Notes: This is my first fanfic published on this website, as it is the first I regard as good enough for other people to read, and because I've finally gotten around to getting an account. Please, if you leave a review, don't hesitate to review as honestly as you like. However, if you don't care for slash, that being boy/boy stuff, specifically, in this case, Remus and Sirius, please use the friendly back button. One further warning, that this is PG-13, and that it does entail kissing and all that good stuff, as well as passing mentions of other good stuff. If you're just fine with all that, my final note is that this will make more sense regarding Sirius's family situation and some of this fic's irony if you have read Order of the Phoenix, though if you haven't I don't expect you'll be terribly spoiled. Having said all that, enjoy the fic.
Disclaimer: nothing herein, except plot elements, belong to me. They all belong to JK Rowling, and as far as I know, she'll be keeping them for a good while.
My favorite time of the year at Hogwarts is Christmastime. Mind you, I love any excuse to stay away from home – Black family Christmases are just about the worst things that can happen to a person. Kreacher always makes this hideous eggnog that I know is drugged, because whenever Regulus has any he starts laughing like mad and trying to hex the portraits. Of course, Mum and Dad are all proud of him for that, too. Stupid, sodding Christmases at cheery old Number 12, Grimmauld Place.
Anyway, that's why I so like Christmases at Hogwarts, because I get to be away from my family and all the horrid Black relatives and even Regulus, who always goes home to visit, of course. So I stay at Hogwarts and have the time of my life.
I can't really pinpoint an absolute favorite part of Hogwarts Christmas. I suppose it's a bit of everything.
The presents are brilliant, of course. James always gets me dead useful stuff – potions ingredients and books of jinxes and lists upon lists of really excellent ideas for new stuff we can try out and make and cause havoc with. Peter always gets me really enjoyable stuff – I swear the boy is the most observant thing in the world, he knows exactly what sort of sweets I like best or what Quidditch team I want books on. And Remus's presents are always really surprising, that's what's so delightful about them, I never have the faintest idea what he's going to get me – lots of absolutely strange rare coins, a Muggle hood ornament of a goopy-looking black dog that bobbles its head around, books of wild facts about stars and divination and space-time … Always stuff that keeps me on my toes. Stuff that says, here's a part of me, and I want to know what you think of it.
My presents are always pretty shoddy by comparison – the same sort of prank stuff James gets me, I give to James; Peter always gets some sort of candy and a new Gobstones set, because he loses his every single sodding year; knick-knacky stuff for Remus, that he puts on his dresser and grins at once and a while, and I always buy him a tin of chocolate frogs, because I think Remus would do just about anything to get his hands on some quality chocolate. Anyway, even if I think my presents aren't quite as good as the ones my friends give me, they seem to appreciate them, and that is, after all, what counts.
The entire two days – Christmas Eve, Christmas Day – they're the height of brilliance, really. Christmas Eve one of us goes down to the kitchens, filches massive amounts of butterbeer, brings it back upstairs under James's invisibility cloak, and we all sit around the fire, drinking our butterbeer and playing chess or Gobstones or Exploding Snap, talking about what we think we'll get for Christmas and whether there'll be enough snow to have a proper snowball fight. Christmas Eve is probably almost better than Christmas Day, because of all this wonderful anticipation about the fun you're going to have, and the warm contentment of having right now – James smashed up on one side of me against the couch, making a card tower with the Snap cards; Peter sprawled out in front of the fire, drinking his butterbeer and humming Christmas carols; Remus sort of curled up against my other side, reading some book or other, half-humming along with Peter, but right up against me so that he sort of vibrates when he hums and it feels like my bones are purring; and then me, sprawled out all over the couch with my legs way out rather getting in Peter's way, staring into the fire and just enjoying everything, so very glad I'm here at Hogwarts than back at Number 12, drinking Kreacher's disgusting eggnog.
