Title: Second Time Around

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter (set both in the Marauders' seventh year and roughly a year and five months after Harry's 7th year at Hogwarts ends)

Rating: PG

Pairing: Sirius/Remus, Remus/other(I don't want to spoil it)

Spoilers: Through OOtP, also uses minor elements from two of my fics which are currently unfinished ('The Vampire' and 'Ya Thahabi') so if you want to read either/both of those unspoiled, don't read this fic first!

Disclaimer: If I did own them, I wouldn't be writing fanfic and I'd be getting money. But as is, I don't and I'm not.

Summary: Remus is a kindhearted lad, and that doesn't change over the years even when lovers do

Notes: Notes can be found at the end of the story, as they contain spoilers for this fic. And just as another note, I'm crossing my fingers that I've not done the math wrong.

Feedback: I'd love some



Second Time Around


     The kid seemed to want to get closer to the fire, but he didn't dare considering who occupied the seats in front of it now. As he worked diligently at his homework, he continually cast glances over towards the fireplace. He sniffled and pulled his legs up onto the chair with him, wrapping his arms around them as he bent them towards his chest, and buried his warm face against them. The fire's light danced against his back, making his bright red hair look like flames and casting his freckled face into dim shadow.


     "So what's the plan for tomorrow night?" Peter asked, leaning forward in his seat. While there, he reached out and took a handful of every flavor beans from the box in Sirius' lap. Sirius barely batted an eyelash at it.


     "Well, we haven't had a good run around Hogsmede in a while," James suggested. "Hit all the routine stops, fill up our candy stashes at Honeyduke's."


     "Ah, that's boring. We can do that any time," Sirius said, waving it off. "We need to come up with a really great adventure for tomorrow. It's the last full moon before it starts getting really cold out. We need to take advantage of that, not get stuck raiding Honeydukes all night, not that that isn't fun. You have any ideas, Remus?" Sirius tossed two identically colored jelly beans into the air and caught them in his mouth. He pulled a face. "Note to all, Cinnamon and Hot Tamale don't go together well." He reached over and helped himself to a drink from James' goblet of pumpkin juice.


     "It has been getting colder out lately, hasn't it?" Remus said, absentmindedly, setting down the book he'd been reading. As keen as he was for another month's adventure, he wasn't really into it tonight. It had been a long, hard day of work to get ahead before having to take a few days off from classes because of being a wolf, and all he was really thinking about was crawling into bed beside Sirius and sleeping until the dawn. Until the others had joined him, Remus had been absorbed in a book. It wasn't a textbook or a mystery or even a daring adventure story. No, this one was a drama novel. It was as close to a romance as he dared to get. Any closer and he risked the others teasing him about it. Sirius could be ruthless when it came to Remus' choice in leisure reading, though he never participated in any himself. At least any that didn't have to do with possible pranks and schemes. But to Remus there was nothing better than once in a while taking a break to curl up in a squashy armchair beside the fire and read about secret love affairs and deep, heart-felt true love. "No idea about what we could do," he said, shrugging.


     "Yeah, okay, you're no help," Sirius said, rolling his eyes. But he put an arm around Remus and began absentmindedly playing with a lock of Remus' brown hair. Remus tilted his head closer so Sirius could play more easily. "How about we do something to the lake? You know, not to hurt anything in it of course as I'd rather not be on the wrong side of one of those merpersons, but because the Slytherin dormitories are beneath the lake. I dunno, blast sounds into it or... turn it a color and have that seep in through their ceilings..."


     James shrugged. "Do we have time to come up with something like that? I don't know much about the best spells to use underwater. I can't think of anything powerful enough to get through all the layers of earth between the lake and the Slytherins, either."


     "How about just exploring the castle, more?" Peter suggested.


     "Ohh, or the Forbidden Forest?" James added.


     Sirius nodded, now working his fingers over the back of Remus' hand, admiring the knuckles and gentle bumps, learning them like those on his own hand. "Yeah, I guess we could. We've got a long night ahead of us, maybe we could manage both. We haven't updated the map for a while, and the Southern part of the castle seems to have a small number of secret passages compared to other parts of the castle."


