Author's Note: I have the feeling I say this every time in my author's note but I just feel like I have to say it again: Thank you, thank you, thank you for reviewing. It's wonderful to read your opinions on the chapters, to get your support and your advice. Special thanks for the constructive criticism you sent me when I asked for it. I'm really grateful that so many people took their time to offer me suggestions on how to improve my writing. It was particularly helpful because almost everyone commented on another aspect. I'll try to keep everything in mind when writing the sequel. Thanks also to Liila, Miranda and Anon (who reviewed anonymously).
So here is the last chapter. It's not as long as the others. It's mostly just to give Remus and Sirius their well-deserved fluffy happy ending ;-) Sorry for everyone who hoped for a sex scene... I'm not doing this here because I want to do it in the sequel - it fits better there.
Hello, Love Of My Life
Twenty pairs of eyes curiously stared at Remus and Sirius when they entered the classroom together. Both of them were soaked to the skin and so much water dropped from their clothes and their hair that they had left a wet trail behind them. Remus would have felt stupid if he were alone but with Sirius at his side, he felt completely confident and relaxed.
„Black, Lupin!" McGonagall barked at them. "You're fifteen minutes too late. I hope you have an excuse for your behaviour."
"The Giant Squid attacked us," Remus said. They had made up a good story on their way here.
"And it pulled us underwater and then suddenly a group of merpeople arrived," Sirius continued. "They were very angry because we were apparently invading some of their holy places and so they attacked us. We almost died." He made a dramatic pause and gazed apologetically at Professor McGonagall. "But then Remus fortunately came up with the spell on how to transform the merpeople into goldfishes."
"That's enough." Professor McGonagall gave Sirius one of her deadliest glares and Remus instinctively stepped a bit closer to him. "Fifteen points from Gryffindor for being late and for that ridiculous lie." She turned to glare at Remus. "Mr Lupin, I would have expected better of you." Turning back to Sirius, she scowled even more. "Mr Black, I'm afraid I can't say the same about you but I would have certainly expected a more intelligent lie. The two of you will write an essay why it's impossible to turn merpeople into goldfishes, and –" She lifted her wand and quickly flicked it in their direction, and immediately they were completely dry, "- you will both practise the Water Repelling Spell due to next lesson."
"Yes, Professor," Remus said, subdued. "We're sorry."
"Yes, yes," she snapped impatiently, "now will you finally sit down so we can continue with this lesson."
The only empty place where they could sit together was in the first row. As soon as Professor McGonagall had turned her attention back to the rest of the class, Sirius leaned over towards Remus and whispered, "Is it true that it's impossible to turn merpeople into goldfishes?"
"I didn't know that," Remus whispered back, and he was filled with an odd sort of euphoria that they were sitting next to each other again and that they were sticking their heads together and whispering during class. It was not much but to him it meant the world. "But she must be right. How else could she've found out that it was a lie?"
The corners of Sirius's lips quirked up in amusement. "No idea… maybe because –"
"Black! Lupin!" They quickly looked up to see Professor McGonagall eyeing them with an exasperated expression. "Will you pay attention to this lesson and finally stop talking!"
"Sorry," they mumbled together.
When she had turned away again, they exchanged a quick grin and Sirius shrugged nonchalantly. Nothing could spoil their good mood today, no matter how many points Professor McGonagall deducted from Gryffindor. Neither of them paid much attention in class. They were too preoccupied with all the little things they used to do earlier and which were suddenly so much fun. Like sharing a bottle of ink. Or scribbling notes at each other's parchment or textbook. Or folding parchment dragons. Or simply sitting next to each other with Sirius planning the next prank and Remus taking notes and nudging Sirius from time to time whenever a teacher addressed him.
"Hey." Sirius leaned closer to whisper to him again. "Shall we practise the Water Repelling Spell together?"
Remus nodded eagerly and Sirius beamed enthusiastically at him. Not everything yet was the way it used to be. Earlier, it would have been self-evident that they would practise the spell together. There would not have been the need for such a question. McGonagall's gaze turned in their direction again and they quickly tried to look inconspicuous. Under the table, Remus grabbed Sirius's hand. He could feel the familiar jolt race through his body when their fingers touched – like all the times Sirius had taught him spells and seized his hand to direct his wand movements. All his nervousness and tension ebbed away when Sirius squeezed his hand back. Actually, Sirius clutched his hand so tightly, it almost hurt but Remus certainly did not complain. He was plainly and simply happy that Sirius was still touching him that way although he knew Remus was a werewolf. Was it just a dream because all of this was too good to be true? No. Because in a dream, Remus's hand would not feel numb from Sirius's vicelike grip. In a dream, he would not still feel cold from spending too much time in the rain. And it was all the more better like this. Until –
"Ouch!" A stinging sensation cursed through his hand and he jerked it away from Sirius's grip. Sirius did the same – apparently his hand hurt just as much. What had happened? And why did his palm feel like it had been burnt?
