We Should Be There Deborah Peters

Chapter Three: Decision

Peter was still rubbing his mother's lipstick off of his cheek when he came through the portrait-hole, a handkerchief in one hand and a small, brown suitcase in the other. Finally sure he'd wiped the last of his mother's smothering affection from his face, he crossed the Common Room and climbed the boys' dormitory staircase. He expected his dorm to be devoid of all occupants; it was a bright April afternoon, and a Saturday to boot, and the sort of day that invariably found all four seventh-year Gryffindors on the grounds.
When he pushed open the door, however, he found that Remus, at least, was not outside, but rather in bed, propped up by pillows, engrossed in a dusty book supported by his knees. At the sound of the door opening, the pale boy's gaze lifted from the text. "Hello, Peter," he said softly, "Did your trip go well?"
Peter dropped his suitcase on the floor and sat down on his own bed. "I guess," he said. "I mean, the trip itself was okay, but the funeral was horribly boring, especially as I didn't even know Aunt Sophie. The whole ordeal was just rather awkward, honestly, aunts and cousins coming up to me and asking me if I was close to her, like some kind of poll." He suddenly flopped onto his back. "And that open casket was creepy. When I die, I hope they—what's that Muggle thing they do called—creamery me? When they blow you up and scatter the bits someplace?"
"Cremate," Remus supplied easily. "They burn the corpse and either put the ashes in an urn or scatter them someplace meaningful."
Peter sat up, seemingly fascinated. "You must've learnt all sorts of things from your mum's family."
Remus shrugged, wincing a little as he did so. "I say," Peter said, suddenly, "You look like hell. Full moon night before last, wasn't it—did you end up letting Padfoot and Prongs go with you?"
Remus shook his head tiredly. "No. I meant what I said. We've been getting too careless."
Peter cocked his head to the side. "So, where are they now?"
Remus laughed quietly and gestured vaguely towards the window. "Practising Quidditch, what else?"
Peter frowned. "And what, left you here all by yourself to waste away indoors behind a big, dusty book? Some mates!"
Remus shook his head, smiling. "No, they don't even know I'm out of hospital yet."
"How? Didn't you get out yesterday morning, like usual?" Peter asked.
"No, only today. And I missed yesterday's Quidditch match, too—Ravenclaw vs. Hufflepuff."
"Well, so did I, so you'll get no sympathy from me," Peter scoffed. Then, after a moment's pause, he peered at Remus and asked, "Why the extra day in hospital?"
"I..." Remus swallowed. "I had a bad way of it this time around."
"Why was this time different?" Peter asked, blinking.
Remus pressed his lips together, and then said, quietly, "I couldn't tell you, Peter."
Peter seemed satisfied by this, and proceeded to drag his suitcase up onto the bed with him, open it, and begin to unpack. He was just storing some clean socks in a drawer when Remus's voice broke the relative quiet, saying, "Peter, could I ask you a question?"
Peter closed the drawer and turned to face him. "Sure, Moony, though I probably won't know the answer."
Remus shook his head. "Not that kind of question. More like...an opinion."
"Well... all right," Peter said, shrugging. "What about?"
"What do you think... about... Sirius?"
Peter shrugged again. "He's great."
"No, I mean—well, do you think he's... earnest? I mean, would he say or do something that he didn't mean?"
Peter laughed. "Of course he would."
The color seemed to drain a little from Remus's face. "He would?"
"Oh, yeah!" Peter said. "When have you ever known Padfoot to pass up the opportunity to pull one over on a teacher or a Slytherin? I think he'd ask Snivellus for a snog if he thought he could get a laugh out of it!"
At Peter's last statement, Remus seemed to grow even paler. "But, what do—I mean, do you think—Would Sirius lie to one of us, for a laugh? About something sort of important?"
"Sure he would!" Peter said easily. "Remember that time he told me our Charms exam was Thursday, when it was really Friday? That was important, and he had me up all night revising until Tabitha Spinnet came and told me the truth."
"But, what if it were something more important than an exam? Something—personal?" Remus asked, a hint of panic creeping into his voice.
"Well, probab—Hey!" Peter said suddenly, "what do you mean? What did Padfoot say to you, Moony? I can check around to see if he was trying to play a trick on you, if you like." "No, no," Remus said hastily, "I'm sure that's not necessary, Peter, but thank you all the same."
Peter peered at Remus intently. "What did Padfoot say to you? You can trust me, Moony."
Remus was quiet for a moment. "Peter," he said finally, "I know I can trust you. I know you can keep a secret—we all do. But what I'd like to tell you might gravely affect how you see Sirius and myself as people."
Peter inhaled sharply. "You did help him cheat on that last Transfiguration exam! James said you must've, but I—"
"No, of course not," Remus said tiredly. "Believe me, Peter, this is much more considerable than cheating on exams."
"It can't be all that awful," Peter said. "Not if you're involved. Sirius, maybe—but whatever involves the both of you? Honestly, just tell me. I won't judge you to be any different. I swear."
