January 1: Always and Forever
Remus stood outside the blade room, fully aware that someone occupied it—sleeping on the couch restlessly. All he had to do was walk in, apologize, and everything would be okay. At least that's what his mind pictured. But he couldn't do it. So he stood there, on the other side, away from where he truly wanted to be.
He could hear him inside, thrashing around uncomfortably. Remus put an ear to the door and listened to the slight snore coming from within. If Sirius was asleep what was stopping Remus to enter the room? Maybe it was his mind telling him it was three o'clock in the morning and risked waking him up. The angel on his shoulder said to leave him alone, if anything could be done it could be done in the morning. The devil on his other shoulder said to go in, throw him to the floor, and kiss him senseless until he forgave him.
So he was given two choices. Neither one he liked. Option one would be better for Sirius; option two would be good for Remus. Was there a happy medium somewhere?
Someone up there must really like Remus because his wish was granted. It was as plain as day that Sirius was having a bad dream; and from five years of experience Remus could tell it was his ordinary childhood nightmare. Sirius' nightmare gave Remus a good reason to be waltzing in there at three in the morning.
As quietly as possibly he turned the door handle and pushed the door open. He froze when it squeaked the rest of the way open. Sirius jerked a bit and fell to the floor with a thud. But another snore emitted from him indicated that he was still, indeed, asleep.
A smile creeped onto Remus' face. Typical Sirius, nothing comes between him and his sleep, even if it does mean falling on the cold floor.
Remus closed the door behind him without a single sound. He walked over to Sirius who was sprawled out on the carpet and mumbling something incoherent. He sat down next to the sleeping teen and watched as Sirius' face contorted as he battled his inner demons. Remus quickly tore off his Christmas present and wrapped it around Sirius' wrist. The sphere glowed a soft cerulean for a mere second and then turned back to normal. Remus looked back at Sirius' face and saw that he now had a goofy smile pasted on his face.
"Amazing." Remus whispered. He didn't think it'd work that fast or that well.
Remus stilled, not moving not breathing. The hand he wrapped the dream catcher around found his own and held it firmly. Sirius' eyes weren't open and he was still breathing deep, telling Remus that he was still asleep. He let out a sigh of relief and desperation. Half of him wished that Sirius really was awake and was fully aware of his presence. The other half hoped he was still asleep because of the inevitable confrontation. Once again, Remus found himself split into two. But this time he didn't have a choice, what would come would come.
"You're so cold." Sirius muttered.
"My touch or my heart?" Remus whispered, praying that he wouldn't answer.
"Both." Remus' heart clenched in sadness. He really didn't want to hear that.
"I'm sorry," he cried.
"You can't take it back. You hurt me."
"You can't forgive me?" Tears stung in his hazel eyes. That seemed to be happening a lot lately.
"That was a sharp blow to the head."
"...What?" He looked at Sirius confused.
"When you hit me."
"I never hit you..."
"Yes you did."
Remus had never been more confused. What in the world is Sirius talking about? He never hit him last night. Unless, he did and then someone performed a memory charm, which was very unlikely.
"What are you talking about Sirius?"
"I never hit you last night!" Remus barked. Sirius opened his eyes and sat upright. He sat wide-eyed staring at Remus.
"What are you doing here?" Sirius asked, knotting his eyebrows together in puzzlement.
"Huh?" Remus looked down at their clasped hands and blushed when he realized... "You were asleep..."
"Uh...yeah..." Sirius followed the hazel eyes and stared at their hands as well.
Remus chuckled, "You kinda scared me there for a moment. I thought I was losing my mind."
"Did I say something?"
"You told me I hit you."
Remus locked eyes with Sirius' and smiled, and then Sirius smiled. In that instant he knew—they both knew—everything was going to be okay.
"I'm sorry for—"
"No," Sirius put a finger up to Remus' lips. "I understand, and I forgive you. We were both mixed up with everything."
"I said hush." Sirius removed his finger and replaced it with his lips. The kiss was tender, sweet, and said everything not spoken.