     "Wonder why that is?" James took a few every flavor beans from Sirius as well, examining each before popping it into his mouth, being a little less reckless than Sirius and less cautious than Peter who took tiny bites off the end of each to taste the flavor before eating a whole small bean.  


     "ehkshhhh!" The sneeze was small but, as the kid buried his head in his knees, sniffling, he was sure it had been heard throughout the rest of the Gryffindor common room. His face, from cheeks to ears, flushed in embarrassment and it was plan that he should have been anywhere but there if he was so worried about disturbing others.


     "Cheeky little snot-rags," Sirius said, rolling his eyes. Annoyed at his wording, Remus pulled his hand back away from Sirius' grasp.


     "The first years are so tiny this year, did you notice?" James asked, leaning forward to stare over at the young boy whose head was still bowed, then around the room at the other younger students. "We weren't this tiny our first year, were we?"


     "Well, Peter certainly wasn't," Sirius joked, pulling his box of every flavor beans from Peter's extended hand and poking Peter in the stomach.


     "You all should be a little nicer," Remus whispered suddenly, taking his gaze from the fire. "James, you're Head Boy now. You should know better. And as for you," he looked over at Sirius. "It's not as though you've never caught cold," he reminded the young man, reaching up and pressing his finger to the tip of Sirius' nose. "These kids are going to be carrying on the Gryffindor name and spirit when we're gone. There's no need to alienate ourselves just because we're a little older."


     Then, before he could let his friends get a word in edgewise, which he could hear that they were about to do from their drawn breaths, Remus stood up and crossed the room. He pressed his hand to the boy's back as he bent over a little to he could look the kid in the face. "Hey, you feeling okay?"


     The boy lifted his head and shook it. His hair was red and straight, and his face still flushed with embarrassment, especially now. But something made him answer honestly rather than try to be strong and tough. Remus pressed his hand to the younger boy's forehead, looking thoughtful for a moment.


     "Have you been to see Madam Pomfrey?" he asked. The boy's brow furrowed in confusion. "The school nurse," Remus clarified. "Have you gone down to the hospital wing yet?"


     Understanding, the boy shook his head. Then he ducked it back down, cupping his hand over nose and mouth. "ehhkShhhhh! Tshhhh!"


     Remus dug a handkerchief out of his pocket, grimaced at the look of it, then fumbled around for another in his other pocket. The second one he pulled out was crisp and clean and still neatly folded in a square. He paused a moment, used to rubbing his own and Sirius' noses clean, but instead handed it over to the young Gryffindor for him to do it himself. "Well, you're running a bit of a temperature. Might be best if you go down to get checked out. She's got some potions that will make you feel a whole lot better in no time."


     As the boy rubbed his nose, he tried to hide a bit of fear and reluctance. Both of which were clear on his face when he made to hand the handkerchief back to Remus.


     "You can keep it for now. Looks like you might need it," Remus replied. He glanced back a moment, seeing the others snickering at him, but even so, he and Sirius exchanged a look which conveyed Remus' intentions. "I'm a prefect," Remus stated. "I'll look after you and take you down there. All right?"


     The boy looked perhaps more terrified and reluctant, but with a sniffle and a swallow, he nodded and hopped down from the chair. Remus put a hand on his shoulder and led him out of the portrait hole. Even given that Remus had just gone through a growth spurt, he wasn't that much taller than the boy. There was a foot of difference, maybe a foot and a few inches at the very most. Remus could feel him keeping close as they walked through the dark hallways. "This place used to look a little spooky to me at night," Remus admitted, pulling out his wand. Then he put his finger to his lips. "Don't tell Filch." Even first years knew who Mr.Filch, the Hogwarts caretaker was, and the boy nodded. They weren't supposed to use magic in the corridors. But by all accounts, they weren't supposed to be out in the corridors after hours either. "Lumos!" Remus stated, and light burst from the end of his wand, lighting the path before them.


