Title: The One Inspiration
Ratings: PG 13- 15
Warnings: This is a AU fic for SB/RL placed in the 18-19th century. If you do not like this pairing, please do not read.
Also, this fic may lack in historical sense in some ways. If that bothers you, you may feel free to press the backspace key now. Thank you.
May be slightly OoC(or a lot. It really depends on the reader)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from HP series. The fabulous characters are not mine, and I am just borrowing them from JKR
A/N: This is the first fic I have ever written. I appreciate reviews from anyone who loves it or hates it. Just review once you've read the story:D
"Come on, help me out!" A boy with hair stuck up on all angles threw strands of grass in attempt to gain his friend's attention. "This is serious!"
"Yes, and I daresay I am listening rather Siriusly." The other boy lying on the grass commented laughing.
"Stop joking around, you bastard!" The boy shouted rustling his untidy hair even more.
"Okay, okay." The other boy gave a charming grin and sat up, trying to straighten his face with some difficulties. "So, James...your dear lady didn't fall for the hair?"
"Not only did she not fall for it," the boy named James sighed as if it were a great pain to bring the subject up once more. "she said that I looked horrible continuously rustling my hair."
The other boy tried to restrain himself from laughing, but failed horribly and started to laugh so hard that tears gathered up at the edge of his eyes.
"Black, you're a horrible listener, let alone a decent advisor!" James threw more grass at his friend, who was now laughing like a maniac. "Your name has played no role in developing your personality whatsoever."
"Look," the other boy sat up once more. "Don't tell me you actually expected me to be as serious as my name."he said as though hurt, but a grin was spreading through his face once more.
"Oh," James said with mock sincerity, "Actually, I did expect some sort of serious attitude from you, dear Sirius who never is able to be serious enough."
"I am going to track down the person who ever gave me this ridiculous, absurd name..." Sirius mumbled, lying back on the grass, fingers dancing through the long, green grass and patches of wild flowers.
"...which happens to be your own dearest father, Black." James commented with a smirk "Aren't you supposed to be practicing the piano or something?"
"Please..." Sirius started with both a frown on his face an amusement in his voice. "I can play anything the first moment I see the score."
"So modest, aren't we Mr. Black?" James snorted.
"Why, thank you, Mr. Potter for such accomplished compliments..." then he stopped as though listening for something.
"What are you on about now, Black?" James asked laughing. "Have you just figured out a new tune?"
"Shush." Sirius said, clasping his palm on James' mouth. Then he frowned as he tried to listen once more. "...Don't you hear that?"
"Hear what?" James asked, batting Sirius' hand away.
"A carriage.." Sirius muttered and stood up abruptly, suddenly running across the fields and heading for the path.
"What the hell..Black! Wait!" James stood up and followed his friend who had already gained some distance from him now.
Sirius stood at the very edge of the field, watching the path as if waiting for something.
"What has gotten into you?" James asked, breathing heavily as soon as he caught up with Sirius.
"Shh...listen." Sirius whispered. "A carriage is approaching."
"I don't hear..."James started, but soon fell silent.
He now understood what Sirius had been talking about.
There was the sound of horses galloping with heavy, yet fast thumps from a distance, and an occasional sound of a whip slapping on of the horses.
Soon, both could feel the ground vibrating slightly, and were overwhelmed to see a large, elaborate carriage lead by white horses appear from the corner of the earthy path.
The carriage passed the two stunned teenage boys in a second, and both stood silent, not even bothering to catch up or wave at the carriage.
"...Whoa." James was the first to break the silence.
"Yes," Sirius responded, looking shocked as well. "Whoa indeed."
"Wonder what kind of people have decided to move into this town." James murmured catching a glimpse of the carriage that now curved the edge of the large lake, and stopped in front of the mansion that had long been deserted.
"Probably some old rich family, I assume." Sirius said, finally regaining himself, and heading back to the field.
The mansion that stood infront of him was magnificent. It was not only enormous, but as a young man who had an eye for the fine arts, Remus Lupin could see how intricate sculptures decorated the marble.
"My, isn't this lovely." Mrs. Lupin exclaimed. She seemed delighted.
"It is indeed, my dear." Mr. Lupin replied with fondness as he stepped out of the carriage and reached out a hand to assist Mrs. Lupin, who was still full of awe. "What say you, son?" Mr. Lupin asked as his young son carefully stepped out of the carriage, swaying slightly.
"It is truly wonderful." Remus replied with a small smile on his face.
"Well, it looks as though we've at last succeeded in pleasing our son with a house, Margaret." Mr. Lupin remarked, smiling widely and warmly. He truly seemed pleased with himself and the house.
"Though it does seem rather old." Remus said, scrutinizing the large mansion a bit more. "How long has it stood here?"
"Nearly a century, sir." Their guide, Mr. Wood replied. "However, it has only been occupied for less than a decade."
"And why is that, may I ask?" Remus asked, his eyes traveling down the buttresses that even had carvings of their own.
"Well.." Mr. Wood started, repressing a grin. "For starters, no one can really afford the mansion, you see. And as you may well be aware of, it comes on truly high costs."
"No wonder." Remus mused. "It's truly a work of art."
"Enough of this." Mr. Lupin said, guiding his wife and son towards the large entrance. "We shall go inside now, shall we?"
"Hello, Peter!" James said cheerfully as he was both chatting with Sirius and wiping
the vacant tables at the same time.
"Hello!" Peter replied both looking at James and Sirius in turn.
"Ah, Pete, my boy!" Behind the counter, Mr. Potter appeared caring a barrel. "Tell me, is the bread as good as usual?"
"Yes, sir." Peter said, heaving the sack of fresh bread onto the counter infront of Mr. Potter. "You know my father, sir. Always the best bread for the best customer and friend."
"Surely he has proved his friendship throughout the decades." Mr. Potter remarked with a smile as his nipped one of the baguettes. "Good as always." He said after tasting one. "Wait here for a moment, Peter. I'll pay you as soon as I get the money out of this stupid drawer."
Mr. Potter always had trouble opening the drawer he put his money in, although that was the primary reason he had chosen that particular drawer to keep his savings.
"Heard about the new comers?" Peter asked as he waited to be paid.
"Absolutely." James replied. "Your talking about the ones who moved into Lefonte Mansion, right?"
"If that's so," James continued clapping Sirius on the back. "Sirius here and I have actually seen them first set foot in the village.
"A grand overture must have been required, I suspect Sirius?" Peter laughed, and Sirius grinned in return.
"Hardly." Sirius replied, then suddenly asked. "What time is it anyway?"
"Around five?" James replied looking out the window. "Why?"
"I'm late!" Sirius exclaimed as he stood up from his seat and rushed out of the inn.
"I guess we'll be seeing you around, mate!" James called out after him.
"I apologize, father. I lost track of time..." Sirius said panting as he opened the front door.
"I can see that without doubt, Sirius." Mr. Black replied, continuing to straighten out his fine garments. "Get dressed." He ordered without giving Sirius much of a glance, to busy looking into the mirror checking if he was appropriately dressed.
"Yes, father." Sirius obeyed, quickly walking into his room.
As soon as he entered his room, Sirius found that his father had selected a set of clothes for him on this obviously, 'special' evening.
Sirius rarely wore anything too expensive although he had plenty of clothes that still came in rather high costs.
However, for some reason, tonight his father had brought about one of his most high class garments.
Sirius never argued much with his father, and certainly did not enjoy doing so. So, without questioning, he quickly got dressed and went down stairs to find his father awaiting with a pair of silk gloves of his own.
"Father," Sirius started as he pulled on his gloves. "May I ask to be informed of the occasion?"
"We are going to perform for the new comers of Lefonte Mansion." Mr. Black replied, with pride in his voice. "Surely you have practiced?"
"Indeed, father." Sirius said as he finally noticed his violin placed in front of the door, awaiting to be held by it's owner.
"May I ask, once again, of who these..." Sirius frowned to think of a decent word other than 'new comers', but failed. "..new comers are exactly?"
"They are the Lupins ." Mr. Black explained, reaching for the door. "A very wealthy, and old family."
"Are they of any royalties?" Sirius asked.
"I believe the Mistress is a far relative of the king himself, and I have been informed that Mr. Lupin is nobleman from France."
Sirius fell silent. He did not enjoy performing for both the royal and noble.
"As you may have noticed, Sirius," Mr. Black continued. "We are one of the most prominent musicians in the modern era. Especially after many royalties have recognized your accomplished composing skills, we have had many honors to perform for royalties."
Sirius frowned slightly, but Mr. Black seemed not to have noticed as he continued.
"It will be a great honor to perform for the Lupins this evening, Sirius. And, as I might inform you before hand, we have also been invited for dinner before the performance."
"I have never been informed of any of this sort!" Sirius protested. Dinner surrounded by snobbish noblemen and women just made him sick already.
"That is why you are being informed now." Mr. Black replied cooly. "And since you seemed to enjoy the prospect of being informed early, I may say that we will continue this for more than once." He seemed very pleased of himself and his son.
"God has given you a great gift, my son." He said, suddenly very warmly. That of something he showed less often after the death of Mrs. Black. "And I am truly thankful and grateful to the gods above, who have gifted me with you."
"Master Remus," a maid called as she stood in the entrance of his room. "Your guests are awaiting you."
"Yes." Remus replied after smoothing out his intricate and delicate garments. "I'll be down soon."
As the maid nodded and left, Remus peered into the mirror one last time, made sure he was presentable(although he was much more than that), and left his room and headed down stairs.
"Ah, here he comes." Mr. Lupin gladly exclaimed as he saw his son appearing from the stairs.
Two men were standing in front of the entrance with the Lupins, who were both at their best.
Remus quickly took a look at the strangers, yet guests.
The older man had a moustache that strangely sharpened his features. He had shining black eyes that seemed to pierce through people and he stood in a posture that gave him a stately atmosphere.
The younger man, who seemed no older than Remus himself, resembled not much of his father. Although he too had shining eyes, they were grey and less fierce, instead holding both a wild and passionate look in his eyes. While his father was nothing but normal looking, he was a hansom young man. He had a face that resembled many marvelous and beautiful sculptures that Remus had seen so many times. The younger boy gave out an elegant feeling as well, although somewhat different from his father once again. He showed dignity, but not the forceful one his father let out. He seemed to have natural nobility although Remus knew he was in no such position.
"Remus, this is Mr. Black, and his son Mr. Sirius Black." Mr. Lupin introduced the two men to Remus.
"Pleased to meet you." Remus smiled as he shook each man's hand.
"Now, I do believe dinner is still not quite ready." Mrs. Lupin said, as she smiled pleasantly. "We shall stay in the guest room for a while, shall we?"
Sirius carefully observed the boy who sat in a large arm chair across from him.
The boy of the Lupins had light brown hair that had obviously been groomed with great care. He seemed not to be in the best health condition one could wish for. On the contrary, he actually looked weak and ill, and showed a shadow of tiredness. Yet his amber eyes that sometimes glinted with gold, seemed stern and calm. He was the typical boy who had been raised in a wealthy family, Sirius decided. He had delicate features, and a calm expression. He seemed the right man for nobility with his graceful and well kept manner, which surprised Sirius, for he had not met many royalties who actually seemed fit for the status. He certainly didn't seem too fond of speaking with others. He actually seemed a bit quiet and shy. However, he had a charming and pleasant laughter that ringed pleasantly in one's ears, and lingered in one's memory for a long time. And to Sirius' utter surprise, he did not have the proud and obnoxious manner that Sirius despised of noblemen.
One of the maids soon came to announce dinner, and they were guided to the large dining room.
"What brings you to this humble town, Mr. Lupin?" Mr. Black asked politely as he cut his tender steak.
