The Sugar Quill
Author: sunnycouger  Story: Masquerade  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Body Masquerade

Author: Sunnycouger (sunnycouger@lineone.net)


Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be (probably a good job or else we would end up with R/Hr, H/Pan, D/G and with sizeable contributions of N/La, F/A & S/Par in the books ) Alas, this isn't going to happen and all the blame for that can be placed at JKR's doorstep.

Rating: PG

Category: Remus POV, Remus/Sirius

Summary: It's James and Lily's wedding day and it has made Remus contemplate on what his own life will hold in the future and how his life is always going to be full of contradictions. It's slashy so avoid if you don't like.

Authors Notes: Never wrote slash before and I've never really written Sirius before so this is just a load of firsts for me. It's been a while in coming but I have basically just got sick of the sight  of it sitting in my unfinished folder for the past six months and decided to tweak it a wee bit and get it posted. The results? Hmm, I'm unsure about it but hey, fic writing is a learning curve so the next one will be better. This is SLASH - which is two people of the same sex in romantic situations. Now it's pretty mild in this fic but if that kind of thing doesn't rock your boat then I suggest you might want to go read something else instead. But, if you're still here - enjoy and let me know what you think.

Special thanks to DC for helping me, without even knowing she was doing it, to write this. DC - as my favourite slash writer and one of my favourite writers full stop your opinion means so much to me and I'm glad you think I did them justice. Also, thanks to Zsenya for taking the time to beta read this. It's really appreciated. :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

He'd always hated the night yet loved the stars that illuminated it. They signalled so much - life, light, warmth and radiance in an otherwise black and empty surrounding.

A dark and cold surrounding that would smother them all eventually.

The night always made him feel like he was drowning in inevitability - where he had no control and would only be dictated to by the darkness, or more accurately, the light in the darkness. Time and tide wait for no man, and both were controlled by the same thing. The thing that controlled him, made him less of a man...not in control of his own destiny unless it fitted in with the lunar calendar.

Damn the moon. Changing a bit each night until he couldn't bear it. Attracting and repelling him at the same time. Like so many things did.

Was that a contradiction? Could you be attracted and repelled? Could you be filled with desire and disgust? Could you be a man and a beast? Could you love someone and hate yourself for it?

Remus Lupin leant his head back against the wall and looked at the black sky as the jovial voices and laughter echoed out towards him from the hall. It had been an amazing day and he had never laughed or been as happy in his whole life, so why then had he never felt lonelier? Another contradiction. He closed his eyes and sighed. Why did everything have to be so complicated?

"There you are. We were wondering what was going on. Where you'd got to."

He didn't open his eyes as the deep voice emerged behind him - it had to be him that came. Sirius. "You found me."

"No kidding. Come on, what are you doing out here? You should be in commiserating with poor James. He gave up his freedom today and I think it's just started to sink in. He's sitting there with a spaced out look on his face..."

Remus smiled slightly. Of course Sirius wouldn't understand that. "I think you'll find that the look you're referring to if one of love... I believe it happens when you are deliriously happy and with the person of your dreams."

Sirius grinned and sat down beside him. "That will explain it then, I have far too many dreams to hope that one person can fill them."

Remus smiled to himself and looked back to the sky. If only he could be like Sirius, or James or even Peter...all able to throw themselves wholeheartedly into whatever they had to do. James had with Lily - and their future together to look forward to while still remaining the premium wizard of his age.

Peter tried his hardest to be as good as he could be. He would never be the wizard that his friends were but he tried harder than any of them. And Sirius. Sirius who could attract a woman just by walking in the room yet couldn't bring himself to settle with any of them. In comparison to them, what was he? A coward who held back - hid from his own feelings in shame.

"You need to learn to make do with one woman..."

Sirius sighed as he looked at his friend. "But it doesn't feel right..."

"What? To be faithful? To love someone without looking for something bigger and better? What doesn't feel right about that?"

"Hey!" Sirius began a little irritably. "I'm always faithful but I'm still young, we all are. I can't do what James did. I can't marry the first person I fall in love with. I want to live a little first, make an...I don't know, an informed decision I guess. If not, it will never feel right."

