Rating: 14A, light R possibly
Warnings/Spoilers: strong language
Summary: This is in fifth year which is, Remus reflects, the last year when things made sense. James’s love for Lily is unrequited, Peter hasn’t started to cave in on himself, Snape hasn’t nearly met his death at Remus’ hands (paws), and Sirius has yet to crawl into his bed in the middle of one cold lonely night and stick his hand in Remus’ pants.
Word Count: ~5000
Notes: inspired, partly, by the song 'Jude Law and a Semester Abroad' by Brand New, which is also where the title comes from. Also I was really tempted to name this 'When You Wish Upon a Wolfstar' JUST TO BE ANNOYING but I decided against it
Disclaimer: I do not own nor am I making any profit off of this. I'm just playing around.
One time Remus asks him why Sirius likes to drink so much. This is in fifth year which is, Remus reflects, the last year when things made sense. James’s love for Lily is unrequited, Peter hasn’t started to cave in on himself, Snape hasn’t nearly met his death at Remus’ hands (paws), and Sirius has yet to crawl into his bed in the middle of one cold lonely night and stick his hand in Remus’ pants.
Fifth year is the year when he is made a prefect and every night is a battle between his duties to the badge and his friends. More often than not, his friends win out. Remus often tries to convince himself that he is going only to keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t fall off the Astronomy Tower, but these lies usually fall short when Sirius hands him the bottle and he takes it.
It is one of those (admittedly rare) nights when his conscience gets the better of him and he denies the proffered bottle of firewhiskey. Sirius rolls his eyes and mutters you are such a girl, Moony and then takes a swig that certainly makes up for Remus’ apparent femininity. James and Peter are holding each other and singing ballads about Lily Evans’ eyes and pumpkin pastries, respectively, and Remus is genuinely curious. James and Peter and he, occasionally, only drink socially. But Sirius drinks like it’s his job.
“Why do you drink so much, Pads? You know alcohol poisoning is a very imminent threat, to you especially.”
Sirius stares at him, eyes slightly unfocused. “Moony, what have we said about using words with more than two syllables when I’m drunk?”
“Syllables has three syllables and you just sai-”
“Shut the fuck up, Remus.”
As far as Remus can tell, Sirius Black has two types of drunkenness. The one which Remus, and everyone, prefers is the stupid, happy Sirius who, although not understanding of the concept of personal space, generally makes everyone else feel good about themselves, partly because of his frequent declarations of love but mostly because there’s always the reassurance that you can’t possibly look stupider than Sirius Black does at that moment. And then there is this kind of drunk, when he’s cold and distant and sometimes downright mean, when Remus will sulk, hurt, and Sirius will call him names and stalk off and never apologize in the morning but that’s okay, because Remus forgives him anyway. Remus hates it when Sirius is this kind of drunk, because that means Sirius is fighting his ‘inner demons’, the ones that come from 15 years of being the Black Family Heir, of having different languages shoved down your throat and learning how to walk with dictionaries on your head or whatever it is that Sirius’ childhood consisted of. Remus doesn’t know how to fight Sirius’ inner demons and Sirius won’t let him, anyway.
“Sorry,” he mumbles. Sirius stares at him and then falls back on his back, staring up at the stars. He gropes around with his hand until he finds Remus’ leg and then lets his hand rest there. Remus stares at Sirius’ hand for longer than is necessary and then works up the courage to ask his question again.
“So why do you drink so much? Even when you’re...” he wants to say happy but he’s afraid that might lead to Sirius hexing his balls off and even if Remus doesn’t really have any occasion to put his balls to good use he’s still rather fond of them.
“Even when I’m not acting like a pureblooded arse-y cunt?”
“Not exactly what I was going for, but we can say that, I suppose.”
Sirius turns his head to stare at him. His eyes look black in the dim light of their wands and it is these times when Remus feels inexplicably afraid of his best friend. Sirius Black is more than anyone will ever know- despite what people say about him being shallow and pigheaded there is so much that goes on in the boy’s head and Remus only wishes he could be privy to even half of the monsters that torment him at night. Remus doesn’t think for one minute that he could help Sirius sort them out but Remus knows better than anyone about the demons that can live inside of you and he wishes Sirius knew that telling people actually does help.