Of course, Christmas Day is fun as anything too. Presents first thing in the morning, with all of us rushing around in our pajamas and tripping over each other on the stairs and laughing and hugging and thanking each other for the smashing gifts we've gotten from each other. We finally pull ourselves together and get on some trousers and jumpers and make it down to the Great Hall for the Christmas feast; it's usually doubly good because most people are loony enough to want to go home for Christmas, and so it's pretty empty and sometimes there's only one table and we all sit around with the teachers and pull crackers and have a great time. Afterwards we never even bother to bundle up, but just go straight outside and start throwing snowballs at each other and any other kids passing, and sometimes we go to the broom shed and get out James's Comet and we all take turns riding it with him until it gets too dark, and then we go back in and defrost ourselves and start eating our Christmas sweets and fall asleep by the fire.
Another thing I like about Christmas is that our dear Snivellus Snape isn't around to sour the mood. Of course, it also makes it harder for James and I to test out our latest pranking presents, but there's always plenty of time for that later. And it's nice to let Christmastime be a time for just us four, just us Marauders, best friends.
Our sixth year, though, James had other ideas. Lily Evans was, for once, staying for Christmas. James, poor sod, has had it bad for her since midway through fourth year, though I can't really say what he sees in her. She's a prefect, and hates the way we, as she likes to put it, 'lord about the place', and she sees right through the way James always messes up his hair when he's trying to impress a girl. But James, the poor persistent deluded soul, thinks that this makes her more attractive or something, so on sixth year Christmas day, he armed himself with bunches of mistletoe and marched off on the Holy Evans Crusade.
Peter had really outdone himself at the feast, and hadn't done a bit of homework, so he was both sleepy and panicked. He rushed off too, and left Remus and me alone in the entrance hall.
"It does seem a bit of a waste to have a two-man snowball fight," I observed, staring critically after Peter's retreating back.
"Yes," Remus agreed, leaning back against the wall. "Besides, Peter won't be so put out tomorrow, and I expect James will be well and discouraged, so we can always have a Boxing Day snowball fight."
"Break tradition," I said coolly. "Well, I'm rather good at that, won't be too hard." I hate it when I do that, especially on Christmas. Get this sort of cynical, bitter voice, when I accidentally start talking about my family. One of these days I'm honestly going to run away, I swear. This year's been absolutely crazy, and my family might be just about the last straw. But these really aren't thoughts for Christmas.
Remus understands this sort of thing, because he just looked at me for a little, and said, "So I suppose that means we'll have to go upstairs and keep ourselves entertained with chess or something."
So up to Gryffindor Tower we went.
At this point, I think I should explain something about Remus. Me and Remus, really. James and I have always been closest, because we're so much alike, it's as though we share a brain. But me and Remus – that's something different. We're very different, really, because he's rational when I'm impulsive and is hopeless at the subjects I love, like Transfiguration and Potions, and I'm hopeless at the things he's good at, History of Magic and Defense. It's a classic I-wish-I-were-him thing, the sort that usually makes jealousy and enemies of people who should be able to get along very well, but either I'm very lucky or Remus's rationality helped a lot. Either or, it's something good I've got with Remus.
Earlier this year, I almost lost that thing. Snivellus was being a horrid prick, and kept on implying that he knew Remus's secret and was going to spill it any minute, so I lost it and told him how to get into the Whomping Willow, because since he knew he wouldn't be fool enough to go anyway. It turns out he didn't know, and though he completely deserved what he almost got for being so damn stupid, I'd never in a million years want what would have happened to Remus if he'd bitten Snape. Never mind that, though, Remus was furious with me. Yelled and yelled at me, and I'll never know what was worse, knowing I could never make it up or knowing that I wasn't sorry about Snape or knowing some of the things Remus thought of me, when he was angry enough. He's never apologized for saying those things, either, but we both know I thoroughly deserved it (except maybe the bit about me deserving it if Kreacher sold me out to the Malfoys).
The point is, Remus and I are still very, very good friends, but there's a bit of unspoken darkness between us, and something else I'd been looking into, sort of mentally poking and prodding, though I wasn't entirely sure what to do with it.
