Sorry for the long wait... again. ^^;;;
I just moved into my very own apartment though, so I've been super busy, but now, hopefully I'll have more time for writing!
I've noticed that the "humor" genre listing I gave this story doesn't seem to really suit it any more and I had been thinking about changing it. Let me know if you think I should. ^^
Anyway, on with the story!
As Sirius watched his friend make his way up toward the pitch the speed at which his heart was beating left him feeling sick to his stomach. He wondered how he should act around the other boy now, or whether Remus knew that his secret at been discovered.
As the thought crossed his mind, Sirius realized that 'secret' was not a very good term for the other boy's feelings. All at once the memories of every interaction he'd had with his friend came rushing back to him, now filtered through this new information, and he realized that Remus had been more obvious than either of them had realized. What scared him the most, thought, was that his own actions had probably given his friend the wrong impression, or at least, what he told himself was the wrong impression.
He remembered vividly the few, searing minutes they shared wrapped together in Sirius' coat. Sirius knew he couldn't blame Remus for that particular incident, as he'd been the one to insist upon it. He wondered why it was that he craved the feeling of his friend wrapped up in his arms. Had Remus been a girl he would have been certain it was simply the urge to feel an attractive body pressed against his. But Remus was not a girl, and he was certain that that meant something significant, that it meant he couldn't be feeling the same things. He was a normal teenage boy, after all.
What he realized, though, was that he had liked the feeling of Remus wrapped in close to him. He liked the feeling of carrying him, and the feeling of undressing him, and all of this combined with the knowledge that Remus liked him in the most intimate of ways terrified him.
"Hey." Remus' said quietly, and a little awkwardly, as he finally arrived on the pitch by his friend.
"Hey." Sirius mirrored, his thumbs hooked into his pockets to keep them anchored to avoid fidgeting.
There was a moment of heavy silence as they both waited to see what the other would say, and while Sirius was never one to condone silence, he was in no hurry to open his mouth.
"Pads..." Remus began again, and Sirius felt his stomach clench, wondering if he was about to confess. "I want to apologize for what happened earlier." Remus continued, his breath coming out of him all at once. "You really helped me out at the lake, and you've been looking after here with all the stupid things that've been going on. I shouldn't have shouted at you like that. And I shouldn't have pushed you. I'm sorry."
As he finished his sentence Remus was staring at one of the buttons on his friend's jacket, his cheeks flushed just slightly, a gesture that stood out more glaringly to Sirius now. Sirius knew that he should respond to the apology. He should laugh and say it's not a big deal, call himself socially inept as he often did, though in far more colorful language. But he couldn't laugh this time, he couldn't smile, he could hardly get himself to register what the other boy was saying. Before he realized it his eyes had zoned in on a small purple mark that was sticking out from under his friend's collar.
"I think the squid gave you a hickey." Sirius heard himself saying, his fingers brushing the skin before he could stop himself.
Immediately he realized he shouldn't have. He felt Remus jerk under his fingers, nearly leaping back away from him. They both felt their faces heat up, and could see the blush spread across the other's cheeks, mirroring their own. Sirius chastised himself silently. This was exactly the kind of thing that had probably lead Remus to mistake his friendship for deeper feelings. He tried to convince himself that this was the sort of thing he did to all his friends, that it was completely normal for him. But he tried to remember a time he had touched James' skin so tenderly and immediately he felt repulsed at the idea. He could imagine his bespectacled friend's face and the brotherly beating that would follow.
"Sorry." Was all that Sirius could think to say as he looked into his friend's now wide, honey colored eyes.
"Its," He had to pause to remove a lump from his throat. "Its fine. You just startled me." He said, seeming to get hold of himself, dropping his hand from his throat back down to his side. "Remus..." Sirius began, unsure of what would follow.
He saw the other boy's emotions subtly waging battle on his face. He could see the mix of fear and tentative hope swirling in his eyes, but when he opened his mouth he realized immediately what a horrible person he really was.
"Remus, I think you were right. You should probably give up on the person you like... friendship is more important, right?"
He felt the words seep from his mouth like poison, and watched as they immediately began to break Remus down. There was a split second in which he thought he saw his best friend's heart break, but it was almost immediately concealed with laughter that was painfully forced.
"Its not like to you give serious advice." Remus joked, obviously doing so to hide the pain that was almost visible in its intensity.
Sirius opened his mouth to say something, to try and defend his reaction, or possibly revoke it, but he still wasn't sure which it would be. He was a coward, he decided, and this situation terrified him. He told himself that things would be fine if they just went back to the way they were. He told himself that Remus would only hurt more chasing after him, that this would give him closure. But really, all it did was give him an excuse to ignore the confused emotions the lycanthrope was stirring up inside him.
"So yeah. Sorry for the shoving." Remus said, his whole body shaking slightly while his eyes looked anywhere but at the black haired boy that had just not-too-subtly rejected him. "And don't worry about all these stupid accidents that've been happening. I have a feeling things are going to calm down now."
