Summary: Remus and his pet dog run into Remus’s former lover while in Diagon Alley. Fifth and last 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.” The story “When Moony Met Sin,” is, as the title suggests, the story of Remus’s relationship with Sin. This story takes place twelve years later.
When Sin Met Snuffles
Sin paused outside Quality Quiddtich Supplies and eavesdropped on the conversation of three young boys, perhaps thirteen years old. He hoped to get some idea of a suitable birthday present for an eleven-year-old boy, but they were discussing only brooms and a broom would not do. His godson already had a perfectly good broom, and Sin had promised Simon and Kitty that he wouldn’t give John a Firebolt until he was going into at least his second year at Hogwarts.
He resumed on his way, hoping to be inspired as he looked at the fronts of various shops and watched the young witches and wizards getting an early start on their school shopping. As usual, he constantly scanned the crowd for familiar faces. The magical community was small enough that it was rare for Sin to pass through Diagon Alley without recognizing several people. Sin knew many people from school, from work, or socially, and he had always found it beneficial to maintain his friendships and acquaintances. So it was not a great surprise when he recognized a former lover sitting outside Florean Fortescue’s ice cream parlor. However, this particular former lover was a rare sight in Diagon Alley, and Sin crossed the street to say hello to Remus.
There had been a time, perhaps for almost a year after their break-up, when Remus Lupin would have been the absolute last person Sin Wildsmith wanted to run into. A werewolf. He had kept it a secret that he was a werewolf. Remus and Sin may not have loved one another, but Sin had believed that they were at least honest with each other. Hadn’t Remus made a point of confessing that he was in love with another before they slept together the first time? But the more important confession, the fact that he wasn’t even human, that Remus had kept to himself.
When his shock at learning that his lover wasn’t human and his anger that his lover had kept something so important a secret finally wore off, Sin reflected on the few times that werewolves had crept into their conversations. He realized that he had made it clear to Remus that he wasn’t ready to hear the truth, and he conceded that perhaps it wasn’t entirely Remus’s fault that the truth was withheld. Simon was slower to forgive Remus than Sin was; best friends are like that.
Although conversing with the dark-haired teenager sitting at his table, Remus was watching the crowd. He spotted Sin approaching, smiled slightly, and stood to greet him.
“Hello, Gorgeous,” Sin said as he shook Remus’s outstretched hand. He would have kissed him in greeting, for old time’s sake, but Remus’s body language, holding his hand far out in front of himself, quite literally forced Sin into keeping his distance. Sin surmised the teenager was the reason. “Still in the closet, Remus? Don’t worry. I won’t say anything too incriminating,” he thought.
“Hello, Sin,” Remus replied, but his words were almost drowned out by the sound of growling. An enormous black dog emerged from under the table. Sin had mistaken the dark fur for a shadow until it moved. The dog, teeth exposed in a snarl and hackles raised in anger, put itself between the two men. Sin immediately backed off a few steps.
“Snuffles! Be polite!” Remus scolded.
The dog ceased growling, but his stance and stare remained threatening. The black-haired boy was now standing beside the dog, one hand on the ruff of its neck as he looked at Sin warily. For a brief moment, Sin wondered which one, Remus or the boy, would the dog obey. Or would it obey either? The dog seemed to have taken an instant dislike to Sin, and it was large enough to do him serious harm.
“Snuffles, be nice,” Remus commanded as he stepped up beside the dog as well. He put a hand on the boy’s shoulder and made the introductions. “Sin, I’d like you to meet Harry Potter. Harry, this is an old friend of mine, St. John Wildsmith.” Harry was about to shake Sin’s hand, but the dog’s low growl made him falter. Remus rubbed the fur between the dog’s ears. “It’s all right, Harry. Ignore Snuffles.” The corner of his mouth quirked up in a slight smile. “Sin doesn’t bite.”
Sin chuckled at that—“Werewolf humor”—and a half second later, Harry did as well. It seemed to break the ice, and Harry shook Sin’s hand. The enormous dog whimpered. The dog’s head drooped, and suddenly it seemed less the image of an enormous guard dog than it did an unwanted puppy. A very, very, large unwanted puppy.
Remus continued to pet the dog with one hand while he gestured back toward the table on which Harry’s ice cream sundae was melting. “Would you like to sit down, Sin?”