Remus shook his head bitterly as he turned to the dark-haired boy, his emotions fuming but trying to keep his voice calm.

"You can have what they have. You can have it all, you can have the family, the beautiful wife, the wedding...why can't you make it feel right? There is *nothing* holding you back Sirius." He turned and looked back up at the sky. "There is nothing I wouldn't give to be like that."

"Is that why I should do it? Because I can? I would rather be in love with the person I was marrying instead of just doing it 'because I can'. What is wrong with you, Moony? Why are you being like this?"

Remus didn't turn around. He didn't know why he was being like this, all he knew is that he wouldn't feel like this forever. He couldn't. "I'm not being like anything. I'm just...I want all this. And I'll never have it. Not supposing we all live to a hundred and they find a cure. This is as good as it gets."

Sirius exhaled deeply as he looked at him. "And there was me thinking that I was the one that indulged in the paralysing bouts of self pity - but you win hands down. I mean, why even dream that you can be happy when you can sit out here on our best friend's wedding day feeling sorry for yourself? I think I saw a silver knife in there, would you like me to go bring it out and you can be done with it?"

Remus closed his eyes and turned to him. "Sorry, I'm not entitled to feel sorry for myself on occasion. I should leave that to everyone else."

"No, you are entitled to feel sorry for yourself. But why today? Of all days - your timing really stinks, you know that?"

Remus stood and began walking away. "You'll never understand."

"Explain it to me then!" Sirius stood up abruptly and looked at him. "I'm not a mind reader. I've no idea what's going on in your head!"

Remus stopped and shook his head. The truth was he had no idea what was going on in his own head - how could he expect anyone else to know? All he knew was that he was in love and it would never work out. Ever. He would never feel the way about anyone else and he would never be loved back in that way. That's what he knew.

He knew that when he said that this was as good as it gets he meant it. This was as good as it would get for them. Friendship. Brotherhood.

And it was killing him seeing how happy you could be if you were loved back the way James and Lily were.

"Forget it. I think I've just had too much to drink, and the lunar cycle is getting closer so I get a bit...agitated. I just need to walk it off."

Sirius walked over to him and groaned. "Come on. You had two glasses of champagne and as much of a lightweight as you may be, even you can't be that far gone. I mean, it took Peter seven glasses before he started serenading Arabella from the head table..."

Sirius laughed at the memory and Remus couldn't help but smile. "Excuse me?"

Sirius looked at him and laughed. "Yeah, I think he might have proposed as well but Arabella's mother wouldn't let her respond. Don't worry, we got the whole thing caught on camera."

"Thank the stars. Just to see his reaction to that...just to see Arabella's reaction when she sobers up..."

"She seemed pretty happy. Saying that she can't really hold her alcohol either and started singing back to him during the serenade..."

Remus laughed as Sirius grinned at him. "See, you can smile. You can have fun. And you still have a full six days before the full moon..."

Remus rolled his eyes. "And you would know that how?"

"Well, I did go to school with you for seven years, besides..." he winked and touched the side of his nose with a smile, "I know these things."

Of course he did. He was Sirius: strangely attentive to the details that no one else noticed. "'Course you do."

Sirius reached out and clapped a hand on Remus' shoulder, causing him to turn around. He felt a feeling of disgust wash over him that he wanted the simple gesture of friendship to mean more than it ever could. This was his friend. His best friend. And he wanted it so badly to mean more than it did. He'd always wanted it to mean more than it did...and that was his problem.

"Remus...you going to tell me what's going on? Have you met someone and you're worried they'll be weird because of the whole...you know, inextricable need to run rampant at certain times of the month? Because if that's the case I wouldn't worry, I mean all women run rampant at certain times of the month and it's apparently perfectly acceptable." He shuddered as he leant back and looked in at James dancing with Lily before continuing quietly. "Between you and me, Jamie has his work cut out for him with the redhead."

Remus smiled as he looked in at the two of them looking so happy. Blissful. "No, I haven't met a girl so don't worry about it."

Sirius looked at him with a strange smile. "I would worry about it. I mean, I'm rapidly losing guys around here - Jamie with the firecracker in there, and Peter with Arabella. It's just the two of us that are flying the flag for the young, free and single brigade..."

