A/n: Thanks again to Moony for beta reading. You are a star my dear! And thank you again for all the reviews, they make my day.
This is not the promised last chapter because there are still a few lose ends to tie up so expect more from me soon. Obviously you don't want to read my rambling notes so on to the story.
Remus was cooking when the doorbell rang. Edric had gone home to get a fresh change of clothes and go to work, so Remus was making himself an elevenses snack that consisted of large amounts of bacon and butter.
Werewolf comfort food.
"Who can that be?" he asked out loud. He felt a small flutter of apprehension in case it was Sirius but that seemed unlikely. Sirius had backed off pretty quickly when he'd seen Edric; he probably wouldn't bother coming round again.
Switching off the hob where he was in the process of frying bacon, Remus told him self very sternly that he definitely did not want Sirius to be at the door. Fat spluttered in the pan and Remus had to step back quickly to avoid being hit by it.
Obviously even thinking about Sirius was dangerous to his health. So Remus steeled himself, put on a smile, and pulled open the front door.
"Remus Lupin?" the deliveryman asked, an odd look on his face that Remus had long ago come to understand as 'God, your name's funny', holding out a clipboard.
"Yes." He signed his name and took the proffered package.
Shutting the door quickly before the deliveryman started asking questions about what the package contained, Remus brought the mysterious box into the kitchen. Setting it down on the table he went to look for the scissors which took a few minutes because they weren't where they were supposed to be.
And then, scissors in hand, he contemplated the package.
Who the heck was it from? Maybe something romantic from Edric to celebrate their first night together? Or maybe that book he'd ordered from Scotland? Only one way to find out.
He attacked the parcel with his scissors, slashing at the thick tape, wrenching open the cardboard flaps.
Inside the box was lots of silver confetti and Remus knew then exactly who'd sent it: Lily. It was the same sort of confetti they'd thrown at the wedding; Lily must have bags of the stuff left over, and nestled in the confetti was a silver envelope with his name in gold across it. Remus picked up the envelope and tore it open quickly.
There in Lily's best copper-plate hand writing, on a tiny sheet of white card was an invitation. Remus read it quickly.
"Mr. and Mrs. Potter cordially invite you…oh it's a party."
Lily had mentioned last time he flooed her that she wanted to get the old gang together again but he'd thought she'd meant a pint down the pub, not a proper party.
The old gang. That meant Lily and James, Frank and Alice, Molly and Arthur, Peter, himself and Sirius.
Remus gave a little involuntary shudder at the idea of having to make small talk with Sirius while internally wanting to strangle him.
"If he's there with a date, like that horrid Oriel, I will kill him. No mercy," His voice grew louder as he continued and he began to smack the card against the edge of the table. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. "That would be just like him to bring Oriel and flaunt her in my face. And I would have no choice; I would have to kill him."
No court in the world would convict him, especially after seeing Oriel.
"But if he brings a date then I'd have to bring Edric." And Remus really didn't want to. Frank and Alice had no idea of his preferences; they'd been in India and had missed the wonderful spectacle he'd made of himself at Lily and James wedding. He also didn't want another meal with Molly staring at him disapprovingly and Peter tip-toeing around like he was afraid he'd suddenly start screaming 'Remus is a poof! Remus is a poof!' if they where left together in one place for too long.
"This is silly," He said sternly to himself. "Sirius and I are finished; it's just a friendly get together. I won't tell Edric, it's not like he needs to know, we're not serious." And with that settled he looked at the card again to see where Lily was holding her shindig.
8 o'clock – the Highland Inn
Remus dropped, without dignity, into the closest chair.
They really were bringing this thing full circle weren't they?
Remus arrived at 8 o'clock exactly and then spent a further ten minutes in the bathroom – splashing water on his face and worrying that he might be the first person to arrive thereby looking desperate and very alone. He should have brought Edric along. All of his friends were in couples or would have brought someone with them and he'd be on his own, a third wheel while they chatted about couple things. But he didn't want his friends to meet Edric. He'd always imagined that when he came out he'd do it on his terms, not because of some silly drunken fling and he didn't want them looking at Edric and thinking he was Remus's rebound shag or something equally distasteful.
