Disclaimer: I own nothing, JK Rowling own it all. I'm making no money off of any of this, I swear- as if you couldn't tell. Don't sue, please.

Cywir Carennydd

1. Cychwyniad

Sirius Black stood on Platform 9 ¾, gazing at the Hogwarts Express with an expression he hoped looked less idiotic to passersby than it felt on his face. It was not exactly that the train itself was overly fascinating, but the sheer number of people crowding around was overwhelming to him. Sirius' house was usually as quiet as a tomb, in spite of all his best efforts to correct the situation, and being surrounded by hundreds of people was making him a bit uncomfortable. He shook his head a little, and grabbing his luggage, started for the train. It only took a few moments to get his possessions stowed away, and then he was walking the length of the train looking for a place to sit. Sirius glanced out of one of the windows as he passed; outside, dozens of parents hugged their children goodbye, waved as they climbed aboard the train, called out loudly to their children through the windows. Sirius gave a small sigh. His parents had sent him in the company of a house elf who had escorted him to the barrier separating Platform 9 ¾ from the rest of Kings Cross Station, and then disappeared without a word. Sirius had not bothered to bid his family goodbye before leaving. There was no point, and life was far more pleasant when he did not speak to them at all. Now, finally, for the first time in his life, Sirius felt free of the entire Black family. He was free to be whatever he wanted, whoever he wanted, and that thought was enough to bring a grin to his face. Whistling softly, he continued through the train on his search for a free compartment.

He had walked the about half the length of the train before he ran into James Potter- literally ran into him, because James, not looking where he was going, walked right into Sirius.

"Ouch!" Sirius rubbed his shoulder where James had bashed it. "Watch where you're walking, Potter!"

James grinned unashamedly. "Sorry, Sirius. Didn't see you there. This is bloody brilliant, isn't it? Can you believe we're actually here?"

"You've only been counting the days for the last what? Eight years? And this comes as a shock to you that we're really here?" Sirius couldn't help needling James about his excitement, although he was just as thrilled. Hogwarts! Really and truly Hogwarts! That was enough to make anyone excited, he was sure. Together, Sirius and James continued down the train, stopping outside the last compartment. "I hope it's empty" Sirius said. "I really would rather not spend this whole trip with any of my cousins or anything." James grimaced and nodded in agreement.

James shared Sirius' dislike of, well, almost all of his very large family. James Potter and Sirius Black had been friends since they were very young, both being from old wizarding families, and while the Blacks did not approve of the Potters views on most subjects, there was no denying that the Potter line was old and respected. Hoping that the influence of other "purebloods" would have a beneficial influence on young Sirius, the Blacks encouraged the friendship between the boys. This was a huge mistake, one the Blacks sincerely regretted now that Sirius was older, but there was no going back. James and Sirius might as well have been brothers; they were certainly closer than Sirius and Regulus, his actual brother, were.

James opened the door to the last compartment, and both boys were pleased to see that the compartment was indeed free of any Black cousins, if not entirely empty. Two boys were already seated, and both looked up to see who had entered the compartment. Sirius didn't recognize either of them, but figured that was probably a good thing; he severely disliked most of the children his own age he knew because they had been chosen as "acceptable playmates" for him by his parents. Their taste in friends, Sirius thought wryly, was terrible.

"D'you mind if we sit here?" James had already shut the door behind them, and was now directing the question to the compartment in general. The two strangers looked at each other; both shrugged, and that seemed to settle the matter. James and Sirius threw themselves onto two empty seats just in time for the train to begin moving. Sirius watched out the window as Platform 9 ¾ slid away from view; this was really it! He grinned at James, who threw back an equally excited smile. Sirius then decided that, the compartment having been silent for at least thirty-two seconds, it was time to begin a conversation. He extended his hand to the boy sitting closest to him.

"Sirius Black. I'm a first year. I'm really excited to be going to Hogwarts - I just hope I don't get Sorted into Slytherin; that would be really rotten. I can't wait until we get to start learning real magic - our mischief-making capacities will increase then, I'm sure! D'you play Quidditch? James and I do. This is James, by the way, James Potter, and before you ask, we're not related - people always seem to think we are for some reason. We've known each other since we were really little, though, and we do most everything together, and we both really like pulling pranks - are you a prankster at all? We could maybe use another pair of hands to help with some of the tricks we have planned - we've been planning for this since we were eight, you see, although I reckon James here was born with Hogwarts on his mind."

