Theme #16: Endless
"Next summer we'll be graduating," Sirius declared, arms tucked behind his head as he gazed up at the sky. It was hard to tell what he was thinking as he said that, but the look in his eyes suggested excitement and expectation.
Remus finished tucking his books back into his book bag and glanced up at Sirius through the fringe of his hair. "That's true."
James ran his fingers through his hair, but it was still messy so he eventually gave up. He'd been in much brighter spirits lately, ever since Lily finally agreed to go on a date with him. The satisfaction and happiness was clear on his face for anybody who looked at him. It didn't take a mind reader to know who was occupying his thoughts lately.
"The summer looks like it's looking up," James declared softly, before he caught sight of Lily's bright red hair and did a quick detour in his step. He walked briskly towards her, looking over his shoulder and waving. "I'll talk to you guys later."
Sirius and Remus watched him go, Sirius looking slightly rejected and Remus looking politely disinterested. They watched James move in step with Lily, who welcomed him with a small nod. They continued off in the opposite direction. It was the last day before the students were to load onto the Hogwarts Express. Students were currently lazing around the grounds, their heads either delightfully fuzzy from the excitements of summer or muddled and drowsy from intense O.W.L.S. or N.E.W.T.S.
The two remaining boys continued on in the direction they were heading. They reached the lake shortly afterwards and Remus sat down on a protruding tree root while Sirius dipped a hand in the water, to test to the temperature. He wrinkled his nose and returned to Remus' side, resting against the tree trunk.
"Too cold," he explained upon seeing Remus' questioning look.
"Oh, I see," Remus said absently, watching the way the sun reflected off the lake and the lake mimicked the images of trees, clouds, and the distant mountains. "Looking forward to summer?"
"Silly question to ask, Moony," Sirius said, but not unkindly. He sighed and arched his back against the tree, looking up at the lolling clouds in the sky. "But, yeah. I suspect Prongs will be going on and on about Lily this summer. Oh, the pains with living with the guy."
"Hm," Remus agreed, though he had no similar experience in which to sympathize with Sirius. "You can always cast a silencing spell on him."
"That's right! We can use magic at home now," Sirius said, but it was very unlikely that he'd actually forgotten such a landmark in his life—he was always boisterously talking about all the stuff he could do now with magic once he got home.
"I fear for the Potters," Remus said dully, before breaking out into a loud chuckle when Sirius shoved him off the root.
"You're welcome to join us. Heavens knows I'll need somebody sane to speak with once James gets on his tirade of Lily Love." Sirius added a little flourish and lamented, "Undoubtedly I'll be the audience of epic poems about Lily's hair or sweet serenades beseeching the beauty of Lily's laughter.
"Undoubtedly," Remus agreed. He smiled up at his friend as he sat back up, leaning against the root this time. "I think I'll pass, Padfoot. But if he really does grow tiresome, you know you're welcome to my house, no matter how small it may be."
"Thanks, Moony. You're a real pal," Sirius said with a gentle smile. "I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Listen to epic poems and sweet serenades, apparently." Remus smiled back at Sirius, his eyes soft and welcoming. Something sparked between them and Sirius chuckled, shoving at Remus' shoulder.
"Git," he said affectionately.
"Only for you," Remus promised as he turned his attention back towards the lake, watching a ripple travel from the center of his vision until it eventually disappeared into nothingness, for it'd been stretched too thin. He sighed and watched the way the wind wavered the trees. "I can't imagine being without this place."
"Hm," Sirius hummed in agreement, unsure how to express his agreement with words. His eyes watched Remus' profile as he scanned the horizon.
"This place… I never thought about when it would end. It just always seemed so far away. Endless years and years. I mean… this place… it gave me a place to belong. I actually made friends," he laughed quietly at Sirius' face and his eyes traced the way the wind whipped Sirius' hair to his side. "This is my home."
"I…" Sirius began but Remus was looking back towards the horizon.
"The lake is pretty today," Remus said evasively, finally reaching the moment when it would become too awkward for him to continue. His soft eyes regarded the world before him. His home.
Sirius reached out a hand and touched the back of Remus' head, feeling the softness to his brown hair between his fingertips. He felt Remus turn his head and saw honey-colored eyes regarding him warmly. Hesitantly, Sirius gave him a wobbly smile and slowly retracted his hand, letting his fingers pass through that impossibly soft hair. Remus' eyes fell shut and his smile didn't waver.
He breathed in slowly and, when he opened his eyes again, they locked instantly on Sirius' silver eyes. Another moment rippled between them, making a shiver run up Sirius' spine and a quaver pass through Remus' hands.
"I…" Sirius began, then quickly corrected himself. "We'll always be your friends, Remus, no matter where we are. We don't need the walls of Hogwarts to belong. You belong with us."
"I guess," Remus said, and while his words would have seemed indifferent to anybody else, Sirius knew that he was incredibly thankful for that promise.
They watched the endless onslaught of white, fluffy clouds together. They watched the ripples. The trees. The lake.
Eventually, Sirius scooted closer to Remus and their arms brushed. Neither seemed to mind the contact and neither spoke about it. They didn't need to talk about the intimacy between them. It went without saying, and without incident. They were always together, and endless companionship that was only rivaled by Sirius' devotion to James, and vice versa. But that was still something completely different from what Sirius felt for Remus, and what Remus felt for Sirius.
"The lake is pretty," Sirius finally agreed, and his fingers passed over Remus' knuckles gently.