"Black. Lupin." Professor McGonagall stood directly in front of their desk. "You have definitely crossed the line now. Twenty more points from Gryffindor. I told you: No holding hands in my class. And now, Lupin, you go and sit down next to Mrs Bones. Black, you stay here."
Remus threw Sirius a regretful look, stood up and took his things to sit down next to Cathryn Bones in the last row. From then on, he tried to pacify Professor McGonagall by participating properly in class. But his good intentions did not last for long because soon a little roll of parchment landed gently in front of him on his desk. He looked up to see Sirius turn his head back to give him a huge grin. Against his better judgement, Remus opened the letter and read it.
Hello, My One And Only Love,
You're sitting far too much away from me! I'll have to think of something VERY good to take revenge on McG. Any suggestions are welcome. Do you have any idea how to do the Water Repelling Spell? Because I don't feel like going to the library. Pince is after my blood because I still haven't returned Hairy Snout, Human Heart yet.
See you later! I love you!!! ♥
Smiling to himself, Remus began composing a reply.
Hello, My Truest Of True Loves,
I miss you and it's outright horrible to be so far apart from you and I really don't know how to live without you near me. Now to more important matters: I've never practised the Water Repelling Spell before but I have an idea where to find it, so we won't have to spend too much time in the library. Why didn't you simply ask Madam Pince for an extension of time with your lending?! Now she'll definitely make you pay a fine. You're really stupid…but I love you nonetheless!
The next letter from Sirius, however, never reached Remus but landed in Professor McGonagall's outstretched hand. A deep crease furrowed her brow and she gave Sirius a very reproachful look before the opened the piece of parchment and read it aloud.
"Hello, Love Of My Life."
There was a collective giggle from the girls, and many groans and other noises which were meant to show disgust from most boys. Remus's head was burning with embarrassment but it was not really bad. Although he would have wanted to run outside and escape this utterly embarrassing situation, there was a smile on his face, which was currently buried in his hands.
"Do you remember your promise?"Professor McGonagall continued reading the letter. "Two promises, actually. Can you lend me a book of yours and then we could maybe read it together?"She stopped and the crease on her forehead deepened. "Well…" She gave Sirius one more exasperated glance. "I guess I should be happy if he makes you read." Sighing deeply, she shook her head.
"Professor, I must ask you to please stop reading my love letters," Sirius said and flashed her one of his most charming and roguish grins. "That's really private, you know? The letter is meant for Remus, not for you." He tilted on his chair and turned back to smile at Remus once more. Remus could not help but smile back. Sirius's grins were just too infectious.
Sirius lay in his bed. He was staring at the mist of silver dust above his head. From time to time he flicked his wand to make it emit more little clouds of silver sparkles. It's beautiful, he mused. He could not fall asleep. Maybe from happiness. Or maybe because he already missed being near Remus again. During this day, Sirius had become a bit clingy and had refused to let Remus go anywhere without him (the only exception had been the toilet). He still was not sure if things could ever be the same between them again.
Ten minutes later, when he was still thinking about the same things and was still conjuring up silver particles, he decided to do something about it. Quietly opening his curtain, he tiptoed over to Remus's bed and cautiously pulled the curtains open. Awkwardly, he cleared his throat.
"Mm? Sirius, is that you?" Remus asked quietly.
"Uh, yes." What should he say now? I can't sleep? I'm cold? I had a nightmare? After all, he needed an excuse for climbing into the other boy's bed. But what if Remus did not want him in his bed? What if he would send Sirius away like he had done to Remus when he had shrieked, 'Get out of my bed, werewolf!'
"Can I come in?" Sirius finally asked in a small voice.
"Sure," Remus muttered and lifted his blanket up so Sirius could crawl under it.
"Thanks," Sirius whispered in relief. He lay down flat on his back next to Remus, and suddenly he was very self-conscious and did not know what to do anymore. Remus seemed to be just as tense as he was. They lay at one side of the bed each, their arms only slightly touching. Sirius did not know how long it would take for things to get back to normal. He only knew that he would let Remus dictate the pace.
"We still didn't read one of your books," Sirius said quietly.