The strange boy had, during this introduction, shaken the hands of both James and Sirius, and nodded politely at each of them in turn as their names were given. He looked a bit taken aback by Sirius' loquaciousness, and rather as though he wasn't sure what to say at all. He was perhaps an inch shorter than James, although it was hard to be certain as they were all seated, and slightly pudgy, with thin hair of a dirty blonde color, and rather small eyes. Pleasant enough looking, Sirius decided as he observed him. The boy gave a weak smile.

"Um - I'm Peter Pettigrew. I'm, er, not from a wizard family, so I don't really know much about, um, anything. Not about wizards and all of that, anyway." Peter seemed a bit nervous, but then who wouldn't be, in such an unfamiliar setting? And he was a Muggle-born. Sirius didn't care, never had cared about the pureblood nonsense that his family lived and breathed, but having a Muggle-born friend would be a fantastic way to upset his parents! Yes, Peter Pettigrew might be one to remember, always dependant on the results of the Sorting, of course. Sirius shifted his gaze to the other boy in the compartment.

"Remus Lupin." That was all he said, looking at the others quietly. He did not look unpleasant or hostile, just thoughtful. Remus looked far smaller than the others, almost delicate. He was very pale, and looked rather tired, his blue-gray eyes very large in his face. He had longish light brown hair that was pulled back neatly. Sirius looked at him closely, wondering at his reticence. Remus looked, thought Sirius, like someone unused to displaying emotion - he didn't smile at them; in fact, he showed little emotion of any kind. Or maybe he was just good at controlling his expression? Sirius didn't know.

"Well, Peter Pettigrew and Remus Lupin, how do you feel about a game of Exploding Snap?" James grinned at the others as he pulled a deck of card from a pocket. Peter looked confused.

"Exploding? The cards, d'you mean? They really explode?" Sirius laughed at the question, but didn't blame the boy for being a little nervous. Remus looked at the cards, and at the other boys, but said quietly,

"No, thanks." James nodded, and he and Sirius began to attempt to teach Peter the basics of the game. He didn't catch on especially quickly, and Sirius found his attention wandering. He looked at Lupin out of the corner of his eye, and was surprised to see a hint of wistfulness on the boy's face as he watched their game. He looked like someone who had been excluded, but they had invited him to join them. Perhaps he was just overly shy.

When the witch who pushed the food cart came through their compartment, all of the boys bought treats from her. James and Sirius liked the slightly dangerous Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans; Peter seemed determined to improve his knowledge of the wizarding world by trying every kind of sweet offered; Remus just looked hungry. Unlike Peter, Remus had no extra flesh on him at all; he looked downright unhealthy with his pallor and thinness. He seemed very fond of chocolate, Sirius noted, and he tossed one of his Chocolate Frogs at Remus with a small grin. Remus' head snapped up as he snatched the Frog from the air, looking shocked. The airborne candy had clearly taken him by surprise, and he looked closely at Sirius, obviously trying to determine if it was really meant for him. Sirius nodded, and was pleased to see a little smile of gratitude on Remus' face as he unwrapped the sweet. So the boy could smile, he thought.

Sirius got up from his seat and moved over until he was sitting directly opposite Remus. James and Peter were in the middle of a discussion about Quidditch - or perhaps not so much a conversation as it was a monologue, with James rattling on at high speed about his favorite subject, and Peter listening with open-mouthed amazement. Remus had a book open on his lap - a textbook, Sirius noted, but had not actually been reading from it much. He had been watching the others quietly, just observing. Watching had its place, Sirius conceded, but life was no fun if you spent all your time on the sidelines just watching. As he changed seats, he saw Remus looking at him a bit apprehensively, and grinned at him.

"So. Remus Lupin. Where are you from, then?"

"Wales." The reply was very quiet, and Sirius was a bit discouraged. If Remus only intended to speak in single word sentences, communication was going to be very difficult. Remus shifted in his seat, though, and then continued speaking. "That is, we live in Wales now. We've moved a lot over the years, so I have lived in many different places." His voice was quiet and even, and oddly formal sounding, as if he was not used to speaking to others.

Encouraged by Remus' continued communication, Sirius asked, "What's your family like?" James, Sirius and Peter had all conversed at great length over their card game, discussing their own families and lives, until they all felt that they knew each other. Remus, on the other hand, had been silent through the entire discussion, but Sirius knew that he had been listening.

