happy with the arrangement; he checks that the room is empty and holds Remus’s hand as they peer into the glass display cases.
Someone clears her throat behind them; it’s a familiar sound, and the boys drop each others’ hands and spring apart, turning to meet the unreadable eyes of Professor McGonagall. Sirius is very aware suddenly that he and Remus are wearing the same clothes they wore to the Order meeting last night.
She looks faintly embarrassed. ‘I decided to stay in London last night,’ she explains. ‘Professor Dumbledore wanted me to check out a rumour that the Death Eaters were going to attack in Kensington. So I thought I’d drop in here before going back to Hogwarts.’
She doesn’t really need to explain, Sirius knows. They’ve obviously flustered her, and Sirius can feel Remus fidgeting nervously beside him. It amuses him that the Black breeding at least can stretch to any social occasion; such a pity they use all their talent to suck up to Voldemort and his crew.
‘We were just discussing our next missions,’ he says, which isn’t true, because they haven’t been given missions yet; at the moment, Dumbledore isn’t allowing anyone under twenty to perform dangerous tasks. That will soon end, of course. Voldemort is sending underage wizards on some very dodgy errands, as Sirius has found out in a roundabout way when he makes enquiries about his brother.
Remus stifles a yawn, and McGonagall use his obvious exhaustion as a pretext to say goodbyes. She vanishes from the room so quickly that Sirius can only assume she’s Apparated.
Sirius is a bit surprised at her discomfort: he’s always assumed she knows all about them. Just before they left school, McGonagall called Remus in for one of her ‘little chats’, and told him that werewolves often didn’t have girlfriends, and he wasn’t to worry about it. Both boys thought she was referring obliquely to their relationship; obviously, they were wrong.
When they get home on Thursday afternoons they usually work, because they’re too tired to do anything else. Remus pores over his current translation and Sirius studies his Muggle Relations textbook. Today, they find it hard to concentrate. Every time Sirius starts the chapter on Finance And Banking, the man next door starts hammering a nail into the wall. He’ll soon have as many pictures as the Tate Gallery.
Remus takes advantage of the distracting noise to try and discuss McGonagall. ‘I was sure she saw us that time in Sixth Year,’ he says. ‘You know, when we were coming back from the Forbidden Forest.’
‘Mmm. She probably thought we’d just been for a walk.’ Sirius stares fixedly at his page. ‘You know, Moony, I can never understand why Muggles have chequebooks. What’s wrong with just fetching their gold from the vault?’
Loving And Giving
On Friday, all four Marauders have a day off, and get together, usually at James and Lily’s. For some reason, living with a girl is different from living with another boy: it’s tidier, and there are flowers on the table and a pot of tea waiting in the kitchen.
On balance, Sirius doesn’t particularly want or need any feminine touches in his life, but he’s glad that James has them.
At the beginning, he was a bit embarrassed about the thing with Remus; well, he was only a kid then, and he’s nineteen now, and well able to handle the fact that his love-life isn’t as conventional as James’s. Of course, if they had their way, James wouldn’t know at all, but Lily had to go and tell him. She actually asked Remus about it point-blank, and for some reason Remus, who can lie his way out of any situation on earth, thought it would be a wonderful idea to tell Lily all about it.
‘I’m sorry, Pads,’ he repeated afterwards, as Sirius paced round the dorm, trying not to lose his temper. ‘I thought she knew anyway. I mean, she seemed to.’
‘Sly,’ Sirius said darkly. ‘You’re an idiot, Moony. That’s how women worm secrets out of you.’
He hopes he isn’t as boring about Remus as James is about Lily. James hovers around Lily, trying to anticipate her every need in advance: he keeps bringing her cups of tea which then turn cold. There are four cups lined up in front of her, and Sirius suspects she doesn’t quite have the heart to move them.
