Summary: After Sirius is sent to Azkaban, Remus tries to find warmth and comfort in the arms of another. Fourth story in the “Lovers for Tonight” series.
Disclaimer: Sin Wildsmith is mine. The world he inhabits and the people he meets belong to J.K. Rowling.
Author’s Note: In the story, “Go Back to Being Friends,” I gave Peter an older brother named Simon, and I gave Simon a friend named St. John Wildsmith. St. John is pronounced “Sinjin,” and this St. John has acquired the nickname “Sin.” With a name like that, he just HAD to have his own story.
“Hey, Sin, I’m home. Mmm, whatever you’re making smells wonderful.”
St. John Wildsmith glanced over his shoulder at his flatmate, and then returned his attention to the chicken he was sautéing. “It never fails. Dinner’s almost ready, and Simon comes home.”
“I have impeccable timing.”
“No, you just love food.”
“Ha ha. Let me go change, and I’ll set the table.” Simon dropped a briefcase next to the desk in the living room and then headed for his bedroom.
St. John selected a bottle of white wine from the small wine rack suspended on the wall and chilled it with a charm. He left it on the table for Simon to open and pour. He was pretty sure Simon would want a few glasses of wine tonight; an owl had arrived from his mother.
Simon returned to the kitchen, now clad in a running suit made of some artificial Muggle fabric.
“God, your mother would die if she saw you dressed like that instead of ‘proper wizard attire’.”
Simon laughed. “Is this your latest ploy to get me to diet? Mention my mother and spoil my appetite.”
“No, you got an owl from her today. I left the envelope on the desk.”
Simon placed the plates and flatware he was carrying in a pile on the table. He grabbed two wine glasses, opened the bottle with his wand, and poured himself a glass before going to the desk. He read the note silently before announcing its contents to St. John. “Looks like she’s definitely having that graduation party for Peter—and you’re coming with me.”
“There’s no way it says that,” St. John said as he added a splash of wine to the chicken. “Prudence Pettigrew would rather invite a vampire to the party than me. At least vampires only suck on necks.”
“Jokes like that are the reason she hates you,” Simon pointed out. “And you’re right, she didn’t invite you. It says,” Simon switched into a falsetto mimicry of his mother, “The party will only be for relatives, Peter’s friends, and your late father’s and my friends.”
“There you are. I don’t fit in any of the above categories.”
Simon took a large swallow of wine. “Tough shit. I can’t handle my ‘when are you getting married’ mother, my busybody aunts, and my insufferable older brother alone. You’re coming with me.”
“All right, I’ll come and protect you, but only if you promise to give me a big wet kiss right in front of your Aunt Constance.”
Simon snorted. “Woofter.”
Sin blew him a kiss and laughed.
Simon had taken the precaution of sending his mother an owl just before the party started and informing her that St. John was coming with him to the party. The owl arrived so close to the start of the party that she did not have time to send a reply and forbid St. John’s attendance. The note merely gave her time to have an apoplectic fit before the party began instead of when Sin walked in the door. They also took the precaution of wearing ‘proper wizard attire’ so she couldn’t find fault with their clothing. So what if Sin wore a purple robe—he was reasonably sure pure-blood and proud-of-it Prudence Pettigrew would have no clue what purple signified to Muggles.
Sin poured himself another glass of the non-alcoholic punch that had been provided for the snot-nosed younger relatives. He wasn’t above saying an alcohol-induced sexual innuendo in front of one of one of Simon’s relatives, but he wanted the alcohol-induced part to be merely an act. He preferred timing his more outrageous moments for when and where they were most called for.
He glanced around and saw that Simon had managed to extricate himself from his Aunt Charity, and was now talking with his younger brother Peter.
“No rescue required,” he muttered to himself. He decided to wander down to the lower garden and enjoy a little solitude among the willows and irises growing along a stream bank. Lunch had just been served, so the brats would be busy inhaling food instead of getting wet and muddy. However, he found that he wasn’t the only one who had slipped away. One of Peter’s friends, the brown-haired one, was sitting on the stream bank, leaning back against a large willow trunk. He had looked up at the sound of Sin’s approach and smiled faintly.
“Mind if I share the peace and quiet?” Sin asked.
“Not at all,” the teenager replied as he scooted over to his left, giving Sin room to share the mossy bank and tree trunk backrest. He gestured for Sin to sit beside him.
Sin did so and offered his hand. “St. John, but call me Sin. Most people do.”
“So why did you feel the need to slip away? Are you just generally anti-social, or does the extended Pettigrew clan inspire you to run screaming too?
Remus smiled and turned back to contemplating the stream. Sin found himself thinking that Remus was really quite attractive when he smiled. He wasn’t Dead Sexy in an obvious way, like Peter’s friend Sirius, but he was attractive. “Nice smile, beautiful skin, strong jaw—”
“I –um—Mrs. Pettigrew doesn’t like me very much. I guess I just needed to escape her glare for awhile,” Remus said.
