Yes, there is some gentle Sirius/Remus slash. If you haven't figured out by now that they are my favorite pairing in HP fiction, then let this be your wake-up call. The rating is for the occasional swear word and intimations of adult situations.

The Best Man


Petunia Evans sat on the edge of her bed in a tear-choked fury. She should simply refuse to do it, march out of the house and go off A hotel. No, that wouldn't be proper. She'd get a small flat, she'd.she'd.No, she couldn't do that, either. She'd scream her defiance at her parents and her freak sister and never speak to them again. No, then she'd be causing a scene. 'Vernon hates scenes.' Vernon, her steady, dutiful fiancé who will provide for her and their future family, who had good prospects at his new job at Grunnings, who was so normal, just like herself. Besides, it wouldn't do for Vernon's relatives or his business associates to think his bride-to-be came from a questionable family.

The thought of Vernon's dear, pudgy face calmed her down. Sighing, she realized she had no choice. She'd have to go through with it. At least Vernon would be there at the reception. He'd help her through it. And, maybe there was a silver lining in all this. By going as a guest to her sister's wedding, Vernon would better understand how horrible it was to have a witch in the family.

She'd endure it, for Vernon's enlightenment, and to keep peace with her own parents. She'd agree to be Lily's maid-of-honor. Petunia rose to go downstairs and tell Lily she accepted. She stopped short at the top of the stairs as a horrible thought struck her. James Potter would choose the best man. It would undoubtedly be one of them. A warlock or whatever they called the male side of their species. Petunia' whole body went rigid, the tendons in her neck standing out like flying buttresses supporting the weight of the crushing revulsion that filled her head. She'd have to touch him, link arms with him. A cold shudder passed through her. Vernon would be there. She would get through the ceremony and that would be it. Once the reception started, she could stay away from them as much as possible.

And, besides, a lot of regular, normal people would be at this wedding. Her sister's kind would surely not do anything peculiar, would they? Not if they wanted to pass themselves off as real people and not cranks and weirdos. Maybe it would be okay. Surely the best man would conduct himself with proper behavior.

Petunia would have been horrified to know that the best man's view of what constituted proper behavior was a source of concern for the bride-to-be. Lily was well aware of the best man's tendency to regard the phrase 'proper behavior' as an oxymoron. 'Proper behavior' implied that a set of Rules existed which must be followed. The war between Rules and Sirius Black was in a state of constant flux. There was never a clear winner.

Not that Lily begrudged James' selection of best man. She loved Sirius like a brother, too. However, she realized that he had a certain lack of control at times, and there were situations where he simply couldn't resist doing something clever or downright outrageous. He knew Petunia detested the very idea of magic and he just might take it into his handsome, shaggy head to make the wedding ceremony as unforgettable to Petunia as it would be to the happy couple. The thought of Petunia's reaction to even the mildest of Sirius' pranks made Lily's stomach lurch.

Lily dearly wanted Petunia to put aside her prejudices towards wizards and be happy for her, even if it was just for her wedding day. She'd have to make sure Sirius understood how important this was to her. She'd extract a promise from him that he would absolutely, unequivocally be on his most exemplary behavior.

Once she had that promise, then she'd also request a favor. And, the favor, she feared, would cause pain. She already hurt herself just thinking about it. She knew it distressed James and she feared it would wound Sirius and Remus Lupin, another of her closest, dearest friends.

Lily had to ask Sirius and Remus to hide their relationship. Same-sex couples were accepted by most in the wizard world, although not necessarily with open arms. Even so, wizards were more tolerant than Muggles. She had tried to explain to her pure blood friends why this was so, but they remained puzzled. To them, love between two people mattered. Gender didn't. But, Lily knew that if Petunia had any inkling of the relationship between James' best man and one of his groomsmen, she would not only refuse to accept the role of maid-of-honor, she'd probably boycott the wedding.

On Friday evening Lily waited for her fiancé to arrive, along with his closest friends. A casual dinner was planned, although Lily thought that the lump in her stomach would prevent her from ever eating again. All too soon, the young men arrived at her flat. She had originally thought to wait until after dinner to broach the subject, but didn't think she could possibly last that long.

With an apologetic look at James, Lily explained her situation to Remus and Sirius. She tried to impress on them how important it was to her to preserve peace within her family. She asked for their support. And she begged for their forgiveness, because, on the day she and James would proudly proclaim their love to the whole world, she was asking her friends to publicly deny their own love for each other.

"I don't have the right to ask this of you. I feel like such a traitor to you and to James and to what I know is right. But, I don't want to frighten off the one part of my family that's left alive. I don't want to alienate Petunia. Please forgive me, but I have to ask you to hide the fact that you're lovers. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. But, please."