     Remus kept a close watch on the boy, as he walked between Remus and the wall. Several times he raised the handkerchief to his nose, his face going slack, preparing to sneeze. At such occasions, Remus slowed their pace and sometimes stopped altogether. But as much as it seemed he needed to sneeze, it just wasn't happening. "Annoying that, isn't it?" Remus asked casually, and the younger boy nodded.


     He found a bare stretch of wall, which was a rare commodity at Hogwarts, for everything felt full of statues and tapestries on top of the many portraits. He lay back against the wall panting a bit. Remus thought he might require a little help, and knew of a spell that would speed the sneezes along. But finally, the tickle seemed to strike and not let go. "ihhh... hehhhh... hektchhhh! ehhhSHhhhhh! Hikshhhhh!" He sniffled into the handkerchief and rubbed his nose clean. "Excuse me," he said meekly.


     "Ah, it's nothing," Remus said, reaching over and patting his back. "But you look like you feel pretty miserable, huh?"


     He nodded. "I do," he said softly. "I mean, I did. I feel a little better now." He sighed deeply. "It's just that, when I get sick at home, my mother always takes care of me. Puts me to bed, sits up with me, brings me tea and new handkerchiefs and all that."


     "It's hard being ill your first time away from home," Remus agreed. "I remember my first time. I was terrified. Not having the same comforts of home. Not having anyone to look after me the same way. But you've got friends, yeah?"


     "Yeah," the boy nodded. "But I didn't want them to worry. And I didn't want them catching cold from me. And... it's not really the same."


     Remus smiled. Well, that was true. James, Peter and Sirius were more than just friends, and more than just family. What they had together was so much stronger, filled with love and caring. He couldn't now imagine being sick without one of them there to look after him. "Give it time and it might be better," he replied, giving the boy's shoulder a squeeze.


     He smiled back, then lifted the handkerchief again as his mouth hung open and his eyes shut. Remus, his hand still on his shoulder, helped steady him. "hehh-ehShuhhhh! ehkkkShhhhh!" He sniffled again, looking even more miserable than just moments before. "Excuse me."


     "Just a little cold in your head. Madam Pomfrey will fix you up in no time," Remus assured him. "She's been like a second mother to me. Don't worry. You'll feel better really soon." He was temporarily out of comforting things to say, but it didn't much matter as they'd arrived at the hospital wing. Remus opened the door and led the way in.


     "Why, Mister Lupin! It's a little early for you to- ohhh, hello there," she said, wiping her hands on her apron and just noticing the boy half-hiding behind Remus. Then, before Remus could explain, "Head cold?" she surmised, just by looking him over. Both the boy and Remus nodded. "Well, let me warm up some Pepper-up potion and find you a nice place to lie down for a few hours. You like licorice lollypops?" she asked, pulling one out from a jar on the counter.


     Remus recognized it as one of her medicinal lollypops that coated your throat like a cough drop but with a cooling agent so it dulled the pain as well. Remus smiled again. The kid was in good hands. "I'm going to take off now," he said, once he'd walked the young boy to a bed and pulled a blanket up around his shoulders. "Be sure to tell her where it hurts and that you have a fever, all right?"


     He nodded yet again, and when he opened his mouth to speak, Remus saw his tongue was already turning black from the lollypop. "Thanks, ah..."


     "Remus Lupin," Remus supplied for him. "And keep the handkerchief until you start feeling better. I don't mind. I've got a dozen." He went to ruffle the boy's bright red hair, then thought better of it and bent, kissing his forehead gently instead. "You'll feel better soon, my handsome young lad." He turned and left with a brief glance back. Madam Pomfrey was forcing a steaming mug into his hands as she settled on the bed beside him, rubbing his back. The kid was in very good hands indeed.



*                      *                      *                      *                      *



     The flat was small, but hardly sparse. Furniture took up all the floor space, from coffee tables to numerous side tables, to chairs and couches and free-standing lamps. Everything was rather industrial looking, but misleadingly comfortable. Posters of rock bands and adventurous moments wallpapered the walls and even some of the ceiling so the place was dark and cave-like but in a comfy sort of way. The living room was thus a mix of groups with bright died hair playing their instruments silently, and people jumping out of planes in formations or performing spectacular Quidditch moves. Above the bed was a large scene of cliff divers doing their thing over an incredibly large and beautiful waterfall.