James awoke in a chair early that morning. He couldn't quite figure out why he was in that chair, but he chose poorly last night and his neck is paying dearly for it. He rubbed his neck and yawned; that's when the previous night came flooding into his mind.
This is...wrong. It's not right.
The stupidest fucking thing I ever heard is you two being, ug, a couple!
I don't think you care about Remus and Sirius. You never have.
It isn't true that you're selfish and don't give a damn about anyone else?
You can't live life without friends.
You lost your everything, James. Remus, Sirius, and myself.
It hadn't quite hit James until that moment; he really did lose them. But he knew he had to tell them the truth of why he acted so cruelly last night. And maybe the truth could mend the torn between them.
After James got dressed he headed downstairs. He figured that they would be eating, and if not now they would later. He sauntered into the dining area but only found Remus' mother and father.
"You're up early." Desiree greeted with a cheerful smile way to cheerful for six o'clock in the morning. "Take a seat, dear. No sense in waiting for the others."
"Do you know where they are?" James asked while taking a seat across from the two adults. The instant he did a maid appeared and sat a plate full of food in front of him. He mentally wished that he had a maid, then he would never have to get up and his mother certainly wouldn't ever bicker about how she does everything for him.
"No, don't you?"
"I lost them around eleven." The true meaning between those words clenched his heart.
"Oh no. You didn't spend the turn of the year with them?" She looked at him sadly.
"Nah, we didn't." He picked up his fork and moved some of the food around.
"We got in an argument." He wanted to say more, but figured that she would be more on Remus' side than on his.
"About what?" She looked at him anxiously, her brown eyes large.
"Uh..." James had no idea if they knew or not. He assumed they did since Renee knew, but he didn't want to risk it and come right out and say it. "Well, um...Remus and Sirius said that they...uh...changed..." Joseph looked up from his food for the first time, his expression unreadable.
"So they told you?" Desiree asked.
"You know then?"
"Yes. We know." Joseph answered. His voice was bitter and cold and James immediately knew that he wasn't too happy about it.
"What did you say to them, James?" Desiree questioned.
"I kinda got a little...upset."
"Well, someone else that acted like a normal human being." Joseph noted not looking at either of them.
"A normal human being doesn't care for his own son?" Joseph shot his head up and stared at his wife.
"I care for him!"
"Oh sure. That's why you never talk to him, see him after his bad nights, or do anything with him!"
"He doesn't want me to. He told me that years ago."
"He told you that when you said, and I quote, 'he's a hard child to deal with. No parent should have to go through this.'"
"I never said that!"
"Yes you did."
James realized that he was in the middle of skirmish with no way out. This was not turning out to be a good day...Not that it was to begin with anyway...
"And," Desiree continued, "you even turned his own sister against him."
"I did not!"
"Yes you did. Don't deny it. It's why she always acts so cruel to him. It hurts as a mother to see my own daughter picking fun at her younger brother."
"I would never—"
"And now," Desiree barreled through her tirade, "since he's, god forbid, found some happiness, you're trying to take it away! You can't stand it."
"I can't stand that his 'happiness' is with another male!"
"Why do you care about that?!" James yelled at the older man. "I don't care! If it makes them happy, leave them alone and let them be happy!"
"Then why'd you make such a big deal out of it, James?"
James spun around and saw Sirius leaning in the doorway, Remus right by his side. Remus said something in French; his parents replied and left the room still arguing.
"Because...because...I was afraid..." James answered carefully.
"That it would..." James now realized that his real reason seemed foolish, dumb, and childish. But he couldn't come up with anything different and there was nothing to lose, our friendship."
Sirius turned to face Remus and then quickly turned back to James. "Don't you remember back in first year we all made a pack that nothing would come between us? This is one of those things. I'm not saying things won't be a little different...but we'll always be friends, we will still do things together. Do you understand?"
"Yes," James smiled a little. "And I knew that all along. And it doesn't surprise me either now that I think about it."
"What doesn't surprise you?"
"It makes sense. You two together."
Sirius crinkled his eyebrows. "It does?"
James laughed. "Yeah, don't you see it? It was like fate meant to put you two together all along, despite the gender being the same."
