"Sirius," moaned Remus as he climbed over a particularly moss ridden rock. "Do you realise we're already late?"
Sirius smiled. "Of course I do."
"They'll probably be holding up everyone else, thinking we've fallen off a cliff or something," Remus mumbled, half hoping it to be true.
Sirius held one hand to his heart, and placed the back of the other on his forehead. "Mmm, oh yes, a double suicide. How romantic!" He chuckled to himself, and let his hands fall back down to his side.
Remus paused a second. "I do hope you're kidding," he said. "Because if you're not....if that's what...no way, Sirius Black."
Sirius grabbed Remus' hand, and clutched it tightly. "Look, I'm not going to let you go. And you're not going over any cliffs."
They'd been walking for nearly forty five minutes already, over moorland and rocks, and already their legs were aching. Remus was confused, tired and, to be honest, absolutely petrified. No one had ever planned a surprise for him, and seeing as this was Sirius Black planning it for him, he had every right for his legs to tremble as he looked into those troublesome but ever loving grey eyes. Of course, he did find them beautiful and just a little bit sexy, but he somehow felt that those feelings had nothing to do with it today. At least not much.
"Sirius. I'm really glad you want to surprise me and all," he lied. "But can't you just tell me what it is I'm going to find?"
Sirius flung his head into the air, and tripped over a rock, landing on his knees. Remus thought it served him right for not looking where he was going. "Of course not," he laughed, standing up and dusting off his trouser legs. "Then it wouldn't be a surprise really, would it?"
A second of silence followed as Remus thought about what Sirius had just said. "No," he admitted. "No, I guess you're right."
The pair walked on in silence for another few minutes, still holding one another's hands as they clambered over boulders and slipped on wet grass.
"But," Remus faultered. "Surprises, well, scare me. If I don't know what they are, at least."
Sirius stopped in his tracks, and pulled on Remus' arm, forcing him to stop too. He sat himself on one of the huge rocks he'd just had to climb over, and pulled his lover close to him. "Well then, it's a good thing I'm here to console you, isn't it?" he teased, leaving a soft ghost of a kiss on Remus' lips.
He dropped hands with Remus, and began running towards his surprise he'd spent weeks planning out, from the moment he'd heard there was a Hogsmeade weekend coming up. Once he found himself in the ravine, he stopped, and could hear the pair of footsteps run after him now his own weren't pounding in his ears. Shortly after, he heard heavy breathing, and Remus' voice call after him.
"Sirius?" it called. "Where are you? Sirius?"
Sirius smiled, and pulled out his wand. He could see Remus through a crack in the rock he was hidden behind, and pulled him around the corner by the hand. Remus, naturally, let out a yell.
"Sirius! I told you I don't like surprises." Remus opened his eyes and let his hand fall down from his face, where, of course, it had been protecting him from whatever he thought might have grabbed him. He noticed he was stood in the centre of a circle of rocks from which a waterfall flowed, with huge cliffs towering above him. Thinking they looked dangerous, he started to babble incesantly to Sirius.
"Shush, shush," Sirius whispered into Remus' ear. "Look over there."
He was pointing to a group of tiny lights floating from behind the waterfall. Each as small as a baby's fist, they seemed to have a life of their own. Of course, Remus entirely believed they did have a life of their own, for he recognised them for what they were. Night Imps.
"How did you....?" he asked, glaring up at Sirius, who stood at least a foot taller than him seeing as they were stood on unlevel ground.
"Lily helped me," he stated plainly, looking down at Remus. He noticed that his eyes were alive, that their ambers tones were on fire. It was at times like this when he felt such an uncontrollable surge of love for Remus.
"Oh did she now?" whispered Remus. "And since when were you and Lily such good pals?"
"Since I told her that, if she didn't help me, I'd tell James she was only going out with him to shut him up." Sirius flashed Remus a devillish grin.
"Oh Sirius," he whispered. "It's beautiful."
"It's not...keep watching."
The two stood in silence, holding on to one another's hands still, gripping tightly, caressing their palms with sweaty fingers.
Remus breathed in as the letters started to come together in some kind of formation. Slowly but surely, they formed the words 'I Love You'. It was poorly put together, and one of the imps kept pushing the others out of place, but it was still there. 'I Love You' up in lights.