Anyway, we got to the common room, and flopped down on the couch in front of the fire. I'd brought the last of my butterbeer upstairs with me, and I knocked it back as Remus curled up with the book he'd been reading the previous evening.
"Ahh, don't read," I muttered, tossing the empty butterbeer tankard aside. "Besides, you've been reading the bloody thing all holiday. Don't you get bored after staring at a great load of pages?"
"No," Remus said absently, and maddeningly turned a page.
"Moony," I whined.
Remus looked up from his book, hazel eyes sparkling. "Stop sounding like a downtrodden puppy, Padfoot you idiot."
Remus allowed himself a grin. I love it when he grins; I mean, he does smile a lot, he looks happy, but he doesn't usually grin, doesn't show his teeth, because I guess the wolf part of him doesn't think it's a happy thing to grin. I've never quite decided if Remus's grin makes him look more dangerous, more wolfish, or if when he grins, that's when he's truly human. Either way, he looks gorgeous grinning. Hold that thought, and let me prod it a little. Seem to be thinking of Moony as gorgeous a lot. Hmm.
"What're you thinking about?" Remus asked now, with real curiosity.
"That I like your grin."
Remus raised an eyebrow. "Fascinating." He set his book aside. "And why, oh great one, would you be wasting mental capacity on something so silly?"
"Because I use all my mental capacity on silly things," I told this gorgeous boy who was still grinning at me, "and thinking about your grin isn't a waste of it."
"Hmm." Remus stretched lazily. "You're a strange one."
"Yeah," I agreed absently. I was still having a very good time watching Remus's mouth. I'd been catching myself doing that a lot lately, but since this was usually in class, I didn't really have the time to sit around and pay attention to what I was seeing. Marvelous, Christmas holiday.
"What?" Remus chuckled. "What are you looking at?"
"Your mouth," I said. "You're not grinning any more." Wonder what his lips feel like – must be a bit chapped, we were out in the snow for a bit yesterday, and he chews his lip when he reads sometimes. Mmm, I'd rather like to do that.
"Sirius?" Remus waved a hand in front of my face. I've mentioned Remus has nice hands, too? Very nice hands – unconsciously graceful, like he's an artist without knowing it. Hands that can probably do absolutely marvelous things.
"Huh?" I said, blinking up at Remus. I don't usually have to look up at Remus – he's a bit shorter than me, I'd have to hunker down a bit to get to his height, but when we're sitting he's taller, because I slouch. Looking up at Remus is nice, because he also has nice eyes. Hazel, like James's, but James's have this sort of mischievous sparkle, whereas Remus's are something else again, slightly wild, slightly dangerous, very contained.
"You're not paying one bit of attention," Remus told me, rather exasperatedly.
"Oh, but I am," I told him, grinning. "Not to what you're saying really, no, but I'm paying attention to you."
Remus was staring at me as though hypnotized. I realized that my arm had moved without me really telling it to, that it'd come up to Remus's face and my hand was very softly running over Remus's cheekbone, down to the little dip between his lower lip and his chin, and up, so very slightly, to rub my thumb against Remus's lips, slightly rough, chapped like I'd expected. And Remus was completely frozen, his beautiful dangerous eyes locked with mine.
And this wasn't very odd at all. I'm not particularly surprised at my own daring; I don't think ahead, because if I did how would I ever do anything interesting? And I know Remus will stop me or pull away if he decides that he doesn't want this, or that it's stupid, or that we're crazy, because besides whatever this is we're first and foremost very good friends, and if he wants we can leave this behind as another one of those numerous dumb harmless things we never quite did.
But Remus wasn't stopping me, he just stared at me, and his eyes, always wild and dangerous but very self-assured, contained, keeping Remus the human firmly in place in his head – I could see it slipping, I could see the boundaries he's set up for himself give way because they're somehow useless here, of absolutely no consequence, in this half-lit place on the overstuffed couch by the fire on Christmas.
