Disclaimer: none of the characters belong to me (sadly), they're the property of J. K. Rowling. Um, Valentine's Day doesn't really belong to me either, so frankly not much of this story is all that original…But you can enjoy this fluffy Valentines fic anyway!
Will You Be My Valentine?
FEBRUARY 14 – 6TH YEAR GRYFFINDOR BOYS' DORMITORY
Looking back on the night of February 13th, Remus could hardly believe what he had done.
Just moments earlier, when he'd first opened his eyes to the sunlit dormitory, he'd been blissfully in the moment. Then the scarlet of the bed hangings had reminded him of a heart, charmed to the outside of a letter, and Remus had more or less entered a state of shock, verging on the early stages of acute panic. He couldn't have…It couldn't be…So unlike him, so nightmarishly impossible…
Remus's brain took one more step towards alertness, and in a flash he remembered delving into James's "secret" stash of Firewhiskey, and unfortunately everything began to seem more probable. The idea of a sober Remus writing a valentine seemed preposterous – after all, the sixteen-year-old werewolf loathed Valentine's Day (although Remus secretly suspected that his hatred was rooted in bitterness because Some People got far more valentines than Remus ever did because Some People were gorgeous dark-haired sexy girl-magnets who, never in a million years, would think of Remus as anything more than a friend.)
And although, or perhaps especially because, Remus had a limited extent of practice with being drunk, he felt confident in blaming James's Firewhiskey for the consequences of what he'd done the previous night. An inebriated Remus was much more likely to send a sappy letter to his secret crush, and in effect cause a sober Remus to suffer when his secret crush became less of a secret and more of a school-wide joke, and when Sirius never wanted anything to do with Remus ever again.
Because the truth of the matter was, Remus had written a sappy valentine to Sirius, his gorgeous crush since third year. And the chances of the previous night's events ending in anything but disaster were decidedly poor; Snape was probably ten times more likely to wash his hair regularly than Sirius was to return Remus's feelings, because Sirius was quite possibly the Straightest Bloke on the Planet. Or at least at Hogwarts, where he had dated just about every girl over the age of 13.
As he fought through the alcohol-induced grogginess that plagued his mind, Remus suddenly had a brilliant idea – possibly he could burn the letter before anyone could read it. Sitting up purposefully and wincing at the painful throb in his head that occurred when the world tilted and righted itself again, Remus reached over to his bedside table to grab the valentine.
Only it wasn't there. The lycanthrope (suppressing a groan) climbed out of bed and searched the entire dormitory for the valentine that stubbornly remained missing. Growing more frantic by the second, the werewolf began to overturn objects with increasing carelessness, quite oblivious to the noise he made and the presence of the sleeping bodies he shared the dormitory with.
"Oy, Moony!" called James from somewhere behind Remus. "Whatcha doing?" Blushing and looking down at the mess he'd made of Peter's homework, Remus mumbled that he wasn't doing much of anything, really.
"What was that? Don't think I quite understood you there, mate," replied James with a grin.
"Go to hell, Prongs," groaned Remus as he clutched his head, which felt like it had exploded with the sudden movement of turning to glare at his friend. "Just looking for something, you git."
"Ho-ho!" exclaimed a merry James. "Feeling a tad hung over, Moony? How late were you and Padders up after I went to bed?"
Sirius spoke without moving from his bed at all, causing Remus to worry about how long Sirius had been awake. "Long enough to get too pissed to give a damn what time it was," Sirius grunted. Had Sirius seen Remus looking in vain for the letter? Had he heard the werewolf muttering anything incriminating while throwing potions essays across the dormitory?
Sirius shouted what Remus proudly believed to be the longest stream of cusswords he'd ever heard anyone string together at 7 in the morning on Valentine's Day. Apparently he had attempted to stand (Remus had missed the actual event, as he had been scanning the room yet again for the valentine) and ended crouched on the floor, clutching his head. His loud exclamation had evidently woken Peter and Gideon Prewett, who sat up in their beds with expressions of shock.
"Rise and shine, Pads, my friend," commanded a smug James, rather pleased that he had not drunk as much as Remus and Sirius. "Breakfast in 12 minutes, and I want to see the lovely Miss Evans get my valentine."
At this reminder, Remus groaned. Sure that somehow the entire morning – including the drunken valentine-writing of the very wee hours of the morning – was either a horrific nightmare or some fabulous joke, he lay down on his bed once more and closed his eyes. He could hear Sirius getting ready, using the bathroom sink, and swearing gleefully. The animagus summoned his underwear, which he had left in his trunk (truth be told, the whole need to summon them was odd, since he generally changed in front of everyone; yet somehow this morning was different.) Inspired by Sirius, Remus grabbed his wand and muttered, "Accio valentine." He visualized the dreadful thing floating off some table in the common room and zooming into his hand, but to his alarm, nothing happened. He tried again, visualizing as hard as he could…nothing. Remus sagged back against his pillow in defeat.
His relaxation was disrupted by something heavy, which landed on top of him. A loud voice bellowed, "Wake up, Remy!" The noise caused his brain to shatter into sharp little pieces that poked at his skull, and the werewolf clutched his head. His attacker seemed to have a similar reaction, because he swore and grabbed his own head.
When Remus recovered, he shoved Sirius off roughly. "Geddoff, Padfoot, you're squashing me." A shame to have to move him, thought Remus bitterly, especially since everybody has gone down to breakfast. But since someone had clearly taken the valentine and the contents would have spread throughout Hogwarts by lunchtime, Remus didn't feel like enjoying the sensation of Sirius's muscular body on top of his own was really an acceptable thing to do.