"Well, Mr. Black," Mr. Lupin started after taking a sip of wine and wiping his mouth with a napkin. "Our son Remus is actually in terrible health conditions, and we decided to stay in the outskirts for a while."
"Ah." Mr. Black nodded, eying Remus. "Yes, this village does hold fresh air and wonderful sceneries. It is surely the ideal place for one to recover from ill health."
Remus smiled slightly before speaking.
"It is not that I am ill, Mr. Black. It is merely the fact that I am not as healthy as one could wish to be."
"Forgive me for mistaking your health, Mr. Remus Lupin." Mr. Black replied with an apologetic smile. However, his eyes glinted.
"We have been informed that there is a village around, Mr. Sirius Black." Mrs. Lupin started, attempting to change the subject. "Is that true?"
"Yes, madam." Sirius responded putting down his glass. "One may have trouble seeing it from here, but there is a village down the hill, and I may say, it is quite lively and pleasant as is any other village."
"Is there a doctor in this town as well?" Mr. Lupin asked glancing at his son for a moment.
"Surely, sir, you do not expect a village to have no doctor? We even have a veterinarian to tend the farm animals." Sirius smiled. Mr. Lupin laughed.
"Well, my good friend," he started. "Do tell us who this respected doctor is."
"Our doctor, unlike many, is capable of doing more than one duty." Sirius explained.
"He is not only a skilled doctor, but also is a pharmacist at the same time. He lives just down the hill, near the stream. And he is also capable of helping women deliver with no pain, as they say. Of course, that is only if they are willing to accept his assistance."
"And this talented fellow is?" Mr. Lupin asked with great interest.
"Dr. Severus Snape, sir. Although he does seem rather unpleasant, he is a well trained doctor who can bring people back from both the heavens and hell."
"Surely that is blasphemy?" Mrs. Lupin asked smiling.
"I may disagree to your concept, madam." Sirius smiled. "If one can persuade the all mighty to send back people to this world, that should not be called blasphemy, but a blessing."
"You certainly have a way with words, do you not Mr. Black?" Remus spoke after a long silence of his own.
"I grant that as a complement, Mr. Lupin." Sirius bowed his head an smiled.
Remus mildly smiled back.
After dinner, they gathered around the salon with drinks in their hands.
"Now," Mr. Lupin announced to the small crowd. "Mr. Sirius Black will be kind enough to entertain us with a small performance."
Sirius smiled and held up the violin in the right position. As he had spent the evening with the Lupins, he had learned that none of them were unpleasant at all, and had persuaded himself to perform his best.
He looked at his father who was sitting on the piano stool, preparing himself to start when Sirius had gave him the title.
'Start by subtle and quiet.' Sirius reminded himself. 'But not too profound right after dining.'
He mouthed the title to his father who smiled, and once Sirius made sure he had gain everyone's attention, he started.
"In one of your deep thoughts again, mate?"
James looked up at the voice and saw Sirius looking down at him, beaming.
"Have a seat." He said, pulling out a chair beside him. Sirius sat down.
Silence lingered between them.
"Guess what I was thinking about." James finally spoke, looking positively glum.
"Let me consider." Sirius started looking as though he was really thinking hard. "Your morose expression indicates five different things, limp limbs give another four, and slumped on the table give possibilities to another seven."
James scowled at him, but he nevertheless continued.
"However," Sirius snapped his fingers as if he had finally figured out the criminal of a murder case. "Your hazy and dreamy eyes indicate else where. Leading to the one and only thing.." he paused, grinning at his friend who was rolling his eyes. "A young, flaming lady who goes by the name of Lily Evans is bothering you, am I wrong?"
"How absolutely acute of you to figure that out, Black." James sighed.
"What did she do this time?" Sirius asked, looking at his friend with interest filled eyes.
"She told me to get out of her shop before she showed me what roses were really capable of." James sighed. "It's all my fault. I should never have fallen in love with a flowerist."
"Not your fault at all my good old friend." Sirius said, tapping his friends elbow. "Nothing you can do of the human feeling."
"I wonder if Snape can make medicine that can make Lily fall for me."
"I am a pharmacist, not a wizard Potter." a sly voice said from behind.
James and Sirius both turned around to see the talented doctor of the village standing at the entrance of the inn.
"Good evening, Snape." Sirius greeted. "Do come in. We are no threat to you since we are only two young men mourning over love."
"I must say, Black, eighteen does seem mature enough." Snape continued as he took a seat in the table both James and Sirius sat in. "However, since I am still your peers, I guess I can bear to listen to your mourning."
"Good." James sat up cheerfully. "Finally, a proper advisor!" He turned to Sirius and smiled apologetically. "Sorry, mate."
"Oh, don't." Sirius said as he made to get up. "I'll just leave dear Snape here to help you out of your depression." and he left the inn.
Remus wondered around the lake a bit, and considered going down to the town for a change. Instead, he decided to look around the hill for a while.
He surprisingly remembered the song the Blacks had performed the other evening, and hummed it while he examined the grass and flowers that lay around him.
The green fields of grass around him, woods and mountains all around was nothing of what he had seen in London. Even the air was remarkably different from that of the city. Unlike the stuffy and unpleasant air full of fog back in London, he could only sense and feel fresh and cool air filling into his lungs as he breathed. He could even smell the woods and grass around him as he inhaled deeply.
Just then, he heard something or someone approach the hill. The yet unseen someone was whistling a familiar tune, and Remus realized that it was that of which he had currently been humming.
Remus stood still for a moment, and decided to leave whomever approaching unaddressed.
Whoever the stranger was, they were approaching quite near the fields he was sitting in.
Remus turned around at the voice that had grown mildly familiar after the long acquaintance the previous evening.
"Mr. Black." he addressed as Sirius came striding to where he sat.
"May I join you?" Sirius asked, not allowing himself to sit down just yet.
"Of course." Remus moved a bit so that Sirius could sit beside him.
"Enjoying the view, are you not?" Sirius asked as he sat next to Remus.
"Indeed," Remus replied. "As you have informed me earlier, Mr. Black, this is a truly beautiful village."
"Have you cared to venture the sight down the hill?" Sirius asked.
"No." Remus replied looking around. "I'd prefer to explore the fields before the villages."
"You may be able to see the village if you just moved up to the edge and looked down." Sirius said, smiling.
"As it may be," Remus started. "I am one that enjoys looking thoroughly at one thing before moving on, Mr. Black."
Sirius said nothing and lay down on the grass field as he always did.
"Although you do have a point, Mr. Lupin." Sirius started after a while. "I have lived my entire life in this small village and spent numerous hours in this field, in this particular spot and yet I have failed to explore it any better than a stranger like you have."
Remus looked down at this young man with ebony hair.
"This village," Sirius started waving his hand around. "This field, does not reveal itself under human presence. One can never explore it completely even if they spend their whole life looking at only this field, and only this spot."
"If you cannot succeed in even examining such a field," Remus said, his voice full of both irritation and amusement. "How can you move on any further and explore other parts in this, as they say, small world?"
"One can simply not." Sirius replied looking into the amber eyes that now glinted of shining gold. "Nothing of nature can be explored nor dominated, and that is why we humans are the ones that should go no further than admire and search the great awes of nature."
"You sound as though you have spend all your life thinking of such matters." Remus said, smiling brightly.
"It has been a long, tiring life, Mr. Lupin." Sirius replied well humored.
"A long, tiring life you say?" Remus mused. "I dare say, you make it sound like you have lived a century year old life."
"I am not sure of how to accept that, Mr. Lupin." Sirius laughed. "It can either mean that I have shown you a remarkable amount of thought, or that I am just being ridiculous."
"A bit of both, if I should say." Remus replied still smiling.
"Well, I am sorry to inform you that I have only lived an eighteen year old life, and that I am only thinking in a hundred year old mind." Sirius said. "I hope that it is not a disappointment?" he added with mock concern.
"Why, no." Remus replied, also with mock shock. "Eighteen is enough I say, and I must confess I do feel that even living a eighteen year life is a bit tiring these days."
"I am grateful to finally meet someone who agrees that we 'youngsters' as they call us, are suffering from premature mental states, nowadays." Sirius sat up.
"Indeed, Mr. Black..." Remus replied.
"Sirius is preferable if you don't mind." Sirius pointed out. "The name Mr. Black makes me feel no better of how elder I feel."
"As you wish," Remus paused a bit, as the new name felt a bit awkward on his tongue. "Sirius."
"And, in return, you may call me Remus." Remus held out his hand.
"It feels awfully silly to be reintroduced in this manner." Sirius said, laughing as he took Remus' hand.
"How old were you when you first tried to play an instrument?" Remus asked, as they carefully climbed over a log.
"Since I was a very young child, obviously." Sirius simply replied,
"Yes," Remus said, taking his eyes off of the forest around them for a moment. "But how old were you exactly?"
"I was two when I first started to learn the piano." Sirius explained. "After my father decided that I held some potential, he allowed me to practice various instruments, one of them being the violin."
"I see." Remus replied, watching a squirrel run by with amusement. "You said you also composed, did you not?"
"Yes."Sirius replied, smiling. "You see, it is really quite difficult to keep a living by only performing. Composing comes with a decent salary."
"So you compose for money?" Remus asked a bit perplexed.
"Yes and no." Sirius replied. "I do it because I like to, but I continue to hold passion in it because it happens to bring me money."
"I understand that you do not need to commit yourself to any form of labour." Sirius stopped for a moment, looking at Remus. "Still, as a gentleman perhaps you have some way of passing the time? After all, surely it must get quite tiresome to do no such work for any reason?"
"I read." Remus replied lightly. Then after a slight pause, he continued. "I sometimes write, but I rarely do that. However," he paused once again. "I do spend a great deal admiring art."
"Do you happen to play an instrument?" Sirius asked, walking under the open for a change, and warming himself from the sun.
"No." Remus responded. "Sadly enough, I am incapable of practicing any instrument."
"Not even the piano?" Sirius couldn't but keep the surprise out of his voice.
"Why, no." Remus replied frowning slightly. "Is that of much importance?"
"Forgive me." Sirius said apologetically. "It's just quite surprising to know that a well educated man like yourself has never had music lessons."
"Yes." Remus nodded, continuing to walk and stepping back into the shade. "Sadly my dear parents have not really given me any form of education for the arts."
"However, you mentioned that you spend a great deal of your time admiring art." Sirius reminded Remus.
"Yes, and so I do." Remus admitted. "Although my parents have failed to provide me with any form of education for art, I have learned to admire art on my own. Particularly, the fine arts."
"I see." Sirius nodded, scratching his chin slightly. "If so, do you happen to draw by any chance?"
"No, not really."
"If you can not actually experience creating art, how do you still admire it?" Sirius asked a little pointedly.
"Mr. Black..." Remus started.
"Sirius." Sirius corrected.
"Yes, Sirius." Remus waved his hand impatiently. "Although I may not be capable of capturing or expressing the divine work of art, I am still able to judge a piece of art work." he sounded slightly upset, but his face remained calm. "And, I assure you, no such skill or artistic talents are required in the process."
Silence fell, and they both walked without speaking for quite some time.
"I understand that you are very talented and skilled in noticing accomplished art." Sirius started a bit carefully. "Nevertheless, it would be quite pleasant for you to try and at least play music or draw."
"Indeed." Remus replied quietly.
"However, I do admit and understand that music can be a subject that is difficult for one to learn and accept on one's own." Sirius continued a bit nervously. "I would be pleased to help you practice music, if you will accept my assistance." He tried to look at Remus, but Remus was walking quietly with his head down as if searching for something on the solid, earthy ground. "Of course, this is always nothing more than an offer..."
"It may be merely an offer, but a great one by the sounds of it." Remus quietly said after silence. Sirius turned to him a bit startled by his sudden reply.
'Thank you." Remus said, smiling.
