A Happy Life.
Disclaimer: Not my characters. They firmly belong to J.K. Rowling. I'm just playing with them and not making any money.
Remus was thirteen when he realized that the butterflies in his stomach whenever Sirius smiled at him meant something. Sirius was generally very cheerful and full of laughter and Remus could never understand how anyone could be so happy. Not when Sirius' parents were so horrible to him, not when his own brother would barely speak to him and not when Sirius got in trouble all the time.
Remus learned early on that happiness in general was not for him. When he got bitten, he thought he would never have a normal life. But then, he went to school and found friends. When they told him that they knew he was a werewolf and they thought it was fun, he could not believe it would last. He still could not imagine being as happy as Sirius but he thought he was pretty lucky to have such friends and that life might not be too horrible.
And now he noticed the butterflies and with a sunken feeling he realized that something else is going to make his life miserable. And as much as he tried to tell himself that Sirius was just one of his best friends, he knew that when others ruffled his hair or put their arms on his shoulder there weren't butterflies.
For a long time, Remus tried to ignore it and focus on school and pranks and he even asked a girl to go to Hogsmeade with him. She was a pretty girl too and there were little butterflies and he felt some hope. But none of it helped. For when Sirius focused his attention just on him and tried to get him to help in another ridiculous plot against Slytherins, Remus just felt his heart trying to escape his chest.
By the time Remus was sixteen, he realized that he was in love with Sirius and there was nothing he could do about it and he would just have to live with that knowledge.
During the summer holiday that year, he met another boy near his village and when that boy kissed him behind the parish church late one evening, Remus let it distract him and let himself be happy just for a moment, knowing that at night he would still dream of Sirius.
Remus was twenty when he finally had the courage to kiss Sirius. Granted they were both drunk and just stumbled back to their flat and Sirius was tripping all over the place. And it was mostly an accident. But Sirius did not recoil in horror, like Remus always imagined, and in fact continued to kiss him.
But the morning, Sirius was not in Remus' room, he was making breakfast and muttering about his hangover. Remus expected an awkward conversation but it never happened and Remus was too afraid to bring it up. Sirius didn't act differently at all but the following week he went on a date with a girl and as usual told all about it in details in their Marauders-get-together in the pub that they had every Friday night and James and Peter laughed and teased him while Remus nursed his pint.
Sirius dated many other girls in the next few months and brought some home. Remus attributed their night together to alcohol and decided to just cherish the memory. It was torture to live in the same space sometimes, seeing him so happy, but it is not like he could afford to move out. Remus found that couldn't pretend with other blokes anymore but at least he knew what it was like to be with Sirius.
Then, one evening, when Sirius was restless and bored, he came up to Remus and kissed him again. "Don't be gloomy, Moony," he said. "James is busy with the baby so I don't have to meet him tonight. Let me cheer you up." Remus let him. For a week, Sirius focused just on him until the next guys-get-together where he met a girl and went off with her.
Remus couldn't bring himself to ask Sirius what it all meant, if Sirius had any feelings other than friendship or if he just wanted to have some fun. Remus suspected it was the latter. As the war escalated and Remus had to go on his missions, time together became ever rarer.
Later, it occurred to Remus that despite their occasional closeness Sirius still thought he might be a traitor, and it hurt.
When Sirius went to prison and Remus lost all his other friends in one fell swoop he did not know how to carry on. He didn't think he would ever get that snatch of happiness that we those stolen moments.
And as years passed, he went to bars sometimes and would meet a man with dark hair and a charming smile and something would start and be good for a while, but it never turned into anything more because Remus thought that he was too poor, and a werewolf. But he knew that it was mostly because he was still in love with a man who killed all his friends and who never really loved him the same way, not that it mattered.
Happiness was overrated anyway.
When Remus was thirty-three he heard that Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban prison. He heard it from that Aurors who came to warn him. But he also knew that Sirius won't come to kill him to finish the job as the Aurors thought. Well, they also thought that Remus might be collaborating and wanted to check his small and cramped flat, just in case, but Remus knew either way their visit was pointless.
Sometimes he would imagine seeing Sirius again and taking revenge for his betrayal and sometimes he thought of just hugging him. He didn't recognize the picture of Sirius on the wanted poster; that man did not have Sirius' smile.
When Dumbledore offered him a job, he knew that Dumbledore only wanted to keep an eye on him and the job would last only a year. But he took it anyway because it was a job that paid money, and he would go back to his home in the castle were he could remember being occasionally happy and he would get the potion to help him every month.
When he thought about it later, Remus knew that he took the job in hopes of seeing Sirius again to hurt him or maybe kiss him or to hurt him or maybe to try to make Sirius smile again.
When he finally saw Sirius, he was so happy that Sirius was not a traitor, that he did not even think of who this unhappy man was that stood there in Sirius' place.