Sirius pouted an adorable puppy-dog pout, but then said, "Come on, Remy, you've got to shower. Can't go about, trailing grease like Snivellus, can you."
Remus privately agreed with his crush, but for the sake of upholding the proper principles, he shot Sirius a reproving glare. He did, however, allow the larger boy to drag him into the bathroom, turn on the shower, and begin to undress him, caught up in the feeling of Sirius's hands on his body. If he hadn't been so sure otherwise, he would have sworn that the numerous brushes of Sirius thighs against Remus's were intentional. Remus's shirt was already over his head when he came to his senses, realizing that his pajama pants hid (somewhat) his boner, which was something he definitely wanted to remain hidden from Sirius.
"S-Sirius…What are you doing? Sirius!" exclaimed Remus, grabbing the other boy's wrists and holding them away from the pajama pants' waistband. "Thanks for the offer, Padfoot, but I really can undress myself," he said with a grin. "The sentiment, however, is very touching." Both boys laughed rather forced, uncomfortable laughs.
Then Sirius nodded curtly and left the bathroom. Remus made sure his shower was very cold.
He was shocked to find Sirius waiting for him outside the bathroom. "I thought you would have gone to find Janet," he said in surprise.
Sirius shrugged. Janet was Sirius's most recent girlfriend. Sirius had cheated on his previous girlfriend with Janet, pretending the tawny-haired Ravenclaw had been his study buddy for History of Magic. Remus, who was Sirius's real History of Magic lifeline (as he let Sirius copy all his notes and checked over the taller boy's homework assignments to assure their correctness) had not bought into the story from the beginning. For the entire duration of the Janet Era, which just so happened to have been the last nine days, the only thing Remus would have believed Sirius and Janet might have studied together would have been the Kama Sutra.
Sirius was probably the most sexually active student in the entire school, and he had a very difficult time sticking with one girl for very long. Frequently interrogated as to why this was, Sirius simply replied, "I'm not in love with her." Recently he had taken to meeting Remus's eyes as he said this, presumably to see if Remus still approved of him, even after such casual treatment of others. Every time, Remus felt floaty and weighted down at the same time, rather like a butterfly who tries to flutter off, only to realize its wings are punctured with too many holes. Sirius would never love him, either.
"I broke up with her yesterday," Sirius admitted, for once sounding almost shy about it. "Jamie dared me to…Well he dared me to ask out that secret crush of mine out, so I figured dumping Janet was a good start." Remus nodded. Secret crushes had been one of the things he and Sirius had chatted about during their Firewhiskey party of the previous night.
Sirius hopped off Remus's bed and picked up his book bag. "So. Ready to brave the worst breakfast of the whole bloody year?" Sirius asked, sliding something in between the pages of a Charms text.
"Alright," replied the smaller boy with a grim face. Then, "What did you put inside the book?"
Sirius did not answer until they had left the dormitory and started down the stairs. "Valentine," he muttered. "You sent yours yet?"
Remus smacked his palm into his forehead – an action that James (and thus Peter as well) laughed that, but Sirius insisted was adorable, and since Sirius had seemed sincere about it, Remus had not made any effort to remove the gesture from his body language vocabulary. Remus couldn't believe he hadn't remembered, not once the entire morning of crazed searching, that he'd sent the bloody thing.
I ought to excuse myself somewhat, he reasoned, since my memory of last night's been blurred by all that Firewhiskey. However, considering the predicament he was in currently and the lack of time he had to fix the terrible mistake his drunken self had made, Remus was not feeling particularly forgiving.
FEBRUARY 13 – GRYFFINDOR COMMON ROOM
"I wish we could skip tomorrow and go right on to Sunday," Remus groaned. "I hate bleeding Valentine's Day!"
"We know!" James laughed. It was late – nearing 11:30 PM – Remus had just finished his 5-foot Potions essay, and the other Marauders were keeping him company, but few others were in the common room. "Well, I've got a slight case of nerves," James admitted. "I'm planning to ask out that Evans woman in my valentine card. And Padfoot, I'm sure, isn't looking forward to being prevented from eating his eggs by a large pile of love letters."
Three Marauders cackled, but Remus only smiled and sank lower in his armchair, thinking erroneously that no one would notice.
Sirius leaned over. "Oy, Moony. Better watch out for that wild enthusiasm of yours, mate, or McGonagall's gonna storm in here to tell you to keep it down! What's wrong, think you won't get anything?" When Remus said nothing, the other boy continued. "You're dead sexy, you know, loads of girls think so. You always get at least ten cards."
"I'm not worried about that," Remus had to explain. "It's just, I know I won't be getting one from…the person I want to get one from."
"Ooh! Remy's got a crush!" sang Sirius. "Who is it?" Pink cheeked, Remus looked at his lap and tried to evade the question.
"It's kind of…I don't want to tell anyone, not yet," he told his friends, hoping Sirius wouldn't feel too hurt.
"Remy's got a secret crush!" Sirius sang in response, and threw his shoe at James's head. "Hey, you lot! Remy here's got a secret crush!"
Glaring, the werewolf hissed a sarcastic, "Thanks a ton, Padfoot." An even wider grin had spread across Sirius's face as he'd leaned even closer, far too close for comfort.
"Me too," he whispered.
"You too what?"
"Have got a secret crush."
Snidely, Remus replied, "Oh, so you're over Janet already, on Day…what is this, eight? Who is it?"
The dark-haired boy chuckled. "Moony, you really can be an idiot at times. I said it was a secret crush. So, how long, for you?"
Remus thought about it. He had the feeling that he'd liked Sirius since he'd first laid eyes on the boy, but he hadn't come to terms with everything until third year. "Three years," he said slowly. "You?"
