Discloser: I do not own Harry Potter, or any associated characters, places, or ideas. I wish I did, though.
A/N: This is a much-delayed 18th birthday present for one of my best friends, Malsin. She means so much to me, and so I wanted to do something special for her birthday. This is the result. Mal, I really hope you enjoy this, and I'm terribly sorry about how late this is. I love you - CARL forever!
~Black and White Perfection~
Eyes flickered open to reveal white.
The room was illuminated in a bright light, showing nothing in every direction. Turning on the spot, all he could see was white.
Moving forward, he kept searching for any sign of life, yet was met only by white. His footsteps echoed deafeningly off the floor, making him even more aware of his solitude in this space.
This couldn't be Hogwarts, could it? He was sure he had never been in or heard of a large white room within the castle. And yet, he was also sure he hadn't left Hogwarts, distinctly remembering entering the dormitory after dinner and preparing for bed. Was he dreaming? That was the only logical conclusion he could draw from the situation, but it all seemed so real. He felt so alone…
He turned quickly, chasing the flash of black.
Standing in front of him was…him. His robes were just neat enough to get past McGonagall, but he could still see the creases clearly from here. He was, as always, wearing odd socks, this time matching red stripes with flying golden snitches. His long black hair had obviously not been brushed, but still managed to look flawless.
He opened his mouth to call out to the boy, but so sound came out. Moving forward quickly, his feet echoing loudly once again, he watched the boy seemingly move further away from him without moving his legs.
He broke out into a run, trying as hard as possible to catch him, yet the faster he moved the smaller the boy got until he was nothing more than a black speck in the distance.
Sighing, he rubbed his eyes, opening them to find only white again. He was alone.
"Wake up, Moony!"
Remus woke with a start to find James hovering over him with a wide-spread grin and a large box in his hands. Peter stood just to his left holding a somewhat smaller package, yet this one was neatly wrapped in red paper with a gold bow. Each held an air of excitement which preceded the time of morning, as the sun had only just begun to peek through the northern-facing window of the boys' dormitory.
Sitting up as best he could without injuring James, Remus let his eyes wander to the end of his bed where they found the boy he had unconsciously been searching for. There Sirius leaned casually against the bedpost, a slight smirk gracing his aristocratic features, and yet the smile did not reach his eyes; they held an almost nervous look as they gazed back at him.
There was a strange silence as the two stared at each other, until Remus finally turned to James and exclaimed, "So, who wants to wish the werewolf a happy birthday first?"
"That's the spirit, Moony!" James replied as he tossed the box into Remus' lap. "Go on then, and don't you dare start complaining about us wasting money on you again, or I will personally hex you until you end up in the hospital wing!"
"Besides," interjected Peter as he threw a warning glance at James, "you only turn seventeen once."
Remus hastily through open the box to prevent further tension, and found that James had purchased him a particularly expensive-looking set of midnight blue robes with silver embellishments. Though his rational side cringed at the possible price tag, he couldn't help but feel a little excited by the prospect of finally having respectable robes to wear during special occasions.
Thanking James profusely, he then unwrapped Peter's gift to find he now owned a set of glass wizard chess pieces that repaired immediately upon impact so as not to injure anyone. He regrettably noted the lack of a chess board with his present, and wondered if this was how Sirius felt every time he received an uncompleted present from him. Remus could never feel cheated when he himself rarely gave such extravagant gifts, and gave special attention to thanking Peter just as much as he had James. It was the least he could do, and always secretly wished that the other three would act this way in return when they were in his situation.
Setting the chess pieces aside carefully, Remus turned expectantly towards the foot of his bed. Sirius had always been the most outlandish when it came to presents of any kind, and frankly Remus was surprised that he hadn't insisted on his gift being opened first as he usually did.
Needless to say, Remus was taken aback by the small box of wolf-shaped chocolates that now sat in his lap. He was far from ungrateful, and obviously the chocolates themselves were exclusive, but he couldn't help feeling underwhelmed. Following six years of strange yet endearing gifts that were nothing less than memorable, he could hardly call this the finale he had been expecting from Sirius. At least the boy was unpredictable.
Remus glanced up with the feeling of eyes on him, and found two looks of concern and one of…guilt? What had Sirius to feel guilty for? Clearly he had taken far too long to respond to his present.
"They're wonderful, Pads. Rather cheeky considering, but you know I cannot resist chocolate," he stumbled, looking Sirius directly in the eye with the hope of appearing sincere.
"Glad you like them," he replied quietly, and while each knew of the others charade, neither were willing to admit the awkwardness between them.
Their conflict was quickly broken with James mentioning something about a last-minute Quidditch practice that Remus was sure he had heard nothing about, whisking Sirius out of the dormitory before he had a chance to object. Almost as hurriedly, Peter grabbed his books and claimed to have a study session with a seventh-year from Ravenclaw.