"You don't want to do it now, do you? It's late. And we have Potions tomorrow very early."
"Yes, I know… And we still have to write the essay for McGonagall."
There was a prolonged silence between them. Sirius hardly dared to move because every rustle of the bed sheets was extremely awkward. He was glad it was dark at least.
"What was the second promise?" Remus finally asked in a whisper.
"You mentioned it. In the, er, love letter which Professor McGonagall read aloud."
"Ah." Sirius chuckled uneasily. "I was just referring to what you said on top the Astronomy Tower."
"Ah." It was strange how loud little sounds like breathing and gulping suddenly were. "You mean the promise about embracing inside the castle?" Remus said softly.
"Yes," Sirius whispered, "well, I didn't mean it like that you have to…" But then a warm arm draped loosely over his stomach and he fell silent. It was not a proper embrace yet but, for the moment, it was enough. Encouraged by that, Sirius turned to lie on his side so he was facing Remus in the dark and scooted a bit closer.
"So your parents don't know yet you're gay?" he continued talking in a whisper.
"No. I… well, I didn't have the courage to tell them." Remus sighed softly. "Must be bad enough for them to have a werewolf as their son. But a gay werewolf…"
"Don't worry," Sirius tried to encourage him although he himself knew very well how hard such things could be. "If they're okay with you being a werewolf, they won't have a problem with you being gay either."
"Yes, it's just… One could say that it was not my fault that I was bitten by a werewolf. I couldn't help but becoming a werewolf. But I can choose now, I could… stop this, you know?"
Sirius's throat constricted at hearing that. The old fear that Remus would choose his family over him resurfaced again. And he could hardly blame Remus for that, could he? Sirius knew what it meant to stand up against your family. He had had James's friendship to rely on. But Remus – he could not rely on Sirius's friendship as Sirius had fully demonstrated during the last weeks.
"I offered to come with you before," Sirius murmured, "and if you still want..."
"Thank you for that," Remus said sincerely. "You could… if you want, that is… Maybe my parents would allow you to stay with us during the holidays. Then you wouldn't have to pay for a hotel again."
"That would be great," Sirius said enthusiastically. He was not so happy because he could save the money for the hotel stay like that – no, he was on cloud nine because Remus wanted them to spend the holidays together.
"And then we could also practise duelling together," Remus said.
"And we could read books together every night," Sirius said, in his excitement forgetting to whisper. But he did not care at all if the other boys in the dormitory heard them.
"We could camp in our garden and cook over a campfire just like muggles do – without magic."
"And you definitely need some more Quidditch training."
"Maybe Peter could come over for a few days, too."
Already picturing everything in his mind, Sirius smiled widely to himself. "Remus?"
"This is going to be the best summer holidays I ever had."
Sirius could hear some more rustling of bed sheets and the creaking of the mattress, and then
Remus's voice was very close to his ear. "Have I told you that I love you?"
"Er… Not today. Not directly, anyway. You wrote it in one of the letters…" Sirius trailed off when he felt Remus's thumb gently caressing his face until it came to rest on his jaw line. The urge to kiss Remus now was almost overwhelming but he also felt like he did not have the right to do it. So instead he cautiously placed a hand on Remus's waist and lightly stroked his side.
"I do love you," Remus mumbled. "Just so you know. Actually, I love you very much and… and I'm just happy that now… I mean, I thought we would never… argh, forget about it." And then – suddenly, unexpectedly, wonderfully – Remus's lips were on Sirius's, and everything felt just so right. Remus's slightly chapped lips brushing Sirius's quivering ones felt so right. Remus's calloused fingers cupping Sirius's face felt so right. Remus's scarred skin under Sirius's fingers felt so right. All doubts about Remus ever leaving him were forgotten because where was a place for doubts when Remus was kissing him like this?! Sirius had definitely never been kissed like this before. If it were to him, this kiss would never have stopped and both of them would have died from lack of oxygen. Remus, however, obviously did not intend to kiss Sirius to death because, in the end, he separated them.
"Gee – I'm so – out of practice," Remus panted, totally out of breath.
Sirius chuckled and tried to recollect his breath at the same time, which produced some very odd noises. "I always remembered that kissing you felt great," he said when he could finally breathe normally again, "but I'd completely forgotten that it felt that great."
Remus just laughed quietly but did not say anything in return. Thoughtfully, Sirius traced one finger over the scar which went from right under Remus's left eye to the base of his neck. "Did I ever tell you that you're beautiful?" he said quietly.
Remus snorted. "You're only saying that because it's dark and you can't see me now."