"'Bout a year or so I've known. But I've got another secret: I'm in love."
Remus didn't find this news funny at all, but he felt like he should laugh anyway. But Sirius frowned, looking genuinely upset, and begged, "Don't laugh! I mean it - and they'll never send me a valentine, either."
Suddenly two large bottles of Firewhiskey were levitated into their laps. "Drink up, gentlemen," advised James. "I heard your stories – both very sad, I assure you – and a bottle of booze each is just what you need." Having made his announcement, James set down his wand and grabbed his own bottle, sharing it at intervals with Peter.
Sirius, of course, needed no persuasion, but it was necessary for the Marauders to remind Remus that when he fell asleep he'd be waking up to Valentine's day, which apart from being one of Remus's very least favorite days of the year, also happened to fall on a Saturday, and thus had no classes to attend. Within minutes, all four mischief makers drank merrily into the night. By 1:30, Peter had fallen asleep and taken to snoring. James brought out some parchment and a quill and began writing a valentine to Lily.
Prompted by James's action, Sirius dared Remus to send a valentine to the mystery girl ("or boy – you know I wouldn't mind either way,") and Remus agreed so long as Sirius did the same for his love. The tawny-haired werewolf thought it odd that Sirius glanced over to James so often, as if to make sure his friend was watching.
Remus had never written a valentine before, and he wasn't sure what to do. He knew girls gave Sirius letters on pink paper, and made all the dots above i's into hearts and what not, but Remus was not a girl. Nor did he actually dot his i's; he scribbled so quickly he sometimes even forgot to cross his t's, leading to confusing manuscripts only his friends could read without difficulty. Remus wrote in plain black ink on a plain piece of blank parchment.
"How does this sound: Evans, my dear, I love you so. You are my beautiful, wonderful everything…" James paused in his reading for dramatic effect, "Please find it in your heart to accompany me to Madame Puddifoot's this evening. Forever yours, James Potter."
Sirius and Remus laughed heartily and Remus suggested, "You might want to try calling her by her first name. I've believe girls often prefer that." James looked crestfallen, as if he'd suddenly realized why all his previous attempts to ensnare "Evans" had failed and he found the reason extremely unsatisfactory.
"Don't worry, mate," consoled Sirius, who tried to look sympathetic despite his grin. "You'll wear her down, some day."
James sighed dramatically and re-read his valentine. Turning to Sirius with a meaningful look, he asked, "What about you, Pads? Think you'll have any luck with your special someone?"
"Nah," replied Sirius, shaking his head, but Remus protested, scandalized: "No? Of course you will! Someone would have to be a total dunderhead – not to mention blind – not to fall in love with you!" As soon as he'd said it, Remus wished he hadn't, or thathe'd hiccoughed just to assert his state of inebriation, but instead he had to blush as he heard James cough suggestively and Sirius look completely oblivious. It was good Sirius hadn't noticed – but had James? Did he know? Would he tell?
"Ah," moaned James, "Unrequited love is hell." No one protested.
Remus glanced down at his letter. He had written only one word: Sirius. He wasn't sure what to say next. "You're my secret crush"? "I wish I could shag you"? Both were true, but neither was particularly eloquent and the latter seemed highly inappropriate. And "I love you" wasn't any good either; Remus didn't want to write it if he wasn't entirely sure, and love seemed so big and meaningful and forever that he wasn't sure he could properly have it at 16. He'd never been in love before, and had no basis for comparison, and he had to admit, he was afraid to write the three words that would lay bare all his emotions and put him entirely at the mercy of others.
James was charming his valentine to sing a few bars from "Love Me Do" upon reception. Soon he finished and bade the other two a good night. Remus looked down at his own, nearly empty letter, and then over at Sirius. "How're you doing, Siri?"
Sirius smiled upon hearing the nickname. "Great. Got one entire sentence down!" He laughed loudly. "It's brilliant!" Remus had called him "Siri" once or twice, but had stopped, horrified, when Sirius had joked that "Siri" sounded like a nickname made out of convenience, because "Sirius" was too difficult to say during an orgasm. Remus smiled back at him, lazily watching how the firelight outlined Sirius's cheekbones and strong nose from behind, rimming the beautiful features in an orange glow.
Remus swallowed a mouthful of Firewhiskey. "Mmm?"
"How much would you do for a dare? Would you…kiss your secret crush?"
Remus smiled with half of his mouth, thinking of kissing Sirius, wondering if a few seconds of bliss would be worth the torture that came after. "Depends. Who's dares me? – I mean, who's…daring…me…"
Sirius grinned, and grabbed the bottle out of Remus's hands to take a swig out of it himself. "Jamie?" Remus shook his head. "Me?" When Remus frowned, Sirius added, "I could beg! Would you take the dare if I begged?" Sirius flashed him the pleading look of a hungry puppy several hours past suppertime.
Remus, who found himself entertaining fantasies of Sirius begging for other, more intimate things, shook his head to clear it. "Are you?"
After a pause, Sirius replied, "Yes."
"Then yes." He didn't take time to consider, he just spoke the words. He tried to tell himself it doesn't mean anything, it's just a dare, but he didn't know if he could lie to Sirius. He didn't want to lie any more than necessary. "Er…I've never actually kissed anyone before." It was true – he'd had one girlfriend in fourth year and they'd held hands, but after that he'd given up with anyone who wasn't Sirius. And he'd definitely never kissed Sirius.
"I could teach you." Remus slowly nodded in agreement. The boys' eyes met, and then looked away awkwardly, then Remus's gaze latched onto Sirius's lips. Suddenly, he leaned forward the extra foot and timidly brushed his lips against where he estimated Sirius's mouth to be (unfortunately it was closer to his chin.)
