thing that I rue, because I absolutely love James/Remus or James/Sirius stories
is that they can never really end happily unless the story is an AU. WARNING: THIS STORY HAS A PG-13 RATING.
“I swear, you have a memory like an elephant, Jamie,” his father always
says as the bespectacled six-year-old throws his words back in his face time
after time after time.
James scratches at the wood of the
desk with his half-chewed fingernails as he rattles off the list of ingredients
and properties and procedure from memory, and Remus-with-the-steady-hands follows
James crows and thrusts his fist in the air,
waving the paper around like a flag. History of Magic—the only class where all
that you need is the ability to regurgitate facts onto paper, and thus the only
class where James beats out Remus without fail. He turns to face his lanky,
grinning friend, and fights the impulse to stick his tongue out.
A second later he realizes that he’s
James Potter, and so does not need to fight any such impulses. He pokes his
tongue out, and Remus responds in kind. Sirius laughs his curious bark of a
laugh and throws his arms around them, and the three of them prowl the hallways
like a pack. Peter follows as an almost-not-quite-there, and James absurdly
thinks that the smaller boy is rather like a hangnail.
He remembers, with sharp intensity, the
smile on Remus’ face when he tells him about his newly discovered redheaded
angel called Lily Evans. (She was always there before, but now just seems…even
more there. Like her hair got redder and her eyes became greener and she became
more noticeable.) His friend’s lips curl up, and he shows a little tooth, but
James thinks that the smile has an edge to it. A razor-sharp edge, and James
looks closer and the smile looks more like a mockery of a smile, and before
Remus turns away, James thinks he looks as if the smile would shatter into a
million pieces if he says one more word.
James thinks there’s something wrong
with his head.
He wonders if
it’s possible to lose the brakes in
when he walks from class to class in the hallway. He searches and finds Lily, Lily
who is laughing with her friends and walking slowly, and his head keeps turning
and turning until he sees Remus, walking straight and brisk, bag slung over one
over and over. He looks for white skin, and long fiery hair, and brilliant
green eyes, and instead finds himself gazing after a long, lithe body and smoldering
amber eyes and scars that oddly enough add to the allure that is Remus Lupin.
the way to solve this problem is to walk through the halls with his eyes
The look on Remus’ face after the Shrieking
Shack incident will stay engraved in James’ mind for months on end. The night
seems to go by as if he were looking through someone else’s eyes. He sees
himself shove Sirius hard enough to knock him to the ground, and he runs off to
pull Snape out of the tunnel, and he stands there impassively as Dumbledore tells
him that he has shown exceptional bravery, and only when his feet take him to
the hospital wing does he snap back down to earth. Dumbledore has been there
already, and when his footsteps echo in the silent room, Remus looks up at James
with a mixture of pain and betrayal, and James feels his heart wrench
excruciatingly. He wants to take the bruised and battered boy in his arms and
hold him until that raw look is gone from his eyes, but instead he makes some mumbled,
ineffectual comments about how Sirius is an idiot, and don’t worry, Snape won’t
tell anyone, and it wasn’t your fault, it wasn’t your fault. James reaches to
embrace his friend, falters, and grips his shoulder firmly instead. He leaves and
throws up in the bathroom sink.
Sirius stares up at him coolly, blood
dripping steadily from his nose, robes ripped all over. James clenches and
unclenches his fists and wonders why his churning stomach hasn’t settled yet.
He hears his harsh breathing mirrored in the black-haired boy bleeding on the
floor, and they say nothing to break the scalding silence.
He stares at
Sirius and realizes that he has never seen that look in his eyes before. His
gray eyes are flat. Dead. He makes no move to mop up his blood, and James
realizes just how much pain is hidden in there, how much it is killing Sirius.
realizes that when he finally hurts Remus (for it is inevitable), Sirius will
be there to pick up the pieces.
on his heel and leaves.
James thinks that if he forgets everything
else in his life—his name, his parents, even magic itself—he should remember
this, this collage of sensations, for the rest of time. He gasps at Remus’ hands
on his skin and lips on his lips, Remus murmuring broken words into his neck
and collapsing on top of him. He shuts his eyes and nearly breaks down from the
beauty and power around him, and his arms tighten around the other boy as if
they were meant to be there. Remus’ tongue traces his jaw, and oh god, his
teeth are cutting into James’ lips, and James thinks that this is perfection in
Sirius knows. Sirius knows without
asking, without them saying a word. They appear for dinner, calm and collected,
and he looks between them as if following an invisible cord, and he smiles a
smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.
he says coolly, turning back to his potatoes.
Cool seems to be the word to describe their
friendship after that; cold would be
even better. Sirius tells Remus tells James, and James tells Remus tells
Sirius. (Later on, when he and Lily go into hiding he thinks that the
atmosphere of distrust and tension is almost exactly the same).
James remembers things that he would rather
not remember along with the things that he wants to hold with him forever.
Remus is one of the latter. The day of his parents’ deaths is the former.
gets a black letter in the owl post and sits frozen to his seat for god-knows how
long. Remus gently takes him by the elbow and leads him away. They sit in
silence in their dorm, holding each other tight. James knows that his parents
were killed because they were Aurors. He knows that now he could never become
anything but an Auror.
looks at Remus and knows what he has to do.
When did you become a coward, he asks
himself. Yes, there are obstacles to being with Remus, but there are obstacles
in every relationship, and you were never one for easy relationships.
cowardice, he argues back at himself. I can’t let Remus get hurt because of
something I want to become. I can’t ever
let him get hurt…
James wishes that he could break up with
Remus with his eyes closed. It would make things so much easier. He breaks off
the bewildering (absolutely perfect) relationship that they have with one snap,
and watches as Remus stops looking at him with hurt in his eyes, starts
drifting just a bit further from him, starts looking at Sirius with the look he
used to give James.
remembers things that he wishes he wouldn’t remember, sometimes. Slowly he woos
Lily Evans over, and pretends like his heart isn’t breaking every day.
remembers too much.
finds Lily to forget.