"Remus – ?" I found myself whispering then, my voice rough, and shaking just the slightest bit. Do you want this? Will you stop me? Please …
Remus swallowed. "I –" he whispered back, eyes wide with that thrilling danger. "Yes …"
It thudded in my blood, pounded all through me, that we were somehow crazy enough to do this, and he didn't mind, he was welcoming it –
My hand slid around behind his head and tangled in his hair. Both of us were breathing too fast now, and my brain had short-circuited, because I suddenly couldn't remember if I'd ever kissed anyone before, or how it had been, but somehow this didn't seem to matter anyway …
Right, I said to myself, Sirius Black, this is your absolute last chance to stay exactly the way you are and be perfectly happy –
But that was a silly argument anyway. I hesitated a fraction of a second longer, just to see if I'd suddenly panic and stammer my way out, or if Remus would, or if I'd suddenly find myself in my room, waking up from a very, very nice dream, or see if there were any lingering doubts …
And my mother's voice suddenly filled my mind, shrieking – dirty half-breeds! Disgusting, vile non-human scum! Associating with that, never able to carry on the family name, I'm prepared to disown you right now for associating with that sort of filth!
That settled it.
I sort of leaned over and bumped my lips against Remus's slightly chapped ones, and he made this sort of little noise, a tiny moan, ohgodplease, and then we were kissing, and I vaguely remembered that yes, I had kissed before, but that didn't count at all because it had never been pressed up against someone with our hands tangled in each other's hair, making those little noises into each other's mouths, knowing that air wasn't nearly as important as this, the heat of each other's bodies and the pounding of our blood, and then Remus sort of shifted against me and I rather lost the capacity to think anything coherent.
Eventually I remembered that air probably was just about as important as kissing Remus, because if I didn't have air I would die and not be able to kiss Remus any more. I pulled myself away from Remus's mouth momentarily, vaguely noticing that we'd ended up sprawled along the couch with all our limbs tangled up together.
"Sirius?" Remus murmured breathlessly.
I looked down at him, blinking up at me from the overstuffed red upholstery, his eyes dilated, dark, still so wonderfully dangerous, wild. "Yeah?" I mumbled back.
"You git," Remus said. "What on earth did you stop for?"
"Air," I replied solemnly. "Useful thing, keeps you alive and all."
"Not very interesting though, is it, air?" Remus said conversationally, though we were both still breathing rapidly. "Breathe it all your life, not much else you can do with it."
"Mmm," I agreed. "Moony, I think you called me a git."
"Why yes, Mr. Padfoot," Remus said lazily. "Because you are being very unfair and paying more attention to the air you've known your whole life than to me, when I think I may be the more interesting of the two." He shifted again, making it suddenly very hard to think.
"You're not playing fair," I told him, doing my best to think in spite of this minor drawback. "I think you'll have to be punished. Maybe this is enough for one night?" I started to disentangle myself from him.
Strong hands gripped my arms, pulled me back down. "No," Remus whispered, eyes still dark, "please. This … I …" He swallowed. "Please, Sirius. More. Please more."
I stared at him. His eyes were still wide, but he seemed somehow frightened – that I'd given this, had my fun, one searing kiss, and that would be it. That he couldn't trust that. That he couldn't trust me, after what I'd almost done, to Snape, to him.
"I'm sorry," I murmured, and this was the first time it was a true apology, not something to get Remus off my back and having fun again, but because I knew that it was the most important thing in the world, more than oxygen or that amazing kiss, it was so very important for this one person, for Remus, to be happy. And so I said it again, fervently, "I'm sorry," and leaned down and kissed him. A different sort of kiss this time, a sort of question, can I do this, do you like this, what else would you like? Gentler, demanding nothing.
Remus was the one who pulled away this time, his breath hitching, eyes still dark with wanting but now swimming with tears. I disentangled one hand from his hair without any trouble, and ran the pad of my thumb across his cheek below his eyes, catching the tears as they overflowed. "Remus?"
