A/N: Hi, thanks so much for the reviews! So sorry this chapter took a while. It's been deadline galore at college. Anyhoo...here it is...chapter 3. I hope you, as readers, don't find this chapter slashy in any way. It was never intended to be. Please let me know what you think :)
Remus lay awake, staring at the ceiling. The storm was beginning to die down outside, and he could once again hear the traffic in the distance. He sighed, unable to sleep, and rolled over to receive a face full of bear. Remus gave a low chuckle and picked Senor Flump up, resting him in a sitting position on his chest. The bear was looking rather worse for wear with both eyes missing. The stitching of his mouth had been caught and hung as if he were sucking on a liquorice lace. Remus guessed the bear had once been smiling. It also smelt rather odd…though Remus didn't want to dwell on that too much. The bear was obviously as old as Tonks, if not older, and he could only imagine the stories it would tell if only his mouth wasn't coming undone, (and if bears could in fact talk, Remus reminded himself!)
Senor Flump was clearly loved, and had been for many years. It came to Remus' mind that the bear must share a bed with the young witch, and he tossed it aside quickly as if he had violated a personal area of Tonks' life just by sharing a bed with her teddy bear.
Shaking his head at his own peculiar thoughts, Remus cleared his throat and settled back down.
He sat back up again immediately.
"Moony!" came a loud whisper from the hallway. "Moooony!"
Remus frowned, and hesitated before replying.
"Yes, Remus this is God…Don't be a daft sod! Are you awake?"
"Do I sound awake, Sirius?" Remus responded wearily, running a hand over his face. There was a pause before Sirius thought of the obvious response.
Remus chuckled lightly.
"Can I come in or have you got a hot bird in there?"
"No…she left a while ago. Come in."
The door creaked open once again, and Remus could make out the silhouette of his best friend in the doorway, dangling a pillow in one hand in a similar fashion to his cousin holding her bear.
"Dory came for a midnight romp but I was firm. I said 'No, Tonks it's wrong. We're cousins, and friends. Your mother would kill me.' So she kicked me out." He grinned and plonked himself heavily onto the bed, landing on Remus' legs. His friend scowled and withdrew his legs, facing Sirius in a cross-legged position.
"And the truth, Padfoot?"
"Nah, her stomach grumblings are getting beyond a joke!" Sirius exclaimed. Remus nodded his agreement. "But she wanted me, I could tell."
"Can I bunk in with you?"
Remus paused to consider this, but for too long, as Sirius scrambled under the covers and placed his pillow beside his friends'.
"Thanks Moony. I owe you one."
The men lay silent for a brief moment as Sirius settled down. The former convict grinned at his friend in the dark. It quickly became a look of confusion.
"Uh, Remus…quit touching my ass."
"I'm not!" Lupin protested loudly. "It's Senor Flump."
"Oh sure…is that what you're calling it these days." Sirius gave a chuckle, and Remus delved his hand under the covers and produced the bedraggled bear.
"Mr Padfoot, meet Senor Flump."
"Pleasure to have your head on my backside, Amigo," Sirius said politely, shaking the bear's paw. "Moony, aren't you a little old for teddy bears?"
"It's not mine!" Lupin protested again, beginning to regret answering his friend's calls. "It's Dora's."
"Oooh, Dora!" Sirius sang, emphasising his cousin's nickname. Remus gave a growl and snatched the bear from his teasing friend.
"Nymphadora Tonks, you're second cousin…"
"And you're secret lover!"
"Sirius…get out," Remus said simply.
"Nah," Sirius decided nonchalantly, but decided that now would be a good time to keep quiet.
"You know," Remus spoke up, surprisingly. "It's been a long time since I've done this."
"What? Shared a bed with a man? I find that hard to believe Moony."
"Sure you don't want to get out?"
"I'm fine, thanks."
Remus gave a sigh, which conveniently hid his fond chuckle.
"I meant, sharing a bed with you. Must have been, what, 5th Year?"