Of course, he’s brought Remus a cup of tea, but that’s only reasonable. Remus gets very, very nervous in kitchens, the result of a childhood trauma involving a batch of gingerbread men that came to life and pelted him with raisins. He tries to spare Remus kitchens as much as he can.
Peter turns up late, as usual. Sirius sometimes wonders, a bit resentfully, if Dumbledore has started sending him on missions in spite of him being under twenty, because Wormtail is tight-lipped about his occasional absences from the group.
When Peter finally does arrive he is, once again, deliberately mysterious about why he’s so late. He does, though, mention his new flat. ‘It’s amazing! Five really big rooms, and a view over the park.’
Sirius thinks of the tiny flat he shares with Remus, overlooking the constant stream of traffic in Edgeware Road, and tries not to feel aggrieved. Peter’s only a junior quill-pusher at the Ministry. Merlin knows where he gets the money from.
The big event on Friday is lunch. Lily is under the impression that James’s three best friends live on bread and water when they have to fend for themselves, and she always produces a wonderful meal.
Today, they sit in their usual places in the dining-room, and Lily proudly bears in several steaming dishes containing what seem to be varieties of boiled Flobberworm. James’s face falls and he prods one of the small, whitish objects with a knife. ‘What’s this, Lily?’
‘Haricot beans,’ Lily says proudly. ‘I told you last night, I’ve decided we should become vegetarians. So much healthier. You’ll thank me in eighty years’ time when all your friends are dropping dead of heart attacks. Sirius, help yourself to chickpeas.’
There’s a full moon in a few days, and Sirius knows that Remus was very much looking forward to the roast chicken Lily always makes the Friday before the transformation. He nudges his leg under the table, but Remus, chewing gloomily on a morsel of something Lily calls ‘tofu’, ignores him.
Usually, in the afternoon they watch Quidditch on the Magic Channel. Sirius and James take opposite sides and bet against each other, there’s a lot of good-natured jeering when the other side blunders, and many Galleons change hands at the end of the match. Then, it’s teatime, and Lily makes sandwiches with the leftover meat and James brings out the Firewhisky.
Today, though, nobody’s in the mood to hang round. After lunch, James offers to help with the washing-up, and Sirius suspects he’s out in the kitchen trying to Transfigure a kidney bean into a plate of roast beef: a losing battle. He thanks Lily politely for her hospitality and drags Remus away before he can protest, if he was going to.
On the way home, they stop at the KFC at the end of their road and buy buckets of fried chicken, chips and beans, which they proceed to eat very messily with their fingers, getting halfway through the chicken before they’re even at the front door.
‘We’ll probably have heart attacks now,’ Remus says, not quite jokingly, and Sirius says, ‘I’d be more worried about a stray Avada Kedavra at the moment.’
As it is, they don’t need to worry about either. They can hardly move after the huge volume of food they’ve consumed, and fall asleep on the sofa while watching the Quidditch they missed seeing at James’s house.
Works Hard For A Living
Saturday morning is easily the worst of the week, because Sirius resents having to work while the rest of Britain has a day off. Remus has pointed out to him that he has days off while other people are working, but that doesn’t make getting up on Saturday any easier. The alarm interrupts a pleasant dream about flying on Ruby, and he rolls over groaning loudly, which wakes Remus. Remus thumps him. ‘Shuddup. Trying to sleep here.’
Sirius mutters ‘Bugger, bugger, bugger,’ and then says spitefully, ‘You’ve got a deadline coming up, haven’t you? So you can’t have a lie-in either.’
It’s already time to leave, too late to make sure Remus actually suffers as much as he is from waking at such at an unearthly hour at the weekend. Sirius smoothes down his robes and gives his wand a quick polish – Muggle Relations trainees are supposed to look as well-groomed as possible. They even have to wear dress robes to evening sessions. Of course, when they deal with Muggles in the real world, they’ll need to wear shabby Muggle clothes so they’ll fit in.