"I am sure you recall Mr. Sirius Black?" Remus asked casually as he silently put down his glass.
"Of course dear." Mrs. Lupin looked up from her plate as her usually speechless son spoke.
"He was the young chap who put up a memorable little performance, was he not?" Mr. Lupin asked.
"Yes, he most certainly is." Remus replied as he let the servant fill up his glass once more.
"Why has he suddenly become such an interesting being to you, son?" Mr. Lupin asked as he waved away the servant trying to fill his glass as well. He always stopped drinking when he was intently interested in a certain subject.
"Well, father," Remus replied with equal intentness and interest in his eyes. "I was wondering if I could receive some music lessons from him."
The other two people suddenly stopped everything they had been doing, looking at their son in disbelief and amazement.
"You mean to say," Mr. Lupin cleared out his throat. "that you wish to learn music from the young man?"
"Yes." Remus said trying to capture either parents' eyes. "I see not what is so surprising about that."
"Remus," Mrs. Lupin started, trying to place her hand on her son's. She seemed worried. "Why the sudden decision?"
"Well, mother." Remus replied, trying to suppress anger and disappointment from his voice. "I have always wished to receive music lessons, and I cannot say that I had expected such reactions of utter surprise from both." He gave a pleasant little smile while calmly watching the two other Lupins.
Both the elder Lupins fell silent.
"If that is the case," Mr. Lupin started after a while, breaking the heavy silence with a cough. "I shall arrange a fine music tutor. There are always much more experienced teachers..."
"Forgive me father," Remus cut Mr. Lupin off. "Although I do not wish to be rude, I'd rather prefer Mr. Sirius Black to tutor me. I have seen his great talents, and am sure that he will do as good as, if not better, any other well experienced tutor."
"Very well." Mr. Lupin replied after seeming to have put some thought into the matter. "Yes, I do see what your point is, Remus. Mr. Sirius Black has truly shown many potentials, despite his relatively young age.
"I shall discuss further matters with Mr. Black and see how lessons will be arranged." With that, Mr. Lupin waved to the servant to bring him more wine, and as a cue, Mrs. Lupin and Remus continued eating their meal.
"Wait," James shook his head, and frowned slightly. "does this mean that you are giving this...Mr. Remus Lupin music lessons?"
"Why, yes James. How clever of you to finally notice." Sirius replied not looking up from the chess board.
"But," James looked as though he was absolutely stunned. "How? Why? When? What?" he spluttered out.
"For god sake, Potter." Severus Snape snapped, looking up from his chess board. "Black has been telling us this for the last ten minutes, and I am certain that it would have taken less if you had not had to interfere for repetition of the same story, just because of your disbelief." He looked back down the chess board to find that Sirius had made his move.
"I am not in disbelief, Snape." James shot up. "I'm just..surprised."
"Yes," Severus replied, not looking up from the chess board, and trying to concentrate. "Disbelief and surprise do come all at once, doesn't it?"
"Fine, since our dear Dr. Snape seems to be so bitter of me asking you, Sirius, of the question 'how', I'll kindly ask what exactly you are teaching."
"Obviously, music isn't it?" Peter spoke up for the first time.
"Yes, Peter, I understand that Sirius is teaching music, since that's the only thing likely. No offense, mate." James quickly added. Sirius laughed.
"You want to know what exactly I'm expected to teach?" Sirius asked.
"Yes." James replied shrugging. "I mean, he must have some basic knowledge of music, coming from such a family."
"Well," Sirius replied, sitting up a bit. "Actually, he hasn't had any sort of music lesson for his entire life. This will be the first time he'll ever learn music."
James' jaw opened in disbelief.
"But why from you?" he asked again, but corrected himself as Severus gave a long suffering sigh. "Okay, fine. I'll stick to the original question. What are you teaching him specifically?"
"Music theory would be first, since it's his frist time." Sirius explained. "History would be necessary as well. Other than that, most of it will be about practicing instruments. Probably the piano, since it's the most simple one to learn."
"You're supposed to teach him all of that?" James almost shouted. "My god. You must be getting well paid for the job since you're supposed to go through all that."
"Believe me, I get paid more than necessary." Sirius replied. "My father has his own ways in getting people to pay high costs for taking lessons from me." he grimaced a bit.
"Your turn, Black." Severus interrupted as he took one of Sirius' knights.
"How may I help you?" A servant asked as he opened the door.
"I am to tutor Mr. Remus Lupin."Sirius replied politely.
"Ah, Mr. Black." The servant said, moving away from the door. "Master Remus is expecting you."
Sirius was guided to a large room.
Although it had a piano placed in the middle, it was not the salon Sirius had first performed in. There were a desk in corner, and the room was filled with book shelves.
"Master Remus," the servant called from the door step. "Mr. Black."
Remus appeared from one the book shelves, and smiled as he saw Sirius.
"Thank you, Tod. You may now leave." He dismissed the servant with a graceful gesture, and the servant left with a slight bow closing the door behind him.
"Good evening, Mr. Black." Remus addressed.
"As I recall we had settled on you calling me Sirius. Or is it that I am now experiencing memory failure from my age?" Sirius asked as he approached Remus.
"I can imagine your attitude towards your age when you turn thirty, Sirius." Remus laughed. "And no, you are not suffering from memory failure despite your terribly 'old' age, as you like to phrase it. I merely addressed you as 'Mr. Black' since it seemed appropriate at that very moment."
"It seems that you are either very impulsive, or that you have good sense of reaction." Sirius replied musing the rich laughter Remus emitted. The laughter seemed to overwhelm his senses. "However, I cannot seem to decide on which."
"Well, neither can I." Remus replied and, to Sirius' utter disappointment, suddenly regained his calm self.
"Shall we start then?" Remus asked as he gestured towards the grand piano.
"So we shall." Sirius replied, walking towards the piano that stood with grace and dignity.
"I thought that you had never learned to play the piano." Sirius said as he placed a hand on the piano and touched the surface. Certainly made with the finest material.
"Yes," Remus replied. "Although it may seem a luxury, as you may have noticed, we have guests who perform. Naturally the piano is a necessity for social gatherings."
"Do you mean to say that this is the very same piano from the salon?" Sirius asked, examining the piano a bit closer now.
"Well, no." Remus replied, seeming a bit uncomfortable.
"Oh." Sirius decided to seize the conversation in the matter as he saw Remus' face. "Well then," Remus continued cheerfully. "I believe we have had enough of small talk, and shall begin now."
Contrary to Sirius' expectation, Remus was a quick learner, and showed quite a bit of ear for music.
"I thought you had never learned to practice an instrument." Sirius remarked as he watched Remus' sensitive fingers dance on the keys in a rather tentative, yet graceful manner.
"Indeed you are correct." Remus replied sounding a bit distracted. "Am I that horrible?"
"No." Sirius replied, gazing at Remus who squinted into the score, and feeling a bit distracted himself. "You are doing fabulous."
"Why, thank you." Remus replied, finding the right key and smiling. "I am grateful to learn that listening to music actually holds more positive effects other than pleasing my ears."
"It certainly seems so. You seem to have not much trouble finding the appropriate keys." Sirius responded, as he saw Remus smiling lightly. "It's quite astounding for a person who has started just an hour ago."
"I wonder." Remus started after a short moment. "Does age have any relation to the progress you make, and how quick you are to become more advanced?"
"I'm not sure." Sirius asked, truly bewildered by the sudden question. "I've never bothered to consider."
A few moments passed as Remus intently pressed on the keys and scrutinized the scores.
"Remus," Sirius broke the silence. Remus didn't look up, but still seemed startled as he stopped. "Reading the score is different from reading a book. There is no need to so intently stare into it. You must learn to appreciate it, accept it, and then try to flow with it."
Remus looked up, looking Sirius into the eyes.
"I understand." He started calmly. "I do appreciate this and I do accept it." he paused for a moment before he continued. "yet, I just don't understand how to flow with it."
"Do you enjoy dancing, Remus?" Sirius asked.
"No, I was never much of a dancer." Remus replied lightly.
"You mentioned that you enjoy reading, have you not?" Sirius asked again, recalling their conversation in the woods.
"Yes, one can say that I do." Remus replied as he waved a hand toward the numerous bookshelves in the room.
"While you read, do you not often find yourself becoming one of the characters in the book?" Sirius asked. Remus nodded slowly.
"Well, this isn't much different." Sirius said, trying to sound encouraging.
"However, you noted that reading a book and reading a score are quite different." Remus asked as he raised an eyebrow.
"Well, up to the accepting part, yes." Sirius replied. "However, the flowing part may be different." a short pause and frown. "Besides, I usually refer to dancing, but you said that you don't enjoy dancing, so that leaves me with reading."
Remus smiled, and then turned back to the score.
"I fail to understand how one could have ever manage become such an accomplished musician." Remus said, not looking up from the score. "Learning the Greek dialect seems easier."
"Time plays a great role." Sirius replied. "Learning music from one's childhood has far more influences than one could imagine."
"Which only gives more reasons of why I should admire you." Remus retorted. His voice was full, yet purposefully hidden of a mixture of feelings. "I envy you." his last words were the only things that shed some light to reveal one of his many feelings.
"There is nothing to envy." Sirius said gently. "It is nothing. Besides, you are accomplished in much more."
Remus gave Sirius a small smile, and looked back into both the score and the keys.
"How is Mr. Remus Lupin?" Mr. Black asked as soon as Sirius entered the room he was practicing in.
"He is rather fine." Sirius replied, removing his coat. "Actually, he seems capable of performing decent music."
Mr. Black nodded as he wrote down several notes on his paper.
"Scores. Where are your scores?" he asked Sirius, not taking his eyes off from his own.
"Here." Sirius handed the scores to his father's outstretched hands. "Why?"
"We are going to perform this for the Lupins tomorrow evening." Mr. Black replied, staring into Sirius' score. "You have practiced, haven't you?"
"That is what I have created, father." Sirius replied feeling a bit irritated. "I find no need to actually practice."
"Ah, I recognize arrogance in that, Sirius." Mr. Black flipped the pages. "Of course, I understand what you are capable in."
There was a pause, and the only sound that filled the room was the flipping of pages.
"Father." Sirius finally spoke up. "That is not a duet."
"I notice, my son." Mr. Black replied, still looking into the score. "You need cleaner handwriting. What is this you wrote? Ah, I see."
"Also, it is a song meant for the piano." Sirius continued.
"Yes," Mr. Black stood up, returning the score to Sirius. "adding more reasons why I want you to perform this. The Lupins will be delighted to see you are also excellent in other instruments, and would be grateful to know that their son is in good hands."
Sirius looked down at the score his father was still holding.
He wasn't pleased with the idea of presenting his own work, but he didn't want to argue with his father all the same.
"Okay," James took a deep breath. "This is it."
"Indeed." Sirius replied. "Let us hope you do not end up with thorns."
"What is that supposed to mean?" James asked right before entering the flower shop.
"Nothing in particular." Sirius shrugged. "Now go!" Sirius pushed James inside the store and followed close behind.
"Good evening," A red headed woman greeted them without looking up. She was obviously working. "Excuse me for a moment." she quickly finished what she was working on, and turned to them.
"How may I help.." She stopped as she saw James beaming nervously at her.
"I'm sorry, but we're closed." the woman abruptly changed her attitude and turned to go.
"No, wait, Lily!" James shouted desperately as he took hold of her arm.
"Mr. Potter." Lily seemed to be suppressing the urge to slap James right across the face. "I prefer to be addressed as Ms. Evans, and I do not appreciate you walking into my store every three times a day. I have to close every time, and it is not appealing to my customers."
"Please, Lily..I mean Ms. Evans." James hastily corrected himself. "There is no one here at the very moment. It wouldn't bother anyone even if we had a small chat, and it is nearly lunchtime anyway. I could buy you lunch."