"Uh huh..." Sirius turned toward Remus and whispered, "Did you notice this at all?" The other boy shook his head. Sirius shrugged his shoulders and asked James, "Why do you say that it was fate?"
"What's your animagus form?"
"Quite a coincidence don't you think? You get an animal completely capable of a wolf."
"I thought he was chosen for it because he was clumsy and acted on impulse." Remus remarked with a chuckle. His lover glared at him.
"I did too." James just smiled when Sirius threw the evil look his way. He continued, "This may be stretching it a bit...but Sirius is a star and Remus has to do with the moon. Moon and stars have always been related to each other."
"I think he's digging a bit too deep, myself." Sirius murmured to the werewolf making him smile.
James walked over to the other two and threw his arms around both of them. "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I've got the horrible habit of acting too soon before thinking it through. You guys just shocked me...and...I dunno...I thought everything would change."
Sirius ruffled James' already messy hair. "I think we can forgive you...if..."
James looked at Sirius with uncertainty. "If what?"
Sirius grinned widely and looked at Remus. "What?" Remus asked, frightened of the answer.
"I'll need your...um, expertise on this." Sirius answered. Remus raised a brown eyebrow. Sirius took him by the arm and walked him out of earshot of James. He leaned his head down and whispered something into the werewolf's ear. Remus eyes went wide, he smiled, and then he burst out laughing. Remus said something and Sirius nodded his head vigorously to show approval of the plan. They walked back over to James with big smiles.
"Alright," Sirius gripped James' shoulder in a friendly way. "Will you do anything?"
"Uh, that depends." James replied eyeing his two friends warily.
"Oh...something prankish...I suppose."
"Good...very good." Sirius cackled evilly and wrung his hands like a lunatic. "Do you agree to it?" He said in a low mischievous voice.
"What is it first?"
"Tsk tsk. You must agree to it first. Then we shall tell you."
James looked at Remus for some help. But he probably shouldn't have because he had a more mischievous smile on his face than Sirius did with his whole demoniac act. "Is it the only way you'll forgive me?"
"Yes sir. Only way."
"Fine. I'll do it."
"Hehehehehe. This is what you have to do..."
"If she kills me I will come back to haunt them." James muttered under his breath. After they explained what he had to do, he immediately regretted agreeing to it. He should've known better when Remus' face had the look of pure evil on it that it was not a good idea. And now, when he knew the plan, he still didn't get half of it. Remus was asking him to find something and get it for him without being seen. Sirius' part of the bargain would be more embarrassing than walking through the great hall naked.
James came to the door Remus told him about. "First door on the right, it has a silver handle...mainly to keep me out, but it's the only silver one in the house so it should be easy to find."
James tried making himself halfway presentable by smoothing out his clothes and hair. When he figured it was hopeless he took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
"When she sees you she'll bark at you. Isaac and her son aren't here, there at their house, where she should be, but for some odd, unknown reason she stayed the night. But just tell her you have to ask her something about my brother and what happened to him or my past. She'll tell you anything that would bash me. By the way, what she tells you will be a complete lie and I'll tell you the truth when you're done."
That bit of information confused James to no end. Mainly it had to do with the fact that Remus said he had a brother, whom he's never mentioned.
After a couple agonizing minutes Renee opened her door and looked completely miffed. "What do you want?" She asked glaring at James.
"You have to act smooth, suave, and flirtatious."
"Just pretend she's Lily. That way we'll know if you did it or not because she'd come downstairs all pissy and flustered just like Lily always does when you try something!"
Damn Sirius to hell.
"I just wanted to," James leaned in the doorframe and crossed his arms trying to look appealing, "ask you something."
"About what?" She was still frowning and her eyes were trying to burn a hole in James' forehead.
"Remus' past." James was surprised when Renee's frown turned upside down and she started grinning like mad.
"Well, come on in." She pushed him in all too eagerly. James, still trying to keep his cool and Sirius' end of the bargain, tried walking seductively into the room. It failed of course.