Sirius laughed loudly.
"Yeah when James was so ill he'd managed to throw up all over his bed and mine! And I would be damned if I was gonna share a bed with Peter."
Their smiles faded at the memory, so long ago in their pasts. It was like remembering a different time; a better time.
"I used to think about you a lot, you know. In Azkaban I mean," Sirius said softly. "Every full moon…every day really. I'd wonder how you were and…if you hated me. I'd spent the previous months believing that you would betray me. And then I knew the truth. But you didn't, and I had to live everyday knowing that you hated me." He stopped, and Lupin wasn't sure how to respond. He turned to his friend, barely seeing his anguished face in the dark of the room.
"I did hate you Padfoot," he told him. "I hated James and Lily, and Peter. I hated the whole situation. I especially hated Voldemort. But most of all I hated myself for allowing myself to be happy and comfortable, when really I knew I didn't deserve that."
"Bollocks, Remus and you know it!" Sirius protested. "In Azkaban, I was wasting away, feeling myself sinking lower. And do you know why I thought of you every day? Because I thought I had it easy compared to you.
"I knew the truth. My friends had been betrayed, murdered…but I knew the truth. But you… I know you Remus; you will have spent every day of those thirteen years blaming yourself for what happened that day. Running it over and over in your head looking for some way you could have stopped it. And what I wanted more than anything was for you to know what I knew. But I couldn't. And I'm so sorry Remus."
Remus swallowed hard at his friend's direct words.
"You're sorry?" he replied harshly. "Sirius, you've just wasted thirteen years of your life in hell. I was your best friend, and I didn't even consider the concept that you could be innocent! That you would betray James, commit a crime completely out of character, and I didn't even question it! You should hate me, Sirius… Thirteen years… Why don't you hate me?" His voice cracked and he swallowed again, feeling sick at his own actions.
Sirius was silent for a long while, and Remus was beginning to this that his friend considered the question to be rhetorical. Sirius, however, was thinking carefully on how to best word his response. In the end, he decided to say what he truly felt.
"Because you're my brother, and I love you."
Before Remus had chance to react to such an emotional confession, he was pounced upon by an over-affectionate Padfoot, and pulled into a rib-braking bear hug.
"Thank you, Padfoot," Remus half-choked, sniffing loudly as his friend released him.
Sirius beamed and shuffled back onto his half of the bed. When Remus sniffed again, Sirius froze.
"Moony…are you crying?"
The sniffing stopped.
"No," came the thick reply.
"Yes you are!" Sirius squealed, sounding thoroughly thrilled to have reduced his best friend to tears.
"I assure you Padfoot, I'm not," Remus insisted, his voice getting stronger.
"Ha, Remus you're such a pussy… and no, before you ask, I do not want to get out."
Remus laughed, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand.
"Right, we should sleep now before you think I'm coming on to you." Sirius lay his head down on his pillow and shut both of his eyes.
"Excellent idea, and don't try anything while I'm asleep. I will know."
One grey eye popped open.
"You wish, Moony. Why would I try anything? I know your heart belongs to Dora."
He sniggered but was quickly silenced by a sharp elbow in the ribs.
"Good night Sirius."
"Good night Remus…Wanna wake Tonks up at an insane hour by jumping on her?"
"Sure. I find cold water helps."
"Great. It's a date."
The Marauders laughed gently.
"Gi's a snog?" Sirius teased.
"Maybe later," Remus croaked.
"Good enough for me," his friend concluded. He rolled over onto his side and took a deep breath, feeling happier than he had felt in a long time. He had his best friend by his side.
A/N: Appologies if this chapter was too dialoguey. In reference to Lupin crying, I'm not sure that he would, as a character. But it felt right at the time of writing, so I deliberately hinted at it, leaving you to decide for yourself. Who knows, maybe Sirius was just teasing him!
One more chapter to go, I think. Should be up next week.Tonks is gonna get a rude awakening...hee hee...
Thanks again for reading. And please review.