Title: Secrets

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Harry Potter, Marauder's era

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: I only play with JRK's characters, I don't get any money or have any rights to them or their world.

Summary: Remus is a man of many secrets. What happens when another gets out?

Bunny: #3

Notes: Oh my gosh- this story came out of nowhere!



     Remus was a man of many secrets, not the least of which was the fact that once a month he was forced to transform into a horrible, murderous beast. With that came the secret of the Shrieking Shack's true nature, and the safe way into that passage through the Whomping Willow. His three roommates had figured out about his lycanthropy much faster than he would have liked. But, to his surprise, they had remained his friends and kept the information in confidence. When his roommates worked out the Animagus advanced transfiguration earlier this year, Remus naturally kept that secret to himself as well, swearing to tell no one of their kindnesses to him and their incredible adventures and discoveries, much as he would have liked to.


     This wasn't to say, of course, that all of Remus' secrets were the sort he wanted to share. On the contrary, he kept quiet his worries regarding the future to himself. As a werewolf, under the ministry's regulations, he did not have much of a place in civilized wizarding society. More to the point, if Voldemort's side won the war, he'd either be tortured and kept as a pet or kept around until a full moon so that he could be skinned alive. Remus never told anyone, even his friends, his terror of the potential world outside Hogwarts, but they all knew how much he was willing to give of himself for the fight.


     His friends knew of his love of fine chocolates- or any chocolates, really- and of good literature. They knew he liked warm baths as opposed to showers and liked snuggling up under the blankets of his bed with the hangings drawn as opposed to open so he could not see any bit of the moon, whatever its phase. They knew he liked taking his hot chocolate by the fire with exactly three plump marshmallows. They knew he took his studies seriously but, when it came to perfect mischief-making, could be persuaded to abandon his books. They knew he took his duties as prefect just as seriously, despite the fact that he broke nearly as many rules as they did and never reported them when it came to the big things. And they knew he liked spending sunny, spring afternoons outside by the lake, basking in warmth.


     So he should not have been surprised to see Sirius walking over to him, even though he hadn't told anyone where he was going and he'd taken the map so they couldn't find him. But, considering the secret he thought they'd figured out about him, he was surprised any of them would want to speak with him, let along seek him out.


     The night before had been a complete and utter disaster. All right, technically not a complete disaster as they had not been caught for sneaking out of the castle and into Hogsmede by way of a secret passage only they knew about. But their run to Hogsmede had resulted in a large quantity of fire whisky and Remus had discovered the hard way that he and fire whiskey do not mix well. More specifically, fire whiskey did not mix well with his most personal and private secret. If loose lips sank ships, last night must have sent the entire British fleet to the bottom of the ocean.


     The drink had fogged his brain and his senses, and even now he could not understand how it had happened. All his other secrets he was careful not to divulge, but he was confident now that his friends would understand if he did. But this one... this one was different. There were secrets and then there were secrets. And he had spent so much of his life guarding this one only to reveal it accidentally.


     They'd been talking about kissing, so far as Remus could remember. They'd been listing off women they were fond of. James, as usual, had been adamant that he did not like Lily Evans even though it was obvious he was crazy about her. Peter had a list of practically fifty or so girls he would never have a chance with. And Sirius was boasting about the fifty or so girls he'd had already. And Remus... Remus had a whole host of answers prepared for such an occasion. He practiced this sort of thing constantly. And, yet, somehow he'd let something slip anyway.


     With his head hurting as it was now, he couldn't remember the exact words he'd used, but he had a distinct recollection of the deafening silence that had followed. He remembered most the way Sirius had looked at him. He knew that look. That murderous look he'd seen in his own eyes when he was a werewolf. That look of hurt and pain, confusion and bewilderment. That look of fear and uncertainty


     It had haunted him while he lay awake all night in bed. In the morning, the others had gone to breakfast without him. During classes, he could not concentrate, and he noticed his friends (former friends?) watching him. Every time one came over to him, or whenever he smiled in their direction, they said nothing and did not return the smile.


     So he had been happy to finally be able to escape to the lake for the afternoon while the others were at Quidditch practice or, in Peter's case, watching Quidditch practice. He had been glad to find a place where no one but him knew his secrets, and where there was no one to look at him like he was different. There was only Remus, and the lake, and a field of white flowers. Remus lay on his back, staring up at the puffy white clouds and letting the sun shine down on him to calm his nerves.