"Mr. Potter." Lily replied with some evident patience. She was never a very patient woman towards James, and Sirius grew worried for James' approaching seemingly tragic fate. "I buy my own lunch."
"Well, that's just as good!" James exclaimed joyfully. "I like an independent woman! Now, shall we?"
Lily let out a long suffering sigh, and succumbed.
"If this means getting you out of my shop for another decent three days, fine."
As James and Sirius followed Lily outside the shop and waited her to lock it, Sirius spotted a familiar figure in front of the baker's.
"Look, James." Sirius poked his dreamy-eyed friend in the ribs for attention. "I'll leave you two alone from now, okay?"
"Sure." James replied batting away Sirius' hand. "Go ahead. I'll be fine from here."
"Right." Sirius replied, and checked if the figure still stood at the baker's shop.
When he found the figure evidently paying the expenses for the bread, he hurried to the baker's.
"Hello, Sirius!" Peter greeted him from the counter.
"Good day, Peter." Sirius replied, forgetting to even bow a bit when Mrs. Pettigrew greeted him as well. "Remus!"
The familiar figure turned around, a bit startled at the call of his name, to see Sirius walking towards him.
"Sirius?" Remus replied rather blankly. He truly seemed a bit too surprised.
"Pete, this is Mr. Remus Lupin." Sirius briskly introduced Remus to the dumfounded Peter, who had dough dripping between his fingers. "Remus, this is Mr. Peter Pettigrew, an old friend of mine."
"Pleased to meet you." Mrs. Pettigrew replied instead of Peter. "Are you the young man who has moved into Lefonte mansion?"
"Yes, madam." Remus replied with a polite smile. "Well, I better be off now. Good day to you."
He gave a small bow and left the bakery.
"I'll see you later, Pete!" Sirius shouted at Peter, who had been smacked by his mother for wasting decent dough, and hurried out himself.
"Why in such a hurry, Remus?"
Remus gasped and turned around in surprise as he found Sirius walking right behind him.
"Sirius," Remus gave out an exasperated sigh. "Although I hate to admit, I must inform you that I do have a weak heart."
"I'll be sure to be a bit more cautious from now on." Sirius replied, smiling widely at Remus. He had no idea why he felt so glad to see Remus.
"I'm sorry," Remus said after looking at Sirius' uncontrollable smile. "Although being joyful is a rather positive aspect, I can't help but inquire. Is there anything wrong?"
"No." Sirius replied, trying to restrain himself from seeming any more absurd than he did now. "No, it's just that you look wonderful today." The words slipped unconsciously from Sirius' lips.
It was true.
Remus was wearing light coloured set of garments that had obviously been made of the finest materials a person could lay hands on. It made him emit light and seemed to be made just for him(which would have). His hair, which was somewhere between brown and gold, had been finely groomed as usual, yet had lost it's complete formal atmosphere after having been windswept. However, he still showed grace and dignity, rather than wildness and roughness. He actually gained more charm from his slightly wrinkled clothes and tussled hair.
"Well." Remus raised an eyebrow. "I suppose I should thank you."
Only by Remus' reluctant 'thanks' was Sirius finally able to step out of his admiration, and instead look into Remus' shining eyes. However, he noticed, there were no sparkling gold in them today.
"And you seem.." Remus lingered on his words as if to find the most appropriate words. "...comfortable." he finally managed.
"Yes, thank you." Sirius smiled still more broadly.
Of course he had understood what Remus really had meant.
Without his usual garments while tutoring, Sirius would have seemed a bit inappropriate to Remus.
He had no overcoat, and only wore a shirt unbuttoned enough to reveal his chest. Remus decided that Sirius had been wearing his usual garments but had shoved them off, for Sirius was nevertheless wearing his black trousers and boots he usually associated with a matching black overcoat, silk gloves and silk hat.
Remus' first idea was how indecent it seemed, but after a while, he learned that the look suited Sirius quite well. It gave him a more passionate and stormy feeling that he kept in his grey eyes.
"Yet, you have still my original question to answer." Sirius spoke this time, breaking Remus out of his thoughts. "Why in such a hurry?"
"If you must know," Remus replied, sounding a bit irritated, yet smiling nonetheless. "I am to visit Dr. Snape, and introduce myself since my parents expect that I will have regular meetings with him from now on." He sounded bitter.
"Well, I doubt you will be able to see him at the very moment." Sirius replied, trying to sound apologetic.
"And why is that?" Remus asked a bit pointedly. He could sense from Sirius' tone that Sirius was finding this all rather amusing.
"He never sees a patient during lunch hours." Sirius replied simply. "Unless you are at the verge of dying, he will never open the door."
"Then I shall play dead." Remus said matter-a-factly.
"I know not of your acting skills, Remus, but I would suggest you to rather go on a walk with me instead." he managed to say after an outburst of laughter. "Dr. Snape does have his own ways in telling the living from dead. Juliet herself would never have been believed dead if it were Snape as her doctor."
"This place doesn't seem familiar." Remus spoke after having to observed the forest and trees surrounding them.
"No," Sirius replied, walking into the forest and breathing in deep. "It is a different forest from the last one I visited with you."
"How many forests are there here in this village?" Remus asked out of pure curiosity and awe.
"Enough for giants to garden." Sirius replied. "There is a cave in this one."
"A cave?" Remus asked. "Intriguing."
"Yes," Sirius replied as he loosened several more buttons of his shirt from the heat. "Also, there are known to be giants inhabiting the caves."
"You must be joking." Remus said, smiling. "There are no such things as giants."
"And how would you know?" Sirius asked, raising his eyebrow and smiling back at Remus at the same time.
"There aren't any proof." Remus replied lightly.
"Of course there are." Sirius argued. "Trees are often found rooted from the very spot."
"It could have been a storm." Remus said, feeling amused. "Giants do not exist."
"Oh yes they most certainly do." Sirius said persistently.
They held a heated(and rather ridiculous) discussion on the existence of giants.
"Now, I'll prove it to you." Sirius announced proudly, as he shoved one of the branches that hung low.
"I am looking forward to the prospect, indeed." Remus replied, trying to sound exasperated, but failing and smiling instead.
"And..." Sirius started dramatically, abruptly turning around to cover Remus' eyes.
"You need not block my sight, Sirius." Remus couldn't help but laugh.
"Oh, yes I do." Sirius replied. "Besides, you may faint when you see the giant, and I can't let you fall on the ground, can I?"
Sirius felt Remus' slight frown on his palms.
"Sir, I am now about to present you.." Sirius started, putting in dramatic affects on his own. "the giant's cave!"
Remus could see the scenery layed in front of him, as Sirius' hands slipped off his eyes.
Remus had to admit, it was truly beautiful.
It was not the simple, dark cave Remus had imagined, but it had a river flowing around it, and water flowing above, covering the entrance of the cave as if a veil.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Sirius asked, close behind Remus.
"Yes." Remus replied a bit breathless from the view. "Yes. Beautiful seems to be the only appropriate thing to say."
"Tell me," Sirius started. "What do you see of this cave?"
They had long crossed the river and were sitting at the entrance of the cave.
"What do you mean?" Remus asked in return. He still couldn't quite believe such piece of nature's art could exist in this world.
"Does this scenery," Sirius waved a hand around the cave. "Inspire you in any way?"
"Do you expect me to have any artistic talents as you do, Sirius?"
"No," Sirius quickly replied. "I didn't mean it that way. I'm merely asking for your opinion." Remus raised an eyebrow, and he continued explaining.
"You see, I've visited this place quite often. Yet, I have never found any inspiration within this beautiful place."
"And what makes you think that I may be any different?"Remus asked. Sirius could sense the amusement there.
"You've read far more literary pieces," Sirius reasoned. "And you have received better education than me in many ways. You must feel something I have failed to."
"Well," Remus said after some consideration. "How am I sure if my ideas are suitable or not?"
"There is no suitable idea and inappropriate one." Sirius replied. "Just tell me what you first feel."
"Nymphs." Remus replied shortly. "It reminds me of Greek mythology where nymphs gather in caves. I'm not sure if that helps."
Sirius looked at Remus intently for a while, his mouth hanging open.
"Forgive me," Sirius hastily shut his mouth as Remus gave a frown. "I am just astounded. Why have I never thought of that?"
"Perhaps you have grown too used to this place." Remus quietly suggested. "It may be that you no longer feel this place as special and beautiful."
However, Sirius seemed to be lost in his own thoughts.
"Working, son?" Mr. Black asked as he came into Sirius' room.
Sirius briskly nodded.
"This is the first time in many months that I have seen you work with such intense concentration." Mr. Black sounded amused and proud. "What has or who has inspired you?"
"The cave." Sirius replied. "But then again, I shouldn't be giving out my inspirations."
"Very well," Mr. Black chuckled as he turned towards the door. "I shall leave you to work."
"Here he comes," James announced as Sirius rushed into the inn. "Our musician."
"New..score.." Sirius replied, panting slightly as he waved a roll of paper in his hand.
"And why are you showing us that?" James asked, looking suspicious. "You know we don't know music."
"No need." Sirius replied, pulling out a chair beside Severus. "This is pure music."
"What, may I ask do you mean by 'pure' music?" James asked, as he waved to Peter who had just been payed for the daily bread.
"It's pure." Sirius persisted, trying to explain. "It's something that comes from the core of art. It's not elaborated, nor unrealistically philosophical, so that the musician himself can't even understand. It is music in a sense that it is supposed to be!"
"Now you are failing to make any sense, Black." Severus snarled. "Go sing in the corner."
"He's got a point." Peter said. "You are making no sense at all, Sirius."
"Why am I even discussing this with you all?" Sirius exclaimed, exasperated. "There are some people who do understand and respect my work."
"Now you're just choosing your new friend over us." James remarked with mock shock and sadness.
"Sorry, James." Sirius said, standing up from his chair. "Good day." and he left the inn filled with no more than his friends.
"You completed that in less than a day?" Remus asked stunned, just as Sirius had finished playing his new score.
"Yes." Sirius replied, as he rubbed his hands. "Although I did need to sacrifice a few hours of sleep, I did finish it yesterday night."
Remus continued to stare into the score. It was as though he was trying to interpret it.
"What do you think?" Sirius asked. He had not yet told him anything about his new piece, except from the fact that it was composed in less than a day.
"It feels like real music." Remus replied slowly after a short while. "It does not overwhelm one with a pretentious theme, but it just...flows as though it is the river, time and life itself."
It was Sirius' time to stop and stare. Remus had just interpreted everything he had meant his music to have.
Silence full of awe fell between them.
"It's dedicated to you." Sirius suddenly said, breaking the silence that became heavier by the moment.
"Pardon me?" Remus asked, looking surprised.
"Dedicated to you." Sirius repeated.
"I do not deserve such work to be dedicated to me."Remus denied.
"No," Sirius replied. "you actually deserve to have your name written along with mine."
"If this is your way of giving credit to me for 'inspiring' you..." Remus started, but was cut off by Sirius.
"Actually, it is my way of appreciating you of recognizing my intentions in this." Sirius said, waving a hand towards the score. "However, you have just stated another reason why you're name should be printed along with mine for this particular piece of music."
Sirius stood up, his gaze lingering on Remus.
"Good day to you, Remus." Sirius said his farewell, as he headed to the door.
"Wait, your score..." Remus shouted behind him, but Sirius had already gone.
"You see, Black." Severus said, as they mounted the hill leading to the mansion. "I do not appreciate being escorted by a person who has no relation to my patient."
"Well, Snape." Sirius replied. "first, I am Remus' tutor, and good friend." he bent one of his fingers. "Second, Remus is not ill, and will not appreciate being acknowledged in that sense. He is merely having you to make sure he is in good health."
"Being my patient does not necessarily mean that they are at the doorstep of death, Black." Severus snorted. "If they decide to have their health checked from me, they are my patients all the same."