When Remus was thirty-five he came to live with Sirius. That was an unexpected development.
For a year Sirius barely spoke to him. Well, he was living in a cave in Scotland and really he was not even Sirius anymore except for flashes here and there. And after their reunion Remus did not know how to deal with it all.
But after a year Dumbledore sent Sirius to his cottage and then they moved to Grimauld Place. Mostly Remus moved there because he didn't have much money left and someone had to keep an eye on Sirius, but also it was because Remus just wanted to catch Sirius smiling again.
At first, Remus was not home that much. After Molly and the kids came for the summer, the house was too full. So Remus didn't have much time to spend with Sirius, or reminisce or ask questions he always wanted to ask.
It was only in late autumn when it was just the two of them that Remus tried to have any sort of conversation. But what Sirius wanted to talk about was the glory days and James and girls and Lily and Harry and Quidditch.
And then one night, when Remus couldn't sleep and it was raining and cold, Sirius came into his room and sat down on the bed. But when Remus tried to ask him what was wrong, Sirius just kissed him and shocked him into silence. Kissing this Sirius was different. It wasn't lazy and joyful and easygoing but more desperate like Sirius was trying to hold on to something. Remus let him.
This time, afterward, as Sirius was starring at the ceiling, Remus looked at him and told him that he loved him no matter what and will be anything that Sirius needed and that he didn't expect anything in return. He was no longer twenty or twenty one, and he didn't want another thing unsaid. Sirius did not say anything for a long while but continued to stare at the ceiling. Then he turned his head toward Remus and smiled and allowed himself to be held. And that smile had a bit of old Sirius in it even as it was still a shadow smile.
Remus knew that Sirius was only there for comfort but that was more than Remus had ever hoped for. And for a while, despite the war, despite the werewolves and all the gatherings he had to attend and despite the fear Remus felt finally happy because for the first time he felt like someone needed him.
And he forgot that happiness for him was always temporary.
Remus was thirty-seven when he made a mistake because he still loved Sirius. Dora had been after him for a while and Remus always put her off. He never told her the real reason because then everyone would know and Remus didn't want that.
Everyone was trying to tell him that he should embrace love and that it was one remedy during war, but his love had died and he knew that he could not love another. He did try in the twelve years Sirius was in prison and it didn't work then.
Remus first made the mistake a year earlier, right after Sirius died, and Dora was back from the hospital and there was a wake and he tried not to think about it and she looked like him and he ended up kissing her. Nothing happened right then but she took it as encouragement.
And when her hair was black, and it felt like his, he could pretend a bit and let her distract him like he always let others distract him. So for a month or so he let it until he realized that she was in love with him. And he didn't want to hurt her.
Then the excuses came, the same ones he used to give to others who ever tried to love him. But after Dumbledore died, and he didn't want to feel anything again he let her distract him for a second time. And he noticed that once her ability returned when he kissed her and her hair always turned black. And he began to think that she knew or at least suspected. He didn't ask.
He meant to end it, he knew that he was using her again, he even realized the irony since this was what Sirius might have felt too for him. And just as when he resolved to tell her truth and move on, she told him she was pregnant.
And so he married her because he thought he should. And she was happy and he did not know what he wanted. When he thought Harry needed his help, he saw it as an excuse to leave. And he couldn't look her in the eye.
But then Harry yelled at him and Remus realized that could not avoid his responsibilities and he owed to himself and to Dora and his child to try to salvage something out of his mistakes.
For the first time, he really thought about what having a baby meant and let himself believe that maybe he could feel some happiness again in a distant future.
Remus was thirty-eight when his son was born and when he himself died and when he saw Sirius again.
Part of him hoped that his son would look a bit like Sirius and a larger part of him was relieved that he could love another person with so much love, maybe even more love than he felt for Sirius. And this child would return that love.
And he let that love make him happy again just for a little while. Despite the grim conditions and all the deaths, he again was happy and his mistake did not seem like such a mistake anymore. And he loved Dora too for giving him this happiness.
Before he went into the battle he knew that he might not come back, and some part of him did not expect to, for he remembered this time that happiness is not meant to last. He hoped that he would see his friends again, he hoped his son would grow up with a better future, and he hoped that Teddy would love deeply and he hoped that his son's life would be better and happier than his.
But as he thought on his own life in moments just before he died, Remus found to his surprise that he did not regret his life. He thought his life ended when he became a werewolf but he founds friends and a place he belonged in. He thought his life would be miserable when he realized he liked mostly boys and girls only rarely, but then he kissed Sirius and knew he would never want it any other way. When he learned that Dora was pregnant he felt only terror, but holding his son only brought him joy.
All his life Remus didn't think he could be that happy but as he died, Remus Lupin looked back on his life and saw only the happy moments.