She pointed to the bed and told him to sit down. Gracefully, he sat down and crossed his legs. Finding it uncomfortable he switched legs, and then again and again. He gave that up and sat like he normally does: legs straight in front of him and hands balancing behind him.
He looked around the room looking for that specific item Remus wanted.
"It's a light blue box. It sits on her dresser right by her bed."
He repeated Remus' words in his head until he saw it sitting right where he said it was. It was about the size of medium sized novel. Small enough to be carried, but still big enough that it couldn't be hidden easily under his clothes. And how exactly was he supposed to get it without Renee seeing him? Sirius didn't offer much advice on that subject.
"You have to kiss her."
"Ewe Sirius. I wouldn't wish that on a frog."
"Fine you don't have to kiss her. You'll have to come up with something on your own."
At least Remus saved him from that. He was hoping that maybe she'd go to the loo sometime during the time he was there then he would have enough time to snag that one thing...but...
"You should steal something of hers. A piece of clothing or something."
"Why should I?"
"For the fun of it."
"He should steal a piece of her underwear."
That's when Peter decided to show up. And he just had to offer more ideas to Sirius, didn't he?
"I don't want to see that! She's my sister!"
"Then you don't have to look. That was a good idea, Pete. You have to steal her underwear...the most racy pair!"
No way was that going to happen. It wasn't looking good enough to nab the blue box let alone rummaging around in drawers in search for sexy underwear.
"So what did you want to ask me?" Renee asked sitting on the edge of the bed and gazed at the black-haired teen.
"Oh, well," James nonchalantly moved closer to her...she didn't notice. "It was mentioned somewhere that Remus had a brother and—"
"Oh I see. You want to know where he's at?"
"It's such a sad and dismal story," Her face was sorrowful, but James could tell it was fake. But he had to pretend to be 'smooth and suave' so he put a hand on her shoulder. It bewildered him when she didn't flinch or move it. "He died years ago."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"The sad part of it...it was someone's fault and that someone was very close to him."
"Oh?" James knew where she was going with this. Pinning it on Remus for his death because he was a werewolf. What a shame of a sister she was.
"I shouldn't say that. It wasn't anyone's fault." Her face fell, and James knew that it was a true mournful expression. "But I can't help but think that if it wasn't for someone he would still be alive."
James was dumbfounded. "Everyone...makes mistakes. Some just turn out worse than others. And it could've been several things that made the incident happen, anyway."
"It was a mistake. I wish I could turn back time and bring him back." She had tears in her eyes.
"How old was he?"
"And who...do you...blame?" James watched the tears flow from her brown eyes. In the back of his mind Sirius was yelling at him for not adhering to the deal but James didn't think that a stupid prank should be played at a time like this.
She didn't answer. "I'm sorry." She wiped her eyes with the back of her sleeve. "I'll be right back. I'll answer your questions later." She walked out the room slowly leaving James mystified.
A whole minute had passed when his mind started catching up to him. He was there for a reason. He turned around and crawled over the bed and sat on the other side facing the blue wooden box. He vaguely wondered why Remus would want something like this but figured he'd tell him later.
He reached out and paused when he remembered his friend's words. "She put up wards that burn my hands so I won't go near it, but you'll be fine...I think..." His words weren't that comforting. If James got burned, he would hit Remus hard. Being brave and daring, he touched the top of the cover. Nothing happened. He picked it up and held it in his hands looking around. "Great. Now what?"
He heard footsteps nearing. He climbed back over the bed and sat in his spot. He shoved the box underneath the bed right when Renee walked back in.
"Didn't keep you waiting too long did I?"
"NO!" James said too hurriedly. "Of course not."
"Okay. So what other questions do you want to ask me?" She asked after she sat in her previous spot.
"Well, um...How did he... you know..."
"How did he die?"
"Uh, yeah." Smoothly, he pushed the box back further with his foot.
"He was killed by...a werewolf."
"What?!" James blurted. He didn't expect that.
"Yes, eight years ago..."
"Eight? Wait a minute." James did mental math in his head. Remus was fifteen minus eight is seven. That was how old he was when... "What happened to Remus that year?"
"By that statement I'm just assuming you know he secret then."