"Remus..." Sirius said, not sure if he was trying to take back what he said or not, only knowing that he had to do something to stop this painful rambling.
"Anyway, we've got a potions essay due soon. I better get started so you lot have someone to copy from, ey?" He had a manic tone to his voice, almost like he was about to start laughing, but Sirius was painfully aware that he was only trying to cover up the excruciating pain he was feeling. "Anyway, I'll see you at supper."
Remus was able to keep Sirius silent with his constant rambling until he managed to scamper off toward the castle.
Sirius watched his friends figure until it disappeared behind a few walls of the castle, then sank down into the slightly crunchy grass. A great flood of self loathing washed over him as he realized that he'd likely just broken his friend's heart. He tried to console himself by remembering all the tears and shouting that he'd had pointed his direction from any one of the girls he'd dumped. He'd always wondered if he were a heartless person for feeling no sympathy for those girls. He realized, though, as he watched Remus valiantly covering his emotions with laughter that he'd not felt sympathy for those girls simply because he'd never had real feelings for them in the first place.
He wondered if his fear had lead him to make the worst decision of his life.
The days that followed the awkward conversation on the quiddich pitch were filled simultaneously with the most confusing feelings for Sirius as well as the clearest realizations. The confusion came from the tumultuous ocean he could feel churning in his stomach every time he caught sight of Remus. The other boy had remained surprisingly absent considering the close quarters which they shared, often leaving the dorm before his friends woke up and climbing into bed before they returned. The realization, however, was that he had not only damaged his friendship with Remus, but with James and Lily as well.
While James was not ignoring him completely, the short, snippy way in which he spoke to him made it very clear that he didn't agree with his decision. Sirius thought he should be angry about his friend's reaction. He thought that James should maybe take a moment to consider his feelings instead of only thinking of Remus'. But he quickly realized that he deserved to be hated for what he'd done, because he'd only done it out of fear.
Remus may have seemed normal to an untrained eye when the marauders found themselves in public. During classes, and during lunch, which he still attended, he would laugh, but Sirius knew that every chortle, every smile, was faked. He knew because they were too boisterous. He was laughing when the real Moony would be rolling his eyes, he was being noisy when a simple scoff would have been appropriate. He knew that Remus was compensating, trying desperately to cover the pain he was feeling while in Sirius' presence.
Another fact that had become blindingly obvious was that Debbie was no longer tagging along at his heels. Sirius found it strange. Remus had said she was threatening to divulge Remus' secret if he didn't go out with her. But she must know about what happened. She must know that Remus was effectively rejected, whether Sirius had said it so bluntly or not. Why was she avoiding him now. She should be thrilled, she should be all over him. It wasn't that Sirius wanted to see her all over him, in fact, the idea of any girl being all over Moony left a foul taste in the aristocratic boy's mouth. And while he was glad that the strange 'accidents' had stopped, he still felt uneasy by Debbie's sudden disinterest.
Had he been paying more attention to himself, however, and less attention to Remus, he might have realized why Debbie was not paying attention to Remus. Her eyes were too trained on a certain black haired coward instead.
" 'Get it sorted out,' I said. 'It'll be hard to mess it up,' I said." James was waving his fork around, Remus hardly out of earshot after dismissing himself early from supper again. "Really, Padfoot, you're ability to be the stupidest thing to be living and breathing on the face of this planet really astounds me."
"Give it a rest, Prongs." Sirius said, not needing to listen very hard to catch the real anger in his friends voice, only barely veiled by a lighter tone. "What's done is done."
"Tell me, does being part of the Black family automatically leave you heartless, or was that something you had to work for on your own?" James asked bitingly, stuffing another forkful of potatoes into his mouth.
The jibe at his family lineage struck Sirius at his core and he couldn't help but lash back at his friend.
"He's not the first person to get rejected, James." Sirius said, using his friend's real name like an insult, hoping the barb would get his point across. "And anyway, what about my feelings, huh? Did you forget that its not just about how he feels?"
"Oh give it a rest, Black." James countered without a beat missed, "You don't even know what you're feeling. Anyone with eyes in their skull could see that."
"Exactly! I don't know how I feel. Is a bit of time to sort it out too much to ask?"
"Yeah, it is when you're the only bloody person who hasn't figured it out yet!" James said, raising his voice, ignoring the looks they were getting from down their table.
"Stop doing that! Stop acting like you know what I'm feeling, because you haven't got the slightest clue what's going on in my head!" Sirius snapped back, slamming his hands down on the table, knocking a small trey of sausages over.
"That's an easy one!" James bellowed back, meeting Sirius' table hitting and raising him an angry rise to standing. "There's not a fucking thing going on in there!"
"Why you..." Sirius began, nearly knocking the bench out from under himself and a few other students as he launched himself to his feet, ready to reach across the table the sock the other boy right in his know-it-all face.