Sirius's hands went to the back of Remus's head and his experienced lips found Remus's, changing the kiss into a gentle melding of mouths. Remus found that moving his lips against Sirius's came naturally, but somehow he was always too fast or too slow, unable to match Sirius's motion completely. He thought he heard someone moan – whether it was himself he wasn't sure, although he figured it was probably the case, and suddenly he realized he had opened his mouth to Sirius he felt the tip of a tongue caress the inside of his mouth.
Pulling back suddenly, he spoke very quickly and slurred his words together. "Thanks, I think I've got it." Sirius tipped the bottle of Firewhiskey upside down into his mouth and took a hearty swig.
Worried that since his face was hot and his whole body was hot and his trousers were suddenly several sizes too small, Remus roughly grabbed the bottle from Sirius and greedily guzzled the beverage. Unlike the tame sips he'd taken all night, the sudden gulp caused the alcohol to scrape a burning trail down the back of his throat, and Remus coughed loudly.
"Watch it there, mate," said Sirius brightly as he bent over his valentine once more.
Remus looked at his own in dissatisfaction, feeling that the bright red heart he had charmed to the outside hardly made up for the lack of content on the inside. "Siri, what d'you think I should write?"
"Well, I'm explaining how much I love them, and then I'm summarizing all my good points so they remember what a wonderfully perfect bloke I am and realize they'd have to be a…what was it, dunderhead? to refuse me…" Sirius broke into drunken laughter, but Remus dropped his head in his hands.
"God, please forget that Siri. I didn't mean –"
Sirius pretended to sound hurt. "You didn't mean it? I'm devastated…Ha ha, I love you Moony, you can be so adorable at times…" He lounged back in his chair, laughing.
"I love you too, Padfoot…" murmured Remus inaudibly, and as the words left his they sounded nice. He grabbed his valentine, and began scribbling furiously.
I love you more than anything. I sort of just found out, but I've fancied you for ages. Back in third year, even. You're my secret crush. I'm sorry I haven't told you, I'm afraid of how you'll act once you know.
I don't even know if I'm going to send this, if you send your valentine it will be kind of unfair if I don't though. I'm sorry if I'm blabbering on about nothing at all, but I think the Firewhiskey is finally starting to get to me a bit. I don't really know what to say since this is my first valentine letter ever, but you told me to say about how good I am and all. That doesn't really tell me what to do, but I did get O's on my O.W.L.s in Defense Against the Dark Arts and Charms, and I got E's in everything else except for Potions, if that helps any.
Honestly I can understand if you'd refuse me, considering how you're not gay and all, and I have the feeling I've botched this up something terrible and I'll just shut up now.
Enjoying the sense of accomplishment he felt at having gotten the bloody thing over with, Remus folded the letter and folded it and put it in a plain white envelope, on which he wrote in his prettiest, neatest handwriting, Sirius. Hurriedly turning the letter face down, Remus looked around for his owl.
"Shit." His owl wasn't anywhere in the common room – which of course made perfect sense. Remus spent several minutes realizing that it made perfect sense, and then several more wondering why he hadn't foreseen such a problem.
"Prongsie left his cloak," Sirius informed him, pointing to the shimmery cloth draped over the back of James's former armchair. "Ready to go?" Remus stuffed the valentine inside his robes and nodded.
Crouched very close to Sirius as the two boys made their way to the owlry, Remus was preoccupied with being inches away from Sirius. Or with trying not to giggle, since every little thing seemed hilarious but they needed to be quiet incase Mrs. Norris or Filch was watching. Or with trying to hide the name on the letter as he tied it to the leg of his owl and asked her not to deliver it until breakfast. Or with remembering to pull away after he and Sirius collapsed against each other in raucous laughter that disturbed the cool dark silence of the owlry and caused several owls to hoot in disapproval.
In fact, Remus was so preoccupied that he didn't notice that Sirius went to bed without having sent his valentine.
FEBRUARY 14 – GREAT HALL
"Any minute, the torture begins." James's smile was wide; it was no secret that he, being the arrogant git he was, loved receiving valentines from scores of girls he'd never consider dating. Usually Sirius seemed to enjoy it as well, but this particular Valentine's Day morning he sat staring at his empty plate, silent and unsmiling. He also sat across the table from James and Remus, and next to Peter – which was odd, since usually James and Peter sat across from Sirius and Remus.
James turned his attention to Sirius. "So, how are you feeling mate? Daring, perhaps?"
"Not particularly – "
"How about rich? Got a spare Galleon or two you'd like to unburden?" Sirius shrugged, and James smiled what could be interpreted as a cruel smile. "Glad to hear it. What do you say to me betting a Galleon that you don't?"
"Don't what?" inquired Peter. Remus's eyes were watching for the morning's first sign of owls.
"Penny-pinching prat," grumbled Sirius. He seemed to be seriously considering a refusal, but his eyes drifted to Remus and a smile crossed his face. He looked back to James. "Fine. You're on."
James laughed. "I knew you couldn't resist a bet you know you'll lose – you like them loads better that way. You're a closet philanthropist, is what you are."
Dumbledore's voice rang across the hall. "Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. With no further ado…" He clapped his hands and the food appeared. Sirius, James, and Peter began stuffing their faces, but Remus, who continued to stare off into space, didn't even bother to serve himself.
"What are you betting, James? I don't get it," whined Peter through a mouthful of muffin.
"Nothing. Hey, Pads, what's up with your werewolf?"