"I've known for a couple of years. Was the time he was bitten the same time your brother died?" It was all starting to come together.
"Exact same night."
"So...how did they both get hurt? Were they playing outside late at night or something?"
She sighed heavily. "Remus was locked outside. And he went looking for him."
"How did he get outside?" Renee looked at him angrily. Apparently he said something wrong.
"I think you should go now." She said standing up and heading to the door.
"Oh, okay." James stood up and took a step forward but remembered he was forgetting something. He 'slipped' somehow on the carpet and fell to the floor. He slid backwards and reached under the bed and found the box. Renee was glaring at him and evidently wasn't going to assist in helping him up.
James shoved the box underneath his shirt, even though it would be visible since people usually don't have square protrusions coming out of their backs. He stood up carefully, one hand on his back holding the box up. "Ug, back hurts." He mumbled when he started walking towards Renee. She rolled her eyes at him.
He discreetly turned so she wouldn't see him hiding something. He faced her and walked out the door backwards. He opened his mouth to say something but she slammed the door in his face. "Nice lady." James took the box out from under his shirt and ran down the hallway and into Remus' room, where they were all supposed to meet.
When he burst into the room the other three boys jumped in fright. "You could come in a little more politely you know." Sirius informed.
"That's great." James walked over to Remus and handed him the blue box. Remus took it gingerly and realized that it wasn't going to burn him. He smiled at James. Before he knew it, James found himself in a bone-crushing hug.
"Thank you thank you thank you thank you!" Remus shouted. "I could kiss you!"
"HEY!" Sirius bellowed while tearing Remus off of James. "That's for me only. He's got Evans."
"I said I could, doesn't mean I would." Remus smiled impishly and gave Sirius a quick peck on the lips. Sirius bit his lip and gazed longingly into his favorite pair of amber eyes. James and Peter on looked the scene taking place in front of them and noticed the evident rapture being created. Peter grinned at the two and James soon found himself doing the same.
"So," Sirius whispered taking the box from Remus' hands, "Why is this so special?" He toyed with lid and opened it. "There's nothing in it." He pointed out rather disappointed.
Remus ran his hands over every inch of the box. "There's not supposed to be."
"Darn. I thought it was her diary or something."
"Then why did I have to go get it?!" James asked. He didn't think that it was made very well, and it had no real artistic value to it. And now he found out that nothing was in it? That was a tad bit disappointing.
"It means a lot to me, Prongs." Remus replied as he sat the box down on his bedside table.
"But why?" Peter piped up after a long silence.
Remus' eyes misted over. "Because my brother made it for me the Christmas before he died."
His three friends all looked at him sympathetically. James and Peter kept their questions to themselves. But Sirius didn't. "Why did Renee have it then?"
"I dunno." Remus sat down on his bed and backed up and leaned to the headboard. "I came home from the hospital and it was gone."
"That's sad." Peter uttered. James smacked him in the arm and gave him the that-was-a-dumb-thing-to-say look.
It was quiet for several minutes until Remus said, "Happy late New Years."
James chuckled. "I forgot about that."
"Me too." Peter and Sirius said in unison and then laughed at each other.
"Too much was going on and jumbling up my head." James explained.
"But everything's okay now." Sirius stated as a fact not a question.
"So, you've forgiven me?" James looked at Remus and Sirius waiting for an answer.
"Did you flirt with her?" Sirius asked.
"I tried at first, but it didn't really take."
"Ah, well..." Sirius leaned over and murmured something quietly into Remus' ear. The werewolf smiled and nodded his head.
"Yes. You're forgiven." Sirius answered with a smile. He hugged James briefly and held out his hand palm down. "Marauders forever." James placed his hand on top of Sirius', Remus' hand on James', and Peter's on Remus'.
"Padfoot, Prongs, Moony, Wormtail. Always and forever."
A/N: I never dreamed of writing a 22-chapter story and it was only intended to be ten. I know that the French is probably a bit off, but don't blame me, blame the translation site! I want to thank everyone who reviewed (it motivated me more to finish the story) and who actually made it through the entire story.