"Well," Remus began quietly," I live with my mam and da. My mam was Muggle born, and my da's family have been wizards from ages back. Both of my parents went to Hogwarts; they were so thrilled when I was accepted. We live in the middle of nowhere, miles from anyone else, actually, and I was schooled at home right up until now." That would explain his difficulties interacting with the others, Sirius thought; of course he would be shy and uncertain. Pleased that he had gotten the other boy to speak that much, Sirius tried to think of another question to ask, but was interrupted in his thoughts by the look on Remus' face. Remus was quite obviously trying hard not to yawn, and his face looked quite comical as he struggled. Finally he gave up, and covered his mouth as he yawned widely.

"So sorry - that must seem so rude of me. It's not that I'm bored or anything, honestly, just - just tired." Remus looked extremely apologetic, and Sirius chuckled.

"Don't worry about it! Really, you can't go around apologizing for little things like that; what will you ever do when we start pranking people? You'll be falling over yourself trying to offer apologies to the entire school! No, really, I think it's quite better if you stop apologizing at all. Unless it's for something really important, of course." Remus couldn't help but laugh at Sirius, and Sirius mentally patted himself on the back - he'd gotten the first laugh out of him!

"Hey look," Remus said after a moment, "I think I'm going to shut my eyes for a bit, if you don't mind. Not that I'm falling asleep or anything, I just have a headache and the light makes it worse. I'm really not going to sleep."

"No problem. And if you start snoring, James will probably throw something at your head, so no worries." With another smile, Remus shut his eves and leaned his head against the window, and was completely still within seconds. Sirius realized that he couldn't tell if the boy was sleeping or not, but as he was still breathing, Sirius didn't worry.

An hour later, all of the boys were nearly asleep; the train ride seemed interminable. Suddenly, Remus stiffened a little, and muttered quietly "Great. Just fantastic." The others didn't have a chance to ask what was wrong before the door to their compartment banged open, and a tall boy walked in as if he owned it. He looked like a fifth year at least, and bore a striking resemblance to Remus.

"There you are." The boy's voice was cold and hard as he stared at his brother. "Hiding in the back of the train, were you? And what's this? Other boys are sitting with you?" His tone was mocking, and Sirius felt a strong desire to punch him in the nose; astounding, really, how much Remus' brother reminded Sirius of his own brother Regulus. Both gits, he reflected. Remus, however, was perfectly calm.

"Romulus." Remus said politely, not moving, or even opening his eves. "What a pleasant surprise. How have you been?"

"Well enough, since I don't have to be around you" Romulus sneered. " Which brings me back to what I was saying. Why are these other children sitting with you? Who are they, anyway - oh!" Now he sounded surprised. "Sirius Black? And James Potter? Of course! It would have to be them, wouldn't it? But I thought they didn't-"

"Romulus." Sirius turned his head to look directly at Remus, who was now sitting up with his eyes open, staring up at Romulus. Sirius wouldn't have believed two minutes ago that Remus would interrupt anyone, much less cut them off so forcefully with a single word. Remus spoke again, his voice firm.
"You may not have heard, but Headmaster Dumbledore wishes to speak to both of us immediately upon arrival at Hogwarts. Until he is able to speak to us, he says to inform you that you are not to discuss the situation with anyone, on pain of expulsion from school - a fate you have too nearly approached far too many times in the past few years. Now, if you please, leave."

And that seemed to be the end of things. Romulus glared at Remus as hatefully as Sirius had ever seen anyone look at another person. Remus took it in stride, and nodded politely at Romulus' retreating back before closing his eyes again and collapsing against the seat. Sirius looked at James, who shrugged back in confusion. They did not, however, get a chance to ask Remus anything, as the train began to slow to a halt just then. They had arrived at Hogwarts.

A/N Hi. First off, my thanks to you for reading this! I hope that you liked it, because I had fun writing it. I've just discovered that I have a muse, and she's been beating me senseless with ideas for this story for weeks, and finally sat me down and forced me to write. I plan to continue this story, and hopefully updates will be fairly fast. FYI, the story title, " Cywir Carennydd" is Welsh for "True Friendship". It sounds better in Welsh. The chapter title, Cychwyniad, means Beginnings. Any reviews would be extremely appreciated- constructive criticism is the best, but if, by some chance, I should happen to get happy fluffy sweet reviews just saying you liked it- I'll probably cry with joy. So if making people happy makes you happy, please review! Many thanks!