Glaring, Sirius protested, "He's not my…And I don't know," he added somewhat guiltily, as if he thought that a drunken kiss shared between mates was, in fact, a likely cause of Remus's spaciness but didn't want to admit it.
"Mail," rasped a horrified Remus. And he was right – hundreds of owls flapped into the Great Hall, dropping letters and small parcels down between bowls of porridge and stacks of toast. Within less than a minute, Sirius and James sat behind plates covered in pink and red valentines.
"Wonder if Evans has gotten it yet," pondered James, unaware that Peter was the only person in the whole Hall who was paying him any attention.
Sirius frowned, deep in thought, ignoring the fluttering bits of paper that rained down on him. Remus was frantically searching the air and the pile already in front of Sirius for a small plain envelope. While he waited, he read through his own decently-sized pile. Remus Lupin, I love you and I will be your willing sex slave, one read in a glittery pink ink. Remus, I've fancied you for ages, I'd love to be your girlfriend… His personal favorite, because of its absolute revolting contents, read: Remus, I love you. You and Sirius are the two sexiest men in this school. Would two of you perhaps do a threesome with me tomorrow night? Feeling nauseous, Remus abandoned his attempt to read any of them, even though one of the ones closer to the top looked tempting because it was so different from the others. It was not lacy or pink, but just a piece of red parchment, folded neatly but missing an envelope. One large blot of ink had seeped through the paper near what was presumably the end of the letter. Remus was almost tempted, but he really didn't feel up to hearing from one more girl about how sexy the mysterious, shy-and-studious persona was, or how she'd loved him forever, so he ignored the letter.
"She didn't look too hateful," announced James happily. "Perhaps I've got a shot this year. So, Padfoot, what have you got?"
Startled, Sirius snapped his gaze up to James's face. "What – oh. Ugh, lots of insipid frilly things…This one sparkles…Hey, what's this?" Sirius had picked up a plain envelope and was looking at it with interest, and the beginnings of a genuine smile. Fearing the worst, Remus stood up to see across the table.
On the front of the white envelope, written cleanly in black pen, was one name. Remus suddenly felt a rush of something come over him, something so strong he was unsure whether he was going to puke or burst into tears.
– Hurriedly he shouted, "Accio valentine!" and holding the letter tightly in his hand, he ran from the Great Hall –
– "Incendio!" he screamed, his blood pounding in his ears as cool flames consumed the white envelope –
"It's a joke."
Remus felt shaky, feeble, like an old man ready to have a heart attack any second. His frantic heartbeat slowed as he congratulated himself on the calmness of his voice and the evenness of his intonation; he had sounded perfectly honest.
"As I was a bit out of it last night, I don't remember what I wrote, exactly, but I wanted to warn you just in case you took it seriously." Maybe I should be laughing, thought Remus. Would it be more believable if I were laughing? But he couldn't figure out how to wrap his vocal chords around a laugh. Breathing was still difficult enough.
Sirius nodded, pressing his lips together but otherwise achieving an expression that appeared emotionless. He stared at the envelope for a moment that seemed like eternity to Remus, who was waiting fearfully for Sirius to read the bloody thing and react. Finally, with a grin spreading across his face, Sirius replied, "Thanks for the heads up, mate," and opened the letter.
"I've got to meet someone," Remus muttered as he hurriedly climbed over the bench to leave the Great Hall. He had to escape Sirius's short little laughs, which were deployed every few seconds and grated on Remus's mind with their falseness. As his eyes made one final sweep over the table, the chocolate-brown eyes caught a glimpse of the folded red parchment beside his fork. On a whim, Remus reached out to grab the valentine and hid it inside his robes as he exited the Hall.
FEBRUARY 14 – OUTSIDE BY THE LAKE
The crisp winter air whipped against Remus's face and calmed him down pleasantly. The werewolf walked slowly along the perimeter of the lake, relishing the lack of activity. There was snow and ice on the ground and a good deal of it in the air as well, and although Remus stubbornly refused to admit he stood in the middle of a snowstorm, the rest of the student body remained indoors. And it suited Remus just fine.
I will never drink again, he commanded himself, secretly knowing that such frivolous rules were made to be broken. But he really had gotten into quite a predicament because of alcohol, and he had narrowly escaped, saved only by quick thinking and a good deal of luck. I will never drink again, he repeated, already realizing it was hopeless.
There would have been a time when his impeccable behavior would have saved him from such horrors. When Remus had arrived at Hogwarts as a timid and self-conscious First Year, his study habits and manners and just about everything else had been every teacher's dream come true. But as his friendships with mischief-making James and Sirius had deepened and Remus had really become part of the group, he had slowly developed into a much more confident young man. Although he refrained from participating in the worst pranks on Snape, Remus caused just as much trouble as any other Marauder, the only difference being that he was much better at avoiding detection. Although his marks were still excellent, Remus most certainly made a dreadful Prefect.
The person he had become was undeniably cooler and more fun, but Remus couldn't help feeling like he had been robbed of his virtue, as if he'd lost his unadulterated perfection and he could never have it back. Maybe it was fated to happen, he thought. The bite stripped me of any chances at success in life, it murdered my innocence and made me into a monster. Maybe being trouble at school just follows logically – I'm everything impure, a juvenile delinquent, bloody gay werewolf who's in love with his straight best friend.
Sighing and trying to clear his head of such depressing thoughts, Remus unfolded the red valentine.
Immediately his eyes were drawn to a large black shape at the bottom of the page. It was the ink blot that had shown through on the other side, and it was shaped like a paw print.
A very large, canine print that the wolf in Remus recognized instantly.
Suddenly feeling feeble again, and noticing the way his heart thudded in the hollow of his neck and at the back of his head just behind his ears, Remus forced his eyes to find the effortlessly neat writing.