"Appreciating the law of equality, Snape?" Sirius asked, laughing good humoredly.
"Very funny, indeed Black." Severus scowled. "Your sense of humor never fails to make me snigger."
They approached the mansion while constantly insulting one another. When they had finally reached the gates, their insults had reached the verge of death threats, that the butler seemed troubled as two young gentlemen stood at the doorstep, seeming as though about to put up a duel.
"Listening to Potter wining over a girl is far better than arguing with you, Black." Severus hissed as the still doubtful servant led them up to Remus' room.
"Who said that we had been arguing?" Sirius asked, innocently. "I believe we had a rather nice heart to heart chat. It's not so often that I get the opportunity to be so honest with you, you see." He added, with a undeniable sarcastic tone.
"Watch your tongue, Black." Severus warned. "A good clip would make you permanently speechless."
"I am already rather speechless by that, thank you." Sirius retorted.
Just as Severus gave Sirius a threatening look, the servant nocked on the door and walked in, announcing their arrival.
"Dr. Snape and Mr. Sirius Black, sir."
Remus nodded lightly as the servant turned away to allow Sirius and Severus into the room.
"Good evening, gentlemen." Remus greeted the two men, who were both looking politely at him, after an attempt to kill one another.
"Good day, sir." Severus replied as he approached Remus. Sirius followed close behind. "Are there any troubles with your health?"
"No, not in particular." Remus replied, smiling. Sirius looked disapprovingly as Severus checked Remus' pulse. "However, I have started to develop a rather nasty headache." Remus added, pulling back his sleeve, as Severus had finished checking his pulse.
"In what way does your head hurt, sir?" Severus asked, talking down quick notes.
"Just as a normal headache troubles a normal man." Remus replied, attempting to sound mild, but failing with a sudden frown. "Oh, my."
"Another headache, perhaps?" Severus asked, as Sirius helped Remus sit down the nearest chair.
"Yes," Remus replied, rubbing at his temple. "It seems to be getting worse, actually."
"Any other symptoms?" Severus asked as he took more notes of Remus' health.
"Now that I come to think of it," Remus started, still frowning a bit from the headache. "I seem to be coughing a bit more nowadays."
"When, usually?" Severus asked.
"Most often early in the morning, and night just as fog falls." Remus replied. "I don't cough quite as often, other than those time of the day."
"It seems you are suffering from the start of a common cold." Severus finally said, as he took the last of his notes. "I shall send you medicine within the next few hours, by a servant."
"Thank you." Remus said, giving his usual polite smile.
Severus bowed his head, and left the room.
"You are ill?" Sirius asked, once as Severus had left the room completely.
"Yes," Remus replied trying to get up from his seat. "A common cold, as Dr. Snape says. My parents had forced me to have him to see me for they feared my health. A common cold! How is that to be a threat to my life?" he laughed, but it had no comfortable and casual sense that it was usually rich of.
Sirius raised his eyebrows suspiciously.
"Although I do not want to disturb you, Remus, I would rather agree with your parents that you should be careful with your health." he said, his voice full of anxiety. "Perhaps it would be wiser to cancel the lesson tomorrow? It could be that you are simply tired."
"How could I ever grow tired of music, when I am learning from you?" Remus asked still laughing. However, he blushed after realizing what he had said. "That is to say," He attempted to hurriedly correct himself. "you make music very interesting."
"That has a similar meaning to the former statement." Sirius pointed out, smiling with amusement.
"Never mind." Remus said, still blushing a bit, but regaining his calm tone. "Here," he walked towards his desk to pick up a roll of paper. "you had left your score, during your last visit." Remus handed the score to Sirius.
"It was meant for you to keep, my dear friend!" Sirius laughed. "Romanticism is defining this era, yet you seem far from a romantist."
"I thank you for your complement, Mr. Black." Remus said, shoving the score to Sirius with some more force. "I was never much of a romantist, I must admit."
"No," Sirius said, pushing the score back to Remus. "you are truly a romantist to recognize fine art. It is our dear Dr. Snape who is truly the horrid romantist."
Remus smiled a bit at that, but still sternly held out the score.
"However, that does not mean that I need to keep this." he said.
"This was dedicated to you, Remus." Sirius replied with equal sternness in his voice, but pushed back the score in a more gentle manner than Remus had forced on him and his score. "Now take it, before you crumple a fine piece of art."
"How modest, we are Mr. Black." Remus said, as he gave in a replaced the score on his desk.
"Actually, I am." Sirius replied with a grin, continuing. "I would say I am a rather modest man for keeping myself patient while I cannot wait another minute to show introduce my latest music."
"I fail to see how that is of you being modest, Sirius." Remus said, smiling.
"Patience and modesty all come in the same way." Sirius replied. "And now, if you are feeling a bit better, I would like you to be the first to review my work."
"What did Dr. Snape say, dear?" Mrs. Lupin asked as she sipped her tea.
"Nothing in particular." Remus replied, simply enough as he added sugar to his tea. "He assumed that I had caught a cold, and he will be sending me the medicine within a few hours."
"Mr. Black had visited, no?" Mr. Lupin asked as he looked up from his book to take a sip himself. "I heard him playing the piano. Seems like you are having the privilege to receive personal performances from such a great musician."
"He appreciates my review over his work, I suppose." he said, stirring his tea.
"It seems so." Mr. Lupin replied, looking back down his book as he put down his cup.
"Sirius," Mr. Black called from outside Sirius's room. "Are you not having dinner?"
"No, father." Sirius called back, obviously distracted. "I'm working."
"I have no idea why you are so inspired these days." Mr. Black said. "Still, I'm proud nonetheless, son."
Sirius crumpled his notes that still glistened of fresh ink, and threw it down onto the floor, not caring much on where it landed. He felt frustration rush through his veins.
He had never had to struggle so much before. It was either that he composed if he wished, and had not if he didn't.
However, recently, from some point in his life, he always felt like composing and creating, and was fully inspired, even though he often felt more like resting than spending his nights trying to cram down notes on paper, as if to relieve his mind and heart of the sudden flow of musical inspiration.
Once he was inspired, he also never had difficulties in describing his exact emotions towards his inspiration. This had gone far beyond difficult. His inspiration was so simple, yet beautiful, sensible and obscure. He was not familiar with exposing his feelings such as now, nor had he ever experienced such.
He crumpled another piece of paper that had not even been touched, let alone brushed with ink. He would need a great deal of self control and patience for the frustration he felt for himself as he fought himself from snapping the quill into half as well.
"You seem restless." James remarked as Sirius stepped into the inn, yawning uncontrollably.
"Tea, son?" Mr. Potter asked from behind the counter.
"Yes, please sir." Sirius replied, as he pulled out a seat next to James.
"What in the name of god have you been doing this time?" James asked, seeming rather shocked as Sirius slumped onto the table, a trait he rarely showed for he had believed it indicated James' mourning for Lily.
"Don't tell me you composed all night again." James said, handing Sirius the tea his father had brought.
"Why would you think I would be hear listening to you at the break of dawn?" Sirius asked rather sharply.
James tutted at Sirius, watching him as if a wounded animal.
"I have no idea what has gotten into you lately, Sirius." James said. "Since when were you so obsessed with composing? You never composed more often than once a month or so."
"Ever since I had realized I had finally met my angel of music." Sirius murmured half asleep.
"What?" James asked, not believing his ears. "You met an angel?"
"It's figurative, James." Sirius let out a half yawn, half sigh.
"Then who.." James started curiously, but soon his eyes widened. "Mr. Lupin?"
Sirius nodded, still face in the table, not daring to touch his tea.
"But how can he be.." James stuttered, then regained his normal tone. "So, Mr. Lupin is the one who's inspiring you?"
"He is inspiration himself." Sirius replied, surely half way to sleep by now. "Look, James, I came out here in hope of forgetting about music for once. I would truly appreciate it if you would be kind enough to stop mentioning anything related to music."
"Sorry mate," James continued. "But if you are so inspired by Mr. Lupin, and your springing inspiration obviously seems to cause your sleep deprive, I'd say you should take some distance between him."
At James suggestion, Sirius' head shot up.
"Excuse me?" he asked, though his eyes were glinting in a manner they usually did not.
"I said," James repeated. "that I think that Mr. Lupin is causing your unusual behavior, and you should take a few steps away from him before you go completely mental!"
"I am not going mental!" Sirius protested. "I'm just inspired by him nowadays. Besides," he started, as he saw James looking at him with suspicious eyes. "this is the last time I'll be watching sunrise while composing. This was my last inspiration from him, and will be for quite some time. This is finally and exactly what he had inspired me with in the first place."
"What makes you so sure of that?" James asked still more skeptically.
"Because," Sirius replied standing up and leaving some coins. "this, my friend, is a true masterpiece."
"You seem dreadful." Remus remarked with some surprise and anxiety. "Is there something wrong?"
"No." Sirius replied as he automatically walked towards the grand piano as usual. "I have a new piece."
"I've learned that, that is something to be worried of, and is something that I should notice as 'something wrong'." Remus replied, yet sat next to Sirius on the long stool as usual.
Sirius didn't reply and started to play, not even bothering to unfold his scores. It was as though he had lived with the tunes all his life that he felt as though it was a part of him now.
Remus watched Sirius' hands move elegantly on the white and black keys, listened to every melody that rung at his ears, and felt every vibration from the grand instrument and himself.
Remus found it difficult to judge this piece of work. It was so similar, yet immensely different from all the dozens of tunes Sirius had performed infront of him, and only for him.
This piece of work, seemed to be inspired by something totally different from all the former ones, yet it had gave Remus a feeling that this new inspiration was closely related to all the rest and formal ones.
It seemed longer than usual to see Sirius finally finish, and for Remus himself to understand and notice the purpose of the musician.
As Sirius still held his head down after finishing, panting slightly despite the fact that the piece itself was shorter than usual, Remus gazed into the invisible score, or where all scores were usually placed, staring intently as usual.
"I'm sorry." Remus finally said, turning to look at Sirius. "I understand neither your intentions nor inspirations this time."
Sirius raised his head and turned to look at Remus. His grey eyes seemed stormier and darker than usual.
"You fail to find the most obvious intention, and most simple inspiration?" Sirius asked, his voice with a strange hollow, yet burning feeling inside it.
"No." Remus replied, turning slightly away from Sirius, who seemed to be emitting flame himself. "I apologize."
"But it's so simple!" Sirius exclaimed standing up from the stool, and walking around the piano. "It was so obvious an inspiration, yet so subtle that even I failed to understand it till yesterday!"
"Which only gives me more reason to not understand the intentions in this piece." Remus replied, turning from his seat to watch Sirius continually roam around the piano. "I can only guess that you have shown very strong feelings in this."
"Strong feelings.." Sirius repeated, as if considering. "Yes, they are truly strong, but can you not make out what strong feelings it is for?"
"I cannot understand everything you have in mind, Sirius." Remus replied, patiently. "Perhaps it would be better for you to tell me this time. After all, I have never failed to understand before..."
"It is here!" Sirius exclaimed suddenly turning to Remus, grabbing his shoulders and shaking him rather violently. "Do you not see?"
"Perhaps if you would let go for a moment, I may be able.." Remus said as he tried to loosen himself from Sirius' grasp. Sirius' eyes only burned deeper.
"What is there to be inspired here except you?" He half shouted, now clutching onto Remus' shoulders even more. He could feel the fine garment crumple under his hands.
"Me?" Remus asked, his eyes full of shock and emptiness.
"Yes, you!" Sirius exclaimed, still holding Remus' shoulders. "You were the inspiration that had first fell on me, even before I composed my first piece dedicated to you. You were the one who inspired me with a dozen different ideas, yet you were the inspiration itself! You were the one that had inspired me all along, not with your ideas, but with you, and only you." He let go of Remus, looking away.