"No, I mean it, Remus," Sirius said earnestly, "and besides, true beauty lies within."
Remus laughed again and punched him lightly in the side. "And you certainly know that saying 'true beauty lies within' is only a metaphor for saying 'you're ugly'."
"What? What? No, I didn't mean it like that!" Sirius protested. "If it was a metaphor – and I don't think it is because it is the truth – it would mean something like 'you're ugly but I love you nonetheless' but I –"
"Ph, 'You're ugly but I love you nonetheless'." Remus laughed even harder. "Well, I can certainly live with that."
"Remus! You're misunderstanding me on purpose!"
"There's no reason why I'd ever doubt your words. I know you think everything you say through very carefully," Remus retorted playfully.
"If you'd just take me seriously for once – and no, don't even think of making a stupid pun now –"
"Whoever said I was –"
"I know you were –"
"Now you are –"
"You always –"
And suddenly they were tickling, kicking and punching each other, and before either of them knew what was happening, both of them landed on the floor in a tangle of limbs, bed sheets, blankets and pillows. They groaned from the pain and giggled at the same time (because could there be anything funnier than falling out of bed?!).
"Oh Merlin, please save us from this," Chris's voice could be heard in the darkness.
Alex lit his wand to see what was going on and Peter's face curiously poked out of his bed curtains, too.
Chris quickly covered his eyes with his hands. "Switch off your wand, Alex, I don't want to see this," he said in a suffering voice.
Alex gave a pained groan. "It's a pity the poufs got together again. It was so nice when you weren't acting all…poofy. Well, guys – and by that, I don't include you two –" He gestured to Remus and Sirius, who were still on the floor. "– there are hard times coming for us again. We must be strong to try to ignore their, ah, activities… And you," he addressed Sirius and Remus now, "could actually help a lot if you cast a Silencing Charm and stayed in, well, whatever bed you're using."
"We'll try to keep that in mind," Remus said, grinning widely at Alex.
Sirius turned to Alex now, too. "So you mean to say it would be okay if we used your bed as long as we did not fall out of it?" he asked innocently.
Alex opened his mouth to protest but Sirius never heard what he was going to say because then Remus abruptly caught Sirius's face in his hands and kissed him thoroughly. Sirius was so taken aback by that, that he did not even respond immediately. He really admired Remus's nerve: They had never kissed in public before. Truth be told, it did not make much of a difference. It felt just as great as before, and it was not hard to ignore the other boys, who were groaning in disgust or were pretending to be retching, when Remus's hands were entangled in his hair and Remus's tongue was brushing his bottom lip. Charitably, they decided not to trouble the other boys any further, and relatively quickly let go off each other.
"Ah, my poor heart." Alex theatrically clutched at his heart. "Could you please refrain from doing this in the open? I think Chris already got a heart attack." He gestured towards Chris's bed, whose curtains were drawn very tightly (Peter had disappeared behind his curtains as well). "You don't want to be responsible for his death, right?"
"No, we wouldn't want that," Remus said, smirking. Then he pulled Sirius (and the blanket) back to bed and gave Alex a charming smile. "Good night, Alex. Sweet dreams."
"Hey, are you flirting with him?" Sirius said in mock indignation and quickly closed the curtains around them.
"Rather nightmares than dreams," they could hear Alex mutter.
"I thought we established that I'm the love of your life," Sirius continued, "and eternally yours and –"
"Silencing Charm!!!" Chris and Alex shouted together.
"Okay, okay!" Sirius shouted back and finally added, "Silencio." As soon as there was the Silencing Charm around them, there was an odd quietness between them again. But it was not as awkward as before. Remus had his head rested against Sirius's shoulder, and Sirius's arm was loosely wrapped around Remus's chest. Writing the love letters and provoking the other boys had been fun but now they were a bit at a loss for words. And most of all, they were tired.
When Sirius had almost drifted off to sleep, Remus's quiet voice brought him back. "I've done some thinking."
"Ah," Sirius mumbled sleepily.
"About what you said after you, ah, attempted to save me from the silver carafe."
"That was very stupid from me and I'm really sorry for it," Sirius said quickly.
"Come to think of it, it was rather nice of you," Remus said in a mildly amused voice, "but totally pointless, of course. No, what I've been thinking about is what you told me about me keeping things secret from you and never telling you anything about myself."
"You shouldn't spend too much time thinking about the things I told you during the last weeks," Sirius said, feeling really disgusted with himself, "because all of it was utter crap."