It was part of belonging to a prestigious pureblood family – children learned things like calligraphy and high society etiquette. No child of the Blacks, not even one who had been disowned, would scribble tiny illegible words like Remus did. Despite the perfect formation of each letter, Remus could not seem to make sense of any of the words.
Guess what, darling? You're my secret crush. I love you.
I pray to God Jamie was right about you fancying me back, or else I'd look like a bloody fool, and I generally try to avoid looking like one of those. Better a fool than a certain greaseball, though, I suppose.
Anyhow, if you'll have me (which I don't doubt, considering how great a bloke I am and how brilliant a bloke you are), please note that I some day owe you an uninterrupted night of mad hot sex during which you can forgive me for this horribly blunt proclamation of what should rightly be very tender feelings. I've never been much good at the sappy bit when I really mean it.
Oh, shit, was all Remus could think. Poor Sirius. He hated himself for being such a coward, hated to the point where he wished five full moon transformations on himself, one right after the other, because he could imagine how Sirius felt, and he knew that what he'd done might very well screw up any chances the two of them might have had together.
Or maybe, thought a little voice in the back of Remus's head, the entire thing was a joke. Or a dare. Maybe Prongs dared him to do it, and that's what breakfast was all about. Of course that's it, of course he doesn't love you, he's straight after all…
Still, I ought to find him and talk to him. See what he meant, take it from there. Forcing himself to feel cheerful, Remus stuck the valentine back inside his robes and returned to the castle. He wasn't sure where Sirius might be, so he started off toward the portrait of the Fat Lady.
Remus tapped his fingers against his thigh impatiently as the Fat Lady took her time in noticing him. She seemed slightly tipsy from the champagne she held in her hand.
"What's the password, dear?" she asked him with a friendly smile.
"Amor caecus est," answered Remus in a rush. You couldn't be more right, he realized. Love is blind.
He wished he didn't love Sirius. He wished he could fancy some other bloke, someone who wasn't his best mate. He wished his feelings didn't threaten the friendship that meant more to him than anything ever had in his entire life.
He hadn't been sure it was love before the previous night. He'd tried to deal with the emotion from afar, calling it "a crush," "a phase," "infatuation," "unhealthy obsession with someone who is absolutely off-limits," but as soon has he'd used the word "love" he knew it was the proper term.
Upon entering the common room, Remus saw someone leap up off a chair by the fire and catapult himself into the lap of a girl, snogging her senseless.
Someone with gorgeous black hair. Sirius.
Remus was positive he was choking on something large – possibly a toad, or more likely some of his breakfast, considering how much trouble he was suddenly having keeping it down.
"Sirius?" he asked as brightly as he could.
The pair continued kissing for a while and Remus noticed Sirius's hands gently caressing the girl's breasts and that she groped his arse. She moaned and Remus bit his lip. Finally Sirius pulled away and turned around.
"Yes, Remus, what is it?" Remus frowned. Usually, with Sirius, he was either "Moony" or "Remy."
"I, er, wanted to talk to you."
"Sorry, I was under the impression that you were already doing just that," replied Sirius coolly, with a trace of the Black family sneer (which was, all things considered, considerably like the Malfoy family sneer.)
Remus shifted uncomfortably. It was like he wasn't even Sirius's friend, but some annoying groupie of some younger year. "Yeah…but, somewhere…else?"
Sirius laughed cruelly. "You want to talk to me in private? What sort of thing have you got to say?"
Remus, usually calm, contained, in-control Remus, suddenly exploded. "What is wrong with you Sirius? You act like you've been taking lessons from Regulus or somebody, on how to be a pompous git!" Sirius, understandably, looked quite offended. The girl whose lap he sat tried to comfort him by rubbing his shoulder and nuzzling the back of his neck, actions that did not go unnoticed by Remus. His anger was uncontrollable now, and he didn't care about the quiet murmurs throughout the common room or the noise of the portrait opening. "And what's with her, anyway? You dumped Janet after dating for a week, and now you're in her, jumping on the lap of some girl you've just met! Do you even know her name?"
At this, Sirius looked uncomfortable. He frowned. "Emily," whispered the girl helpfully.
"I figured as much!" shouted Remus. "You have no self-respect, no morals, do you?"
"Moony…" begged a placatory voice behind him, but Remus ignored whoever it was. "I don't believe you," the werewolf growled.
"YEAH? IT'S REALLY NOT THAT HARD! I'M JUST NOT A POOFTER, IS ALL! I CAN'T REMAIN PERFECTLY RESERVED IN FRONT OF SOME SEXY WOMAN!" (Remus thought he heard someone whisper, "Who's a poofter?") Sirius continued: "I don't know, Remus, it's like you're jealous or something."
During Sirius's last speech, Remus's aggression had withdrawn inside, leaving him looking unsure and biting his lip. At Sirius's question, Remus ducked his head, dark blonde hair obscuring his pink cheeks. "No," he said quietly. He had to have imagined the hopeful tone of Sirius's voice.
The entire common room seemed silent for a few seconds, and then burst once more into excited murmurs. Remus stood still for a brief moment, biting his lip, his arms wrapped around his stomach. Then suddenly he turned and fled up the stairs into the dormitory.
Behind him, he heard James shouting. "He's right, you know. You may like to think you're so different from the rest of your family, Sirius Black, but really, YOU CAN BE SUCH AN ARSE SOMETIMES!"
Remus slammed the dormitory door behind him and collapsed on his bed.
He'd been so stupid. He realized he'd been hoping, inadvisably, idiotically, that Sirius had meant his valentine. That somehow, miraculously, Sirius was actually gay and actually loved him. That he'd actually been Sirius's secret crush.