"But..." Remus seemed to be disheveled in a sense he was never before. "how can I be your inspiration? I am only me."
"It is you, only you that has inspired me." Sirius said. "You have allowed me to feel passion and love all at once for the first time in my neither long and short life." he turned to face Remus, who still seemed too shocked and surprised to announce anything articulate.
"You, Remus." Sirius whispered as he kneeled down to level the other. "you are my inspiration. You are the one who has awoken my long dormant potentials by simply being you, and nothing other than yourself."
"Your talking nonsense." Remus said, trying to sound stern but instead sounding a bit unsure and perplexed. "There is no way I could inspire you in that way."
"Man is bound to be the greatest artist when in love." Sirius said, trying to get Remus to look at him.
"Yet how can you feel love for me?" Remus asked, as he slowly turned his gaze to Sirius. "I...I am your friend and apprentice. Not a lover."
"Why not?" Sirius asked, gazing into the shaking amber eyes. "Why can you not be my lover?"
"We are both men." Remus replied, trying to sound obvious, but failing.
"Do you mind me loving you despite the fact that I am a man?" Sirius gently asked, and his voice was truly sincere. Remus bit his lower lip, seeming troubled.
"Do you mind?" He asked again, as Remus failed to answer him the first time.
"No." Remus answered after some moment later, still unable to look sure of himself. "No," he said again with more certainty this time. "I don't." He looked into Sirius' eyes as he finished his short, yet assuring sentence.
As if Sirius had long been waiting for those words and that look, he shoved a bit closer to Remus and caressed his cheek with such care and love.
"May I?" Sirius asked quietly, still gazing into the deep, amber eyes.
Remus nodded slightly. "You may." His words were no more than a whisper.
Sirius kissed Remus gently on the mouth.
Remus closed his eyes as Sirius carefully asked for entrance, in an attempt to deepen the kiss. Remus succumbed as he let his lips part just a bit.
Sirius slid his tongue inside Remus' mouth to explore and taste. He no longer kissed gently and timidly, but more passionately and desperately. Remus didn't protest but rather replied to Sirius with equal enthusiasm, although a bit more shyly.
As they became more intent in the kiss, Remus unconsciously wrapped his arms around Sirius' neck, and Sirius held Remus by the waist, pushing him back slightly so that his back met the piano. It made an odd sound as random keys were pressed and created less than a harmony.
They broke the kiss for air, and after a short moment, they kissed once more still embracing.
Sirius dug for Remus' neck, and shoved the garment that covered his neck to reveal a delicate, white curve. Sirius gently placed kisses on Remus' exposed neck, and only looked up when Remus called his name, barely a gasp. "Sirius."
"Yes?" Sirius asked, as he saw the worried look on Remus' face.
"They'll get suspicious if they hear no music." Remus replied, sounding apologetic.
"Quite right." Sirius agreed, letting go of Remus slightly. "Sorry love." He murmured against Remus' lips.
"Don't bother." Remus replied, as he placed another kiss on Sirius' mouth.
"You certainly seem happier than earlier today." James said, as Sirius came marching into the inn, grinning uncontrollably.
Sirius continued to smile, as he slipped into a seat next to Peter.
"Why are you so happy?" James asked, as he offered Sirius a drink.
"Guess." Sirius replied, taking the drink.
"You must be really in the mood." James said awestruck, as Sirius took a sip of the vodka he had just offered. "Not only are you asking me to guess, but you actually drunk that!"
"The later I regret." Sirius said, frowning and pushing away the vodka.
"Right, back to the reason why you're so happy." James continued. "Another score finished?" He sniggered along with Peter.
Sirius scowled. "How hilarious." he gave a fake grin. "No."
"Just having some fun." Peter said. "Did you buy new clothes?"
"And since when was I gleeful to purchase new garments?" Sirius asked, frowning.
"Always?" James suggested, sniggering yet again. "Okay, we don't know. Just spill it out!"
"You have befriended me for more than seven years, and you fail to understand what is keeping me smiling after drinking vodka?" Sirius asked, with mock displeasure and disappointment.
"It could be the vodka." Peter suggested with a shrug. "It always has such effects on me."
"Besides, you're too capricious, Black." James pointed out, waving his index finger. "One day your laughing because of some crazy reason, and the next your sulking because of the very same purpose. You are impossible to understand completely."
Sirius felt both love and gratefulness towards Remus increase at James' words.
"Remus understands me quite well." Sirius retorted, before stopping himself.
"Oh, I got it!" James shouted in mock understanding. "This is about Mr. Lupin again, is it?"
"Absolutely." Sirius replied shamelessly.
"What did he do for you this time?" James asked, rolling his eyes. "Inspire you?"
"More likely," A slow, sly voice approached from behind. "pleasure him, possibly."
All three turned to see Severus, positively expressionless, standing behind them.
"Oh, Snape." James greeted. "Do join us before further explanation." He invited Severus while giving Sirius a dirty look.
"Thank you, Potter." Snape said as he sat down.
"Now what was it you were saying?" James asked. "Mr. Lupin providing our Sirius with pleasure?"
"More like Black pleasured himself by molesting young Mr. Lupin." Severus replied, amusement his voice. "Is that quite right, Black?" he turned to Sirius who had been giving him a death look.
"Quite right, actually." Sirius replied pleasantly, suddenly straightening his features and managing to smile a bit.
"What?" James spat out, spraying beer everywhere. Peter, too seemed to have taken his drink the wrong way.
"How, may I ask you, did you manage to find out?" Sirius asked, lightly, staring at Severus as if ready to murder.
"I am his doctor, you see." Severus replied, sipping the long abandoned vodka. "I saw marks that suspiciously resembled human teeth."
"What were you doing examining his neck?" Sirius burst out heatedly.
"Nothing that might disturb you." Severus replied, eyeing flaming Sirius, jaw dropped James, and choking Peter with great amusement.
"Perhaps you haven't noticed his coughing?" he asked slyly, stationing his cold gaze on Sirius. "It seems that it wasn't a common cold he was suffering from."
"Excuse me?" Sirius asked, anger abandoned and his eyes widening in disbelief.
"I thought I would only have to repeat things twice to Potter." Severus sighed. "I mean to say, your lover may be in great danger."
"Yes," Sirius said impatiently. "I understood that part, but what is the disease?"
"I must admit that I cannot state exactly before I see further symptoms." Severus replied, taking another sip of vodka.
"You mean to say you are to leave him to suffer further, simply because you do not recognize the symptoms?" Sirius shouted, enraged.
"Believe me, Black." Severus snorted. "Although brilliant I am, I must say that I have not as much experience with patients suffering from anything more severe than chicken pox in this town. It is rather odd to get ill in such a place, really. One must be truly weak and fragile to grow ill in a town with no such pollution."
"Fragile as he is, he is in need of immediate care!" Sirius shouted.
"Calm down, Sirius." Peter said, finally recovering breath.
"Listen to Pettigrew, Black." Severus snarled. "I am the doctor and I know what I am doing. It is wiser to wait and see what exact disease he is carrying, than to just vaguely assume and perscribe unnecessary drugs."
Sirius seemed to want to protest, but kept quiet, instead grabbing the vodka from Severus' hands and gulping it down.
The next day, Sirius woke up with a headache.
"Damned vodka." He murmured as he attempted get up. "Damned Snape, and damned diseases."
After trying to get up, and failing as he felt the world around him turn, he lay back on his bead, face down into his pillow.
He swore a bit more, remembering that James had fed him an odd mixture of wine and whisky just to get him to describe his kiss with Remus.
Sirius got up abruptly as Remus being ill struck across his mind. He leaped out of his bed, still feeling rather dizzy and obnoxious, but managed to dress while clinging onto his music stand. He stumbled into his wardrobe to retreat some clothes that would be appropriate while visiting the mansion, put them on and carefully walked out of the house.
"You seem drunk." James said, as his friend helplessly sagged into a chair.
"I would appreciate it if you would stop reporting my conditions everytime I come here, for I am well aware of my own state!" Sirius shouted. "What were you thinking making me drunk like that?"
"Peter and I just took some drinks for ourselves, and you were the one to actually take them from us." James explained. "We know you can't drink, why would we have forced you? It was entirely voluntary."
"Voluntary indeed." Sirius murmured. "What time is it?"
"Around noon." James replied. "Don't tell me you just woke up."
"I am truly, and utterly sorry to inform you, yes." Sirius replied through gritted teeth.
"You seem like it." James shrugged. "That is, your hair, I mean." he quickly added.
"As in?" Sirius asked.
"It sort of resembles my hair, you know. How it's just all rustled up and everything." James replied.
"Do you happen to have a comb?" Sirius asked impatiently. "I need to go to the mansion."
"Another lesson?" James asked, turning into the counter and searching through the drawers to find a comb.
"That too." Sirius replied, try to comb his hair back to normal. "Although I'm not sure if we should continue to hold lessons being the circumstances."
"Because you two are now officially lovers?" James asked.
"No." Sirius replied incredulously. "Being the fact that he may be seriously ill."
"It would be terrible to be ill like you." James mumbled, earning a stare from Sirius.
"I hear you are ill." Sirius said, as he approached Remus, who was reading a rather thick book.
"Had you not known?" Remus asked, putting aside his book at Sirius' presence. "You were there while I had gotten my first examination from Dr. Snape. A common cold he said. Do you not remember?"
"I remember, and that is why I was surprised to hear that it may not be a common cold at all." Sirius replied, eyeing Remus.
Remus seemed surprised at Sirius' words.
"How did you know?" He asked with an attempt to sound calm, but failing.
"I heard it from Snape." Sirius replied. "I heard that you may be seriously ill."
"Yes, I was informed so as well." Remus said rather surprisingly calmly.
"Are you sure you may be able to continue taking lessons?" Sirius asked with concern.
"I don't see why not to stop the lessons when I can still stand properly." Remus replied, smiling.
"I'm just worried." Sirius said, looking away from Remus.
Remus looked at Sirius, and then turned Sirius' face to look at him.
"You need not worry of my health." he said, smiling still. "I always suffer from something more severe than a common cold once a year. This is nothing."
However, Remus' illness did not prove to be as simple as he thought.
"It seems he is suffering from turberculosis." Severus said, as he entered the inn where James and Sirius was playing chess.
Sirius glanced up in horror.
Turberculosis is certainly not a simple illness, and he was very well aware of the fact that many died from the disease.
"Turberculosis?" James asked with equal shock and concern, as he looked at Sirius. "But this is the countryside! How can he get turberculosis?"
"Turberculosis does not just reveal itself right after one has been infected, Potter." Severus said coldly, but he too seemed a bit concerned. "It is dormant for quite some time, planting the impression that one has nothing more than a common cold."
"How severe is it?" Sirius asked, still the look of shock and anxiety in his face.
"It is not so severe so far." Severus replied. "However, I do suggest that you end your lessons with him."
Sirius nodded, stood up and left the inn.
"I heard of your disease, Remus." Sirius quietly said, as he was escorted to Remus' room.
Remus turned away from the window and greeted Sirius with a smile, nevertheless.
"It'll be fine if I rest a bit." he said. "It is bound to ward off when I have complete rest in such a nice place."
"That is why I am here." Sirius said, approaching Remus. "I do believe that you need complete rest."
"I am already." Remus replied, smoothing down the front of Sirius' shirt. "I do nothing but read these days."
"You also practice piano with me." Sirius said. "And I realize I am too demanding to allow you to not practice enough."
Remus looked up at Sirius with surprised and oddly frightened eyes.
"You mean to say," he started. "That you wish to stop our lessons?"
"You need your rest, Remus." Sirius replied gently placing a kiss on Remus' forehead, hating himself for stopping the lessons.