Lily struggled to hold back her tears. It was a hopeless task, especially when Remus and Sirius leapt to their feet and swept her into their arms, assuring her that they would support her in any way possible. Their declaration only made her cry harder because she knew what true, wonderful friends she had. She fell apart completely, one arm around each of them, sobbing and holding them tight to her, while James and Peter hovered anxiously in the background.

The Day After the Stag Party

"Rise and shine, my adorable, well-hung, hung-over crumpet!" Remus chirped brightly. "You don't want to be late for work."

"Oh, fuck work."mumbled Sirius, certain that his current state was anything but adorable, uncaring about his physical attributes, but acutely aware of being hung-over. If he lay very still, maybe Remus would go off to work and let him lie here in peaceful misery.

The persistent tugging on the bedclothes was not a good sign. "Remember how much begging and pleading you had to do to arrange to leave work early today. I'm sure your Eunuch Head won't be too pleased if you don't show up at all."

Sirius cautiously sat up and tried to glare at his disgustingly chipper lover. "That's Unit Head, you fleabag." The roiling queasiness in his stomach and the sharp pounding behind his eyeballs muted much of the effect of the glare. Sirius' supervisor in the Department of Mysteries had held the position of Unit Head, Special Projects, for decades and seemed to be more concerned with bureaucratic conformity than with doing a good job, much to Remus' cynical delight and Sirius' frustrated imagination.

Remus smiled sweetly into the bloodshot pale blue eyes . "Can I make you some breakfast? Full English? Fried kippers? Eggs wallowing in pools of butter? Thick, greasy sausages?" He stopped, chuckling, at the greenish tinge that had suffused Sirius' face. "Maybe not."

"Not. Definitely not." With a groan, Sirius hauled himself unsteadily out of bed and wobbled towards the bathroom. Remus heard the distinctive, if rather unpleasant, sound of dry heaves, followed by mumbled moaning.

"No one forced you and James to split that last bottle of Culpepper's Old Vines."

"It was a stag party. For our stag. Getting drunk is required behavior at a stag."

While Peter and several other friends had assisted James home, Remus had dealt with Sirius. No one had dared attempt Apparation. He thought about their reeling trip back to their flat, as he had half-carried a thoroughly soused Sirius through the streets. Being a cheerful and chatty drunk, Sirius had kept up a running monologue assessing the events of the evening, interspersed with snatches of lewd drinking songs and sappy love ballads, which he warbled to Remus or serenaded to startled passers-by who happened to catch his attention. Not to mention the limericks he made up, which, Remus knew, he'd have no recollection of today. What was the one about Binns? Remus was rather fuzzy on the details since he had been rather sloshed himself, but he thought it went something like:

There was an old ghostie named Binns Who's students all paid for his sins, He bored us to tears, in spite of our jeers, And drove us all out of our skins.

"You'll be back here by 2:00?" Remus called into the bathroom.

"Yes, and all my stuff is packed, so we can hop on the bike and take off."

"See you later." Smiling, Remus left for work, pleased that Sirius had actually planned ahead and prepared for their trip to Northampton for the wedding. Waiting until the last minute was his mate's usual style, which always meant delays while missing clothes were dug out of the laundry and hurriedly cleaned with imperfect spells. Could this be more evidence that Sirius truly had matured from the somewhat irresponsible, wildly impulsive student he used to be?

Sirius managed to get through his morning comparatively smoothly, considering how rotten he felt. However, as the day advanced, he started having cravings for massive quantities of protein, a sure sign that the end of his hangover was near. All he needed were several huge helpings of beef stew or a mountain of shepherd's pie or a whole, fat, roasted chicken, and he'd be fine. Walking across the street, he poked his head into James' office to see if his best friend was up to eating lunch.

James was still rather fragile, but Sirius jollied him into admitting he needed nourishment, so the two headed for the Laughing Cat pub. As they settled into a booth, Sirius looked beyond James and started reading the list of items on the specials board. "Hmmm.Various soups and salads and,.wait. Here's what we need! Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding! Pork chops and mashed potatoes!"

The look in the ice blue eyes suddenly blazed with a fierce, carnivorous intensity. "Yesss!! Steak and kidney pie!!" His smile could have struck terror into the hearts of prey animals the world over.

James blanched. "Ugh! Steak and kidney pie! We hate steak and kidney pie!"

"I love it when I'm hung over." Sirius was practically drooling with rapturous organ lust.

"Great, and I get to watch you eat it."

"I'll eat quickly."

"The way you look now, you're ready to reach inside some poor animal, yank out its kidneys and devour them raw."

If James thought that vision would dampen some of Sirius' meat craving, he was sadly mistaken. If anything, the ravenous hunger for flesh seemed additionally titillated by the idea of eating raw kidneys. At moments like these James thought the reason Sirius' Animagus form turned out to be a very large canine was due more to his protein driven stomach rather than his firmly loyal heart.