Remus shook his head as he looked down. "Well, I fit in the young, free and single category anyway. Probably will for a while actually..."

Sirius didn't take his eyes off him. "Remus? What do you look for in a partner?"

Remus shrugged his shoulders. "Something I can't have I suppose..."

"Like what?"

"I dunno," Remus began, feeling himself blush. "Like...someone I can talk to and laugh with at the same time. Someone who understands everything about me without saying a word. Someone who likes Defence Against the Dark Arts and will be kind enough to remove all silver objects from the house. Someone who's a friend before everything else..." his eyes closed as he realised he had probably said too much so he quickly added, "and also someone who looked like Narcissa but with the personality of Lily, the sense of humour of Selena and the attitude to Quidditch as Dotty Hooch."

"And you say I'm hard to please?"

He looked at him and forced a smile. "Well, women love silver...it would be hard telling them that they couldn't wear it."

"You could bribe them with gold," Sirius said with a wink. "Of course you would have to get a decent job as opposed to becoming a teacher."

"Hey," Remus looked at him sourly. "I'm going to enjoy that."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "You're twenty and you really want to teach brats like we were? You're going to be a gaunt and haggard man in ten year's time who's prematurely grey, you know? I, on the other hand, will maintain my own dashing good looks while James is sitting in with the pipe and slippers brigade being all distinguished with ten kids at his feet."

Remus let a laugh escape. "Why do I find it hard to imagine James ever being distinguished? He's far too much fun to go down that road. I mean after this war is finished he'll go crazy with boredom and start pursuing Muggle criminals."

Sirius smiled proudly. "Yup! We've already talked about that - after You Know Who gets his beating the two of us are going to take some time off from the Order and infiltrate the Muggle world..."

"Oh yes, Potter and Black - I'm sure you two will blend right in with the Muggles," Remus interupted with a teasing tone.

"Because if we don't we'll get stuck with jobs in at the Ministry or worse as a teacher like Dumbledore has suggested...."

"Guess I'm the only idiot who agreed to that?"

Sirius looked at him sympathetically. "You always wanted to do something like that after the war anyway. But that would be James' and my idea of hell." He shuddered slightly to prove his point. "I mean could you see us like Flitwick? And if you don't want to be extracting a wand from a very painful place I would be careful how you answer that."

Remus surppressed a laugh. "I wouldn't dream of it...besides," he said with a smirk, "you are far too tall to be Flitwick."

Sirius gave an indignant 'hey' as both of them dissolved into laughter. Sirius reached over and put his hand on Remus' shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. "I hope this never changes - no matter who gets married, no matter what job we get - I hope that we'll always be able to laugh with each other."

"The four of us will always be able to laugh with each other - you don't go through what we went through and throw it away because of a job or a woman - this is ten years worth of friendship here," Remus said with a smile. "This is a lifetime thing. For me anyway, I mean you three might decide to go off and join the old married man club and not want to associate with me anymore..."

He had tried to keep his voice light - tried to disguise his very real fears. What would he do without his three friends? What would he do without his family if they ever moved on with their lives? What would he do when he was stood here at Sirius' wedding day?

"I'll never not want to associate with you, Remus. You keep me grounded when I'm in real fear of floating off somewhere else - you're my anchor back here. Without you I'd be in real fear for my sanity," Sirius replied before taking a step forward and looking deep into Remus' hazel eyes. Remus felt his heart rate quicken as he met Sirius' gaze as he continued. "I know that this is hard for you today, Remus. I know you are really scared about the future but don't be - I know it'll all work out. You'll find someone who understands and deserves you. I know it - you're too great for it not to happen."

Remus wasn't sure what was wrong with his voice as he looked in his friend's eyes and whispered. "Would you?"

Sirius didn't take his eyes of him. "Would I what?"

"Understand and deserve me?"

"Remus..." Sirius began as he took a deep breath. "I would have to throttle you if you fell for someone like me 'cause they wouldn't deserve it."