"I can handle it." Remus protested. "You know I can. I am not disturbed or troubled with the lessons, nor the practices."
"Please, Sirius." Remus pleaded. "I do not wish the lessons to end."
Sirius looked down at Remus. The amber eyes were dark with trouble, and his face was too pale.
"Remus," Sirius said, holding Remus in an embrace. "I do not wish for things to be a strain for you."
"It won't." Remus replied, allowing himself to be pulled back a bit as Sirius placed his forehead on his. "I promise."
"You are not inspired any longer?" Mr. Black asked as he entered Sirius' room where Sirius was lying on his bed.
"No." Sirius said. "I am out of all forms of inspiration."
"Perhaps you need a lady to inspire you." Mr. Black said, laughing.
Sirius sat up and looked at his father in horror. He couldn't know his relationship with Remus. He had forbidden the only three people who knew to speak of it to anyone else.
"Women are always good inspirers." Mr. Black said, as he sat down next to Sirius. "They inspire us when they come, and inspire us even as they leave. Incredible creatures, they are."
Sirius didn't say a word, but silently sighed in relief as his father seemed to be completely ignorant of his relationship between Remus.
"Are you just tired?" Mr. Black asked. "Is this a form of taking rest?"
"Yes, father." Sirius replied, laying back. "I am merely relaxing after constant creation."
"Very well." Mr. Black said, standing up to leave the room. "I shall see if I can manage any events to get you back into a better mood."
"This is a D minor..." Sirius explained, but was cut off as Remus started to cough severly.
"I am sorry.." Remus breathed a moment, and then coughed again.
"Here." Sirius handed Remus his handkerchief.
"Thank you." Remus took it and wiped his mouth and hands, and froze.
"What is it?" Sirius asked, leaning into Remus to see that his handkerchief was stained with light blood.
"I am no longer continuing lessons!" Sirius declared, walking through the hallways leading to the entrance of the mansion.
"It is nothing serious!" Remus shouted, following him. "It is just a phase."
"A phase that may lead to your death!" Sirius shouted, halting for a moment. "You cannot afford lessons with me in that state, Remus."
"I can!" Remus replied, trying to follow up as Sirius once again marched out of the mansion.
"Remus, go home." Sirius said, as he heard Remus following him out of the mansion. "It is cold!"
"I do not care!" Remus continued to follow him, but he was evidently having trouble. "Sirius, wait!"
But Sirius did not wait at all, until he heard Remus break into a cough once more.
He hurriedly ran back to Remus and held him in his arms, but Remus couldn't stop coughing, and spat out more blood than before.
"Remus..." Sirius held Remus tightly in an attempt to calm him. "Remus, Remus why did you follow me out here? It is no place for you to stand."
"I will not allow my tutor to walk away from me in that manner." Remus replied, a bit breathless. "Do not even attempt to stop the lessons.." he broke into a cough once more.
"How can I stand watching you cough like this every lesson, as if you are dying out?" Sirius asked, his voice cracking.
"I will get better in time." Remus replied, holding on to Sirius as well. "Dr. Snape said it will be better when winter passes..."
"How do you know you will even survive the winter?" Sirius asked, not being able to control himself. "You may die even before the first leaves of spring appear!"
"I will not!" Remus replied, though his voice was full of fear. "Besides, if I am to really not live through the winter, it should be you who should try to make my remaining life memorable and precious, so that I would want to remember it in my death bed!"
"Don't say that!" Sirius said, severly.
"You were the one to start bringing up the subject of death!" Remus said.
"No, you are not going to die." Sirius whispered, holding Remus tighter and rocking him a bit. "You are not going anywhere. Never."
"That is what I had been saying." Remus replied, stroking Sirius' hair. "I will not die, not like this atleast."
"No," Sirius said, pulling back. His eyes were glinting with frustration and sorrow. "You shan't ever die, no matter what blasphemy this is supposed to be. I will not allow you to die alone." He kissed Remus almost fiercely, dragging him into a even more demanding and violent kiss as he pushed Remus into one of the many trees.
"And" Sirius started between breathless kisses. "even if you don't make it through the winter," another kiss. "I'll make sure you have me to think of while dying."
"Sirius," Remus spoke, barely able to breath. "You might get infected."
"I don't care." Sirius fiercely said, as he attacked Remus' neck. "I'll die with you if I must."
"Don't say such things." Remus whispered, clinging onto Sirius, who nibbled on Remus' neck. "You do not realize what you are saying."
"I do, and I mean it." Sirius replied, removing the garment that wrapped Remus' frail and pale torso.
He traced kisses along Remus' throat, down to his collarbones, elbow, and chest. Remus moaned, and that was when Sirius suddenly stopped abruptly.
"Don't.." Remus whispered. "Don't stop now.."
"You must be freezing." Sirius said, a look of disgust of himself. "I should have known better."
"It's fine." Remus replied, tugging at Sirius. "I'm fine."
"No." Sirius said, wrapping Remus with his clock. "No, you are not." Then he paused for a moment. "We need to get you back indoors."
When they were once back into the mansion, Sirius bade Remus to his room.
"We still continue our lessons?" Remus asked, as Sirius broke the kiss.
"We shall see." Sirius replied, kissing Remus on the forehead.
"Take good care of your health." he said as he stood at the door of Remus' room. "I shall send Snape to visit you." and he left.
"Black," Severus called accusingly as he came down from the hill where the mansion stood. Sirius looked up from the ground, and so did James and Peter.
"I really should advise you not to let your emotions get the better of you and make love to a patient." Severus snarled.
"We did not make love." Sirius replied calmly.
"Indeed." Severus snorted. "What I mean to say is that he needs his peace. Lessons from you are enough, further physical activities may famish him."
"That being the reason why I had seized to continue." Sirius replied.
"You are not going to give him further lessons?" Peter asked, eyes wide.
"Yes." Sirius replied. "He is in no state for lessons of whatsoever."
They all stood silent as Sirius turned towards the village.
"Lily please!" James pleaded, and sought encouragement when Lily did not frown when he called her by first name. "I'll be the best person you've ever met!"
"And how would I know that?" Lily asked, as she almost lazily picked on the disheveled bunch of daisies. "You haven't been very persuading in that sense."
"I'll prove from now on." James continued. "There is always plenty of time, yet you refuse to provide me with one chance."
"Becoming quite a poet aren't you." Lily made something between a snigger and a smile. James decided to believe it as the later. "Fine."
Sirius nearly tripped over several pots, while Peter inhaled a mouthful of flower dust.
"Sorry?" James also seemed to be more shocked than pleased.
"I said 'fine.' I'll meet you." Lily repeated, moving towards Peter to give him a hand. "Although I don't see why you couldn't just leave a note asking for permission."
"Thank you!" James exclaimed and made to hug Lily, but instead hugged Severus as Lily made a dismissive frown. "You won't regret it!" and he hopped out of the store, making it through a pile of fertilizer that he always failed to pass without stepping on.
The remaining three friends glanced at one another, gave their farewells to Lily, and walked out of the flower shop.
"How does she still have flowers in the middle of winter?" Peter asked, tugging his clock closer as the cold wind greeted them once more.
"As James phrases it, 'she may be magical.'" Sirius replied amused.
After finally managing to calm James down, Sirius returned to his home with freezing fingers.
As soon as he entered however, he found a gleeful father sitting in the kitchen.
"Sirius, my boy!" he bellowed in greeting.
"Yes, father?" Sirius asked as he walked closer to fine a bottle of wine opened.
"I have smashing news for you!" Mr. Black only used the word 'smashing' when he was incredibly drunk, so Sirius let out a sigh inside. "Here, have a drink!" Mr. Black handed him a glass and poured him red, rich wine.
"Yes, father? What is the occasion?" Sirius asked again, politely as possible, and held his glass without sipping.
"We are going to Moscow!" Mr. Black announced, grinning.
There was a crash, and the smile faded from Mr. Blacks flushed face.
Sirius stood there, shaking, not even realizing that he had just broke his father's favorite wine glass, sending it to shatter with, perhaps, one of the richest wine they had.
"Is there something wrong son?"
"I cannot go." Sirius replied, a strong urge to disagree to his father for once. How could he go? Although it had been long since he met Remus, he knew he had to stay during the winter when Remus was the most fragile.
"Excuse me?" Mr. Black asked, anger and confusion spreading across his face. "What do you mean, you cannot go?"
"I just can't.." Sirius considered explaining about Remus and him, but he decided not to. His father would fail to understand anyway.
"Why?" Mr. Black asked as he stood from his chair. "No, I do not need reasons. You have no choice but to go." he spat. "Do you have any idea what I had gone through to have you perform for the Russian Empire? This is your step to realization from the world, boy. Don't you dare disobey me for whatever reasons. I shall not allow you to spoil your reputation and future. You will go perform in Moscow, is that clear?"
"No." Sirius replied silently. "I shall not go to Moscow. Perhaps you could go and perform instead father, since you are in thirst of such fame and prestige." and he suddenly swaggered as Mr. Black struck him across the face.
"Listen up, Black." he demanded Sirius' attention. "You are the fist of the Blacks to finally regain dignity and reputation. You have a brighter future than any of your ancestors, including me, have ever had and I shall not allow you to waste your talents in a small town as this! You shall roam the world, and show what you are capable of, and you will leave your name and music in history for those to remember and worship. You shall go to Moscow and perform, and we will leave within a week, and that is not a suggestion. It is a solid order, so do you not dare to even disobey me!"
With that, Mr. Black stomped out of the kitchen to his own room, slamming the door behind him.
"You're leaving?" James asked, as his eyes widened in disbelief.
Sirius nodded morosely. "Moscow, Russia."
"Is this permanent? Are you ever to return?" James asked again, as he handed Sirius some brandy.
"He says we will return soon after the performance, but I do not know when that shall be." Sirius replied bitterly. "I need something stronger. Brandy won't stand a chance in Moscow."
"A full glass of the strongest vodka would do." Severus suggested, taking a sip from his own brandy.
"But why so suddenly?" Peter asked, draining his rum. "He hadn't said anything until yesterday, had he?"
"He has been always like that." Sirius replied with a frustrated sigh. "He never tells me any plan in advance, let alone ask for my own opinions." Sirius drank the vodka James handed him. "Not strong enough."
"You're a terrible drinker!" James exclaimed. "You won't be able to stand two gulps of that!"
"I'm afraid I have already." Sirius replied sternly. "Stronger."
"It is parents like his who makes their children alcoholics." Severus tutted.
"Keep your mouth shut, Snape" Sirius growled.
"As you wish." Severus replied slyly.
"So what happens to Mr. Lupin now?" James asked, taking a seat himself.
As if a trigger had just been pulled to his head, Sirius sank into his seat, burying his face in his hands.
"Ooops..." James said apologetically. "Sorry, mate."
"So aren't you going to tell him at all?" Peter asked, positively drunk now.
"Later." Sirius replied, taking a sip again and making a frown. "Later."
"When?" Severus scoffed. "An hour before departure?"
Sirius seemed to consider.
"Actually.." he slowly said. James, Peter and Severus all looked up in disbelief. "That doesn't seem such a horrid idea. It would be easier for him to get the news right before I leave."
"Someone shouldn't be criticizing his father so much." James mumbled, and took a long swig from his own glass.
"We are to leave in less than an hour." Mr. Black warned, not looking at Sirius, and instead fixing his clock. "Don't linger behind."
"I won't." Sirius replied obediently as he threw his clock over his shoulders and walked out of the house.
The late December air rushed into him just as he left the house and walked to the carriage.
He had never rode a horse to the mansion before, and he promised himself that this would be the last time he ever did so.
Tense, worried and uncomfortably morose, he jumped onto his steed and left, feeling numb already.