“Did you ever read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?” Before Remus can answer Sirius opens his mouth again. “Why am I even asking- of course you did. Anyway I did too, and before you cream yourself because I read a book that didn’t have pictures of naked women inside, one of my tutor’s made me read it which, let’s just say, ended in her prompt sacking and I think my mother might have added her to the family tapestry just to burn her off of it, you know how much my mother likes to do that, because how dare she read me Muggle filth? Anyway that’s not the point. The point is there was something magical hidden in one of those candy bars, Moony. And even when you opened one up and there wasn’t a ticket in there, you didn’t really lose hope because there were other candy bars, and it didn’t matter who you were because as long as you had a candy bar you had a chance at finding one of those tickets.”
Remus finds his gaze lingering on Sirius’ hand once more, still on his leg, and his head, which has shifted so it is resting against Remus’ thigh. “Er- Sirius, as startlingly articulate as that was, considering your current situation, I fail to see what that has to do with drinking.”
“At the bottom of a bottle there’s a ticket, Moony. Or a genie. And it owes me. Fuck, does it owe me big time. And maybe it’s not this bottle, or the next, but it’s out there. And I will drink until I find it, and it will grant me three fucking wishes and I’ll tell you what, my first wish will be that I was never born into my goddamn family.”
Remus’ hand entangles itself into Sirius’ hair without him even thinking about it. Sirius is either too drunk to notice or too drunk to care.
“You’re not making any sense, Sirius.”
“Sure I am. You’re just not drunk enough to understand.”
Sirius hands him the bottle. “Think about the genie, Moony. Think about those three wishes and chug it back.”
Sirius Black is a babbling, incoherent mess but Remus takes the bottle from his hand anyway and takes a swig, forcing his muscles to stay straight and not grimace at the taste because Sirius always makes fun of him when he makes a face. And he can’t help but think about those three wishes, because he is a fifteen year old boy who has some really shit luck and everyone imagines wishing themselves out of their shitty lives every once in a while.
The first two wishes are simple enough- I wouldn’t be a werewolf anymore, he thinks to himself. And my parents wouldn’t be poor. They wouldn’t be stupidly, filthy rich and snotty like Sirius’ family, but they would have enough so mum would never worry about trying to buy my books and dad wouldn’t have to work so much.
He gets stuck on the third wish. He doesn’t really know what he wants. He doesn’t want a new broom or a girlfriend or any of those things he’s supposed to want, being a fifteen year old boy and all. He pretty much has everything he needs- good friends and great books. Sometimes great friends and good books.
He looks down at the boy who has fallen asleep against his leg. Sirius Black is a lot of things but Remus has always thought he was stunningly beautiful. He has never said this out loud, of course, because he is a Boy and Boys Do Not Say Those Things and Sirius would probably just punch him if he told him, anyway, but Remus is an observer and Sirius Black is one of his favourite things to observe.
He weaves his fingers tightly into his hair and then he lifts his head up, gently, fingers gently probing the skin at his neck, places his head on his lap. Later Remus will claim that Sirius did this of his own accord, which is partly true, because after Remus lifts his head Sirius shifts and presses his nose into Remus’ thigh and sighs and his fingers dance across Remus’ legs and later, when he wakes up, he looks up at Remus and smiles and Remus knows that he isn’t cruel drunk anymore, he’s just happily hungover, and he says, I seem to cuddle with you a lot when I’m drunk, Moony, and Remus laughs as nonchalantly as he can manage and says everyone knows that long string of girls was just you trying to cover up being in love with me, Padfoot, and Sirius laughs and hoists himself up and says one time I’m going to get you absolutely piss drunk and then I’ll take complete advantage of you with a wink.
And Remus Lupin is forced to admit that his third wish would be Sirius Black, Sirius Black forever and ever and ever.