Remus didn't know what possessed him to do what he did next but as he looked at his friend he felt himself lean closer. He reached over and for a blissful second he felt his lips tingle as they touched Sirius'. Immediately he felt his skin tingle all over as he tasted Sirius' warm lips which tasted faintly of champagne as they kissed him back and his heart began to beat so fast he became terrified it would burst out of his chest - this had to be a dream. His lips parted slightly and he felt the impression of Sirius' tongue along his bottom lip and at this stage he was certain he must have been floating ten feet of the ground. Those few seconds of contact seemed to last both an eternity and no time at all before it ended abruptly and Sirius pulled back and looked at Remus in shock. "No, wait - I...I'm sorry - this isn't what I wanted. We've both had a bit too much to drink..."

Remus looked up and immediately closed his eyes. What had he done? How could he have been so stupid? Of all the things he could have done why had he tried to kiss him? "Sirius..."

"No, Remus - don't," Sirius began as he took a step back and ran his hand through his hair. "This...this didn't happen, this can't happen. We're a bit carried away by the occasion - it happens. I just...I wanted to make you feel better and I've just made it a whole lot worse - like usual..."

Remus couldn't concentrate on what the man in front of him was saying, the weight of his actions weighing him down - he'd ruined everything and he could tell that with just looking at the man in front of him. "Sirius, I'm sorry - that, it, the whole thing - I didn't mean anything I think..."

"You're drunk," Sirius said quickly before adding. "So am I, we're both drunk and...and we both know that people aren't themselves when they're drunk - look at Peter..."

"I'm so sorry, Sirius...I didn't, and now...everything's chan..."

"It doesn't change anything...ever. It doesn't change what I said earlier either - I still mean all that..." Sirius looked at him sadly before turning back towards the noise of the guests. "We'll forget all about this tomorrow, completely forget about it when we are less...drunk. We should get back, people will be missing us..."

Remus nodded his head dully - why was he upset? He knew that this would have happened - he knew nothing else could come of it. Why was he surprised? Maybe, a part of him whispered, maybe because never in his wildest dreams did he expect Sirius to kiss him back like he had done. "Sirius?"

Sirius stopped walking towards the house and turned, waiting on him to speak.

"If we weren't 'drunk', would it have ever happened?"

Sirius looked down and then towards the hall before looking back at Remus. "There's a lot you have to think about before you get involved with a friend at any stage, Moony. And the number one thing you have to consider is whether you're willing to lose that friend for the sake of something else - I would never risk that and, and that's...that's why I never get involved with people I care too much about losing."

Remus forced a smile and nodded his head. "That why we can expect to get invites to your wedding when you're marrying somebody we've never met before?"

Sirius gave a hollow smile. "You know it. It's...easier to risk hurting someone you've learned to love as opposed to hurting someone you were destined to love. You understand? It's not good to hurt anyone but the damage isn't as great if it's not the latter..."

Remus nodded his head, not really letting the meaning of the words through. His felt his insides mash up as he tried to work out why he had risked everything. "Don't, don't think bad of me for this..."

"Remus, I'd never think badly of you - you'd have to do something a whole lot worse that that," Sirius said finally with a warm smile. "Don't worry about it. Come on in, we need to give Prongs some support, he's been cornered by the in-laws."

Remus forced a smile as he nodded his head. "You go on in, I'll be there in a minute - just want to clear my head."

Sirius sighed and hesitated for a second before taking a step back. "Right, don't take too long though, okay?"

Remus nodded his head and turned away. What had he done? He looked up at the sky and struggled to keep his emotions in check. Why had he been as stupid? He opened his eyes and saw the moon - it mocked him, his emotions, his pain. It reminded him that this was it - this was it. This was his life - watching his friends leave him one by one and the only thing he would be left with would be himself and an orb in the sky - that would be the one constant. Love...wasn't even an option and he didn't even have the luxury of dreaming it could ever be, not anymore. He had robbed himself of that dream because he'd foolishly let his heart decide on what to do. And look what had happened...

He brought his hand up to his eyes and took a deep breath - why did they torture him like this? Why couldn't he have one thing that was simple? Why couldn't he be remotely normal? Who, in their right mind, would want him? How could he blame Sirius?

He bit his lip and immediately he tasted where Sirius' lips had been moments earlier - where they would never be again. How could it have felt so right yet...somehow not be?

"Moony? Oh Mooooony...where are you?"