Sin laughed. “She couldn’t possibly dislike you more than she does me.”
“Don’t be so sure about that.” Remus smiled again and gave Sin a sideways look before looking at the stream again.
“Gorgeous eyes,” Sin thought. “Warm brown with gold flecks. I wouldn’t mind seeing those closer. Very close.” He was highly aware of the way Remus’s side was pressed against his own as they leaned back against the same tree trunk. “I wonder. If he’s straight, he probably wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting this close to me. Let’s see if he knows I’m gay.”
“Well, dear Prudence hates me because she’s afraid that I’m infecting her precious son with homosexuality, that my decadent and evil ways will rub off on Simon. Part of it is Simon’s fault. We’re best friends, flatmates, and that’s it. But, he got tired of his mother fixing him up with every buck-toothed and knobby-kneed daughter of her friends, so he moved in with me, told her I’m gay, and let her draw her own conclusions about the two of us.”
Remus chuckled. Sin was pleased to note that Remus did not move away from him, not even slightly.
“So, Remus, why does she dislike you?”
“Um—let’s just say she’s afraid my evil ways will infect Peter.”
Sin had to laugh at that. Not only was Peter as straight as they came, but Sin simply couldn’t imagine him in the throes of passion with anyone. He’d known Peter since he was a chubby little five year old with one finger up his nose, and a part of him would always see Peter that way. “You and Peter—no way.” Then he stopped laughing abruptly. Remus was smiling, but he hadn’t laughed. “You two aren’t, are you?”
“No,” Remus said, shaking his head vehemently. “Peter’s straight.”
“Ahh, he said that Peter’s straight. He didn’t say, ‘We’re straight’.”
“MOONY! Where are you?” a voice called. Remus turned to look around the tree and back toward the voice.
“Down here,” he called as he waved a hand at the speaker. When he settled back against the tree again, he shifted slightly further to his left. The change was barely perceptible, but Sin had been so aware of Remus’s nearness that he had to notice the change. He wondered if Remus was still in the closet and didn’t want his friend to see him sitting so close to someone openly queer.
“Dead Sexy Sirius,” Sin thought as Remus’s friend came into view.
“Why are you off by your—” Sirius stopped both speaking and walking the moment he saw Sin. He looked between them, measuring the sliver of space between them with his eyes. Some almost hidden expression—not quite anger, disapproval?—was on his face. Then he smiled very deliberately as he extended a hand to Sin. “Hello. St. John, isn’t it? Simon’s friend?”
“That’s right. And you’re Sirius, right? We met at a Pettigrew Christmas party once. As I recall, you were flirting with the prettiest girl in the room.”
“That sounds like Sirius,” Remus said smiling. Sin was really starting to like his smile.
“Second prettiest,” Sirius grinned. “I couldn’t flirt with Lily and hope to live through the night. Come back to the party, Remus. All the food is out, but it might not last long if all of Peter’s relatives eat like him. Come eat something.”
Remus extended a hand up to Sirius and let him pull him to his feet. Either Sirius pulled too hard, or Remus overbalanced on the slight slope. They ended up pressed chest to chest. Sirius wrapped one arm around Remus’s back and looked very deliberately into Sin’s eyes. The message was clear. “He’s mine.”
“So,” Sin thought, “not disapproval. Jealousy.” Remus stepped back from Sirius, still smiling. There was a flush on his cheeks that hadn’t been there before, but Sin didn’t think it was embarrassment. It was happiness.
“Are you coming, Sin?” Remus asked.
Sin got to his feet unassisted. “Yeah, I’d better see if Simon needs help escaping from one of his aunts.” He led the way back up the path, allowing Remus and Sirius to lag behind. He thought he heard the sound of a quick kiss, but he waited for a count of three before looking back over his shoulder at them. They walked side by side, not holding hands, but occasionally allowing the backs of their hands to brush against each other.
Sin didn’t mind a challenge; he actually enjoyed them. Sirius’s possessive marking of his territory would not, in and of itself, deter him. Sin had the impression that despite his ‘hands off my boyfriend’ attitude, Sirius was not one to date any one person exclusively. And Sin didn’t like men with double standards in their dating. If that was his attitude, he deserved a little competition for Remus. However, Sin was not enough of a cad to interfere with true love, either. Remus’s happy smile and flushed cheeks after being held by Sirius spoke volumes for how he felt.
He looked around for Simon and spotted him standing between his Aunt Constance and Uncle Edgar. Simon was silently pleading for rescue. Sin laughed and blew him a kiss, reminding his friend of their deal. Then he strode forward, threw an arm around Simon’s shoulders and whispered to the aunt and uncle, “I really need to take a piss, but I’m too drunk to remember how to do it. Let me borrow Simon to show me how.” Then he pulled Simon into the house.