Before their argument could escalate past words, however, they were interrupted by the sound of screaming, then a rush of students outside the great hall. Immediately, students left their tables and ran for the door, everyone murmuring and trying to sort out what happened. James and Sirius pushed their way through the crowd, trying to make their way from the dining hall into the main atrium of the castle where the epicenter of excitement seemed to be.
"What happened?" They heard several students shouting over the sound of teachers.
"Someone fell from the landing!" another voice shouted
"Oh god! Who was it?"
"They're not moving"
"Are they breathing?"
"What's going on?"
James and Sirius both felt a sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs, but were unable to make it to the center of the deep ring of students before Madam Pomfrey showed up on the scene, the students immediately parting to let her through. Silence fell over the crowded entry way of the castle as the healer apparently set to work assessing the situation. Slowly a whispering hum began to spread through the crowd, rippling back toward the two marauders.
Sirius and James both felt the blood drain from their bodies as the whispered words finally came close enough to them to be recognizable.
It hadn't taken Pomfrey long to move Remus to the healing ward, and while James and Sirius had not been allowed to follow her, they had caught a glimpse of their unconscious friend, blood covering part of his face.
Immediately, James and Sirius had begun questioning the students in the hallway, though all they succeeded in doing was terrifying a few first and second years and learning that it was the third floor landing he'd fallen from, though another student had sworn it was the fourth. Either way, it didn't change the fact that their friend had fallen and seemed to be seriously injured.
The two marauders, now turned detectives, hurried up to the third story landing where they guessed Remus had fallen from. They'd hoped to find something that would help them figure out what had caused the accident, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. Sirius felt his stomach clench and his head spin when the worst of thoughts struck him.
"P-Prongs... You don't think he um..." Sirius began, his hands steadying him on the railing, looking down to the floor where Remus had been lying.
"Jumped?" James finished for him, though Sirius was only able to nod. "I don't think so. I know he was heart broken, but it just doesn't seem like something he'd do. I mean, no offense to you, but if I were him, I'd kill myself because of the whole werewolf thing long before I did it because of you."
The tension drained almost immediately from Sirius' body. While James had done a fantastic job of reminding him that he wasn't worth much, he also knew his friend was right. Remus wasn't the type to run away from his problems. He was the type to grit his teeth and bear them, even if it meant doing so alone. It was one of the things he loved about Remus.
Sirius felt his throat constrict as that word bounced around his head. Had he meant to think that. He often thought he liked certain things about people, but never had he thought the big 'L' word so unintentionally before.
"James!" a higher voice suddenly broke through the silence as Lily rushed over to where the two boys were standing. "What happened? I heard Remus was in the hospital wing!"
"He fell from the landing here." James said, putting his hands on her arms to calm her. "We haven't heard anything else yet.
Sirius felt a spark of rage ignite inside him when he saw the red head make her way toward them. She's the one who had planned everything bad that'd happened to Remus. It was because of her that he almost froze to death, because of her that he almost drown. She'd already tried pushing him from the astrology tower.
"You." Sirius said, his voice quiet with apparent revelation. "Was this another one of your stupid plans?"
Lily looked shocked, both because Sirius seemed to know about their secret plans and also because of the hushed danger that was latent in his voice.
"What?" She asked, seeming shocked that he would even suggest it.
"Dont play stupid with me, Evans!" Sirius snarled, causing James to step between them. "This was all part of your stupid little plan, right? You've already pushed him off a tower! What's a few stories matter?" his voice had risen to a shout.
"I didn't do this! I'd never hurt Remus!" Lily insisted.
"What a load of shit! Were you telling yourself that when you locked him in that owlery? Or how about when you almost drown him! This is all your fault!" Sirius was in a rage now and reached for Lily's arm, though he was knocked over instead by a well-connected fist to his cheek, sending him toppling, luckily, away from the railing.
"Get a grip, Sirius!" James shouted down at him. "We're all upset about this! And you gave up the right to be so fucking angry when you told him to keep his feelings to himself! You didn't even give him the chance to tell you! You're a coward! Don't act all high and mighty now!"
Sirius could see the look of complete disgust in James' eyes and got the impression he'd been wanting to do that and say those words for days. He got the distinct impression that his outburst toward Lily had very little to do with it.
Debbie smiled to herself and turned down an adjacent hall. Normally seeing someone try to hurt Sirius left her feeling vengeful and angry, but this time it was a perfect addition to her plan. She wasn't sure if she'd actually removed Remus from the situation the way she'd hoped, but she could always try again if Madam Pomfrey was able to bring him around. Sirius, however, was slowly and meticulously being severed from his closest friends. Things were going exactly how she'd hoped they would. Soon, Sirius would be alone and pathetic and she would be able to swoop in and lend him the shoulder he so desperately needed. He would be hers in a matter of days. She was sure of it.
Sorry for the false sense of finality that my last chapter had. ^^ I know a lot of you thought they would finally be getting together... BUT I HAVE A PLAN! That just wasn't how I wanted it to end, but I promise it'll be a happy ending! So please don't panic!