"Sirius?" he whispered again, squeezing his hand harder.
"Yes," Sirius answered, whispering himself. He was clearly in awe of his, or Lily's, work.
"You're going to convert me."
"What to?" asked Sirius, confused.
"Someone who likes surprises."
And with that, the pair burst out laughing, and kissed gently before watching the Imps seperate, and fly their seperate ways.
Tom loved seeing his sister's face. Even during arguments as children in which the pair would declare that they hated one another and would never speak to the other ever, ever again, he loved to see her pale face filled with rage. To him her face spoke of comfort and childhood. Even now she had grown up, become old and wrinkled, she reminded him of lazy days before adolescence, before madness and war. Days that were good, days when their parents would shower them with love and security, everything a child needed. And after that - after adolescence, they provided the support they needed. They helped one another. He loved seeing his sister's face.
"You know what you remind me of?" he asked her, his voice soft and quiet. He could never be harsh with Gladys. She knew far too much about him for that. "You remind me of oranges and sweeping lawns. Strange, isn't it, that the things you escape from in youth come back to haunt you."
He smiled a sad smile, and sighed, turning his face away slightly, so she could not see his expression. But of course she could not see anything. Her eyes were closed gently, as though she had passed into a sweet slumber from which she should wake in half an hour, as vivacious and alive as she had been at eight years old. But she was never to wake again, and he knew that, as he held her frail hand in his own. He felt her thin skin rub against his own, the protruding veins pressing into his palms.
Things had changed for them when the war began. He had been twelve, and she was fifteen. Oh, they all knew that victory would come soon, and it would be sweet, but inside, Tom was terrified. At night, he climbed out of his bed and into his sister's, where she would hold him tight and tell him everything would be alright. They both knew that it wouldn't, and when they read the newspapers, and heard stories of the misfortunes on either side, they were scared for their father, away fighting the Germans.
Then they were adults. He had been so scared of losing her. Not the same way as their father, lost forever for the the sake of King and Country, but in a new way, a way that had never occured to him as a child. At the age of fifteen, he became terrified that he would lose her forever to her new love, her husband, the new man she spent all her time with. He had become even more jealous at the age of sixteen when the first child came along. But several years later, Tom himself married, and the pair drifted apart. They kept in touch vaguely, speaking to one another in Christmas cards and occasional letters, but they rarely met, and when they did, it was always in the company of other people. Weddings, christenings, funerals. Church occasions, when the pair couldn't see one another to speak to, just a nod and a smile. Life went on as life invariably does go on.
But then they were elderly, and they came together once more. They had been through so much that they couldn't keep apart. They had buried their parents, their uncles, Gladys' husband and youngest daughter. They had seen their children and their cousins and just about every other relation marry. They had been through war together, through death and destruction, but most importantly, they had happy memories. Days with lemonade and crickets and hot summer sun. Days with books and pianos and father teaching them how to perfect the French accent. Days with school and conkers and new shoes. There were too many memories for them to be apart any longer. They had been through too much.
But Gladys had been through it all. Her life was at an end, and she had known it for a long time. She could never tell Tom. His eager face was too happy. They planned trips together. They were going to visit Tom's granddaughter and her husband in Italy, where they lived. They were going to see the world, see the places they had read about as children. Australia, India, Egypt, Brazil. All these beautiful and grand countries in encyclopedias and atlases. They were going to see them together, just the two of them, the same children who had sat together and planned this very adventure almost seventy years previously.
But she was ill. She didn't tell anyone she loved, but she was very ill. This machine, it was keeping her alive. Braindead, the doctor had said. That beautiful mind of hers was gone forever. The wild ideas, the look in her soft brown eyes. Gone. For good. He rested her hand on his own, and kissed it gently, before standing up and kissing her forehead.
"Goodbye, Gladys," he said, with a two tears running down either side of his face, like small children racing one another on a hot summer's day.
Soft, sweet, tender?
The heart is an organ of fire. Consuming, battling. Killing, destroying, we try put it out before it takes us all, controling our lives for good. But we let it in, warming our bodies until the tips of our toes feel the heat. What is it good for?