     He had dozed off a little, much needed after his night of tossing and turning and feeling sick to his stomach. The warm rays of sun on his face and the soft grass on his back had combined to make him feel so terribly drowsy and unable to keep his eyes open. He wasn't sure how long he'd slept but he woke when it was still bright and sunny out.


     Then he'd picked a few flowers and set them on his chest. He selected one and stared at it a while, eyeing it for potential. "He loves me," Remus said, plucking off one petal and throwing it into the air until the light breeze caught it. "He loves me not." He plucked another off.


     He repeated the action until he had only one petal left. But Remus couldn't remember if that last petal was supposed to be the final outcome or whether that came after the petals were gone and he was left with just a stem and the center. So he tossed that away and started with another one.


     Remus was on his last of the four flowers he'd picked when he'd head soft footsteps in the grass and had looked up to see Sirius approaching. He felt dread fill him as he sat up, and he fought to keep his composure. The worst thing that could happen would be Sirius telling him off and then shunning him for the rest of their lives. If he was lucky, Sirius would just kill him and get it over with. Because Remus wasn't sure he wanted to live a life without his friends, now that he had them. Or used to have them.


     "What are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be at practice," Remus said, looking down to avoid Sirius' eyes.


     "I told the captain I was sick. I had to come talk to you." He hovered above Remus hesitantly. "So... can I talk?"


     Remus shrugged. "Suit yourself. Apparently I've done enough talking already." He picked another flower and twirled it between his fingers as Sirius sat down in front of him.


     "Look, Remus... I'm not angry about it." Remus gave a disbelieving laugh and stared at his flower. "I'm really not," he insisted.


     "Right," Remus said sarcastically. "That's why you wouldn't talk to me all day."


     "I tried..." Sirius said. "But James and Peter were always there and I couldn't..."


     "Right," Remus said again, nodding. "Easier to really let me have it when there's not an audience. Don't want any witnesses when you hex me. Well, then, get on with it."


     Sirius shook his head. "Merlin, Remus! It's not like that at all. I mean, it sort of is. Peter's an arse and wants nothing to do with you. And James... he says he hates you for it but doesn't hate you really. It's just the way he was brought up. You know how pureblood families are all traditional. But in time he'll come around once he understands you're the same old Remus--"


     "You're from a pureblood family," Remus pointed out. "The Blacks are worse than the Potters are. You should be hating me even more."


     Sirius rubbed the back of his neck, then scrubbed at his nose. He looked down now, avoiding Remus. "I don't hate you because it's different for me--"


     "Different?" Remus laughed angrily. "I saw that look in your eyes last night and all through the day today. You're no different."


     "I am," Sirius insisted quickly, forcefully.


     But Remus was just as quick, practically spitting with anger, "Why? Why would you be different?"


     "Because I'm a poof, too!" Sirius came just short of shouting, and he looked around to be sure no one had heard. No one had. He looked imploringly at Remus for a moment, then looked down at his lap and rubbed at his nose again.


     Remus was silent, not knowing what to say. He simply stared at Sirius unblinkingly. He studied the young man's face closely, watching grey eyes water and nostrils twitch. He knew what that meant. He plunged his hand into his pocket, searching around inside for his hanky. He had one there someplace, and he really should have retried it the moment Sirius sat down, knowing how allergic Sirius was to these flowers. But he'd been a bit distracted and somewhere in the back of his head had been the idea that Sirius might be less harsh with him when sneezing his head off. But now...


     "harSHIKKK-uhhh!" Sirius sneezed, two fingers pressed to his nose. "Merlin, Remus, where's your hahhhhhh-HAH!" He pinched his nose and fought against the need to sneeze.


     Remus abandoned his search in the left pocket and started on the right pocket.


     "Ahhh'RChuhhhh! Hehh-hehhh-RChahhhh! Ehhh-Rebus?" Sirius scooted closer, pinching his nose to no avail. "herrShahhhh! IhhhShuhhh!" He was practically sitting in Remus' lap by the time Remus finally found the handkerchief. Remus pulled it out and immediately Sirius grabbed it and blew his nose. "At least now I sound like I needed to skip out sick," he chuckled to himself.