Because he’s generally pissed off, Sirius decides to ride Ruby to work. He can’t get told off for Apparating, at least, and he certainly won’t be flying her until the bugs in the spell are sorted out.
He arrives early as a result, then wishes he hadn’t. The client he saw on Monday, the lovesick wizard whose ex-girlfriend is afraid of owls, has had some sort of brainstorm: it seems that he went over to her house, forced open the door and jinxed her mother. He’s now facing both a Muggle civil suit and a month in Azkaban, unless Sirius can perform a very sophisticated series of memory charms.
Sirius finds him sitting in the waiting-room moaning softly, his head in his hand, and asks, exasperated, ‘Why on earth did you have to do that?’
The lovesick wizard doesn’t answer, just moans more loudly. He’s one of Sirius’s cousins many times removed; a blood traitor, of course, in Ravenclaw at school.
The supervisor, who’s in a very good mood for some reason, beckons Sirius to follow her. ‘Excellent practice, Black!’ she beams. ‘Come along, she’s in here.’
The mother has been collected on the Knight Bus and bundled into one of the interview rooms. Her mouth looks as if it’s been clumsily stitched together. ‘He tried a Silencing Jinx, stupid boy, and it went completely wrong. You need a special NEWT in sewing charms to do that.’
She’s either been hit with some sort of Hair-Removing Hex or scalped with a blunt knife, probably the former. When Sirius finally isolates the spell and grows her hair back, he finds that it’s been badly dyed, and has the colour and texture of straw. Sirius supposes she dyed it herself; even the lovesick wizard would have made a better job of it.
Once he’s performed all the relevant counter-charms, he puts his wand to her head and Obliviates her, holding his breath: Memory Charms are often dismissed as fairly simple, but it’s all too easy to remove a vast chunk of necessary memory, as well as the sliver that’s required. In Muggle terms, it’s not unlike electroshock, which is still widely used for depressed mental patients. In fact, the trainees have been given a special lesson pointing out the parallels between the two.
The woman opens her mouth – thank Merlin! – and yawns. ‘Where am I?’ she asks, with a worrying lack of concern.
‘Fast asleep,’ Sirius reassures her. ‘You’re going to dream some very violent motion soon, and then you’ll wake up in your own bed.’ He rings the bell for the Supervisor to do side-along Apparition, the usual method of rehousing lost Muggles round here.
The rest of the day is spent on parchment-work: copies of statements to the Wizengamot, to a solicitor in Putney, to the lovesick wizard and his ex-girlfriend.
By the time Sirius sets of for home, he’s hammered out a deal that suits all the authorities. The young wizard has been given a formal warning by the Ministry of Magic but won’t be sent to Azkaban this time, and Annie’s family have been granted an injunction against him, so he can’t bother them again. Sirius hums as he and Ruby filter through the heavy weekend traffic, looking forward to a quiet evening and a few drinks.
Bonny And Blithe And Good And Gay
Sunday is their day, the day when they can remind each other why they’re here, together, in the same town, the same flat, the same bed.
When they wake up late and curl round each other, with the whole lazy morning ahead, it’s easy to forget there’s a war on, that it’s escalating. But no wizard can blank it out for long, and when Remus asks Sirius what he wants for his birthday at the end of the month, they’re both reminded that Sirius will be twenty soon, old enough to go on missions. He’ll have to leave here for days, perhaps weeks on end.
‘Would you miss me if I died, Moony?’ he asks, enfolding the body that’s so familiar it seems like an extension of his, yet still has the power to take his breath away.
Remus squirms. ‘You won’t die. None of us will,’ he asserts.
Sirius tends to agree: nineteen and twenty year-olds are immortal, even if the casualty lists show otherwise. ‘But if I did?’
Remus pushes him off and sits up, brushing the hair off his forehead, in a gesture that’s so familiar it’s become strange and wonderful again. Sirius watches him, wishing he could paint or sculpt, keep the perfection of the moment forever.