For the next year Remus observes. It’s what he’s best at, really, watching from afar, removed from the situation. He watches as Sirius continues being Sirius, watches as Peter slowly begins to shrivel into himself, watches as James turns into an actually decent guy and watches as Lily Evans gets closer and closer. The wolf inside of Remus is clawing at his insides, roaring, demanding that he go after his pack and bring them back, but the shy boy who is dominant the other 27 days of the month watches them go. There are always those moments that he cherishes- they are the Marauders, after all, “one for all four and four for all and one for one and everyone for everyone, or something.”
“Sirius, the actual quote is ‘all for one’-”
“Moony, I say this with as much love and adoration as I can possibly muster, but seriously, you great stupid twat of a werewolf, I don’t care.”
They are the Marauders and they are together, best friends, wreaking havoc on Severus Snape, making complicated maps and sneaking out every month at the full moon, where the wolf inside of Remus is free to roam and claim its pack back, running through the Forbidden Forest with Padfoot nipping at its heels.
He observes them all and sometimes he feels like they’re slipping away from each other, like that one time when Sirius sends Snape to the Whomping Willow and James doesn’t talk to him for a week, and Sirius calls James a bunch of dirty names and says he hadn’t meant to actually hurt him. During that time Sirius crawls into his bed with a look on his face that Remus has never seen, like a dog whose just been found chewing on your favourite pair of shoes, and he practically grovels for forgiveness and Remus doesn’t have the heart to tell him that he had forgiven him the moment he had found out, because he is Sirius Fucking Black and Remus doesn’t know how not to love him (and it hurt, yeah, a lot, when he found out. But he understands Sirius better than a lot of people and he knows that it had nothing to do with him and everything to do with Severus Snape. Sirius just doesn’t always think things through).
The thing about the Marauders, though, is they always do come back together. Even when Remus is terrified that Sirius and James will never talk again, they do, of course. One day James comes down the staircase and tells Sirius to stop leaving his wank sock in James’ bed, and Sirius tells him that that isn’t his, it’s James’, he just thinks it belongs to Sirius because James wanked off to the thought of Sirius naked, and James asks if Sirius can read minds and they’re friends again. And Remus rolls his eyes at Peter but inside he’s glowing because he’s pretty sure that if James Potter and Sirius Black ever stopped talking for good, the world would explode.
The day before the end of term Remus is lying in bed, dreading the thought of the next two full moons when Sirius Black surreptitiously opens the curtains of his bed and crawls in.
“May I ask what you’re doing?” Remus stares at the boy in open mouthed wonder, thinking that Sirius Black is truly an anomaly which he will never understand. Sirius casts a spell on Remus’ curtains so the other boys can’t hear them speak but he still speaks in a whisper anyway.
“I’ve been thinking, Moony, and no that is not an excuse for you to make a sarcastic comment about the dangers of me using my brain or for you to make that stupid little face where your eyebrows raise up and you purse your lips so that you look like fish, but I’ve been thinking and I think I know my second wish.”
The thing with Sirius Black is that he will often do this, pick up conversations that you had a week or a month or a goddamn year ago and act as though you’ve been discussing it at great lengths all afternoon. Luckily that Remus is an observer who remembers an inordinate amount of unnecessary details, and also lucky that even if he couldn’t remember silly details of silly conversations, he can remember almost everything that has to do with the boy in front of him. So he knows exactly what he’s talking about, that conversation they had almost a year ago at the top of the astronomy tower about the genie at the bottom of Sirius’ firewhiskey.
“Please tell me you didn’t wake me up solely to tell me that.”
“Come on, Moony, aren’t you interested? Not even a little bit?”
Remus is interested, of course he is. Sirius Black could recite the alphabet and Remus Lupin would probably be interested, which is of course ridiculously pathetic but those are the facts, and if there’s one thing Remus likes to rely on it is facts.
“The way I look at it, you’re going to tell me anyway, so why go through this useless dance? Just tell me.”
“You are so smart, Moony-Moony. Okay, I’ll tell you. My second wish- my first, if you need reminding, being that I was never born into the Noble and Most Anciently Fucked Up House of Black- is you.”
Remus fights the sudden urge to clean out his ear with his finger. “Er, sorry?”