He shook his head and removed his hand as he heard Peter's slurred voice and he began walking back to the house - there would be plenty of time for his self-pity but this was not the time, or the day. Today was his friend's day - it was a happy day and he would enjoy it. He walked in the hall and immediately felt a broad smile appear on his face as his three friends walked over to him. James and Sirius were supporting an extremely drunk Peter. "Peter, are you all right? You look a bit wobbly there..."

"Re...Remus, I just want...want you to know that...that I...I love you. You guys...you guys are the best and even though...even though James has gone and married...the old ball and chain I want you to know that even that won't be enough to...to...stop us. We're staying...stayin' this close for...forever! Am I right?"

James nodded his head as he stifled a laugh and looked at Remus with a grin. "Right you are, Peter my man. Nothing will stop the four of us from being like this for a while yet...even the 'old ball and chain' as you so affectionately call my wife..."

Peter grabbed a hold of James and hugged him tight as Sirius looked at Remus with a smile. "I told you he was drunk..."

"How do you think he's still standing?"

James looked at Sirius desperately as he began to laugh. "Um, guys? Some help here? Peter seems to be wanting to take me out of the game..."

Sirius shook his head and gave a low laugh as Peter and James fell on the floor in a heap. "Now look at this, James - lying on a heap on the floor on your wedding day?" He shook his head in mock disgust. "Whatever will the Dursleys say? Between your messy hair, lack of social standing and deplorable manners you may never get an invite to see them again..."

Remus walked over and looked at James with a smile as he struggled to get the now unconscious Peter off him feebly. "You could probably use a hand, couldn't you?"

"No, I enjoy lying here looking up at the ceiling - it saves me from enduring Lily's bloody sister and her equally charming husband."

"Well, in that case..." Remus began as he walked away, "I'll leave you there."

Sirius laughed as James struggled to a seated position. "Who would have thought that Peter would be the one to sabotage you on your wedding day?"

"And who would've thought that you two would be the last two standing after a night on the tiles? It's a night of surprises..."

Remus smiled as his friends continued their good natured teasing and Sirius helped James to his feet. He sighed as he looked on at them - how could he have been so selfish? How could he let anything get to him on a day like today? Look at what he had, even if it was only until they all went off and did their own thing - he still had them. He had a family who were as close as brothers could ever be. And that would be enough for him. He wouldn't risk that for anything.

"So, did you clear your head?"

He turned around at the whispered question to see Sirius standing next to him. He smiled and nodded his head. "I think I've got things sorted into some semblance of order..."

"So...you understand what I meant earlier, don't you? You know why...you understand..."

Remus nodded and turned away from Sirius. "I know what you meant - and you're right, now that I'm sobering up I can hardly remember anything...you were right."

Sirius reached out for his arm. "Not that..."

Remus dodged out of Sirius' reach - he couldn't have it made any harder. "So, do you think we should wake Peter now or just leave him there on the floor?"

Sirius looked at him for a second before nodding his head in recognition of what Remus was doing and turning his gaze to Peter. "Um, well - the odds are that he'll make a fool of himself if he's awake but he could end up seriously damaged if we leave him there..."

"So, physical versus emotional pain? I vote humiliation - lets wake him up."

Sirius gave a small smile and walked on. "Good call, Moony. Good call..."

Remus nodded his head as he watched Sirius help Peter get up and felt himself smile sadly. He couldn't dodge the weight he carried in his chest but outwardly he could disguise it with a smile - no one would ever have to know. He'd had his one moment of weakness and it had been resolved in all ways apart from in his own heart. His heart that kept screaming out for something it couldn't have, screaming out against what his head kept telling him - he just had to work out how he could pacify the two so he could get on with his life instead of fighting his own feelings. But, until he came to that resolution he would just have to disguise the turmoil he was in - it was just one more facade he had to learn to hide. One more part he had subdue. One more contradiction he could put into the list - man/beast, love/hate, desire/disgust, normal/freak, right/wrong and heart/head...it wasn't anything new.

In the end, it was just one more secret he had to keep, one that he had to keep hidden under the mask of normality so that no one would ever know. Ever. And it was the right decision - his decision. He'd made a good call and now all he had to do was live with it. He just had a horrible feeling that living with it might prove to be the hard part.

~fini~

//
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