“God, you’re dreadful,” Simon muttered, shaking his head. “I’m starting to see why my mother can’t stand you. And where were you, anyway? I’ve been trying to escape from them forever.”
Sin flopped down on a very uncomfortable Regency sofa with a sigh. “Make up your mind, Mate. You want me to rescue you, but you criticize how I do it.”
“Exactly. You could have said—”
Sin didn’t want to hear how he should have handled the situation, so he decided to interrupt by answering the earlier question. “I was down by the stream flirting with a gorgeous young thing.”
“Who?” Simon seemed quite surprised that the guest list had included anyone for Simon to flirt with.
“One of Peter’s friends, Remus. The one with brown hair and the beautiful brown and gold eyes.”
Simon frowned. “One of Peter’s friends? They’re just kids.”
“Au contraire, mon ami. They just graduated, so in the eyes of the Ministry, they are full-fledged adults. And trust me, he’s not a virgin.”
“Oh? I didn’t think you were gone from the party long enough to seduce anyone.”
Sin laughed. He briefly considered pointing out that Simon had just moments ago said that he was gone ‘forever,’ but refrained. “No. You know Peter’s friend Sirius, the one so gorgeous that he could make even you hard?”
“Yes, I know the one you mean. And no, he doesn’t.”
“Anything you say, Closet Case. Anyway, my point is, if you were Sirius’s boyfriend, would you still be a virgin?”
“Remus and Sirius? You’re kidding. Peter’s such a little homophobe—he’d just curl up and die if he found out two of his best friends—two of his dorm mates—are gay.”
“That’s the impression I got, and you know I’m usually right.”
“Hmm.” Simon thought for a moment and then shrugged. “Come on, let’s go eat.”
* * * * *
As the party went on, Sin noticed that he couldn’t get within three yards of Remus without feeling Sirius’s eyes bore into him. And if he got within a yard, Sirius was on the move to stand beside Remus. “Possessive bugger,” he thought. He almost decided not to speak to Remus again, but then he saw Sirius flirting with one of his female classmates. It was possible that he just flirted with women to cover up his relationship with Remus, but perhaps it was something more. When he saw Remus staring sadly at his feet while Sirius flirted with the young woman beside them, his decision was made.
“Simon, do me an enormous favor, would you?” he quietly asked his friend.
“Only if it gets me out of kissing you in front of my aunt,” Simon replied.
Sin sighed dramatically and threw an arm over his eyes. “All right, spurn my advances. Break my heart. See if I care.” He dropped his arm and spoke earnestly again. “I want a couple of minutes to speak with Remus alone, but Sirius won’t let me anywhere near him. Help me.”
Simon laughed. “You bounce back quickly from a broken heart, don’t you? All right, I’ll do it. Give me a minute to figure out how to do it, but I’ll do it.” Just then, Remus wandered away from the group surrounding Sirius and toward Peter. His path was going to take him past the French doors into the house. “Go get him, Fairy Boy. I’ll run interference with his boyfriend. Good luck.”
Simon headed for Sirius and his admirers, and Sin headed for Remus. He reached him just in front of the open door.
“Remus, could I speak to you for a minute?”
Sin glanced over his shoulder and saw that Sirius had his back to them as he spoke to Simon. “Could we step inside?” Remus nodded and followed him in. Sin was careful to move far enough into the room that Sirius would not see them through the open door.
“I don’t know if you and Sirius date other people or not, but if you do date other people, I’d really like to see you again.”
“Me?” Remus looked quite surprised.
“No, your evil twin who looks exactly like you.” Sin suddenly realized that with a name like Remus, he just might have a twin. He was very glad he not spoken that flippant comment aloud. “Yes. Would you like to go out sometime?”
Remus glanced toward the French doors, toward Sirius. “I’m not sure. It might not be a good idea.”
“I understand. If you change your mind, you can get my address from Peter. I share a flat with his brother Simon, but I think I already told you that.”
Remus nodded and smiled. “Thanks for asking me, St. John. And, um, would you do me a favor? Peter has no idea about Sirius and me.”
“He won’t hear it from Simon or me,” Sin assured him.
“Thanks. Are Sirius and I really that obvious?”
“No, I was just watching closely.”
Sin watched Remus go back outside and then sat down, frowning. He knew better than to walk out with him and risk angering the possessive boyfriend. He didn’t care if Sirius became angry with him, but he didn’t want him angry with Remus. Something about the way Remus had said, “It might not be a good idea,” worried him. Remus almost seemed afraid. Sin hoped he was just being paranoid.
-Written March 2003