It’s not perfect, not really; they’re talking about death, after all, or rather, Sirius is, because Remus says firmly, ‘Listen. Dumbledore’s going to make sure that nothing really bad happens.’
Sirius isn’t convinced. He pulls Remus down again, and kisses the hollow at the base of his neck. ‘Bad stuff’s already happening.’ He wishes he hadn’t said that: outside the window, the bright autumn morning is briefly eclipsed by a cloud across the sun.
Remus kisses him back. ‘It’s going to be fine, Padfoot. Really. Specially when you and me and Prongs and Wormtail get in on the action. That’ll show Voldemort.’
Sirius says, rather sourly, ‘I bet Wormtail’s already in on the action.’
‘Oh, for goodness’ sake, Pads! That’s just Peter. He’s always trying to make out he knows something we don’t. D’you honestly think Dumbledore would send him rather than us? Just wait till we get a chance against those Death Eaters! They won’t last five minutes.’
Sirius ignores the slight tremor in Remus’s voice. He imagines the four of them finally out in the field, battling evil, saving the Wizarding world. He can already see very vividly the parade through the centre of Diagon Alley, the crowds cheering and throwing flowers, the entire population of witches and wizards celebrating the end of the war as the Marauders ride by in their carriage. It would have to be a golden carriage, of course, drawn by Thestrals. Sirius has never seen a Thestral, not yet, but he knows all about them from Care of Magical Creatures.
In his daydream, he takes Remus’s hand, discreetly, and smiles at him. ‘D’you think this is going to go on for hours? I’m dying to get you on your own.’
Remus replies, ‘We’ve got the reception to get through first. Perhaps we can slip out early.’
He’s brought down to earth by Remus shaking him gently and asking, ‘What’re you thinking, Pads? You were miles away.’
‘Thinking about you, Moony.’ He takes Remus in his arms again and looks down at the beloved face, learning it by heart; as if he needed to.
‘What would you do if I died, Padfoot?’ Remus asks. ‘I’m much more likely to. What if Dumbledore sends me somewhere dangerous during the full moon?’
‘I’d kill him,’ Sirius says instantly. He has a vision of Remus lying dead in his wolf form on some snowy European plain, his fur darkened and matted with blood. He wonders if the wolf would transform back to Remus at moonset, even if it were dead. Better seeing the wolf dead, anyway, than Remus himself.
‘Yes, but what would you do?’
Sirius kisses him, long and deeply. ‘I’d do that, till you woke up.’
‘Really, Pads? I didn’t know you were a necrophiliac.’ Remus is laughing now, and Sirius is happy to steer the conversation back to what they were doing. If Remus died, he would go and find whoever was responsible and kill them. Then, he’d come back and shut himself in the flat without food or water until he wasted away. Though of course he doesn’t know if he’d really do that: once he’d avenged the death, his body might take over and force him to eat and drink, to keep himself alive.
Moments later, the conversation is forgotten, swept away in heat and passion and desire. It’s only talk, after all: the war is advancing slowly, and will probably be over by Christmas, according to the Prophet.
Later, Sirius sings in the bath, and plans what he’ll wear when they go to the cinema that evening. Muggle films started off as part of his training, and he and Remus have both got quite addicted to them.
It’s been a good week, on the whole, he thinks. He can’t help looking forward, though, to the time when he’ll take an active part in the Order. The week will have a different shape, then, of course, and he wonders for a moment what it will be like. Then, Remus drops something in the sitting-room, says ‘Shit!’ loudly, and Sirius loses his train of thought.
They Apparate to the cinema, and as they wait to buy their tickets Sirius catches a glimpse of their reflection in the glass of the double doors: his black hair, Remus’s very light brown, the way they seem to shine; the way they look so perfect together. But soon the queue shuffles forward, and he loses sight of them.
AN: This is the full version of the nursery rhyme quoted in the story:
Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.
Current Mood: determined