“The way I look at it is that even though I love James with all my heart and soul and such and such, he is quite preoccupied with Lily Evans, which is actually okay with me because James Potter is really not my type, anyway, which is odd because previously I was under the belief that I would shag anything if it stood still long enough. Same goes with Peter, I mean, he’s a lovely boy, really he is, but the thought of him without clothes makes me gag. And that brings me to you, and besides the fact that I for some reason find bookish, kind of smart but also slightly stupid- seriously Moony, for a boy who reads so much you’d think you’d be slightly better at Potions- law abiding (except not really because luckily you have reckless friends who can ensure you have even a semblance of a life occasionally) type ridiculously sexy. And I can tell that you’re doing that thing where you try to connect all of my sentences so that they actually makes sense and please don’t waste your breath, because the point I’m trying to make is I find you irresistibly attractive, for some reason. Well, that came out wrong, not for some reason, for the reasons I just specified. But there’s the fact that I find you really really sexy and then there’s also the fact that I can talk to you. Real genuine conversations, not just about what to put in Snivellus’ breakfast or genie’s at the bottom of firewhiskey but real conversations as if I was actually an adult. And me being an adult is the scariest fucking thing I think I’ve ever thought about but if you’re going to be an adult with me it’s not that bad. So that’s my wish. For you to never stop being sexy and for us to grow old and be grumpy adults who sit in chairs and read which won’t be much different from you being a grumpy teenager who sits in chairs and reads, really.”
Remus tries to sort through the information overload that just flooded his brain and finds himself terribly confused. He settles on the simplest thing. “That’s two wishes.”
Sirius looks surprised that out of that entire confession, Remus would focus on this. “What?”
“That’s two wishes. For me to, er... never stop being, well, sexy, as you put it, and for us to be grumpy adults. In chairs. Reading."
Sirius blinks. “Oh. So you’re right. Alright, just the grumpy adult bit then, because truth be told- and this is really fucking scary, Moony- truth be told I think I might fancy you even if you do stop being sexy, which is terrifying because it appears everything I had previously known about myself is wrong.”
“This... this is a lot to process, Sirius.”
Sirius sits back. “Don’t worry, I’ll just wait for you to sort through it all and file it into the respective cabinets inside your head. You know, sorted into Sirius but cross posted to insane and unbelievable and-”
“Sorry. Shutting up.”
Remus stares at the boy in front of him and then rubs his face.
“Okay. So... you, uhm, fancy me?”
“But Sirius, you like... well you like girls.”
Sirius tugs at his earlobe. “Actually I think I just like everyone, pretty much.”
He grins, wide and slightly mad. “Especially you, Moony-pie.”
Remus feels somehow totally out of his comfort zone and yet oddly warm at the same time.
“Sirius... all due respect, I kind of think that this is one of your weird phases.”
“Moony, why do you have to be such a spoil sport all the time?”
“I’m just trying to be logical, Sirius, someone has to-”
Remus doesn’t get to explain why he has to be logical because Sirius suddenly lunges at him and yanks him by the back of his neck to his lips and Remus is assaulted with too many feelings and sensations that he is completely overwhelmed.
“You’re a rotten kisser, Remus Lupin,” Sirius says, very quietly, as he pulls away. Remus tries to pretend that he does what he does next solely to prove to Sirius that he is not a rotten kisser, but the truth is Remus has wanted to kiss Sirius for a year, at least. So he grabs him by his bony hips and pulls him tight and pushes him down and nips at his earlobes and neck and collarbone and Sirius arches his back and Remus, for once, lets the wolf take over.
Remus wakes up the next day and hears Sirius snoring in the bed beside him. He gets up and goes to the Prefect washroom and he scrubs himself down and then for good measure he sticks his head under the water and he screams. And then he resurfaces and spits soap out of his mouth. Stupid, stupid Remus. And then, because he is Remus Lupin and he has been packed for two days already, he stays in the bath for as long as his punctual, responsible brain will allow him. Then he goes back to the dormitory and watches as James pulls his hair out of his head, looking around frantically for whatever he’s missing; he watches as Peter throws all of his belongings in his trunk, having left his packing to the last minute; and he watches as Sirius reclines lazily in his bed resting on his side, surveying the room with a bored expression.
“You done packing?”