He'd known it had been a joke. Deep down, he'd known, but somehow he'd allowed himself to hope that as soon as he said, "I lied, my valentine wasn't a joke," Sirius would cuss with glee and plant a large, deep, wet kiss on his lips, and say "I love you Remy, I've always loved you, please be my valentine, be mine forever!" And of course he had done no such thing, because wishing that he would had been stupid. Stupid.
Remus heard the door open again.
"Go away," he growled.
"It's me, Moony," explained James, sounding frustrated with someone other than Remus.
"Still, go away."
"Want to tell me what's up? I've never heard you scream like that." James had come to the side of the bed and was peering in at Remus, who shrugged and looked away. "I'm going to make him talk to you. I'll make him apologize. There's no reason for him to treat you like that – "
Remus hadn't realized it, but he'd finally started to cry, and his voice came out wobbly and melodramatic. "Yes there is. Maybe you didn't notice! He hates me!"
This last comment seemed to perturb James greatly. The messy-haired boy frowned and looked toward the door as he spoke quietly. "No, he doesn't."
"God…" sobbed Remus. "I wish today had never happened. I wish Firewhiskey had never been invented, I wish I'd never come to Hogwarts! Anything, so long as I never wrote that stupid valentine!"
James turned back to Remus. "What? Your… joke?"
"IT WASN'T A JOKE!" screamed Remus, finishing in a mournful sob, and as soon as he'd said the words, he clapped a hand over his mouth in horror.
"I knew it!" James, for some terrible reason, seemed to be smiling with glee. All glee had left Remus, the world was not a gleeful place, and it was horribly cruel for James to be smiling with glee. "I tried telling him, he wouldn't believe me, I knew it!" But Remus, whose theme of the day seemed to be running away, scrambled off his bed and darted to the door, disappearing before James could say a thing.
FEBRUARY 14 – OUTSIDE IN THE SNOWSTORM
Remus couldn't see much. He couldn't see the trees or Hagrid's hut or the lake (instead he'd found it by slipping when he stepped onto the frozen surface and fallen on his arse). The only reason he wasn't completely lost was that he could see the vague dark cutout of the castle's towers against the pale sky, too solid and large to be hidden by swirling snow. He decided he rather liked the snowstorm and the anonymity it brought, because there was next to no chance any student would be able to find him.
His stomach growled; he was hungry, he'd skipped lunch, and he couldn't even go to the kitchen because the Marauders were likely to look there. He more or less had to be outside the castle, because in addition to hiding from Sirius and James, Remus was also hiding from all the Gryffindors who'd witnessed the scene in the common room, and all their friends. And since gossip traveled very fast at Hogwarts, within a few short hours he'd be hiding from any student from any other house as well.
But he was a bit cold. And more than a bit hungry. Remus sat down and flopped back into the snow, staring up at the uniform white.
"Moony!" he imagined someone calling. The someone would be Sirius, running through the snow, his cheeks beaten pink by the blizzard. Sirius would bend down to make a snowball and hurl it at Remus, muscles rippling…Wait – better make him naked, then…
"Moony!" This time he could have sworn he really heard Sirius. He forced himself not to turn around and see nothing but white…
"Shit, Moony, are you completely deaf!" Suddenly Sirius (not naked, but still gorgeous) towered above him, framed by the white sky. "Feels like I've been calling your name for the best part of a century," he scolded with a grin.
Remus smiled a small, unsure smile. "Sorry, I've got snow in my ears." Clearly not taking his word for it, Sirius kneeled and bent down to inspect Remus's ear.
"Looks pretty snow-less to me." Sirius pulled Remus up into a sitting position. "Maybe your brain just got so big it's started spilling out into your ears." Remus made a rude hand gesture but felt generally pleased at the compliment. The pair sat in silence for a few minutes, until Sirius suggested, "They should be serving supper in the Great Hall sooner or later. Fancy heading over?"
"You can go," replied Remus more morosely than he'd intended. "I'll see you in the Tower –"
"I'm not going without you." After this statement failed to procure a change in Remus's attitude, Sirius changed tactics. "Maybe you'd rather talk about this morning."
Suddenly Remus stood, some snow sticking to his robes and the rest falling to a heap at his feet. "I'd rather not." He was suddenly living out a scene from his worst nightmare, where Sirius found out how he felt and laughed, and then proceeded to shun him. He discovered he was shaking.
"We need to talk sometime!"
"I. Don't. Want. To," articulated Remus. "Alright?" He started to walk away into the blizzard, which was beginning to dissipate.
Sirius jumped up and grabbed Remus's shoulders, jerking him backward. "Too bad. We're talking." Remus, however, had no intention of talking, and Sirius had no choice but to begin. "James told me what you said in the dormitory." Instantly Remus ducked his head. Sirius thought he was embarrassed, but after a moment he heard a sniff, which evolved into what Remus thought were very sneaky swipes at wet cheeks.
"Aw, Remy…" After a pause during which Remus remained unresponsive, Sirius scooped his friend into his arms and settled himself on the snow directly behind Remus. The animagus rested his chin on the werewolf's shoulder. "I'm sorry Moony, I didn't mean to make you so upset…"
"It's my fault." Remus sniffed. "If I'd never sent the bloody thing then I wouldn't have had to lie, and you'd never have to know – "
Sirius sounded scandalized. "Never know! Moony, you're depressing me there. And anyway, it isn't just your fault – I did the same thing exactly."
Remus rolled his eyes, and tried to lean slightly away from Sirius despite the other boy's tight hold around his middle. "Right, except you did it for a bet."
