Title: Delicate Treasures
Rating: PG 13 (For slash and occasional swearing, precautions only)
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. I don't own anything to do with Harry Potter. I do, however, own the plot. I am very proud. But the rest belongs to our creative genius, J K Rowling.
Chapter 13: Opening More Valentines
Sirius sat on his bed with the curtains pulled around him. It had been a very awkward night. James hadn't returned to their dormitory yet, and Remus had silently slipped out of the dormitory after James had left. Neither Peter nor Sirius tried to stop him. They sensed he would rather be alone.
This was not really the best day that Sirius had seen. He wished more than anything else that his Valentine had reached Remus. Even though it was sappy and fluffy and girly – all the things that Sirius tried to avoid being – it wouldn't hurt his reputation or ego unless Remus found out who'd sent it. And it was anonymous, so the chances of that were slim.
His own eyes fell on his pillow. He'd hastily shoved the Valentines he'd received that morning at breakfast beneath his pillow and forgotten about them til this moment. Shrugging, he took them out. He had nothing better to do for the time being, he might as well see who had sent him what this year.
The larger of the two envelopes was grey and lightly marbled. The paper was quite pretty, and Sirius admired it for a moment before carefully running his wand along the length of the seal and magically opening the envelope without destroying it. Inside was a rose petal, slightly wrinkled from being stuck inside an envelope all day. He looked at it quizzically for a second, confused at the lack of card or note inside, but then picked up the petal to pull it out.
The petal began to sparkle, and to his surprise, expanded into a rose. This then expanded into a second rose. It continued to multiply before Sirius's eyes until his lap was covered with red roses. He watched, horrified, as the multiplying roses showed no signs of slowing or stopping. His bed was covered, and he was beginning to choke on petals that were flying around. He couldn't see his wand anywhere; the entire bed was hidden. By the time he realised he needed to call out for help, the situation had worsened. The thorny stems had pushed him back to lie on the bed where he was slowly suffocating beneath a pile of ever expanding roses. He struggled to brush them off, but the more he moved, the faster they seemed to multiply, so he simply lay there and tried to call for assistance.
"Help!" he cried, his words muffled by the petals that were drowning him. "HELP!"
The sound of low voices murmuring solemnly met his ears. He wished he hadn't closed the curtains now. Someone was coming up the staircase to the boys' dormitory. He bellowed out at the top of his lungs. It was quite loud, he noted to his satisfaction. They had to have heard it.
Sure enough, the voices ceased their whispered conversation and the door creaked open. There was nothing for a moment, but the sound of tentative footsteps began towards Sirius. The curtains were pulled hesitantly open and immediately light began to flood the small space in which Sirius was crammed as the petals showered out onto the carpet. Two faces peered curiously over Sirius and brushed away the petals on his face. Sirius blinked and saw Remus and Peter looking at him as though he was crazy.
It didn't last long. One long look at the anguished expression on Sirius's face, and both the other Marauders were off in gales of laughter. Sirius's eyes narrowed angrily.
"Come on, a little help here!" he bellowed.
Remus took pity on him, and choked out a spell to stop the charm. "Finite Incantatem!" His eyes were watering from laughter, increasing as he watched Sirius splutter and wriggle out from beneath the now still petals and roses. The dark haired boy was red faced and furious.
"What on earth were you doing, Padfoot?" Peter asked, a grin still around the corner of his mouth.
Sirius glared at him. "I opened a Valentine and this attacked me." He gestured towards the petal he was still holding that had begun the mischief. The envelope lay somewhere beneath the carpet of red. Remus used his wand to banish the roses and petals, leaving Sirius's wand and the envelope lying innocently there.
Sirius snarled and crumpled the envelope. "What kind of a person sends a Valentine that tries to murder the recipient?"
"You're obviously not very popular, Sirius," Peter said with a completely straight face, holding it only for a moment before dissolving once more into giggles.
Sirius's bad encounter with the first Valentine had discouraged him from opening his second. It was difficult enough to fight the gloom that settled over him at the realisation that the chances of either of them being from Remus were slim – now he had to cope with the taunts from the three Marauders. Peter had told James as soon as they'd seen him next while Sirius turned beetroot red and glared and Remus shuffled his feet nervously.
James had seemed vaguely amused at the image of Sirius drowning beneath a bed of roses, but had been looking mostly in the direction of Remus. He had then asked if Remus would go for a walk with him to sort out their fight, which Remus had of course agreed to, nervous as he looked and felt.
Sirius looked out the window of the dormitory. He was sure that he could see shadows moving, equally certain that they were James and Remus returning from a walk, but when he blinked and looked in the direction he'd first been staring again, he realised that it was his imagination.
Looking at the clock on the wall, he groaned. They'd only been gone ten minutes.
The suspense was driving him insane.
Remus had scarcely been able to walk at all when James had summoned him for a walk. It was a terrifying thought to be alone with the angry boy. It was true – James's temperament in general was laid back and gentle, but when someone crossed him as badly as he obviously thought Remus had, he was really rather intimidating.