“Thanks—just for a few minutes.” Sin grabbed a chair from an empty table and pulled it up. He was nervous for a moment as the huge dog approached, but through the glass tabletop, he saw the dog sit between Remus’s legs and rest his head on Remus’s thigh. Remus kept petting the dog ceaselessly. Sin turned his attention to Harry. “Well, I have to say it’s a pleasure to meet you, Harry. I’ve seen you play Quidditch a few times, and you’re damn good.”
“Thanks.” Harry had looked down at his ice cream in an embarrassed way when Sin said that it was a pleasure to meet him, but looked up again smiling when he heard why Sin was pleased to meet him.
“At one match I attended, one of the bludgers would not leave you alone. It broke your arm, and you made the catch anyway. That takes some kind of determination,” Sin said admiringly.
Harry grinned. “Well, our team captain told me to catch the snitch or die trying, so—” He dove back into his ice cream still grinning.
“You know, Harry,” Remus said in a slight scolding tone, “most people don’t take that sort of statement literally.” Then Remus smiled. “Of course, your dad always played Quidditch as if it were a matter of life or death too.”
“What brings you to Diagon Alley, Remus?” Sin asked. “You’re a rare sight here.”
“Harry needed some better-fitting Muggle clothes, and since we needed to go to Gringott’s first, we decided to shop in London.” Sin had already noticed that Remus and Harry wore Muggle clothing, and now he noticed that the two shopping bags beside Remus bore the names of Muggle shops. “And of course, no trip to Diagon Alley is complete without a stop at Fortescue’s.”
“I’m trying to do some shopping myself. Maybe you can help me, Harry.” The enormous dog lifted its head and growled again, but Remus seemed to have it adequately restrained. Sin tried to ignore the dog. “My godson’s eleventh birthday is coming up, and I don’t know what to get him. What was the best gift you got when you were eleven or thereabouts? That is, if you got anything memorable.”
Harry got a look on his face that Sin couldn’t quite interpret. “Eleven? Yeah, I remember exactly what I got for my eleventh birthday, my owl.”
Sin slapped the table and grinned. “An owl! It’s perfect. John will be starting Hogwarts in the fall, and he’ll love having his own owl to carry messages for him.”
“You’d better run it by Kitty first,” Remus cautioned. “Mother’s tend to take a dim view of pets unless they pre-approve them.”
“True,” Sin agreed. “O.K., Harry, what else did you get? Just in case.”
Harry frowned and stirred his spoon in the melted remnants of his ice cream. “Just my owl.” He continued looking down through the glass table at the dog and suddenly brightened. “But last year, I got a really cool pocketknife that can pick any lock. Very useful.” Under the table, Harry extended a hand to the dog and received a few licks. “And the Christmas before that, I got my Firebolt. Very, very useful.”
The dog barked and wagged his tail enthusiastically.
“He’s getting that when he turns twelve. It wouldn’t be fair to give him a new broomstick right before first year,” Sin said. “But while we’re on the subject, give me an honest critique of the Firebolt. What would you improve if you could, and what would we be crazy to change?”
“It’s not an idle question, Harry,” Remus explained. “Sin is one of the founders of the company that makes them.” The dog whimpered and sank down onto the ground, his head between his front paws. “But I think we kept Snuffles here long enough.”
Harry nodded vehemently. As they all rose to their feet, the huge dog again interposed itself between his master and Sin.
“Well, Harry, thank you again for solving my gift dilemma. Allow me to return the favor. I’m always getting offered complimentary tickets to Quidditch matches. What’s your favorite team?”
Harry glanced down at the dog. “No, that’s all right. I don’t need—”
“O.K., what’s your best friend’s favorite team?”
Harry grinned. “The Chudley Cannons.”
“He likes the underdogs, does he? I think the Cannons are playing the Wasps in August. I’ll see what I can do.”
“It wouldn’t be safe for Harry to go without me,” Remus said.
Sin nodded. “Harry might be ‘The Boy Who Lived’ to most of the magical community, but to some out there, like Sirius Black, Harry is ‘The Boy We Want Dead’.” “I’ll try to get you four tickets,” Sin replied with a grin. “You can bring a date if you want, Gorgeous. Do you have anyone to keep you warm at night?” The dog growled fiercely. Sin raised an eyebrow and looked down at it. “Very protective of its master.” “I wasn’t volunteering for the job,” Sin told Snuffles. “Just asking.”