     It was this that Remus steered for now, a cup of tea in his hands. He set it down on the bedside table, beside a stack eight books high, and settled down onto the bed. He wrapped an arm around the man's shoulders and leaned close, pulling the thermometer from his mouth. "You're running a temperature," he confirmed, not that there was any question of it. "How're you getting along with the book, Bill?" he asked, taking the tea from the nightstand and handing it over in exchange for the book, which he kept open to the page.


     "Mmmmm..." he said, sipping the tea carefully. "The book's lovely," he replied. "I'm just to the part where Morgan makes herself invisible so she can spy on Rupert and Justine."


     Remus smiled, scanning the page and seeing it for himself. The familiar lines jumped out at him in comforting waves. "Just wait," he said, handing it back. "It gets better."


     Bill grinned and used his elbow to push a page back into place. "Thanks for bringing it over, Remus. I'd reread most of my favorites, and I was starting to get a bit bored cooped up here alone."


     Remus grinned back, "And so you called me to have me bring over a book, and now you're stuck with me hanging around all day take care of you, huh?"


     Bill looked away, a bit of a flush in his ears. His long red hair was not pulled up by a ponytail this day, but loose and down against his shoulders and back. His fang earring was not in either, but the hole in his ear sported a small diamond stud to keep it from closing. "Yeah, well, can't say I mind the company, if I have to be stuck with it."


     "Ohhhh," Remus tightened his arm around Bill's shoulders with a hug. "Rascal! With all these stories of romance and love I had hoped for something a little better than that out of you."


     "I just read 'em. I don't... write them." His face fell and he grabbed for a tissue while Remus took the tea back from him. "hehhEkshhhh! ehhhKkshhhh!" He blew his nose and sniffled into the tissue. "Excuse me," he said with a sigh, and motioned towards his nose. "Besides, I've been doing that all day. Hardly romantic."


     Remus grinned and the arm around Bill reached down, tugging the covers up a bit more to his waist. Then he nuzzled Bill's neck gently. "Oh, I don't know about that. I'd say having an excuse to spend the day in bed with you is pretty romantic. It's as close as I've come in... well... a couple of years." Three years, five months, eight days and ten-odd hours, actually. But he didn't want to make it any more uncomfortable by admitting that he knew that by heart.


     "Years, huh?" Bill said, putting on a sly sort of smile and reaching up to caress Remus cheek, on the way to a kiss. "Well, I'll just have to work on getting more romance into your life- hehh-" Quickly he pulled his hand back and turned away. "hehKshhh! ehhhKushhh! hehhShhhhh!" Another tissue was pulled out of the box, and he gave a rather skilled one-handed blow he'd learned to do so he could hold his book open to the right page with the other hand. He sniffled and smiled weakly. "I guess that will have to wait until I get over this cold, huh?"


     Remus chuckled and nodded. "I guess so." He placed a soft kiss on Bill's cheek. "Don't worry. It's just a little cold in your head. You'll feel better really soon."


     Bill ran a hand through his hair with a laugh. "I've heard that from you before."


     "Just great," Remus checked his watch. "I've only been here seven hours and already I'm repeating myself? I know I've been rather tired lately but--"


     "No, no," Bill laughed. He gave his nose another rub with the tissue and dropped it over the side of the bed into the trash can. Then he took the tea back from Remus. "Not today... you said that to me a long time ago when I had a cold." Remus looked quizzically over at Bill. "I see you don't remember. I shouldn't wonder. I wasn't this dashingly good-looking back then." Remus laughed and nuzzled him gently. "No, really," he said. "I was just a little first year. But you took pity on me and helped me down to the hospital wing when I was too scared to go alone and didn't know the way."