Something wasn't right.
Never had the Marauders left him alone on his birthday, always insisting on a full day of mischief and mayhem to celebrate. He could distinctly remember James sneaking into the hospital wing during their fourth year to bring him a chocolate cake made in the kitchens, and Sirius pulling him from his Arithmancy homework last year to take an unscheduled trip to Honeydukes in which he insisted Remus take whatever he desired.
There was another issue altogether. Surely after almost six months of a serious romantic relationship, the awkwardness had vanished. In fact, Remus was sure he had never felt this strange with Sirius, even during their first week of unsure hand-holding and secret kisses in the dormitory.
When Remus really thought about it, the past few weeks between them had been somewhat odd. Their usual nightly discussions in each others beds had been cut short by Sirius' claims of being exhausted from classes, though Remus had detected his distinct footsteps leaving the room several nights in a row at unbelievable hours. He had never had the heart to ask Sirius about these trips, and tried not to think about the possibilities of them. Even his homework time, which was usually spent being disrupted by his boyfriend, was now free of noise and unruly suggestions. The one time Remus had asked him about his disappearances, the dark-haired boy had laughed it off as paranoia.
Remus knew he wasn't being paranoid. They were clearly drifting apart, and he couldn't think of a single reason for it. After the first few days, Remus had looked for any sign of this towards anyone else, and found that he was the only one receiving this treatment. Though he racked his brain for any occurrence that may have upset or angered Sirius, he could think of none. The only explanation he could fathom was not one that he even wished to consider; he knew Sirius would never cheat on him, though that thought continued to make itself known when he was left alone.
The rest of the day felt like a dream. As it was the weekend no classes were held, and so Remus decided to spend his day outside by the lake reading. His only company all day was a short visit from Lily after lunch, who revealed that she had seen both James and Sirius in the library that morning. The mentioning of their names along with her disapproving tone could only mean one thing – they had abandoned him in order to research some stupid prank.
He was surprised at how much that knowledge hurt him. They were his best friends, and it was his birthday, but it would not be the first time either had placed a prank above previously made plans. And yet, that made it even worse. Apparently it had escalated to the point where something such as their friend turning seventeen meant that little to them.
At least he knew Sirius wasn't cheating on him.
Even this thought was of little reassurance to Remus as he made his way back up to Gryffindor tower that night after dinner. Only Peter had been there, informing him that he had not seen either of the other Marauders before helping himself to a second serving of dessert. Though Remus was sure he wasn't lying, there was something in his manner that suggested he knew something about their whereabouts.
However, it wasn't until Remus entered their dormitory that he knew something strange was happening. The first thing he noticed was that his hangings were open, which was something he was usually very careful about. Moving over towards his bed, he felt something sticky under his foot, and lifted it to find a wolf chocolate stuck to the bottom of his shoe. Grimacing, he hurriedly removed the chocolate and then threw off his shoes. Then he noticed a second chocolate directly by his trunk and another next to his bed.
Following the trail of wolves, Remus found a small piece of parchment beneath yet another chocolate. Pushing aside the wolf, he unfolded the note to find only one word – bathroom.
Confused, Remus looked towards the bathroom door of their room in search of an answer. There he discovered another trail of chocolates leading to the closed door, which he followed without thought. He hesitated only slightly before reaching for the handle and opening the door to find another note suspended from the door frame, this one reading mirror.
Edging into the dark room, Remus reached for his wand, which he kept in his pocket at all times, though felt no wood at his fingertips. Checking his robes just in case, Remus began to feel the recognizable sinking of his stomach in unease. How could he have possibly misplaced his wand? He was always sure to keep it deep in his front pocket to prevent it falling out, an incident that he had experienced in first year and never wished to repeat. He couldn't recall the last time he had consciously felt it, and mentally began retracing his steps throughout the day.
The bathroom door closed behind him with a gentle click, leaving Remus in complete darkness. Only then did he begin to notice another presence in the room.
Turning towards the door, he backed himself towards where he thought the sinks were, only to feel his body come into contact with another. Before he had a chance to yell, a soft hand closed around his mouth and another around his waist in a way that seemed all too familiar.
"Relax," whispered the smooth voice as Remus felt lips brush against his neck. The hand covering his mouth disappeared, moving its way down to rest, like the other, on his waist.
He knew that voice, that touch, and allowed his body to melt into the one behind him.
"It's a little difficult when you think you're being ambushed without a wand," Remus whispered in reply.
Remus felt a chuckle vibrate through his back. "That was Peter's doing, I'm afraid. I couldn't have you walk in here and ruin everything with a simple Lumos, now could I?"
