AN: This story was written for MadHatterBellatrix10's "1000 Awesome Things Competition". The awesome thing I got was: "The First Time a New Friend Calls You by Your Nickname". This just screamed Remus/Sirius, and as I've wanted to write a fic about this pairing (my personal OTP ;-) ) for a long time, I saw this as the perfect opportunity.

I'd like to dedicate this story to Pafoof, my amazing new pen pal and beta. Thank you, Ashley, for helping me through the mess that is my life at the moment! And for beta-ing my story, of course ;-)

Disclaimer: I own nothing. If I did, Wolfstar would be canon, damnit!

NICKNAMES

For as long as Remus could remember, his relationship with Sirius had always been a story of nicknames. To people who knew them well, the names they called each other were revealing of their relationship. Remus often wondered whether the nicknames changed with their relationship or if it was actually the other way around.

In first year, James and Sirius had hit it off instantly, two cool pure-blooded boys just made to become friends. Remus suspected rebellious Sirius had befriended James mainly because of the infamous rivalry between the Blacks and the Potters. As if being sorted into Gryffindor hadn't pissed his mother off enough already. Remus was pretty sure that, if Sirius had known about his lycanthropy back then, he'd have made Remus his best friend then and there, because honestly, what would make dearest Walburga freak out more than a halfblood werewolf? But at that moment, Remus had been nothing but the weird and bookish boy who never talked to anyone. Sirius and James had been too cool to even think about being friendly to him.

During the better part of First Year, he'd consequently been "Loopy Lupin", subject to much teasing and pranks on the part of the Golden Gryffindor Twins. That had lasted until the day Severus Snape had charmed all of Remus' chocolate to taste like earwax-flavoured Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Apparently, James and Sirius' hate and contempt for "Snivellus" had won over their taste for teasing Remus, and with a Jelly-Legs Jinx directed at Snape and a simple: "We'll buy you new chocolate, Remmiekins!", Remus had been adopted into the group of the Marauders.

He actually didn't think Sirius had ever called him by his full given name, outside of extremely serious circumstances. From that day on he'd been called every ridiculous variation on his name. They went from the mostly used "Rem" to the quite mortifying "Remmiekins" or "Remy-poo", including the simpler "Remie" or "Remie-dear", and basically every term of endearment attached to the prefix "Rem". He had reciprocated with "Siri-darling", "Siri-pie", and many others, but he didn't seem to have Sirius' knack for coming up with soppy nicknames.

Summer holidays came and went, and suddenly it was that fateful day in their Second Year. The day when Remus woke up in the infirmary to find James, Sirius and Peter sitting at the foot of his bed, watching him worriedly. He understood the situation in an eye blink. They knew. He scrambled up in his bed, bandaged hands awkwardly clawing at the sheets, trying to hoist himself up to run away, but only managing to curl up against the wall, as far away from his friends as the tiny bed made humanly possible. Sirius' hand shot out instinctively, trying to keep his scared friend from running away, but Remus flattened himself even more against the wall, obviously taking the movement as a threat. A cold, empty voice, a voice so unlike Remus', managed to utter five words:

"How did you find out?"

After a short silence, during which the boys exchanged worried glances, Sirius spoke:

"I, uhm, I was starting to get really worried about you, I thought you were seriously ill or something was very wrong at home or something. I started to do some research and I just put all the information together, the fact that your Auntie Sylvia already died twice in the last few months, your weird preference for raw meat, the way you always flinch a little when you touch silver, how you always disappear during the nights of the full moon... It's actually quite obvious once you look for it."

At that moment, Remus' strong fa├žade collapsed. Tears started rolling down his face as he sobbed hysterically: "Please don't hate me, please don't hate me, please don't hate me...", repeating the broken mantra as if it would somehow keep reality at bay.

James' eyes widened: "Oh, Rem, we could never hate you!"

"But... I'm a monster! You should hate me!"

Peter patted the other boy's foot, as it was the only part of his body he could reach, and gently assured him:

"No, we shouldn't hate you, Remus. You're our friend. People don't hate their friends."

Remus hesitantly lifted his eyes from his lap, searching acceptance in a pair of obsidian orbs; Sirius smiled at him reassuringly: "You didn't honestly think your furry little problem would make me betray you, did you, Moony?"

Remus lunged forward and embraced Sirius in a fierce hug, whispering: "Thank you, thank you!" against the other boy's chest. After a moment, he pulled back slightly and questioningly raised an eyebrow: "Moony?"

"Don't tell me you don't love it, Moony-pie. It's perfect."

Thus, Remus became Moony. He couldn't deny that he loved his new nickname, though he could have done without the endless variations Sirius came up with. Moony-pie, Moony-cakes, Moony-bunny, Moony-honey, Moonbeam, Moonflower, Moonblossom... He couldn't count the times he'd shot Sirius a horrified look after being called yet another mawkish pet name. But "Moony"? "Moony" he loved. "Moony" meant acceptance, "Moony" meant trust, "Moony" meant friendship.

In fifth year, a new emotion was added to the equation with the arrival of a new nickname, one for Sirius, this time. One morning after the full, Remus woke up in the Shrieking Shack to find a big black dog pouncing on him and slobbering all over his face. He instantly recognized its stormy grey eyes:

"Oh, Padfoot, you did it!"

Suddenly, the dog disappeared and Remus was lying underneath a grinning Sirius:

"Course I did it! You didn't expect me to let you to deal with your transformations alone for the rest of your life, did you? And Padfoot? Where did that come from?"