     "Sorry, Sirius," Remus said, glancing around at the flowers. "Why'd you come out here? You know these flowers make you--"


     "HAHErshhhhhh!" Sirius blew his nose and blinked a few times. "I had to talk to you about... Remus, I..."


     Remus moved in for a kiss, not caring about Sirius' snuffles and not caring any more if anyone saw so long as he had Sirius on his side... so long as he had Sirius. And now he most definitely had Sirius, because the young man was kissing him back with eagerness and enjoyment. Remus finally pulled back, his heart beating fast and his breath short with excitement. "No more talking," Remus said to him. "That's how I started this mess in the first place."


     Sirius shook his head quickly. "If you hadn't said anything, I never would have, either. And Merlin, Remus, I've been in love with you for years, too."


     "Oh, Sirius!" Remus wrapped his arms around Sirius and kissed again. Sirius obliged, kissing back and opening his mouth to let Remus kiss him more deeply. Remus dove in, almost unable to believe it had worked out so well. His hand slid through Sirius' jet black hair and his tongue stroked Sirius'. Sirius moaned deeply in the back of his throat and Remus smiled through the rest of the kiss.


     Sirius ended it eventually, needing to cover his nose and sneeze again. His breath was hitching and eyes were closing. Remus opened his own eyes after the kiss. His gaze fell on the castle and what appeared to be a heard of purple, winged hippopotamuses between them and the castle. Remus cocked his head, watching curiously as the hippos began rolling around on the grass and snorting with laughter. Remus cleared his throat. "What the--" He closed his eyes tightly and rubbed his fists at them.


     And when he opened his eyes again, the hippos were gone. And so, in fact, was Sirius. There was only Remus lying on his back in a field of flowers, staring up at the beautiful blue sky.


     Remus sat up, not wanting to believe that had all been a dream but having no choice. Angry at his own subconscious, Remus grabbed a fistful of flowers and, instead of pulling petals off one at a time, he tore the tops from the stems with one strong motion. He squeezed them in his fist then unclenched his fist to let the pieces fall to the ground. "He loves me not," Remus muttered to himself.


     But then he looked up to see Sirius approaching, and Remus felt flooded with confusion and surprise. Instantly, he went on the defensive, however. It wasn't his time of the month, but that didn't mean he wouldn't lash out if challenged. "Thought you were supposed to be at Quidditch practice," he called out, a wave of déjà vu sweeping over him along with everything else. His heart was racing again.


     "It's nearly six, Moony. Practice is over." He rubbed at his nose and glanced accusingly at the flowers. He paused for a moment. "You coming to dinner or what?"


     There was a long, awkward silence. "You-you want me to go to dinner?" Remus stuttered, full of a mix of hope and worry.


     Sirius shrugged. "I can't forget what you said but that doesn't mean we have to talk about it again right now, does it? You may be a bloody shirt-lifter but you're still my friend and I don't want you out here starving to death."


     It wasn't exactly the perfect response he'd been hoping for, but at least Sirius wasn't about to kill him, either. Deciding it was a good place to start, Remus got to his feet just as the flowers were really getting to Sirius.


     "ahRKShhhhhh! HarrShooo!" Sirius doubled over as he sneezed, both hands held up to his face. "hehhh! HAH!"


     Remus reached into his pocket and found his handkerchief right away. He pulled it out and offered it over. Sirius barely hesitated, taking it right away and blowing his nose liberally into the folds until the tickles had passed.


     Sniffling, Sirius nodded to the handkerchief. "Thanks." He sounded whole-heartedly grateful. Then he gestured for them to head to the castle and Remus started to walk back, staying a few steps behind to be safe. Sirius sighed and turned, grabbing Remus by his robes and pulling him forward so they were side-by-side. They froze and stared at each other. And, for just that brief moment, Remus thought Sirius might be trying to communicate something more. Finally, Sirius said, "Look, we're not going to tell anyone. We'll keep your secret. You know we're good at that."


     Remus nodded back. This was definitely a good place to start.


     Sirius sniffled and rubbed his nose into Remus' handkerchief. And, wordlessly, they headed back to the castle.