I know. I know the answer to this, the question that is passed from generation to generation. My parents had it passed down from their parents, and they from their own. I had it passed from my parents. They never speak of it, oh no. Never ever speak. But I know the question. It was only a matter of time before I knew the answer.
Remus put down his pen, and beckoned his answer to come towards him. That answer to his problems, his questions, the one who made every last feeling good. The one whose hair he loved to bury his head in, who chest he longed to hover his hand over, making light of the gentle hairs that took its surface.
"What are you writing?" whispers he, he who places a light hand on Remus' stomach, he who begins to kiss Remus' neck so gently that it could be a feather tickling his most vulnerable spot on his anatomy.
"Oh, nothing much," Remus replies, arching his back and craning his neck at the touch of the lips dancing across his skin in their silk slippers.
"Soft, sweet, tender?" reads the lover, in between his luxurious kisses. Remus can now feel the sticky wet of the tongue launching further down his neck to his collarbone, and wants to turn to face the owner so he can thank him, but he can't bring himself to do it. He can't tear these lips from his skin for even a second, or he'd miss them too much.
"Soft....."replied Remus, his eyes closing and his head leaing back. "Sweet......tender." He gave up allowing himself this pleasure, and turned to Sirius Black, letting his long hair fall down onto his own chest. He cradled his body for a second, before reaching in to kiss him boldly on the lips.
And then soft, sweet and tender were lost forever, just notions in the book that Remus kept beneath his pillow and allowed no one, not even Sirius Black, to read.
I really don't understand Remus J Lupin.
Three weeks ago, when asked who his favourite singer was, he answered "Frank Sinatra, without a doubt."
When Sirius announced that no Muggle could create music any good, Remus simply said 'Sinatra isn't a Muggle. Magic that powerful doesn't come from a Muggle."
Now he's wearing electric blue nail varnish and announcing that Glam Rock is the best thing in the world. He's taking more and more of an interest in Quidditch and he's getting slacker with his homework. He's not the Remus I know anymore.
When I come home from Quidditch practice, he's not doing his homework like he normally is, and he's not tucked up in bed safely a few hours later. He's sat playing a game or talking or just generally messing around with Sirius for hours after everyone else goes to bed.
Sirius and Remus. Remus and Sirius. I didn't see it before. Why didn't I see it? Now I think of it.....how long has this been going on? I can't believe Sirius never told me anything! Remus can be quiet and shy about things, fair enough, but Sirius? He's such a boaster and an extrovert. I'd have thought he'd have told me! Then again, he may have thought I'd have freaked out over Remus being a guy, and our best friend and all that.
But.....Jesus, I wonder what they get up to. That's such a weird thought. Naah, I don't want to think about it. Should I tell Peter? I don't know. I want to respect their privacy. Maybe I should speak to Sirius. Yes. That's the best bet.
"I know about you and Remus."
"There isn't a me and Remus. I wish. I'm crazy about him."
"I know, but why has he stayed up every night in ages with you? Why has he started wearing make up? Why is he suddenly an expert at Wizard's Chess?"
"I don't know."
He's blushing. It's so obvious he's lying. Well, each to their own.
It was a loss. A loss of truth, a loss of sanity. A loss of that look in your eyes that told me a million secrets without me having to ask. A loss of that sidewards grin that told me you were horny, or a loss of that quirky little laugh that told me you just weren't up for it. A loss of warmth from those eyes, and a loss of comfort from those arms. Your body wasn't mine any longer, your mind wasn't your own. You were given up, a sacrifice to something I didn't even know existed.
Your eyes, once alive with turbulent grey clouds, were now stoney and as distant as the mountains. You no longer looked like you. Yes, that heavenly mouth of yours was soft as ever, your mouth parted as you waited for a kiss from your prince. The kiss to save you, bring you back. But you were far gone; the soul of you, the fire in your heart no longer burning.
I don't know why I'm telling you all this. Telling you these words you'll never hear, telling you things that have no purpose, no meaning. I don't know why I'm telling you anything at all. But something inside of me is gone, and I am beyond reason. I am beyond purpose. I am beyond you, beyond the heavens and the earth, the sky, the ground, the waters. Maybe I don't need me anymore. But I need you, and I'm dying without you.