Sirius raises an eyebrow at Remus. “You’re not the only one who can be responsible.”
Remus looks at Sirius but he has to look away. He just sits there, resting on his arm, looking the same as he always does. As if nothing had ever happened. As if his lips hadn’t been pressed to Remus’s abdomen last night.
And Remus understands that Sirius can be distant and cold even when he isn’t drunk.
That summer Remus reaches what is possibly a new low in his life. Every owl that he hears makes his heart start to beat. Peter sends him letter begging Remus to save him from his psychotic mother and Remus sends him his condolences along with some snacks. James writes him and tells him that Sirius has run away from home and is living with him. Remus starts a hundred letters to Sirius and discards them all. He even starts a journal and then burns it, laughing at how fucking pathetic he is. Sirius was right- he is a girl.
That summer Remus gets his updates from James, the occasional mention of Sirius says hi or Sirius says if you do all your homework in the first week you’ll have nothing left to do for the rest of the summer but that’s all. And when the moon rages in the sky the wolf inside of Remus rages with it, clawing at itself, alone and angry and Remus wakes in the morning with long scratches covering his body and he can’t properly walk for a week after that.
It’s a pretty shitty summer, really.
When Remus sees Sirius and James on Platform 9 ¾ they both stop and stare in horror at him.
“Moony?” James voice is quiet. Sirius just stares, his eyes dark, his mouth open. Remus attempts a smile.
“I had a fight with a fence over the summer. Don’t look so upset- you should see the fence.”
James shakes his head. “Merlin, Moony. I’m so sorry.”
Remus cuts him off. “Don’t. Really.”
He stares at Sirius out of his periphery. Sirius keeps staring at him, an odd expression on his face. Then he reaches out a hand and lightly presses his fingers along one of the scars on Remus’ arm.
“Do they hurt?”
Remus wants to tell him that his touch burns him from the inside out but that that has nothing to do with his scars. He just shakes his head instead, gets lost in Sirius’s cloudy eyes and tries to remember how to breathe.
Just then Peter comes running up to them, “Can we get on the train quick please my mother is coming please quick please.”
By the time they’ve saved Peter from his crazy mother’s grasps (tuck in your shirt Peter, you have dirt on your chin, did you brush your hair? You look like you just rolled out of bed, do you have your books? Clothes? What about underwear?) the moment has passed and the four of them are laughing again, making jokes, but Sirius sits on the opposite side of the compartment from Remus and won’t make eye contact the entire trip.
Remus is- yes, he is, he’s angry. Remus has never felt this angry at Sirius before, not even when Sirius sent Snape into the tunnel after him. This is anger right in his heart, burning, lighting him on fire, and he doesn’t know how to handle it because he can’t bite and scratch himself like he normally does when he feels like this.
When they get off the train Sirius grabs him and holds him back as Peter and James go on up ahead.
Remus wants to punch him. Unfortunately Remus wouldn’t know how to throw a punch even if he read a book about it and so he settles for what he knows best- words.
“You know people say a lot of things about you. Really bad, awful, nasty things, and I never believed them. I tried to not even listen to them, because you’re my best friend and I’m not going to believe that you shagged two fourth year Ravenclaw’s at the same time unless you tell me that yourself.
“But sometimes rumours are true, aren’t they? Because you did shag those two girls. And sometimes you really are a twat. Sometimes you are cruel, and mean, and sometimes you do treat people like absolute shit, and use them to get off. And you have been an amazing fucking friend, Sirius, really you have, and you- and James and Peter- you’ve done more for me than anyone ever has. But sometimes you act like an arse-y cunt yourself.”
Remus hates those words, hates the way they sound, hates the bitter taste they leave in his throat, but the look on Sirius’ face, the widening of the eyes and the eyebrows pinching together and how he’s stunned into silence makes up for cursing.
And then he is reminded why he always thinks before acting, because now there’s only one carriage left to take them up to the school and he sighs and thinks that’s just his luck, really, and he and Sirius climb into the carriage and Sirius stares at him, wide eyed, and Remus looks at his hands the entire time. When they get to the castle James and Peter try to hold a conversation but when Sirius just stabs his potatoes with unnecessary force and Remus simply cuts his steak up into a hundred little pieces they break off and talk amongst themselves, leaving Remus and Sirius to stare moodily at their food.
