Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Warning: Slight swearing, SiRem, and a fair amount of musical references. If they're too confusing let me know. I'll change.
"Where is she?"
"I don't know, but she should be here soon."
Remus sighed heavily and slid further down in his chair. His fingers drummed against the front of his century old viola. It was the most precious thing he owned.
"Where the bloody Hell is she? We were supposed to begin at 1:30. Andy better have a damn good excuse when she gets here." He was getting exasperated with Andromeda, their second violinist.
Sera closed her eyes and took a deep breath before opening them again. "I'm sure she's just running late because of the cellist."
Remus glared at the first violinist. "James was never late. If anything he was here before any of us. I still can't believe he left just because of Lily." Remus did adore Lily, but he hated the fact that his best friend had been taken away.
"Remus, you know as well as I do that if the London Philharmonic came calling, you would swim across the Atlantic to be there. How could he have turned down the job, especially with a baby on the way?"
He knew better than to argue. He grabbed the neck of his viola and stretched his arms. When he pulled them back he checked the time. "It's bloody 1:40! This cellist better be amazing or else I'm leaving."
"Yes Remus. We all know the laws of the instrumentalist. 'If you're early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late. And if you're late, you're kicked out."
Remus finished the mantra, then continued. "I know that, but for the love of-"
He was interrupted by a slam of the stage door and a call of "We're here!" Remus glanced at Sera.
She shrugged as she reached up to fiddle with her braid that fell over her right shoulder. "If you want to reprimand her go ahead. The last thing I need with her is another fight. Especially when her mother owns the building."
Remus knew it was true. Andy's mother owned the Steriae Performing Arts House. They were allowed to practice and perform in the Steriae because her mother loved quartets, and it was the cheapest place. Remus decided to wait until afterwards to talk to her. Inter-quartet fighting was not the best way to greet a new member.
Andy walked in and the cellist followed a little behind her.
Remus felt his heart both stop and race. His breath quickened and he felt his fight or flight instincts kicking in. If there was ever a word to describe this being before him, he did not know it. The closest he could come up with was scary-as-bloody-Hell.
Sera looked as surprised as he did.
This new addition was respectably tall. His long black hair shrouded his face, covering it like the velvet curtains that hung from either side of the stage. His pale hand grasped the case that was slung over his back. As he turned to set it down Remus was able to catch a glimpse of it. It was black with a silver spray painted wolf crawling up the front. The jaws were opened wide and flames lashed around him.
"Everyone, this is Sirius. Sirius this is Remus and Sera." Andy introduced him and he bowed lightly, as was proper etiquette in the professional world.
Remus shook of his flight instinct and rested his right arm on the back of the chair. He glared at the intruder. "What kind of name is Sirius?"
He lifted his head. "What kind of name is Remus?" He eyes flashed before he turned to Andy. "Where may I put my things?"
As Sirius got everything ready Remus tried to get back his anger. James was the only person who had ever sent real fear into him, and now this Sirius had done the same thing. Maybe it has something to do with playing a large instrument. He must be compensating for something. He indulged himself in that thought as Sirius and Andy got seated.
Sirius tied back his hair and then quickly tuned himself. Then he gave his A for Remus. As Remus began to tune, he felt the intense stare of Sirius. He turned to stare back as he continued tuning. That was a mistake. The heated yet freezing stare of the cellist caused him to release his peg. The string grew loose and delighted with the loss of tension. Andy giggled and Remus saw Sirius smirk as he worked quickly to fix his viola.
They continued without a problem. They ran through a few scales and Sirius proved to know his instrument like a true musician.
"Shall we start with a classic? What about Mozart's Eine Kline Nachtmusik?" Sera suggested.
"Oh, yes." Sirius said in a monotone voice. "I love playing the same note over and over for endless measures. G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-G-"
"Shut up Sirius." Remus interrupted coldly him. The two exchanged a glare before Remus offered a solution. "How about one of the Brahms quartets?"
There was a mummer of agreement as they set up the music, and then threw themselves into the piece. Remus took his liberty of looking at the Sirius as they played. He liked what he saw.
Sirius was a passionate player. His fingers graced the strings and he kept his eye on Sera. He moved and flowed with his instrument. To an outside eye it may have looked as though he was having a seizure, but to Remus it was as though he was dancing with his cello. As Remus grew more entranced, it looked less like dancing and more like Sirius was making love with his cello. Remus felt a blush on his cheeks, and even as he looked away he saw Sirius move out of the corner of his eye.
Sirius smirked to himself.
They spent the next two hours going over the entire repertoire of the quartet and getting Sirius up to date on the rehearsal schedule. They began to pack up.
"So Andy, tell me. Where on Earth did you find him?" Sera asked.
"She found me in the gutters starving and offered me a job." Sirius cut in with a slight smile.
Andy punched his arm. "No I did not. I heard you and it sounded really good so I checked you out." She then covered her mouth at what she had said.
"Don't worry. I returned the favor." That earned him a punch from Andy and a smack from Sera. The two left quickly, Sera in the lead pulling Andy behind her, leaving Remus alone with Sirius to clean off the stage.
"You better watch your mouth around Sera when talking about Andy." Remus, who had been putting his viola away, finally spoke.
"Why's that?" Sirius asked out of genuine curiosity.
"Didn't you notice?" Sirius shook his head. Remus sighed. "They are together."
Sirius cocked his head to the side. "You mean like…"
Remus nodded and then turned around to put the chairs away. Sirius paused before grabbing the other two chairs and following Remus to the storage closet. "You must have really liked her."
Remus looked back at him thrown off. "Who?"
"The girl I replaced. You must have really liked her." Sirius repeated.
Remus scoffed. "You didn't replace a girl. You took James' place."
"Oh. You must have really liked him then." Sirius' smirk found its place on his face.
Remus didn't move for a second then dropped the chairs in the closet and turned back, walking around Sirius.
Sirius dropped the chairs into the closet also before following Remus. "Where is he now?"
Remus grabbed two of the stands, being careful not to pick up Sirius'. "If you really must know," Sirius nodded. "He's in London with his wife."
"I bet that hurt." Sirius took the other two.
"It hurt the whole quartet. Now, if we're quite finished, I need to be going." Remus placed the stands in the closet and turned to get his viola.
"Wait up! I'm not sure how to get out of here!"
Remus waited as patiently as he could as Sirius gathered up his things and shoved them into the cello case. Once the clasps were closed Remus led the way through the maze that was backstage. He turned off all the lights except for the safety lights on his way out. Sirius kept pace with him until they were outside.
Remus headed to his apartment, leaving Sirius alone with his thoughts. While Remus' floated around all the way to his modest apartment.
His fellow tenants had no problem living around a violist; some of them were musicians themselves. However, there was a certain code between them. No loud practicing after 8 o'clock, before 9 o'clock in the morning and no playing on Sunday. Those rules included piano, Remus' one other instrument. He was mostly self taught and had a steady job playing at popular high-class cocktail venues. The pay wasn't great, but it kept him well fed and sheltered.
Remus had three hours before he had to be at the party. He showered and chose his attire. A simple tuxedo and honey colored tie. He was told it brought out his eyes. He gathered his music and checked the mirror one last time. After a final adjustment of his coat he left the apartment, locking the door behind him.
As he approached the building, a sense of dread filled him. The clientele list included many of the most powerful men in the city. Including the owner of Black Tree Hotels, and his son.