"You're so boring now you're married!" Sirius exclaimed as he saw James out. "Can't even stay for a few drinks in case your precious Lily starts to worry!"
James laughed. "I have stayed for a few drinks," he pointed out. "And don't forget that you'll be going exactly the same way soon."
Sirius pulled a face. "Never," he laughed. "No one shall ever tie the great Sirius Black down in such a way!"
"Then I think you're missing the point of being married," James laughed. "Congrats again, Padfoot. I'll see you at the next Order meeting."
And with that, he disapparated. Sirius shut the door against the cold night air and made his way inside. James and Remus had come around for a few drinks to celebrate his engagement to Marlene McKinnon.
"He's such a party pooper," Sirius said, flopping down onto the couch next to Remus. "It's not even ten!"
"It was hardly a party," Remus points out. "Just us three."
Sirius scoffs. "We're enough party for anyone," he says. He glances at Remus, who looks exhausted and haggard now that the full moon's so close, and changes his statement. "Well, me and James are anyway."
Remus laughs good-naturedly. "I can't believe you're getting married," he says, and there's something in his tone that Sirius can't put a name to. "You, of all people. It's even less expected than James actually managing to shack up with Lily."
"Hey, I can get a girl!" Sirius protested. "In fact, I have a girl. I'm marrying one, remember?"
"You can get a girl, yes," Remus said, "but you tend to have some trouble sticking to them. I find it amazing you wanted to commit enough to actually propose."
Sirius shifted on his seat, and Remus' look of amusement changed to one of suspicion. "You didn't propose, did you?" he asked.
"I wondered why you were still living separately," Remus said thoughtfully. "So she proposed, then? It's a bit quick isn't it? Getting married. I mean, James and Lily have been together for years…."
"And Marlene and I have only been together for a few months, I know," Sirius said. "I mentioned all this to her when she asked. But it's like she said – who knows whether we'll still be alive in a few years to get married? There is a war on."
"Do you even love her?" Remus asked suddenly.
Sirius was startled by the question. "Of course I do!" he exclaimed.
"Like you loved me?" Remus asked, his voice slightly quieter – and a lot sadder. "You said those words to me, too, back in Hogwarts."
"We were children, Moony," Sirius said. "I thought I was in love. It turns out wasn't. I still love you, Remus, but only as a friend. I'm not in love with you."
"Yet you're in love with her," Remus replied, and his voice was slightly derisive. "Marlene McKinnon, who you laughed at all through Hogwarts for being a prissy know-it-all. Who kissed you in fifth year and afterwards you said it would have been more pleasant kissing a dog?"
"Did I actually say that?" Sirius asked. "Blimey, Lily wasn't kidding when she said I was a prat at school, was she?"
"You're missing the point, Sirius."
"And what is your point?" he answered Remus, his voice starting to rise. "That I should have proposed to you? We agreed to go our separate ways, remember?"
"No, you decided we'd take a break!" Remus was almost shouting now. "And the next thing I know, you've had your tongue down the throats of half the girls in Hogwarts! You've never been with anyone for more than a few months before, Padfoot, and now all of a sudden you've decided to marry one of them!"
"You're jealous," Sirius said, suddenly realising why Remus was so worked up. "You can't stand the fact that I found someone else and you didn't."
"No, I can't stand the fact that I'm still in love with you!"
The words were shouted too loudly, and the resulting silence was heavy.
"Remus…," Sirius whispered, but the other boy had turned his face away. "Look at me."
Remus ignored him. "I think I'll be going," he said. His voice was ice.
"Remus, wait!" But the werewolf was already rising and heading towards the door. Sirius lunged off the sofa and caught his wrist.
There was a split second where they were looking at each other, and then Remus' lips were on his and he was kissing back. A part of him was screaming "Stop! This is wrong! You're engaged!" but that part was small, and the majority of him didn't care – especially the part that still ached for Remus, even after all this time.
It wasn't until they broke apart that the situation finally sunk in. He pulled away from Remus. "Oh, Merlin," he moaned, sinking back onto the couch. "Fuck it. Why is life so complicated?"
"It's only as complicated as you make it," Remus said. "Don't turn your back on this, Sirius. I know you feel same way about me as I do about you. You have to choose who you love more; me or her."
"She's pregnant, Remus," Sirius blurted out. Remus froze.
"What?" he asked, although he'd heard perfectly well.
"She's pregnant. I can't… I can't abandon her. I can't abandon the child. I've always promised myself I'd never be as bad a parent as mine were, and now I'm contemplating becoming an even worse one." He let out a sharp laugh that had no humour in it. "At least my parents were there for me."
"You could still be there for this child," Remus said carefully. "Even if you weren't with Marlene."
"It doesn't work like that, though, does it?" Sirius replies bitterly. "You told me to choose who I love more, and I think you already know the answer to that. But how can I choose between you and my child?"
"You can't," Remus murmured. "And I can't ask you to." He picks up his jacket and goes to leave. This time, Sirius doesn't attempt to stop him. "Goodnight, Sirius," Remus said.
"Goodnight," Sirius whispered miserably. "I'm sorry."
"So am I," Remus replies.
When Sirius announces to everyone a few weeks later that he's going to be a father, Remus pretends to be delighted. He does feel some genuine happiness, for the beginning of a new life, especially in these dark times, is always a marvellous thing. But at the same time, he wishes it hadn't come at such high a price.
Only a few short months after that, Marlene is hit with a killing curse, ambushed by Death Eaters on her way home from the shops. Remus follows Sirius back to his flat after he hears the news and holds him as he sobs in front of the bassinette the couple had just brought. He sees such grief and love in his friend's eyes that he never finds it in himself to bring up the subject of "them" again, even after an entire year has passed. And after that… after that it's too late.
Some things are never meant to be. Sometimes, a person's happiness is that thing.