     Remus' shook for a second in realization, instinctively pulling away from Bill. "Wait! That little kid? That was you?" Bill nodded, his ears going pink. "Well then..." Remus laughed. "Well, that is something now isn't it? What was that? Twenty-two years ago or thereabouts?"


     "Sounds about right," Bill said, doing the math in his head, sipping more tea. "You still want to stay here in bed with me after remembering how pathetic I was back then?"


     Remus gave a soft sigh. He craned his neck and reached up, turning Bill's head with a touch to his chin. He kissed Bill on the forehead gently. "I always did think you were a handsome young lad." His hand followed his lips' lead and his fingertips brushed against Bill's warm forehead. "Even sick." His fingers slid down the side of Bill's face, and touched Bill's lips.


     Bill pulled back with a sheepish smile. "And I always thought the world of you for helping me out like that."


     "Why, Bill Weasley," he chuckled, his hand slipping down to stroke his arm. "Have you had a crush on me for twenty-some years?" Bill, who was normally cool and calm, turned and buried his face in Remus' shoulder, embarrassed. "Don't answer that," whispered Remus. "It doesn't matter now anyway." He ran his hand through Bill's hair, petting gently. They had both had other loves, and other lives without each other. They knew what loss was like, and they had lived through both wars. They understood that what mattered now were the moments they shared with each other.


     "ehhhHishhhh! hehh... ehhKutchhh!" Remus' hands, his arms around both sides of Bill, held onto Bill's hands to steady the teacup so it wouldn't spill. Bill snuffled, unable to reach the tissues, and snuggled closer against Remus' chest. "Excuse me."


     "Hush, hush," said Remus casually, hugging him with the sides of his arms. "No need to be so polite around me. Just... snuggle close to me and..." He pulled his hands back, directing Bill to sip the tea. "Drink your tea and..." He pulled the tissue box closer and put a few tissues in Bill's hand. "Blow your nose and..." He picked up the book. "And listen to me read a while. You stopped just as it was getting good, you know."


     Bill sniffled and rubbed at his nose. "I'm all ears. Bring on the... heh... the romance-heh-hehChhhh! hetShhhh!" He leaned against Remus' chest, head on his shoulder, secure with one of Remus' arms wrapped around him warmly. But his nose did not immediately cease tickling. Every few moments the tickle would build up again. "heh... ehhh..." and he wasn't always so lucky to have the sneezes strike when he wanted them to. "HEH-" Bill threw his head back, flipping his hair out of the way, and pressed the tissue to his nose. But, again, it backed away. "Min fadlokoum1," he breathed urging it to strike in desperation. "heh-ehhhh..." But no sneezes came.


     "It's all right," Remus soothed, stroking his head, smoothing the soft red hair. "I know it's frustrating, but it's just a sneeze. It will come when it's ready." His hand reached up and massaged Bill's shoulder. Bill sighed and closed his eyes, his neck going slack, his head circling upon it. He gave a pleased moan. "Relaxing now?" Bill's head bobbed up and down loosely in some semblance of a nod. "Good, that's the idea," Remus said, kissing his temple gently.


     With his other hand, he slowly reached for the tissues, unnoticed by Bill. He pulled a few out, then held them close. Bill's nostrils twitched a bit, but he didn't seem to notice or mind. He sighed again and raised the shoulder Remus was now massaging, and tilted his head to the side to allow the massaging hand more room. His nostrils twitched again, and his brow furrowed. Remus raised the tissues to Bill's nose. And he snapped forward with several strong sneezes, sneezing straight into the tissues. "hehhKtchhhh! ehhhHekshhh! ehhhShuhhhh! ehhhShhhhh!" He took a deep breath and coughed.


     "Blow your nose," Remus instructed, holding the tissues to his nose more strongly to give him something stable to blow into.


     Bill took a deep breath and blew. Exhausted, he sighed and fell against Remus, nuzzling weakly in gratitude. "Finally. Does this mean the backrub is over now that I've sneezed?"