The warmth that had eluded his silky voice had returned, and Remus could practically feel the grin against his neck as he spoke. Whatever had happened during the last few weeks no longer mattered, all Remus cared about was that the boy standing behind him had finally returned to his normal, albeit dramatic, state.
"And what might 'everything' be?" he asked quietly, turning to look at the face against his neck while knowing full well that he would see nothing without a light source.
The hands and body vanished, leaving Remus confused and uncertain. He could hear movement around him, though the darkness gave him no indication of which direction the other boy was moving in, nor what he was doing. All he could hear were echoed footsteps and the roughness of his robes as he moved, which all stopped directly in front of him. He felt a hand slide into his, which he took, and smiled at the squeeze of comfort he received.
"Do you trust me?"
"Of course," he breathed, eager to understand why he had been moved here. The last few weeks had been hard, and despite his easy acceptance of his circumstances, Remus wanted nothing more than to question the other boy about his actions.
"I'm going to ask you to do something, and I want you to do it without question. Can you do that for me?"
This made him feel nervous. What could he possibly ask Remus that he would want to decline? Surely he didn't have anything drastic in mind, though he wouldn't be surprised if that turned out to be the case. Yet as Remus thought, he could not name a single moment in which he didn't feel safe with the other boy. Sure, there had been times in which he was apprehensive about their actions, and more importantly the consequences of said actions, but he had never been made to feel truly uncomfortable in any way. He knew that whatever was requested of him, he would not be in any danger. He could trust him.
He squeezed the hand in his tightly, knowing that he would understand. The pressure in return affirmed this belief.
"I need you to take your clothes off. All of them."
This completely threw him. If he had suspected anything from the boy in front of him, that certainly had not been it. Was he being serious? Did he honestly just ask him to strip down in front of him when he knew very well of the many insecurities that plagued him?
"Do you trust me?"
Of course the answer was yes; it was always yes. That still didn't make the task he had been set any easier.
Without allowing himself to think about it anymore, Remus pulled away his hand and reached for the top button of his shirt. There was no doubt a good reason for doing this or he would not have asked, and so Remus continued to remove his clothes while ignoring the heat rising in his face. He constantly reminded himself that the room was void of all light, and therefore the other boy could not see the collection of scars that marred his skin, but he could not help to acknowledge the fact that he was now standing completely naked just feet from the boy his body yearned for. This would not end well.
Remus was sure he heard a small noise come from what could only be a throat before he felt the hand return to his.
"I'm sorry that I've been so distant with you lately. I'm begging you to understand that I was only trying to prepare for what I'm about to do, and that I hope you can forgive me."
After a moment of shuffling, Remus heard him whisper something foreign before his well-defined face was suddenly illuminated by a dull blue light emitting from his wand. Though his black hair fell in his face, Remus was relieved to see the usual sparkle in his deep silver eyes as he smiled.
"Sirius…" he sighed, that single word conveying everything it needed to.
He watched as the wand moved until it touched his skin, the light spreading a warmth through him that he didn't think possible. It just grazed his skin as it moved in patterns, leaving a path of glowing shapes that Remus could decipher individually but not in connection to each other. He merely observed in confusion and slight awe as the other boy continued to trace his wand along his skin, crossing over many of his scars in it's arrangements, until he had moved behind and started on his back.
Remus felt the wand move in between his shoulder blades as a hand came to rest against his waist, the thumb circling his hip bone leisurely. Feeling this contact, Remus let out a breath he wasn't aware of holding and turned his head slightly to see those eyes again. Silver met amber briefly before returning to their work, and Remus felt his heart sink at the slight frown that appeared on the other boy's face. He was more than aware of the vicious scars that were present on his back, most stretching the entire length of his torso and some extending further, and wondered half-heartedly if they would deter the effort being imparted on him. That amount of time was assuredly enough to illustrate the hideousness of his figure, what more was needed to push the other boy away?
The hand on his hip tightened as the wand began its work on his thighs, and the breath that now ghosted across his lower back took with it a soft moan that caused Remus to tense reflexively. The warmth grazing his calf stilled for a moment, and Remus swore he heard the other boy murmur something against his back before continuing with his design.
What felt like hours later, Remus watched him rise from drawing on his left foot to then mutter something else unintelligible. Suddenly his skin began to glow even brighter where the wand had touched, before tempering out and leaving the pair in darkness once again. His skin had lost the mysterious sensation it held before, though he could sense that magic still resided on him.
"It took me days to convince Slughorn I needed something from the Restricted Section for academic purposes only, and even longer to find the right spell. It isn't exactly dark magic, but I can understand why it's kept there."
Their bodies were now aligned, though they only touched hand to hand. Remus could now feel the other boy's breath tickling his nose, and instinctively leaned forward until their lips met. The kiss was not long, but it was sincere and meaningful.