"Uhm... I don't really know... Padfoot is the name of a kind of Grim and the name just popped into my mind when I saw you in doggy-form."

"Ha! I like it! Moony and Padfoot, doesn't that sound great? Now we'll have to find nicknames for Jamie and Pete once they have managed to turn into a proper animal."

Remus looked up at the other boy, who hadn't bothered to move and was still slightly crushing his smaller friend:

"Padfoot?"

"Yes, Moony?"

"Thank you."

Sirius smiled down at him:

"Anything for you, Moony."

And, simple as that, Remus found himself falling in love.

His less-than-platonic feelings for his friend made it even harder for him when, in Sixth Year, he woke up in the Infirmary to find only James and Peter waiting at his bedside. He didn't cry when James explained to him how Sirius had told Snape how to get into the Shrieking Shack, how he'd run to James when he'd realized exactly what he'd done, how James had managed to save Snape just in time, and how Snape had seen Remus transforming. He didn't cry when he'd realized that his secret was out, that he had nearly killed someone and that, most importantly, the boy he was in love with was responsible for all of it. He had put up his shields again, because letting people in had proved to bring him nothing but harm.

When he got out of the Infirmary late that evening, Sirius was waiting outside the door, his perfect aristocratic nose clearly broken, as a result of one of James' particularly nasty punches. He reached out to Remus:

"I can explain... Let me explain... Moony, please, wait!"

Remus' former indifference morphed into a vicious snarl as he threw Sirius a furious glare over his shoulder:

"Don't call me that, Black!"

That was the start of the hardest two weeks of Remus' life. Two weeks without nicknames, no Moony, no Padfoot, just "Black" when Remus couldn't avoid speaking to his former friend, and a contrite silence on Sirius' part. Remus could tell the other boy was genuinely sorry, but being sorry didn't erase the fact that he had betrayed his friend and jeopardized everything he'd ever fought for. Remus was furious and deeply hurt, but he constantly had to fight the urge to forgive the obviously miserable Animagus. It took James' intervention to convince Remus to give Sirius a chance to explain himself.

Remus was sitting on his bed when Sirius hesitantly knocked on the door of their dormitory. He mumbled a noise of consent that must have been barely audible through the door, and Sirius slipped into the dormitory through the barely-opened door. He stood in front of the werewolf, nervously staring at his feet. When Remus didn't say anything, he hesitantly started talking:

"I'm sorry, Remus, I really am. I didn't mean to, I..." he swallowed.

"Snape had cornered me in the corridor of the second floor. He... he told me he'd noticed how I watched you. I... I'm sorry; I shouldn't make this situation harder for you than it already is, but... I'm in love with you, Remus. And he had noticed. He knew. He threatened to tell everyone, to tell you, to tell the Marauders, to tell the other Slytherins, to tell my parents. He said they'd have you killed; they'd punish you for turning the heir of The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black into... I believe his exact words were: 'a filthy, disgusting sodomite'".

Sirius chuckled joylessly at this.

"But then, he said he'd keep it a secret if I told him where you disappear to once a month, why you often look pale and sickly. I... I think he already knew, Remus, he was just looking for confirmation. I was fucking terrified for you, because either way, things were going to end badly for you. If he didn't get you killed by revealing that I'm in love with you, he would tell everyone about your lycanthropy. I... I panicked. I thought if something happened to him he'd be forced to keep his mouth shut. So I told him how to get into the Shrieking Shack, if he wanted to know the truth so badly. As soon as he was gone, I realised what I had done and I ran off to find James. You know the rest of the story."

Sirius sneaked a glance at Remus, who was watching him with a controlled expression on his delicate features. Finally, he started to speak:

"You claim to love me, Sirius, yet you put everything I've ever fought for in danger. Can you imagine what would have happened if I'd killed Snape? I'd have been thrown into Azkaban for the rest of my life; if they hadn't just executed me right away. And I'm not even mentioning my own feelings if I had killed a person. Don't you ever think, Sirius? You really hurt me, you know. How can you expect me to forgive you so soon for that?"

"I know, Rem, I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry. I just, I... You're right, I didn't think, I just panicked. And I'm not asking for your forgiveness. I just wanted you to know why I did it. I didn't do it to hurt you, Rem. In some twisted, ironic way, I did it to protect you. I... I'm just horribly sorry."

He was still staring at his neatly polished shoes, tears silently streaming down his face. Suddenly, he felt a gentle but firm hand lifting up his chin so that he was looking into liquid amber eyes.

"You crossed a line here, Sirius, but I can understand your motives. I'm going to forgive you. I just can't not forgive you. And you know why? Because I love you too, Padfoot, you stupid, silly mutt."

And slowly, oh so slowly, he leant in towards a wide-eyed Sirius until, finally, their lips met in a kiss that told him all he needed to know.

The next day, at the breakfast table, it was clear to everyone that Sirius and Remus had kissed and made up. Or, well, the "kiss" part was something only James and Peter were aware of, due to the fact that a very distracted Remus had forgotten to put up Silencing Spells around his four-poster bed the previous night. And when Sirius, whose foot was teasingly trailing up along Remus' calf, asked his new-found boyfriend: "Moony, love, could you pass me the pumpkin juice, please?", everyone knew all was well.

So, hope you enjoyed! Reviews are love, lovelies! And love makes the world go round!

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