     "Course not." Remus set down the book for a moment and rubbed from Bill's shoulders to his lower back. Bill went loose completely, lying against Remus' chest until he was nearly asleep. Remus looked down, smiling. It felt nice to have someone in his arms again. It felt nice to be needed again. Bill coughed and turned a bit, signaling that it was all right for Remus to finish. Remus picked the book back up. "Okay, so... Morgan is hiding in the shadows, and Rupert has Justine on his lap and he's talking with her about going away together. And Morgan--"


     "Did you ever get your handkerchief back?" inquired Bill suddenly, before Remus could really even get started.


     Looking puzzled, "I'm sorry?"


     "You let me borrow your handkerchief, remember? I was feeling a lot better the next day. Madam Pomfrey's Pepper-up potion worked like a charm. And I went to give your handkerchief back to you and thank you, but I couldn't find you anywhere." Remus set the book down, upside-down to keep its place, and tried his best to think back. "But I found your friends, Potter and Black and Pettigrew. And I asked them where you were. At first they seemed confused, but then I explained about the night before and they remembered as well."


     Remus swallowed hard. "Sirius didn't give you a hard time about it, did he?"


     Bill shook his head. "Nah. He seemed pretty tired. Said they'd been up all night working. And James explained you had fallen ill and were down at the hospital wing but couldn't have any visitors. Then Sirius took the handkerchief and said he'd give it back to you. So did you get it?"


     Remus rubbed the back of his neck, as though it would help him extract the memories. "I guess so. Sirius probably chucked it into my trunk with the rest of my things. Don't think I ever counted my handkerchiefs or anything. They were always going missing, you know? I lent them out a lot. Ha..." Remus looked amused. "Well, thanks for returning it." He gave Bill a hug. "So they were polite to you and came up with an excuse about why I wasn't there. Sounds about right." Remus missed the old days of his childhood. Back when that was the biggest pain and biggest concern in his life.


     Bill went on, "They said not to ask any more questions about you. And I didn't, at least, not out loud. But I knew you weren't down in the hospital wing because I'd just been by there so Madam Pomfrey could make sure my cold had passed without any problems. Apparently some people have adverse reactions to the Pepper-up potion. Anyway, every single bed was empty so I knew something was up. Just took me a while to figure it out." Remus tensed up. "Oh, but I didn't tell anybody. I didn't dare to. You ran around with the smartest and bravest kids in the whole school. Nobody would dare make claims about you or your friends. You were like legends to us, Remus," Bill explained. "Potter's gang." He laughed. "I nearly choked when I heard that my brother was best friends with Harry Potter at school. And what they got into together... I must say I was a little envious a few times."


     "You were pretty hot yourself, I hear," Remus replied. "Prefect, Head Boy, coolest lad in school, I bet you turned all the girls' heads."


     "And some of the boys' probably, though I didn't notice at the time." He smirked. "Yeah, well. I had to follow in some great footsteps." He rubbed his nose again and cleared his throat. There was more silence, as both thought back to their times at Hogwarts. "So, ah. You were saying about Morgan listening in?"


     Nodding, Remus picked up the book and scanned the page. "Right... Morgan was invisible and... and Bill, why did you wait until now to tell me about being in school together?" Remus couldn't help but change the subject again, and put the book back down. He'd regret not asking if he didn't say anything now. "I mean, we've been together for a while now off and on. Or why not mention it before that?"


     Bill shrugged. "To tell you the truth, I wasn't exactly sure what to say. And I didn't want you to think of me as that little kid. As the one you had to take care of. I don't want you feeling obligated to take care of me." He paused, turning away, covering his nose with a tissue. "ehhhHikshhhh! Huh-EhShhhh! Ektshhhh!" He blew his nose a few times, one-handed again, and jumped back into his explanation before Remus could say anything. Remus did, however, hand him fresh tissues. "There's such a difference in our ages, and it's easy to fall into roles when you have a relationship. I just didn't want you to look at me and see me as eleven, sick and helpless. I didn't want you to feel that you had to take care of me."


