Disclaimer: I don't own the Marauders…tear…
A/N- Some revising has been done. I have to thank Luna Mimichang for her wonderful translations! All the French is credited to Luna since I don't know more than three words in French. This is somewhat AU.
November 25—Here's Your Letter
It would be our greatest pleasure if you could come to France over the Christmas break. Remus has told so much about you, we already feel we know you. Being one of his friends and someone he truly trusts, you must be good at heart. Ask your parents and get back to us as soon as possible.
Desiree, Joseph, and Renee Lupin
Remus stared at the piece of paper horrorstruck. "How?...But...No!"
"But yes, and I'm coming whether my dumb-ass parents say so or not," said Sirius snatching back the letter and treading over to his desk. Remus followed him over and watched him take out a piece of parchment and start to write.
Remus slammed his hand on the paper; ink spilling everywhere. "You can't... I mean, it's not you, it's—"
"Remus, I don't care where or what you live in. It can't be as horrible as my house." Sirius responded while cleaning up the ink and started to write again.
"I don't know about that..." Remus picked up Sirius' quill, despite the protest. "It's not like I don't...well, I mean... Look, the whole family will be there. The whole /French/ family. Not to mention a lot of muggles. You'll be so out of place. I'm trying to save you from embarrassment and confusion."
"I guess you should start teaching me French, Professor Moony." Sirius snatched the quill from his hands and looked at it thoughtfully. "What's French for feather?"
"You've got to be kidding me." Remus trudged to the door and almost was smacked when James appeared with a grin, Peter at his heels.
When James saw Remus he burst into babble, "I can't believe it, Remus! A full two weeks without my parents lovey dovey Christmas days! And all the new people, the culture, the scenery, the sites! I want to see the Eiffel Tower. Can we see the Eiffel Tower? Oh, but I don't know a lot of French... I guess you'll teach me right?" Remus and Sirius both stared open-mouthed at James.
Peter encrypted James explosion, "He's talking about the letter from your parents about going to France for the Christmas vacation."
"All that gibberish was just for that? Are you even going?" Sirius asked.
"Of course I'm going!" James held up his letter, which Remus snagged swiftly.
"Alright!" Sirius exclaimed punching James in the shoulder. "This is going to be the best Christmas ever! All the things we get to see—"
"New language... Wait, we don't know the language."
"Moony'll teach us." Their voices faded as they headed downstairs to the common room.
"This really can't be happening." Remus muttered, knocking his head on the wall. "It's one thing with Sirius, but James too!"
"It's not so bad. It'll probably be a lot of fun." Peter pulled Remus from the wall in fear of bashing his head in. Remus stared at Peter with a troubled expression.
"Uh, did you get a letter?"
In answer to his question, Peter pulled out a folded piece of parchment from his back pocket and handed it to him. "I really want to go, but I can't because my family is going to Denmark to visit my grandmother and there is no way they'll let me get out of it. They don't want to do it and neither do I, but they'll take me down with them."
"Shame," Remus said turning back to the wall.
After he thought his head was beat in, Remus went into the red and gold common room. Sirius was humming a Christmas song while staring at a small book and James was writing fervently-probably the letter to his parents about France.
"You misspelled 'por favor.'" Sirius commented, pausing his humming. "There's no 'e' on 'por.' And just for your information, if you're trying to impress your parents by using French, I would suggest using French."
James glanced at his letter, a crease forming between his eyebrows. "'Por favor' isn't French?" Remus snorted and opened his mouth to make a comeback but Sirius spoke up before he could.
"S'il vous plait, you dimwit."
"How the hell would you know?" Remus questioned curiously. He though Sirius had a hard enough time with English. Sirius grinned toothily and held up a book, 'Learn French in 10 Days.' "You expect to learn French in ten days?" Remus asked skeptically as he grabbed the book from him. He scanned the first page. "How about... How are you?"
"I'm good. You?" Remus chucked the book at Sirius' head. "I was just joking! Comment allez-vous!" Sirius followed Remus to the couch in front of the blazing fire. Remus sat slouched over looking miserably into the fire. Sirius laid a hand on his shoulder. "Did I say it wrong or something?"
"It's not that, but you did say it wrong."
"So what is it that you're not telling us?" Remus said nothing. "Something's wrong otherwise you would-or should- be excited." Yet again, Remus didn't respond and showed no sign that he even heard Sirius. "Do you want me to play the guessing game?" Silence.
"Alright, you just nod your head when I'm close. You don't want us to go because... You don't want us to find out about your family being superheroes that have to save the world."
Remus looked momentarily at Sirius and growled deep in his throat. "You. Are. An. Idiot."