"But I think you had a point there," Remus continued unperturbedly. "You told me so much about yourself and I hardly ever told you such private things about myself."
"Well, you had a good reason to keep them secret…"
"So I came to the conclusion that I should change that. If you've got any questions, I'll answer everything."
"Remus…" Sirius affectionately combed his fingers through Remus's stringy hair. "You don't have to do that. It's okay to keep things secret. I… I don't have a right to know your secrets or something like that. I only said that because I was angry… and I was so stupid."
"But it's not such a big deal. I can tell you how I was bitten and everything. I thought you wanted to know?"
It would have been a lie if Sirius had said he was not interested at all. To be honest, he was still as curious as ever how Remus had been bitten, and he had thousand more questions. "Only if you want to tell me," he uncertainly said nonetheless.
"Well, I do want to tell you. Come on, ask me something. What do you want to know about me?"
Sirius took a deep breath. "Okay. What is your favourite colour?"
"Sirius?" Remus asked, completely perplexed.
"That's what I want to know about you. I want to know what your favourite colour is."
"Uh, dunno. Blue?"
"Blue? That's cool!" Sirius said enthusiastically.
"Well, what is yours?"
"You have three guesses."
"Nonsense. That would associate me too much with my family."
"Correct! How did you know?"
"The picture of that motorbike you showed me. It had silver stripes on the mudguards."
"Yeah. Makes it look pretty cool."
"But blue is a nice colour, too."
"So… Do you have any more questions?"
"Yes. What is your favourite book?"
And so it went on and on. What is your favourite song? What is your favourite animal? What is your favourite sort of tea? Who is your favourite Quidditch player? What is your favourite spell? What is your favourite shop in Diagon Alley? What is your favourite time of the year? …until Remus suddenly said, "I don't remember how it happened when I was bitten. I just remember that I was outside alone. My parents told me that we'd gone for a walk together and I'd got lost. They only found me when it was already too late. My father managed to chase the werewolf away from me. I don't know what happened to him or her. Probably in Askaban. Or… well, I never found out who it was."
Sirius held his breath. Instinctively, he tightened his hold on Remus. Cold shudders were running down his spine and something clenched painfully in his guts. Hearing Remus retelling the events in such a detached voice… picturing a small, helpless boy who was attacked by a werewolf… imagining all the things Remus had really gone through…
"I'm so – so sorry," Sirius said in a choked voice and he decided he had to kiss Remus again because he could not find the words to say what he wanted to say.
"Sirius? Are you crying?" Remus asked softly when Sirius was finished with his sloppy kiss.
"See, there's no reason to get yourself all worked up over this," Remus reassured him. "I didn't get bitten because I sacrificed myself for someone else. It's nothing spectacular. It's just how it happens. I'm not a hero like that guy in the book. Sure, sacrifice your own life for someone else at the age of five…again, it's highly unrealistic."
"Paul was seven when he was bitten," Sirius corrected him. "And I don't think it's unrealistic. I think you'd have done the same if a werewolf had attacked your little brother."
"Even at the age of seven, I wouldn't have been that heroic. I'd have run away as any normal seven-year-old child would've done."
"You only say that because you don't know what it's like to have little brothers."
Remus was silent for a moment. He lightly rubbed Sirius's back when he said in a quiet voice, "You still love him, don't you?"
"Don't be stupid," Sirius grumbled. "He's as bad as my parents. He always snitches on me. And he gloats if my parents punish me. It's the only way the little idiot gets the attention he wants."
"Yes, but that doesn't stop you from thinking of him as your little brother, does it?"
Sirius only harrumphed and silently wondered if Remus would still understand him if he suddenly started speaking/grunting Troll.
"And what happened then, after you were bitten?" his curiosity finally got the better of him.
"Well, then I've been a werewolf."
And Remus told him everything, the good and the bad things, the things that were hard to tell, the things that hurt and the things that must stay secret forever; and through it all, Sirius held him in a tight embrace and tried to make up for everything Remus had gone through with lots of kisses. There were several sad parts of Remus's story but, fortunately, it had also happy and funny parts. It was not nearly as tragic as Paul's tale in Hairy Snout, Human Heart, and Sirius was thankful for that.
Author's Note: Everyone who has never reviewed so far: This is your last chance ;-) You don't have to be a member of this site to post a review, you can simply review anonymously in the name of You-Know-Who or whatever (you don't even have to give your email address) and just let me know you read this story.
Watch out for the sequel called "Wanderings with Werewolves"! I hope to post the first two or three chapters before Christmas. It would be great to hear from many of you again during the sequel. Until then - take care!