     Remus held him for a while in silence. He had asked, after all. Couldn't blame Bill for being truthful. "There's something you need to understand about me," Remus said finally, going slowly, sure that Bill caught every word. "There's only two things that I do well. I mean, really well. There's only two things I really have a passion for. And that's teaching..." He held up one finger. "And taking care of the people I care about." He put up another finger. "My friends used to call me the alpha male of our pack, you know? I wasn't a leader like James, and I wasn't the schemer and planner like Sirius, but I protected them. I looked after them. At least, as much as I could." He bowed his head and turned it away so Bill could not see the tears in his eyes. No matter how bad his transformations were, he never cried about them. There was only one thing that could make him cry, and that was losing his friends. Not that Bill didn't know this, of course. Bill had seen Remus at his worst and was still there for him. Bill was something special.


     Remus went on. "I happen to care about you, Bill Weasley. And the only thing I know how to do right now is to hold you and take care of you until you feel better. Now, if you'd rather I not, if you'd rather I leave you alone until you get over this cold I will but it won't be my choice. If I had my choice I wouldn't leave your side, and I wouldn't ever stop taking care of you." Blinking the tears safely away, Remus turned his head back. "Sure I might look at you now and think of that sniffley little kid who needed my help twenty-two years ago. But I also look at you and see a man with an exceptional intellect, a fighter in the Order, and the man who saved me single-handedly against a gang of tomb raiders when I wasn't feeling so hot myself." He cupped the side of Bill's head, and ran his thumb against the soft cheek. "I could never think less of you. And I could never only think of you as you were back then. We're both of us made up of our pasts, sure, but you're a lot more than that one event, Bill. And you mean a lot more than that to me."


     Bill let out a slow, deep breath. "Blimey, Remus... thought we said to hold off on the romance until I got better?"


     "Heh, can't help it," chuckled Remus. "Now then, do you want me to bugger off or stay here with you and finish this book?"


     "Sure you wouldn't be staying because you feel obligated?"


     "I'd be staying because I want to," Remus insisted. "But if you'd feel better if I left--"


     Bill snuggled closer, then reached up, taking Remus' cheek in his hand. With a bit of easing and reaching, his lips closed against Remus', in a gentle imitation of the sort of kisses they usually shared. "Please stay." He held back a badly-timed cough, shaking at the force of it.


     "I will," Remus assured him, in a soft whisper that matched the kiss. "But first I need to ask- that's the only other time we had a chance encounter, right? I didn't pick you up in a bar in Romania ten years ago for a one night stand? You didn't meet me at some conference eight years ago and buy me a drink over sushi? I mean, a year from now you're not going to say 'oh by the way, we went fishing one day a decade ago, don't you remember?'"


     "No," Bill laughed. "That was it. Just that one year at Hogwarts together. I don't think we even talked the rest of the year. And then a couple years ago Dumbledore reformed the Order and I moved back here from Egypt."


     Remus nodded. "Well all right then." He picked the book back up and tilted his head, resting it against Bill's. His arm and hand squeezed Bill closer. Bill gave a soft sigh and closed his eyes. "So Morgan used an invisibility spell to spy on the lovers..."




1- Min fadlokoum means 'Please' in Egyptian Arabic. I think. I hope. I'm not good at languages, but that's the general form, supposedly. Return to place in the story



Author's Notes: This is my second Remus/Bill fic. The first is unfinished as of the finishing of this fic and entitled 'Ya Thahabi' but addresses a few themes mentioned in this one and discusses Bill and Remus getting together a few years after Sirius' death. The first part of the story is also a small part of my currently also unfinished story 'The Vampire' which was the first Ron-fic I ever started.


In addition, canon-wise, it is not said that Bill was a first year while the Marauders were seventh years. However, if has been calculated that the Marauders were at Hogwarts from Fall 1971 to Spring 1978 and Charlie started at Hogwarts in the Fall of 1978. As Bill is older than Charlie, there had to have been some overlap with his time at Hogwarts and the Marauders'. For the purposes of this story, I've made his first year at Hogwarts start the Fall of 1977 and it's reasonable that Bill is only a year older than Charlie. However, that's not a known fact as of the fifth book, just a guess on my part. Either way, there was indeed overlap so the premise isn't ruined.