That night Sirius corners him in his bed.
“You’re startlingly coherent.”
Remus glares at him but Sirius looks just like a puppy, he must be doing that on purpose, his head cocked and his eyes wide and Remus knows if he could, his ears would be perked forwards.
“I’m sorry, Sirius. About... about you running away.” And he is. He’s still angry but Sirius is still his best friend and he’s still possibly in love with him and Remus can be sympathetic yet still angry.
Sirius kneels in front of him, and the pressure he puts on Remus’ knees forces him to spread his legs so Sirius can perch between them. Like a puppy when he sleeps with you, Remus thinks, a little bitterly.
Sirius finally speaks again.
“When Andromeda told everyone she was in love with Ted Tonks, my uncle threatened to have him killed, d’you know that? Narcissa- well, she’s not all bad. Not like Bellatrix. Narcissa managed to convince them that cutting her off would be enough. That it would be worse for her to live in squander, cut off from her family, and dirt poor than to kill the man she loved. And they believed her, can you believe that? They actually believed that being poor and cut off from the Black family would be worse than having the person you love taken away. Because my family doesn’t know anything about love.”
Remus has no idea where this is heading but he sits up and nods at Sirius to continue.
“The thing is, Moony- if anyone found out- that, well, about us- if there ever was an us, I mean, I don’t expect there to be because of how I’ve treated you, but if word ever got out- well I reckon you probably would be killed. And nobody, not even Narcissa, would try to stop it.”
Remus swallows. Sirius’ eyes flicker to his throat and then back up to his eyes.
“Are you trying to tell me that you came into my bed, kissed me everywhere, and then got cold feet? You started this whole thing, Sirius.”
He looks down sheepishly. “I know. But I got scared.”
“I thought Sirius Black wasn’t afraid of anything.”
Sirius cautiously grabs a hold of Remus’ hand. When Remus doesn’t pull away, he threads their fingers together. “Some things. I just try to hide it. Like I’m fucking terrified of centipedes. Too many legs. And becoming like my father. That’s really scary. And enclosed spaces. When I was little my mother would lock me in the broom closet when I was annoying her and now I hate being in small spaces.”
Remus squeezes his fingers. The anger is ebbing away and now he’s left with a seemingly insatiable desire to touch Sirius, more than just connected fingers, but everywhere.
“And- well I’m afraid of losing you guys. I’m afraid of James leaving me behind. I’m afraid that someone will take advantage of Wormtail, hurt him somehow. And I’m fucking terrified of anything happening to you.”
He takes a breath and continues, words sticking together as he begins to speak faster and faster. “I’m an idiot, we all know that. You’ve been calling me an idiot since the day we met. Prongs tries to call me one at least three times a day. But I meant it, when I said that you were my second wish. My third wish, too. And any wish after that.”
Remus stares at him and then at their entwined hands and then he says, very quietly, “You’re a prat.”
Sirius nods in acquiescence.
“And you owe me. Big time.”
Sirius nods again, hope gleaming slightly in his eyes. And then Remus smiles and Sirius smiles and everything is okay. For the first time in forever, it seems, everything is okay. Because Sirius is leaning forward and his lips are there again, pressed to Remus’, and he has crawled into Remus’ lap and his hands are in his hair and Remus is clutching him and kissing him and Sirius bites him and they clink their teeth together and Sirius accidentally scrapes across one of Remus’ fresh scars and Remus hisses. It’s far from perfect but it is perfect anyway, perfect because it isn’t perfect, and fucking hell he isn’t making any sense but he can’t bring himself to care.
“Oi, you bloody stupid shirt lifters, next time you decide to have a nice snog in the middle of the night, think of Peter and me and maybe cast some spells to spare us the horror of Sirius Black acting like a fucking girl.”
Sirius takes Remus’ pillow and chucks it in the direction of James’ bed. Remus stares. “Now what am I going to sleep on?”
Sirius’ eyes are bright. His lips are soft, his voice a whisper against Remus’ lips. “Me.”