Remus took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Visibly steeling himself, he said, quietly, "Sirius... came to see me in hospital night before last. After the moon. And he... told me... well, he... Sirius... kissed me." Remus seemed to consider his last words, hastily added, "On the cheek," and looked away from Peter.
Peter bit his bottom lip. "Well," he said at last, "I'm not exactly surprised. I'm not not surprised, though. I guess you could say... I didn't see this coming, but I didn't not see it coming, either."
Remus was looking down at his book. "What do you mean?"
"Well," Peter said again, "I can't help but notice sometimes that Sirius looks at you like James looks at Lily."
Remus's head snapped up. "What?"
Peter seemed to choose his words carefully. "Sometimes... when we were just out on the grounds, or in the common room, we'd all be talking like usual, and I'd just see him watching you with this look... I guess if I had to call it something, I'd call it... possessive. Yeah, possessive. If that makes any sense."
Remus put his head in his hands. "Nothing makes any sense."
Peter's voice broke the silence. "Did you like it?"
Remus's voice was muffled. "Like what?"
"When he kissed you."
For the second time, Remus lifted his head sharply. "Peter!" he said, shocked.
Peter shrugged. "I assume you did, otherwise you wouldn't be worried about whether or not he meant it."
Remus's voice was almost shaky. "That's not necessarily true. I could have loathed his advances and am now trying to see if I have to worry about them in the future."
"That's not true, though, is it, Moony?" Peter asked quietly.
Remus was saved having to answer by the door to the dormitory swinging suddenly open, admitting two voices, one tenor and one baritone. "Seriously, Padfoot, the object of the game is to hit the Bludgers away from the Chasers. That last one almost took my—"James's tirade was cut short when he saw who was in the room. "Oy, Padfoot, look who's back!"
Sirius appeared in the doorway behind James. "Hullo, then, Wormtail, how are the dead aunties?"
Peter rolled his eyes. "Quite boring, really, though their conversation has improved, if anything."
The two Quidditch players tromped into the room, chattering happily, carefully stowing their broomsticks in places of honor but scattering their training robes and boots all over the floor. Remus, for all appearances absorbed once more in the book on his lap, pretended not to notice when Peter leaned over to whisper something to James.
When James was dressed in his regular clothes, he cleared his throat, not too obviously, and said, "Well, Wormtail, since you're back, do you want to get to that Ancient Runes study session I promised you?"
Peter nodded, apparently grateful. "See you later, Padfoot. Try not to drown yourself in that book, Moony."
"I don't think that's physically possible, Wormtail," James said, and the two boys left the dormitory.
Sirius had flopped onto his bed in just his trousers, apparently too exhausted to exert himself enough to pull on a sweater. He was staring at the ceiling and didn't seem to be making the conscious effort to avoid looking at Remus.
After a few minutes of glancing from his book to his friend, Remus closed his eyes, steadied himself, and said, "Sirius?"
Sirius rolled over in his bed to look at Remus wordlessly.
"Sirius, I want to know... about what you said Thursday night."
The black-haired boy sat up. "Well. That's interesting. I want to know how you felt about it."
Remus looked down at his book. "I... I can't know that until I know if you were being earnest in what you said."
Sirius, laughing, stood up, crossed the room, and sat on the far edge of Remus's bed. "So, let me understand this correctly—you have to know how I feel in order for me to know how you feel, and I won't know how I feel until I know how you feel—"
"Yes, Sirius, that's it, now answer me," Remus interrupted vehemently.
Sirius looked at him, blinking, and let out a quiet, low-pitched howl under his breath. "Well, Moony, since you're so very intent on knowing," he said, drumming his fingers on the edge of the bed, "I meant every word I said, and some I didn't say."
Remus's lips parted unconsciously as he blinked at the other boy. Silent for a moment, he at last breathed, "You did?"
Sirius nodded. "And I meant everything I did, too."
Remus blinked. "You... you did?"
Sirius edged closer to the other boy. "I did, Remus. I still do. I've had a lot of time to think about this since that night—I don't think I've slept much, actually—and I know what I want from you. I know what I was asking you when I asked you to never go through your transformation without me. Remus, I don't want you to ever be without me for any reason. I want to be with you for as long as I can—and not in the way that I want to be with James or Peter. Remus, I... I think you know what I mean."
Remus, now only a half-meter away from Sirius, drew a shaky breath. "Sirius... I don't know if I... I just don't know."
Sirius's only response was to lay his hand on Remus's shoulder, draw the other boy closer, and kiss him gently on the lips.
"I'm a risk-taker, Moony," the gray-eyed boy said as he pulled away. "I live for the thrill of it. I love the idea that, any second, somebody could come and catch me, that somebody could come and tell me that I'm misbehaving. I love pranks, I love dares—I love risks. But, Moony—I would never put my relationship with you to chance. If I didn't think that there were even the slightest hint that you might feel the same way about me that I feel about you, I wouldn't have done that. Remus, please tell me that kissing you will never be a risk for me. Please tell me that you will let me be there for you."
Remus's response was as silent as Sirius's was eloquent; the pale boy leaned into the other's embrace, resting his sandy-haired head on the proffered shoulder, and closed his eyes with the relief that comes after a difficult decision.