"Look, Prongs," Remus started desperately as soon as they were out of earshot of any listeners. "I know you think that I've been hitting on Lily behind your back, but I swear…"
James was shaking his head as Remus's words trailed off in confusion. He smiled at Remus and took a deep breath. "Mate, I know that you wouldn't ever try to hit on Lily. You're just good friends. I guess she just took the signals wrong."
Remus could hardly believe his luck. James was usually quite understanding, but this was unexpectedly soon.
"So – so we're cool, then?" he asked.
James grinned and held out his hand. "Here's to never letting any girl come between us again, okay, mate?"
Remus returned the smile, relieved and genuinely happy once more. "James, it has to be said that you are one of the most adaptable creatures ever. We could leave you in Greenland in a bathing suit, and I bet that we'd come back and find you swimming in the ocean telling us to come in."
James raised an eyebrow quizzically. "But isn't it kind of cold in Greenland?"
Remus opened his mouth to speak and shut it. He wasn't in the mood to discuss Greenland. He wasn't in the mood for anything but a good laugh with the other Marauders and possibly a chess tournament.
James seemed to have the same idea.
Sirius heard footsteps outside the dormitory and whirled around as the door opened. His heart leapt into his throat as he saw James enter, followed by Remus. To his surprise, they were both smiling and chuckling at some joke James had just finished telling.
Peter looked up from his book and threw a puzzled look at Sirius. Turning down a corner of the page, he cleared his throat and settled in his chair to look at the three of them standing there.
"So," he said simply.
Remus and James stood slightly awkwardly, only too aware of the tension that still lingered in here. The fight between the two of them may have dissipated, but the problem of Lily liking the wrong bloke remained.
Remus frowned to himself. Why on earth would Lily like him? He'd never given her any reason to like him, and she hadn't ever hinted to him that she thought of him in that sort of light. Perhaps it was a joke or something. It was far-fetched, but plausible. Maybe it was an attempt to make James back off or something. He shook his head and looked at Sirius, who was shifting from one foot to the other.
James broke the silence. "Chess, anyone?"
An hour later, the day was getting very old, but the Marauders were back to their cheerful group. They had melted the ice around them and were now discussing what Remus was going to have to do now, seeing that Lily liked him and he didn't particularly fancy her.
James still looked slightly dejected during the conversation, but he laughed at the jokes and offered his own opinions and advice freely. Sirius felt very sorry for him. He'd longed for Lily's affections since who knows when, and when Lily did finally fancy one of them, it was the wrong Marauder.
He looked over at Remus, who was smiling grimly at Peter as they discussed whether it might have been a joke.
Since revealing who the admirer was, Remus had had the sort of attitude towards it that oozed surprise and disbelief. Deep down; Remus was quite insecure about the whole business. When you stripped back the layers of Remus that were tough and acted like it was unnecessary to receive the affections of anyone else, there was a soft spot inside. He hid behind the books and schoolwork that he mastered and tried to prove to himself that even though he had an interesting monthly 'habit', he was still worthy of something.
Sometimes it was really hard for him to do.
Remus knew that if Lily knew about him being a werewolf, she wouldn't like him that way anymore. Their relationship would be platonic solely. While that wasn't a problem with him as far as Lily was concerned, because he didn't want anything but platonic friendship with her, he knew the same reaction would come from anyone else that he fancied. People that he liked weren't likely to be seduced by the fangs and shaggy coat of a wild beast. And while it was sad, it was true, and he had to live with it for the rest of his life.
It was dark inside the dormitory, and the other three boys appeared to be asleep. Remus sat up in his bed and lit his wand, hiding the bright light beneath the bedspread. His curtains were drawn around him, but he didn't want to risk anyone realising that he was awake and trying to start another conversation. Normally he enjoyed talking to the Marauders about anything and everything until there was nothing left to say, but on the subject of Lily Evans, he really had had enough.
He lifted his pillow and the small beam of light that escaped from under the covers of the bed illuminated a parchment envelope, creamy and soft against the crisp sheets. He hadn't shown nor told the Marauders about this letter, in fact, he hadn't yet opened it. But he couldn't resist the temptation any longer, and with growing curiosity, he eased open the seal on the back and lifted the flaps to see what was inside.
A single sheet of parchment was there, a beautiful flowing script written upon it. He eagerly scanned the words, but they made hardly any sense to him.
Sometimes what you see is less than what it actually is – but just because something isn't obvious doesn't mean that it isn't there. Happy Valentine's Day.
Remus's frown deepened. What the hell were they talking about? Carefully opening a drawer on the side of his four poster bed, he slipped out the little box where he kept anything that was special to him. Inside was the other letter he'd gotten at Christmas. He half-heartedly turned it over and skimmed the paper, but it was still blank. The two times he'd received letters from anonymous people had seen him receive a blank sheet of paper and one that garbled something he didn't understand.