He stared at himself long and hard in the mirror, willing away all of his guilt and his false hopes. It was too late to do anything about it now anyway; Edric was working the nightshift at St. Mungo's and Remus was twenty minutes late now because of his worrying.
He went to find the party.
He hesitated in the doorway of the small private conference room Lily had hired for the occasion. Everyone already seemed to be there, mingling happily, laughing and holding drinks. He spotted Lily hovering at James' shoulder and gave her a little wave. She rushed over to him with a delighted cry and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"I'm so glad you could make it, come and talk to James will you?" and she escorted him over to where her husband, with a glass of bubbly in his hand, was looking morosely at the wall and then wandered off.
"How's married life?" Remus asked.
James gave him the look of a condemned man.
"She's costing me a fortune!"
Sirius never showed.
The evening was enjoyable without him. Peter, who appeared just before the soup was served and apologised at great length, seemed to blossom under James' attention. Remus chatted with Arthur about the new television he was thinking of buying - at length and in more depth so it became more than the passing bit of news he had intended it to be. Molly discussed swollen ankles and stretch marks with anyone who would listen.
But still Remus spent the whole evening peering surreptitiously at the door, hoping Sirius would put in an appearance. If only long enough for Remus to explain how happy he was without Sirius, thank you.
As he was leaving Lily pressed something into his hand as she hugged him goodbye, a wicked smile upon her face. Remus didn't look at it until he was outside in the night air taking cool, deep breaths and waiting for his taxi.
It was a little gold key – the key to room 503.
He ran back inside the hotel, past a bemused looking James and an elated Lily and took the stairs two at a time. His hands were shaking so badly he could hardly get the key into the lock.
But, finally the key turned, the knob rotated under his hand and the door slid open. He was having trouble breathing and his heart felt like it would burst out of his chest. Other than that he felt fine.
Remus stepped over the threshold.
He saw the big four poster bed with its heavy drapes, a silver bucket holding a bottle of champagne on ice and a crystal bowl brimming over with familiar packets of the condom kind.
But no Sirius.
Maybe he was hiding behind the curtains? Maybe he wanted to re-enact the whole thing and Remus was supposed to strip and crawl in there with him? If he peeled off his clothes he'd feel stupid if Sirius came bounding into the room with a band playing the wedding march to recreate their first night together? Remus groaned at the thought. What a mood killer that would be!
Sirius appeared then from the bathroom, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
"I was eating dinner," he explained to Remus's odd look. "Didn't want the room to smell. Bloody hell you lot took forever!"
Remus continued to stare, long after the time came for him to make a reply and Sirius' smile faded.
"I'm sorry Remus. I was an idiot. I got caught up in who I thought I should be, but when you were with that man…I couldn't…"
"I missed you." Remus said simply.
A crooked smile curved Sirius' lips.
"I missed you too, but I have to tell you that I love you."
"I'm very much in love with you and I can't possibly let you live with that Edric man. I've got tickets to Pairs, we can go right now if you'd like."
"Sirius…" Remus bit his lip and Sirius suddenly grabbed his hands, holding them tightly as if he was afraid Remus would try to run if he wasn't weighted down by something.
"I don't want a fling," he said seriously. "I want us to be together and I know I'm difficult but I can change."
Remus quieted him with a kiss, tasting champagne, chicken and Sirius.
"I love you," he said quietly, savouring the words he was suddenly allowed to say freely and without fear of reprimand. "And I'll go to Paris with you. You're a bloody wanker but I love you." And then he kissed him again.
A small voice at the back of Remus' mind told him he was making a mistake - that he was being weak. After all, he had a boyfriend who was expecting him to be at home tomorrow so they could go to the Muggle movie theatre together. Remus didn't care though. He wanted Sirius more and he was willing to give up safety and predictability for him.
At least, right now he was.