He would have preferred to let Remus stay inside and let he himself enter the mansion instead, but Remus had thought that it was unwise when the elder Lupins disapproved to his and his father's 'trip' to Moscow. In the end, Remus had asked Sirius to stay at the forest's entrance, and that he would get out of the mansion by informing his parents that it was for 'regular exercise as Dr. Snape had suggested.'
Of course, Sirius had not succeeded in seeing Remus in person after their last encounter on the day Remus first coughed out blood, and it had been Severus who had been kind enough to help the two of them communicate with brief notes(although Severus did pull a face at the idea of him delivering 'love letters' for the two boys.) Sirius knew nothing of Remus' condition aside from which Severus described and based on his words, Remus was not getting any better. It seemed as though he actually was really dying out as winter came to it's pitch, and killed everything as it came.
It wasn't long before Sirius had reached the entrance of the forest they had first set foot in.
Evidently, Remus had not arrived yet, and the thought of letting an ill lover walk all the way to the forest in such a day made Sirius want to strangle himself to death. As Sirius waited for Remus to arrive, he stepped down from his horse and tied it on a near tree so that it would not wander out.
Just as he fed his horse a carrot, Sirius heard faint footsteps from a distance.
He turned around abruptly to catch a glimpse of Remus, approaching the forest, through the thick, leafless trees.
Despite Sirius' disagreements, Remus had come alone as he had persisted on doing so. He had a handkerchief that seemed oddly familiar, covering his mouth and he was wrapped with a thick, dark clothe.
As Remus approached, Sirius stepped forward so that it would save Remus a few more steps to stand right in front of him.
Remus swaggered a bit as if his legs were not as capable as they once had been, and he had become incredibly thin that his face was paler and gave a even more fragile sense. Shades formed dark under his large amber eyes.
Remus glanced at Sirius, and nodded his head slightly, walking past him to the path that was covered with frost. Sirius followed silently.
It was not difficult to follow up with Remus, for as fast as he walked he was no faster than Sirius' normal pace for he swayed perilously every few steps he took.
Even as Sirius walked right beside him, Remus did not say anything, nor did he turn to look at him.
Sirius was rather bewildered and disappointed, for Remus seemed desperate to see him in their recently exchanged notes, but now he acted as though Sirius was a complete stranger once more. Still, Sirius stayed patient, waiting for Remus to say something.
More silent moments passed as they walked deeper into the woods.
When finally Remus spoke, Sirius felt his heart get wrenched out, as he heard the hurt and disappointment in Remus' voice.
"You said you would consider." Remus said so quietly, that Sirius had to avoid stepping the leaves beneath him, just so to hear Remus more clearly.
"You promised to consider to continue our lessons."Remus finished, still not even turning to face Sirius, but Sirius could almost imagine disappointment and sorrow filling in like tears in Remus' wonderful, amber eyes.
"I'm sorry." Sirius only managed to apologize with those two words when he wanted to explain that he had changed his mind to continue, that he had even visited him but it was Remus' parents who had disagreed to holding further lessons because of their concerns for Remus' health.
"You had forgotten me, had you not?" Remus asked, turning to Sirius for the first time. "I needed you, and you had forgotten entirely of me for your plans in Moscow."
Sirius was surprised to see that even Remus couldn't help but turn into a less than independent individual when illness came truly unyielding. However, Remus' needy attitude did not irritate him at all, but only left him with a feeling as though his heart had just been stabbed with thousands of knives.
"Remus.." He managed to start.
"I'm sorry." Remus interrupted, looking away once more. "I didn't want to sound so selfish."
"No. No, Remus," Sirius started, trying to make Remus look at him again. "You are not being selfish. I am. Don't, don't turn away from me. Look at me, Remus. Look." He pleaded, feeling his mouth dry.
"No," Remus still turned away. "I...I just wanted to say farewell. I wanted to bid you good bye, and wish you had a successful performance and trip."
"You sound as though you are to die out on me." Sirius said, feeling his mind becoming blank from all thoughts, his heart becoming empty of all feelings, instead filling in with unbearable sorrow and desperateness. "It is only a temporary farewell, and yet you sound as though it's permanent."
"How can anyone promise it is temporary?" Remus sounded equally desperate. "Sirius, my illness has proven itself to have complete control over me. It has been proven that I am not capable of abandoning it. It is growing everyday, feasting on every strength I am left with, and drinking from the very soul of mine. It is killing me. Mercilessly, slowly killing me." his voice was strained and hopeless.
"You only need to hold on till spring." Sirius said desperately, trying to hold on to the very last hope.
"Spring?" Remus laughed softly. "There are more than two months left till winter even seizes. And, forgive me, but your absence will make it no easier for me to live through the remaining winter."
"I will not go then." Sirius promised. "I shall stay."
"And how shall you?" Remus asked. "You've less an hour until departure, and how are you to persuade your father?"
"We could run away." Sirius spluttered out. He'd do anything to stay with Remus, and the sight of Remus made him sure that Remus needed him as well.
"Sirius," Remus finally looked exactly into Sirius' eyes. His eyes held dispair, emptiness, sorrow, anger, affection all in one deep, amber golden pool. How could his eyes shine in gold at this very moment?
"You are talking nonsense." he continued. "I will only be a burden, and the moment you set foot to flee from this town, you will lose all your well earned reputation and prestige. We shall be left nothing but a helpless companion." he had to control himself a great deal to not collapse at the very spot, and broke into a severe cough.
"Remus, Remus." Sirius said, his voice cracking as he held Remus to keep him from falling. "You are all I need. I need no fame nor reputation."
"This is becoming a ridiculous cliche." Remus managed to say, finally seizing his cough before breaking into yet another one. "This is absurd."
"It is nothing but truth I dare utter." Sirius said, still holding Remus rather firmly. "I mean every single word I have spoken with my very lips."
Silence fell for a moment, before Remus released himself from Sirius' grasp.
"You should be going." he said, turning away from Sirius once more. "There is no reason for you to linger. You shall only be late for departure, and may be in danger of getting infected."
"Good day, Mr. Black." Sirius flinched at the way he was addressed. "I bid you farewell, and truly wish you a good trip."
With that, Remus turned away and headed to the entrance of the forest, trying desperately to hold both another cough and tears threatening to spill down his face.
It was some time later when he had finally arrived at the entrance, and it was then when a firm grasp took hold of him from behind, and he was forced to turn around.
"I will not allow my apprentice to walk away from me in that manner." Sirius spoke right before he held Remus into a tight embrace and bent his head down to kiss Remus.
It was cold at first, as two icy lips met, but soon the chill seized between them, and the kiss turned into a desperate, breathtaking, demanding, upset, passionate one.
As they parted, Sirius could almost taste the slightly coppery taste in his mouth.
"We shall meet again, and you shall be alive when I return."
"I wonder if he's still alive." James muttered, as he lay on the field he had spent most of his childhood with Sirius.
Green grass that always seemed to last forever had sprung up once more in the fields and the trees were no longer leafless and deadly, but so green and lively, filling the feeling of spring more than ever. The sky was no longer grey and cloudy as it had been all winter, but had light, feathery clouds floating in the ever so blue background.
"I'm sure he will be." Lily replied, but she couldn't conceal the worry in her voice.
"But it's been four months!" James exclaimed sitting up. "And he hasn't returned any of the letter we sent him!"
"It'll take four months alone for the letters to reach him." Severus said, examining the birds chirping and flying around.
"Still," Peter said. "It'll be good to atleast know when he will be coming."
Just then, James froze.
"James," Lily started. "Are you okay?"
"Lily, dear," James replied frowning as if trying to listen to the winds. "Shush."
And without any warning, James started to run towards the muddy path at the edge of the field.
"James!" Lily called, standing up and following him herself. "What's wrong?"
"Hurry up!" James shouted as he continued to run towards the path. "He's coming!"
Lily let out a long sigh.
"I'm starting to worry that he'll be needing some examination to check on whether he is in a rightful mental state." Severus muttered, nevertheless sitting up. "And what worries me more is that I may be the one to do so." he followed James and Lily, and Peter started to follow behind him.
"James!" Lily exclaimed as she finally approached James who was still trying to listen. "What in the name of god..."
But she never got to finish her sentence as a carriage emerged from behind the thick bushes and trees.
"Potter," Severus also started while standing next to James, Peter closely following him a bit breathlessly. "You are truly mental..."
But his last few words trailed of into silence as well when he saw the carriage as well.
"Holy cow..." Peter murmured, jaw wide open in surprise. "It can't be..."
And then a figure opened the window of the carriage, waving and smiling at his friends.
"He's back!" James shouted in glee, waving while following the carriage until it disappeared once again into the trees and bushes.
"He's back.." Severus almost seemed dumfounded, an expression he rarely wore.
"He's back and he seems damn well!" Peter finally shouted, also sounding more than glad. "I knew he'd be fine!"
"Please, Peter." Lily said, smiling. "You were starting to suspect that he had died."
"Mr. Lupin is going to be grateful when he here's this!" James said, his face full of uncontrollable gladness and relief.
"Remus," Mrs. Lupin called from behind to her son who was taking a walk in the garden.
"Yes, mother?" Remus replied, not quite interested in whatever matter. He continued to examine the flowers instead.
"You have company." Mrs. Lupin announced.
Remus sighed. Ever since he had regained his health a bit as winter had passed, his parents had tried to interest him with either women(for they were afraid Remus would fall ill once again before getting married) or tutors.
"Mother," Remus started turning to where his mother always stood when introducing someone to Remus. "I am not interested..." but he was not able to finish his words.
"Your tutor has returned." Mrs. Lupin said softly.
There stood Sirius, who seemed to, if possible, have grown a few inches more than last time. He seemed exhausted; he was thinner and had dark shadows under his eyes as Remus always had. Nevertheless, he was smiling brightly and pleasantly at Remus, and Remus could see nothing but him in the dazzling, warm sunlight.
"Good evening, Mr. Lupin." Sirius said, nodding slightly, but never losing his smile.
"Mr. Black." Remus managed to whisper with some difficulties. It felt as though something was about to corrupt or explode deep inside him.
"You said you wished to discuss your lessons with Remus, Mr. Black?" Mrs. Lupin asked, ready to turn away and out of the garden.
"Yes, madam." Sirius said. "If that is not too much to ask."
"Of course." Mrs. Lupin replied, smiling. "Remus will be eager to discuss such matters. After all, he has refused lessons from other tutors." and she left that magnificent garden.
"I hope that it is not that you have lost interest in music, Mr. Lupin." Sirius said, approaching Remus who seemed to be rooted to the spot.
"You are..." Remus tried to speak, but it was as though something had already broke open inside him. "You are.."
"..back." Sirius ended. "I am back as I promised."
Remus felt his head spin uncontrollably as Sirius approached him even closer so that they stood close enough for their faces to touch, as Sirius tilted his chin up just a bit to look into his eyes properly. Remus could see once more the stormy, wild grey and how magnificent they were, how passionate they were as they looked into the dark, amber ones that were possibly regaining it's gold as every moment passed.
"I missed you." Sirius finally whispered, never breaking his gaze into Remus' eyes, and bending down a bit to kiss Remus' forehead. Remus stood still, speechless.
Still, Sirius smiled and moved down to kiss Remus' eyes.
As soon as Sirius' lips touched Remus' eyelids, Remus could no longer hold behind his tears, As if Sirius' kiss had just completed him, and no longer left space for sorrow to linger inside, warm tears spilled down Remus' cheeks.
Sirius silently held Remus into a reassuring, warm embrace while Remus shook as every sadness, worry and dispair washed out of him.
"Thank you," Remus finally pulled back, tears glistening his eyes and damping his eyelashes and face. He held Sirius' hand and pressed it to his lips.
The ending may seem a bit abrupt, I know...Still, I hope you enjoyed it!
Review is always welcomed:D