His stomach was cold with disappointment as he shut the drawer and muttered the charm to turn out the light on his wand. Lying there, he watched the ceiling through sad eyes, not admiring the swirling shadows of snowflakes for once but viewing the world through a shaky, watery mist as his eyes filled with tears. He wiped them away in disgust and chuckled quietly, shaking his head at himself. His chuckle soon turned into a soft sob and he succumbed to tears at last. Trying his best to keep quiet, he buried his head in his pillow and wept til he fell asleep.
Only a few metres away, another boy was lying awake. He too had tears in his eyes, but they were the tears of one who feels another's pain as his own. Sirius could hear Remus crying, quiet as he was attempting to be, and his heart gave a huge wrench in his chest. It seemed an age until the sobs slowed and then slipped into even breaths of sleep, but Sirius waited until he was certain Remus was asleep and then slipped out of his own bed.
The room was colder than usual. Sirius shivered, but continued. He pulled back the curtains to Remus's bed and gently ran his fingers over the tear tracks that ran every which way across Remus's face. Using his forefinger, he wiped away any water that remained and smoothed back the sandy hair that flopped over Remus's forehead. He gently placed a kiss on Remus's cheek and pulled the covers further up over Remus's body, tucking him in closer.
Climbing back into his own bed, he wrapped his arms around himself and shivered. His insides were cold as well, and they wouldn't warm again until he could see Remus smile.
His head slipped further into the dent in his pillow and he fell into troubled dreams.
A/N: That was pretty sad, wasn't it? Remus is such a sweet character. I really do think that this is how he'd be feeling about female's reactions to his being a werewolf, so if you're complaining that you don't think his character would be reacting like that, I apologise, but that really is the way I see it happening in my head.
And now you know what to do. Please review! Thanks go out to everyone who reviewed the last chapter.
Ronin Daiymo: I'm sure you saw that coming. Uh huh.
KCEstel: Well, he didn't have to beg because Remus already knew how hurt James was that Lily would pick Remus over him when he was so obviously devoted to her. Oooh, I like that line. Anyway, they made up, so we can all cheer. Hurrah!
Nessa: Yeah, I didn't exactly hurry with this update, did I? … Well, here it is, better late than never! Thanks heaps for liking it:P
Goldfish682: Well, he opened one. We don't know who it's from. Yet. I don't know if that is significant yet or not, I may make my mind up soon. We'll find out what the other one is soon, too! And believe me, that one is significant:D
Jenny C: Sorry to have kept you waiting! Here you go!
FangQueen13: Patience my dear, patience.
LythTaeraneth: Well, some development must have taken place! Update on the situation, please?
Waffle Avenger: Nice long review! Thanks:D Yeah James will get the hang of it eventually, I'm sure. But at least he got over his fight with Remus.
Bitter Black Tears: Oh, you'll probably find out eventually. They will be quite relevant to the story actually. And yeah, James is a bit of a moody bugger, hey?
ILoveMoony04: Wow! I'm pleasing readers without even realising it! Lol It was the most random thing to put in there, so I was like yeah what the hell.
Ozumas girl: Calm down, dear! Everything will work itself out. Breathe! In … out. Good on you. Now, relax, see? Remus and James worked it out! Yay!
Nooka: Only time will tell. :P Thanks for the review!
Stuck in a tree: Yeah, Lily is just getting in the way, isn't she! Sorry the update took a while.
IsisFireDancer: I'd comfort either of them too! There may be many opportunities ahead for you to do exactly that too … depending on how miserable I want to make them. Excellent. Mwahahahahahaha!
Grimy Grunhilda Grunt: Valentine's Day is rarely a perfect event. The only times I've ever enjoyed a Valentine's Day have been when I've been single and just enjoying them with my friends. Expectations of romance on Valentine's Day suck. They're always too high. And if my Valentine's Day can't be perfect, neither can theirs:P But at least they may have a happy ending. If I decide to let them …
Miss Anonymous HP: Damn. Snape would have been a good twist too. I'll keep that in mind for a twist later on. Good idea:P I'll try to work that in somewhere, but judging by the plans I've got for upcoming chapters, it might be a little difficult. Hmm.
Ickle Ronnie: Thanks for coming up for a review! It's lovely to know that you like my fic :) You've been with me riiiiight from the beginning. You go, you:D
RoschLupinBlack: Oops! Sorry about you having to disconnect it! Well, Remmie has to have some bad things happen if he's going to be a hero in the end. And he will be dammit! Even if he doesn't get with Sirius. He will still be a hero!
Coolchicky: Thanks heaps babe! Hope you continue to like!
Warriorbride: I took pity on all three of you, and made everything turn out okayish. Hope this is still up to your standards!
Elf Maiden-Penial: Thanks for all your reviews! I was very flattered that you reviewed nearly every chapter! And I'm so glad that you liked it. :)