Sirius turned Remus in his lap so that they faced one another, and Remus saw that the larger boy was frowning. "I…well, I made that bit up. It wasn't about the bet, I meant every word I wrote…Remy, look at me." As soon as Remus looked up into Sirius's face, the larger boy leaned in – "I love you, Remus –" and captured Remus's lips in a passionate kiss.
Remus pulled back in shock. What was Sirius playing at? Was this part of a bet as well? "I think my tears froze," he commented conversationally, avoiding thinking about what had just happened.
"Remus…what? Am I your secret crush or not?"
Sirius's voice sounded so naked, so afraid… "Yes," Remus confessed.
The other boy leaned closer once more. "Then come on, help me out here!"
"But…" With Sirius so close, smelling like Padfoot and looking irresistible, it was hard for Remus to comprehend why he could not let himself give in to impulse. "You're not gay," he stammered.
This statement seemed to frustrate Sirius. "I'd bloody well be the one to know that, wouldn't I? I love you!"
"If this is some kind of joke…" Remus had to close his eyes to contain the tears that appeared at that thought. Suddenly he was knocked onto his back, Sirius crouched over him.
"It's not…" the dark-haired boy whispered, and he pressed his mouth into Remus's. Just as during the previous night, Sirius's tongue and lips did wonderful things Remus couldn't even begin to figure out, because he was so busy playing along and basking in the euphoria. Suddenly Remus's stomach twisted in an insistent plea for food.
Laughing, an enamored look on his face, Sirius rolled off to Remus's side and pulled him into a tight embrace. "Supper's still out," he offered. "They've got potatoes, and roast chicken, and pudding…and even some horrid decorations."
After his stomach grumbled once more, Remus conceded. The boys stood and brushed snow from each other (an activity which evolved into poorly disguised attempts to grope one another). Sirius threw his arm around Remus's shoulders and Remus wrapped his around the taller boy's waist; so entwined, the couple made their way back to the castle.
FEBRUARY 14 – GREAT HALL
"Sirius! There you are, mate! And Moony," James added as he spied the werewolf following somewhat shyly behind Sirius. "Don't suppose you've got a Galleon for me?"
Sirius grinned mischievously. "Hand it over, Potter. You lost."
Remus turned questioning eyes on Sirius. "You mean…it was a bet?" Had Sirius lied the first time, or the second?
"No! Well, yeah, there was a bet…James dared me to ask you out by tonight, and bet I wouldn't follow through. But –" he added hastily, looking directly into Remus's eyes – "HE did it 'cause I was moping about you never loving me back. It doesn't change anything I said to you at all."
Remus smiled and Sirius ruffled his hair affectionately. Sighing, James procured a Galleon and tossed it in front of Sirius. As the dark-haired boy reached for the gold coin, a smaller hand snatched it away. "I can't let you have this," Remus informed him. "That would be cheating, as you haven't won it yet."
Sirius frowned, but then evidently came to a sudden realization. "Fancy a trip to Hogsmeade, Remy? Butterbeer…Honeyduke's chocolate?" He fixed Remus with a penetrating, sexy stare.
"You, me…The three-humped crone, tomorrow after breakfast…" Sirius twisted his ankles around Remus's. Blushing, Remus agreed and handed Sirius the Galleon, their fingers meeting for longer than necessary. Remus glanced over at James to see his knowing smirk, but it so happened that James wasn't paying any attention. He was engrossed in a discussion with none other than Lily Evans, and Remus observed a good deal of blushing from both parties. Remus had never minded a Valentine's Day less.
FEBRUARY 14 – 6TH YEAR GRYFFINDOR BOYS' DORMITORY
"Looked like Jamie was enjoying himself."
"It did," agreed Remus, pulling off his robes and folding them inside his trunk. He watched Sirius strip down to his underwear, and then proceeded to remove his own shirt, self-conscious of his many scars.
"It's warm in here. No need to put your pajamas shirt on." Remus dropped the offending item of clothing. "You're gorgeous, Remy, really." Remus blushed, and in a compliment-induced bout of bravery, removed his jeans as well. Sirius catcalled, and Remus suddenly wondered if his face was on fire.
"Well, bedtime, I guess," he said at last, reluctantly starting over to his bed. He wanted to stay with Sirius, as close to the other boy as possible, but Sirius was going to bed and so Remus was going to as well.
Remus heard bedsprings move and suddenly Sirius grabbed Remus's hips from behind. "Where do you think you're going?" Remus shrugged and Sirius hoisted the laughing werewolf into his arms, depositing him on Sirius's bed. "Room enough for two," he explained.
"But not for three!" laughed Remus, and then he explained about the girl who asked for a Sirius-Remus-girl threesome. Sirius laughed like it was the funniest thing he'd heard all year.
Remus yawned, and his boyfriend kissed him gently, pulling away with a smile and beginning to speak softly. "Remus Lupin…will you be my valentine?"
Remus licked Sirius's neck and mumbled, "I'll be your everything."
"Sounds good to me."
The boys snuggled closer, Sirius sighing happily. Remus grinned sleepily from his place in Sirius's arms, deciding that maybe he didn't really hate Valentine's Day so much, after all.
OK, here's the deal. Due to several reviews I've recieved, begging me to continue (thanks, by the way, for all the lovely reviews...and if I make more chapters, I'll be, in a very Dudley-like way, expecting even more reviews than I got last time...:) ) so I plan to. I also think there might be a sequel, about another valentine's day, filled with lovely RLSB slash. Something like that. But there's gonna be more. As of now I'm thinking maybe sequel, but leave this two chapters, but we'll see. Enjoy whatever comes!