Remus lazily turned the page of his book, watching it as it gently fell towards the opposite side of the book. The sun had started its rapid descent, casting strange shadows around the Gryffindor common room that rearranged themselves every few minutes. He was alone, except for a few third years in a corner and some first years huddled around a table playing a very exciting game, it seemed, of Exploding Snap.
James was off with Lily, each of them claiming Head Boy/Girl “duties”, but Remus suspected that those duties had to do more each other’s lips than the student population. He wasn’t exactly sure where Sirius was, but he supposed he was with Gwen somewhere. Peter was . . . somewhere. Either the Owlery or the kitchens or the Library or maybe he had detention tonight? Anyway, it didn’t really matter. All it meant was that Remus finally
had some quite time to just sit down and enjoy his book.
Not that he really thought it would last long.
“REMUS!” Sirius burst through the portrait hole, yelling his name, and effectively ending the first years’ round of Exploding Snap.
At least he had enjoyed it while it lasted.
Sirius raced over to him, looking crushed and panicked and pissed. Upon a closer inspection of his face, Remus noticed blood trickling out of his nose, and it seemed to be jutting out in an odd way. He lifted his wand and tapped Sirius’s nose, muttering a spell under his breath. It righted itself so it faced the proper direction.
“Who?” he asked, sitting back down on the fluffy armchair behind him.
“What?” Sirius looked confused for a second—clearly not the question he was expecting from Remus.
“Which Slytherin did you decide to hex tonight?” asked Remus, clarifying.
Sirius shook his head. “Not a Slytherin. I didn’t hex anyone.”
“Really.” And Remus waited.
Sirius sighed and sat down. He took his head in his hands and pulled them through this hair, raising his eyes so he was staring straight into the fire. “Er, the thing is,” he began. “Well, you see . . .” He glanced at Remus, looking for an intro.
Remus shrugged and gave him none, remaining silent.
Sirius bit his lip.
“GwenmayhaveseenmesnoggingCosetteinabroomclosetbut itreallyisntwhatshethoughtandprobablynotwhatyouthi nkeitheritalsolookedalotworsethanitwas.”
“Um, sorry.” Remus looked at his friend. “I didn’t really catch that, mate.”
Sirius closed his eyes, a pained expression on his face. He looked like he’d rather stick his head in the fire than repeat his confession. He took in a deep breath, but kept his eyes closed. Remus had a sinking feeling that Sirius was afraid to look him in the eye.
“Gwen. May. Have. Seen. Me. snoggingCosette.”
“WHAT?” Remus couldn’t help it. The words were so surprising, so unreal, so not
Sirius, that it took him completely by surprise. And there’s only one reaction to that feeling: explosion.
“Remus,” said Sirius quietly, his eyes open and serious, “please, just hear me out. Please
,” he begged.
Remus closed his eyes and tried to re-order his thoughts and feelings. He shoved his anger and indignation away, and drawing on his love and compassion for Sirius, he lifted his eyelids and nodded, opening his ears up to his friend.
Half an hour later, Remus was heading across the grounds, ducking his against the rain. A girl was sitting on the grass underneath a beech tree, her head tipped back to the rain.
As he approached, she made no move to acknowledge his presence. He sat himself down on the grass next to her, and watched her out of the corners of his eyes. She looked sad and tired; worn and beaten. He wasn’t sure how he felt with Sirius at this moment, but he knew what he was feeling towards her: love, sympathy, anger on her behalf, and slight awe.
Remus waited, unsure of if he should start a conversation. He just wanted to be there, with her, if she needed someone. He fiddled with the grass by his knees, enjoying the sensation of cold rain on his head. The whole world seemed to have a share in mourning the ending of a monumental relationship.
“Did you know?”
Remus glanced at her quickly, double-checking to make sure she’d really spoken. Buying himself time—not entirely sure he wanted to have this conversation—he stretched his legs out in front of him.
“No,” he said softly.
The breath she must’ve been holding came out loudly. “Did anyone?” she asked him.
“I don’t think so,” said Remus, racking his brain. Sirius hadn’t mentioned telling anyone about it, had he? In an attempt to make her feel better he added, “I think this was the first time.”
She snorted. Remus winced.
“That doesn’t make it any better,” she spat, angry at the world. Remus didn’t blame her.
“I know,” he told her quietly. Leaning back on his palms and shaking his head, he decided to also tell her “I’m sorry.” Not that it mattered. But it made him
feel a little better, at least.
“Do you know why?” she wanted to know.
He didn’t want to tell her. It was stupid. But he told her anyway, because she deserved to know—only after stalling twice, of course.