"Well, at least now I know you're listening to me." Sirius stated giving a lopsided grin. Remus just rolled his eyes. "You're ashamed of us." Sirius said solemnly.
Remus stared open-mouthed, open-eyed at Sirius, who looked quite serious about what he just said. "You can't possibly think that!" Remus proclaimed standing up and catching James' eye. "It has nothing to do with you. It's just—"He stopped himself short realizing what he was about to say.
"It's just what?" James asked appearing by Remus' side.
"Nothing," Remus mumbled. "Ce sera amusement. It'll be fun." Remus walked up the stairs to their dormitory.
The few weeks went by sickeningly fast, especially for Remus. Everyday Sirius and James would slip in, 'It's just what?' whenever it was least appropriate in hope they'd get an answer. Remus tried avoiding them at all costs but failed terribly due to the map.
Now the three of them had found themselves walking from the train station in France on a very busy road, even at night.
It was very late and they were clumsily walking along a dirt back road.
"How much longer, Moony?" Sirius whined. He slumped against Remus sleepily. "And why in the hell couldn't we get a ride or something? Shit, our trunks have it better than we do, they're already there!"
"Shut up Sirius," James said, "God knows you need the exercise."
"Are you calling me fat!"
"For a quidditch player, yes."
"Why you son of a b—"
"Sirius!" Remus broke off, "If you ever say anything with bad language, grammar, or innuendoes in front of my family – I swear I'll kill you. That goes for you, too, James."
James and Sirius exchanged baffled looks. Sirius put on a hurt expression, "To even think that I would do such a thing—"Sirius was hit in the arm forcefully.
"I mean it."
"Holy shit!" James had stopped dead in his tracks causing Sirius to tumble over him.
"What the fuck, James?"
"What did I just say?" Remus shouted. James just pointed in the direction they were headed. An enormous white house- a mansion- spread across several acres in front of them.
"Whoa." Sirius said simply.
"Would you two cut the crap. I'm tired and would like to go to bed as soon as possible." Remus called from his several strides ahead of them. Sirius and James ran to catch up and the three of them found themselves racing toward the door, fatigue forgotten for now.
Before they even reached the doors a woman with long blonde hair opened the immense oak doors for them and started rambling in French to Remus, "Vous êtes à la maison! C'était tellement long! Coment allez-vous? Ce sont ces deux-là? Comment était le voyage?" (You are home! It's been so long. How have you been? Are these the two? How was the trip?) She pinched his cheeks, kissed him, and gave him a giant bear hug. When she saw Sirius and James she walked over to them and gave them air kisses and ushered them inside.
"Holy s—"Remus stamped his foot hard on Sirius- who abruptly stopped what he intended to say.
It was a beautiful home. A giant staircase led upstairs in two different directions with intricate carved railings. A massive glass chandelier hung above their heads. Several rooms branched off—one of with they were escorted into.
About twenty people were in the room already, all interested in a baby. The woman who greeted them said something and everyone looked at the newcomers excitedly.
It was Remus' turn to speak and he said it quite rapidly. A man with familiar light brown hair answered him back and motioned for them to sit down.
James and Sirius now realized that the French Remus had been forced to teach them seemed to be beyond recollection. Remus was right about how they wouldn't feel as if they would fit in and they felt so awkward not knowing the language, but even more awkward when everyone was staring at them as if they had never seen someone British.
While Sirius and James took their place on a soft white couch, it was apparent Remus was introducing them, because after he was done people started coming up, shaking hands-- even a few air kisses which caught Sirius off guard—and then they introduced themselves, unfortunately for Sirius and James, in French. But they did manage to catch names, or what they hopefully thought were names.
The woman who greeted them at the door was Remus' aunt, Sophie. Her husband, Pierre, a tall, thin, handsome man even in his older age was chatting jubilantly with her.
The man that had Remus' hair was indeed his father, Joseph. His mother, Desiree, clung to his side. Remus looked more like his mother but when they saw his sister, Renee, James and Sirius agreed that they looked like identical twins- besides Remus' golden eyes and her brown and other menial details. The baby, Jules, which had everyone's attention when they entered, was now sleeping peacefully in Renee's arms.
Afterward there were so many people introducing themselves Sirius and James couldn't keep them straight. They could tell Remus was enjoying their discomfort by the broad smile that spread across his face.
After everyone was finished Sirius could only recall three names and James four. James turned to Sirius and whispered, "I feel like a two year old that doesn't understand anything but a couple of words." Apparently he said it loud enough for everyone to hear since they burst out in laughter.