"I –" Remus gulped. "God, Sirius – sod it –" He blinked rapidly, obviously furious with himself for such a sign of weakness.
"It doesn't matter," I whispered. "Forget it, I'm not telling anyone you're crying." I kissed each of his eyelids in turn.
"Sirius?" Remus said quietly. "Why?"
"Why what?" I asked, puzzled.
"Why this?" he said, frowning a bit. "Face it, Sirius, we're lying on the sodding couch in an empty common room and snogging. Never mind we're both boys – Mum and Dad'll be surprised if I end up with anyone, they aren't picky, and your family won't be satisfied no matter what you do – just … Why me? Of all the people to do off snogging, why pick your odd little prefect bookworm werewolf friend?"
"Why not?" I said simply. "Look, Remus, I like you. I've always liked you, an awful lot, because you're funny and clever and interesting, that's just how you are. And I like that. Never mind you're also dead sexy."
"Did you say that aloud?" Remus said, grinning. "Did Sirius Black just say that I was sexy?"
"I would believe so," I said, doing my very best to retain all rational thought in the face of that grin and the fact that I was being so giddyingly honest.
"Well," Remus said in a low voice after a moment, "I think you might gather by now that the feeling's mutual." He chuckled a little. "Not just about the dead sexy part, though. I mean you're clever and funny and interesting too, not to mention brilliant and extremely understanding."
"Hang on now," I protested. "Either you're waxing frightfully sentimental or you're just trying to top me for a list of good traits."
"Ah." I was still glowing pleasantly, warm and full and sleepy and wonderfully aware of Remus's body pressed up against mine, and before really thinking about it, I murmured, "I love you."
Remus's eyes flew wide. "What?" he gasped.
"I love you," I repeated, and it was easy to say the second time, now I'd said it the first. I was alarmed by the stricken look on Remus's face. "Remus?"
"But …" Remus seemed to be trying hard to deal with this concept. "W-why?"
"For the same reasons I just said I really, really like you. Only more so."
Remus blinked rapidly again, and I could tell he was trying hard not to cry. "Tell me I'm not actually dreaming, and I'm not going to wake up in a few minutes frustrated as hell and wandering blearily around, stubbing my toes on the bed frame and doing my very best to not think about shagging you as you go off to take a morning shower?"
I flushed and found myself grinning. "And if this is not a dream, Mr. Moony, then I've just gotten a very interesting bit of information out of you."
Remus smiled, his face also very flushed. "Well, nothing to lose, right?"
"Yeah, except virginity."
I grinned down at him. "Mr. Padfoot requests that Mr. Moony note we have had a total of one satisfactory kiss, no dates whatsoever, not even to a Quidditch match or Hogsmeade, and therefore talk of shagging is very much ahead of ourselves."
"Mr. Moony concedes to Mr. Padfoot's point," Remus said softly, eyes sparkling. "Mr. Moony would like to add that all feelings discussed herein are totally mutual, and that Mr. Moony also loves Mr. Padfoot. Mr. Moony will now suggest that Mr. Padfoot should stop looking all goopy and kiss him already."
So I descended on Remus's mouth again.
I don't think I'll ever quite figure out what my favorite part of that evening was. All the kissing and groping and little heated noises and stupid witty banter was probably one of the best things. But James wandering in about 10:30, gaping at us for about thirty seconds before we bothered to notice he was there, and then him mumbling that it looked as though we'd had a far more successful time than he'd had with Lily, so he'd just be nipping off to bed now – that was priceless. Maybe my favorite part might have been when it got to be a bit later, and before we called it a night we agreed that we'd done quite well for an evening and that shagging shouldn't be too far off in our schedule. Maybe it was that last frantic promising kiss on the landing just outside our dorm, where we did our best to meld together and afterwards whispered fervent I-love-yous.
But I really do suppose that the best thing about the whole night was that it was Christmas, and I had broken tradition, and showed up my horrible mother who would probably never know, and that was the very best Christmas present I think I've ever gotten.