"It looks like rain," James said, coming up to stand behind him.

Remus didn't turn around, just continued to stare into the grey lake before replying. "Yeah."

"You should come in," James said and if Remus had turned around he would have seen James raise a hand to put it on Remus' shoulder before deciding against it and running it instead through his already messy hair.

"In a minute," Remus said. There was a silence before it was broken with the hollow plonk of a rock being thrown into the water.

"Look, I'm sorry," James said, sounding strained. Remus closed his eyes. He didn't need his apologies. He needed something James could no longer give. He needed warm hands and tickling breath and knowing, just knowing that someone was there. James would tell him he was still there, Remus knew, if he were to ask. But it wouldn't be the same. Things would never be the same.

"Don't be," Remus said shortly after opening his eyes, sounding more irritated than he had meant to. His eyes moved from the lake to his plain brown shoes. Plain just like the rest of him. No shining red hair here, no bright green eyes. He knew James needed something he could never give, but still… it hurt. He bent and picked up a smooth grey rock. He rubbed it in his hand, feeling the cold smoothness.

"I am," James said after a moment.

Remus threw the rock. It skipped twice before sinking into the water. Remus felt a pang of envy.

"It doesn't matter," he said and the lie felt bitter on his tongue. He hoped James would swallow the lie even while he hoped James would see right through it, see how much it did matter, how much this was eating him up inside. He hoped he could see so that he could just somehow make things right in a way that only James could.

"Fine," James said almost coolly and Remus couldn't help but cringe just a little. "I'm going in."

Remus nodded. He reckoned he could feel the loss of James' presence as the coldness settled in his bones. He bent and picked up another rock before skipping it across the water. He readjusted his weight from foot to foot, trying to settle himself, trying to find his place.

A raindrop settled on his nose before trickling down, a cold meandering stream. Another on his cheek and another on the very top of his head before another and another too quickly to keep track of. He closed his eyes, tilted back his head and felt the rain wash everything away.