Not allowing his face to move far, Remus smiled against those lips. "What magic is it, then?"
"It is something that only you and I can see, and it will remain that way forever. You can break the spell at whatever time you desire, but without your word and your wand, it will be there until you die."
Remus felt himself being guided around until he was facing the other way, though he couldn't truly be sure of where he was looking. Hands pulled him further into the room, and he was slightly bemused at the confidence held by the other boy in directing him through the darkness.
"Are you ready?"
He was about to ask the other boy what he was talking about, but the moment he opened his mouth to speak, the room around him became visible through the bright green light now coming from the wand on the counter. Only now did he realise that he had been placed directly in front of the full length mirror that he so often avoided, and his mouth dropped open even further at what he saw in his reflection.
There he stood completely naked, though his eyes were not drawn to his scars. Instead, he now gazed upon what seemed like hundreds of words written across his body, each in the flawless scrawl of the boy standing directly behind him: wolf, man, intelligent, handsome, witty, strong, quiet, compassionate, stubborn, brave, thoughtful, engaging, patient…Each word seemed to be placed in the perfect spot, with certain strokes covering up the disfigured skin beneath until it barely looked damaged.
Seeing himself like this, Remus did something he hadn't been able to since his first transformation – he smiled at his reflection.
Out of the corner of his eye, Remus saw the face next to his beam in relief. "Thank Merlin, I was so worried you wouldn't like it, and then all you'd remember of your seventeenth birthday would be some shoddy spell I put on you without even asking first, and then every time we would–"
"You're rambling again, Pads," Remus choked out, only now aware of the wetness on his cheeks. He silently chided himself for going and ruining the moment with his emotions, but after looking at him through the mirror, he knew that the other boy did not mind. In fact, he seemed almost overwhelmed himself, and the tender smile that met him confirmed the importance of this moment.
Bringing his stare back to himself, Remus took note of where each word was situated on his body. Compassionate rested above where his heart lay, surrounded by brave and man. Wolf was barely visible amongst the much larger words, and he smiled at the significance of this. Letting his eyes roam further, a word written across the middle of his pelvis caused him to blush and look questioningly at the boy behind him.
His smirk revealed that he knew exactly which word Remus had discovered. "Yes, I may have been a little premature with that one. A man can dream, though, can't he?"
Remus grew even redder as he shook his head faintly. He found it a little difficult to go from completely rejecting his body to accepting complements like that. While he had thought about it, Remus had never truly considered himself being viewed as a…lover. How could he ever look over that body and think lustful thoughts? It just didn't seem possible. And yet, as Remus continued to examine his new body, he felt a glimmer of hope emerge. Perhaps the other boy wouldn't be so adverse to the idea now that they were concealed.
"I know what you're thinking, and there's something that I need to tell you – I didn't do this charm for my benefit. I truly love everything about you…I just needed you to see what I see every day. Every word that I've written is true, and I am very much serious about that word…no pun intended."
Remus laughed at the boy's uncanny ability to say all of that and still seem completely masculine; it was clearly just part of his charm. Somehow he realized all of the uncertainties that weighed him down and knew just how to fix them.
Grasping the other boy's hand tightly, he hoped that his face accurately conveyed the happiness he felt at that moment. "Thank you. You're…you're perfect."
He was met with a knowing smile, and following the direction of those silver eyes, he found that exact word written in the centre of his abdomen. A hand came around his waist, and as its fingers began tracing over the letters tenderly, Remus closed his eyes. He allowed his mind to wander as the hand did, genuinely relaxing as each word was re-written by those fingers.
A thought suddenly made itself known to Remus, the shock of it bringing him out of his reverie. "Where are James and Peter?"
The boy's deep laugh filled the air again. "They are keeping themselves amused for the night. Considering we have quite a few hours until their return, what do you say we make all of these words a fact?" If the phrase hadn't indicated his thoughts enough, the other boy waggled his eyebrows suggestively as a hand came to rest on the juncture of hip and thigh just below the word he referred to.
Remus let himself be led from the bathroom, and quickly reflected on the day. Despite the loneliness he had experienced, he now understood the reasoning behind it, and fully appreciated the result. The gift Sirius had given him, and was about to give him, made this birthday a clear favourite. While each at Hogwarts had been memorable, nothing could surpass the emotions he was feeling now. Though he had many more birthdays to come, Remus doubted if anything could top this. It was the perfect night with the perfect man, and if all else failed in his life, at least he had that.
A/N: Thanks to those who read this, it's the longest piece I've written for publishing so far, and I very much hope you enjoyed it. Please R&R, constructive critisism is much appreciated, but no flames - love not war! Lucia_Swanne :)