"We're sorry," Remus' father said, "Remus said you knew some French and he told us not to use English unless necessary."
"Really," Sirius glared daggers at Remus, "As I recall, Remus, you said that we would never get French even when it hit us in the face. I also recall that it did hit us in the face several times, but I guess books don't transfer their information into your brain when they hit your head."
Remus' smile got larger. "I guess not. Scandalous that it doesn't, if it did you'd know history, transfiguration, and charms by heart."
"Too much useless information in those books." Sirius commented.
"It must be a lot of useless information then because that really hurt when they collided with my head." James rubbed his head subconsciously. "So everyone hear knows English?"
"Yes, James." Desiree said with a laugh. "I guess Remy just forgot to mention that you weren't fluent." She hugged Remus close after he flinched at the nickname that had nothing whatsoever to do with his name, his mother just liked the name.
"Sure, he 'forgot.'" Sirius made little quotation marks in the air to prove his point. Remus just yawned and waved his hand impatiently.
"Mama, look at them," Renee stated pointing a finger at the three boys, "they're obviously tired. They need to go to sleep and rest up for tomorrow."
"Of course," Desiree replied, "Montre-leur leurs chambres. Leurs vêtements et leurs bagages sont en haut. Dormez bien." (Show them their rooms. Their clothes and trunks are already up there. Sleep well.) Remus nodded his head and gestured for James and Sirius to follow.
They treaded up the staircase they first saw. Remus led them down a long hallway silently. On the walls were pictures of ancestors and some immediate family. Sirius stopped instantly when he saw one picture.
"This you?" He asked Remus pointing to a picture of a young boy smiling happily. Remus didn't even turn around when he answered, "No."
"You didn't even look."
James was now looking at the picture intently. "You sure? Looks like you. It's not when you were ten or something?"
Remus turned around with an irritated expression. "I think I would know if it was me or not. And I guarantee if it was me I would not be smiling." With that he turned and began to walk again. With one last glance they followed him.
"Why wouldn't you be smiling?" Sirius asked eyes trailing the new photos.
"Why do you think?"
"The werewolf thing?" Sirius guessed.
"Well, if it's not you," Sirius said, getting an evil glare thrown back at him, "Then who is it?" That made Remus stop, twirl around, and give Sirius the I'm-gonna-kill-you-if-you-don't-shut-up look.
"Why do you care? Just drop it." Remus opened the door at the far end. More calmly he said, "This is your room," Sirius and James exchanged worried expressions, "There are two beds." Their faces smoothed happy with the newly discovered arrangement.
Still a little bit bothered by the picture, Sirius couldn't quite take in his new surroundings. The size and expense of the room, on the other hand, bewildered James. "This is bigger than my room at home! Hell, it's even bigger than our dorm at Hogwarts!" James continued muttering praises under his breath. Remus leaned against the doorframe with a jaded exposition. Sirius couldn't quite figure out if his expression was due to James, the picture, lack of sleep, or something else entirely. Deciding it best to leave it alone, Sirius flopped down on a feathery bed and closed his eyes. When he reopened them, James' face was ten centimeters from his. Sirius jumped back and hit his head on the backboard.
"What the hell!" James just laughed and threw a blue velvet pillow at him.
"Something on your mind, Padfoot?" Of course something was on his mind—it was the only reason he was ever quiet.
Sirius looked around and found that Remus had left. "Where'd he go?"
"To sleep in his room, which is right across the hall—if you didn't hear him." James added the last part when Sirius gave him an equivocal look. "What's bothering you? If it's the picture—"
"It's not that. Remus has been acting strange all day. Not only that but why did he never tell us about this?" Sirius waved his hand at the room, "I don't know about you but I pictured something a little lower class."
"I did too," James admitted, "But all it has to show for is how well we don't know Remus."
"No, James, he never told us. Hell, we didn't even know he had a sister until three months ago! What does he not know about us? We've told him everything. At least I have."
"Me too. Remus is just a secretive person. He learned to be that way with his condition. And he also doesn't like a lot of extra attention or being in the spotlight. He's too self-conscious. Really, Sirius, if he told us he was this wealthy, what would we have done?"
"Think of him as more superior?" That wasn't what Sirius really thought but he didn't feel like sharing that he would have used Remus to get him to pay for things. "It's beside the point. The point is he can tell us anything—we've proven our worth from keeping his 'once-a-month' secret." Sirius now realized how tired he truly was. He wanted to keep the conversation going, but it was going nowhere right now and draining the rest of his energy. He closed his eyes and barely heard James say, "He has more secrets than we'll ever know."
Sirius couldn't agree more.