The growling stopped and Remus chuckled. “Snuffles keeps me plenty warm,” he said. The dog rubbed an ear against Remus’s leg, and Remus resumed stroking the dog’s head.
Sin shook Harry’s hand good-bye. He wanted to shake Remus’s as well, but he eyed the dog warily. Remus held the dog’s collar with his left hand and extended his right.
“Nice to see you again, Sin.”
“The pleasure was mine. Now I have an excuse to mention your name in front of Dear Prudence at John’s birthday party. She always turns such a lovely shade of magenta when I do.”
“Are you really all right, Remus?”
Remus smiled—a real, true, genuine smile. “Better than I’ve been in a long, long time.”
“Good, but if you need to talk, you know where I live. Good-bye, Harry. Good-bye, Snuffles.”
“Good-bye, Sin,” Remus answered, and Sin disappeared into the crowd.
Remus grabbed the two shopping bags and handed one to Harry. As they headed back toward the Leaky Cauldron and home, Remus and Snuffles flanked Harry, just as they had done most of the afternoon.
“He seemed nice enough,” Harry said quietly. “Why does Sirius dislike him so much?”
“Either guilt by association—his best friend is Simon Pettigrew, one of Peter’s older brothers—in which case, I’d be very disappointed in you, Padfoot.” Remus and Sirius met each other’s gaze for a moment before both resumed watching the crowd flowing around them. “Or, more likely, Sirius has correctly deduced that I dated Sin at some point in the past,”—Sirius whimpered—“and is being a jealous puppy.”
“I thought that might be the case,” Harry said grinning. “He called you ‘Gorgeous’ twice.”
“I prefer being called ‘Moony’,” Remus said, smiling back. “Listen up, Padfoot. I ran into Sin a bit more than a year after you went to prison, and we ended up dating for about a month. The truth is, my decision to start seeing him had very little to do with him, and everything to do with you. Desperately in love with you, and desperately wished I weren’t. However, I soon discovered that Sin was actually a very nice person. I became fond of him, but I never fell in love with him.
“We ended badly, but somehow managed to get to the friendly acquaintance stage anyway. Shortly after you escaped, he made a point of seeking me out. He knew how I felt about you, and he realized that I just might need to talk to someone who did know. All in all, I consider Sin one of my friends, and since I don’t have very many of those, I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t growl at him.”
By this time, they had reached the fireplace of the Leaky Cauldron. Remus handed the shopping bag he had carried to Harry. “Wait here with Snuffles, Harry. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Harry expected this. Remus kept his fireplace blocked from the Floo Network so they didn’t have to worry about unexpected visitors. He had temporarily taken down the ward so Harry and Snuffles could travel to the Leaky Cauldron, and now he would apparate home, make sure there was not a “welcoming party” awaiting them, and take the ward down again for their return trip. Harry sat down at an empty table, his guard dog beside him.
“I don’t suppose dogs can go to professional Quidditch matches,” Harry said to Sirius. “If Sin happens to remember those tickets, I think I’ll give them to Ron and his brothers. Remus and I will stay home with you.”
Sirius looked Harry directly in the eye and shook his shaggy head.
“It’s O.K. Fred and George would love to go. They’re the beaters on our Quidditch team. You’d really like them; they take pranks as seriously as you used to do.”
Green flames rose up in the fireplace and Remus stepped out with only a slight stumble. “I’m more accustomed to apparition,” he said with an embarrassed smile. “Ready to go, Harry? Snuffles first,” and he threw a pinch of Floo Powder into the fire.
Remus was third out of the fireplace. As soon as he was out, he reset the ward that would block the fireplace from being an entry point into the cottage. Only when that was done did he notice that Sirius wasn’t in the room. Harry had run up the stairs to put his new things away and was now coming back down with his broomstick in hand and Hedwig on his shoulder.
“Remus, is it O.K. if I go fly for awhile?”
“Of course, just—”
“—stay near the cottage. I know,” Harry said resignedly.
Remus saw that it was unnecessary to say more. Harry was no longer the reckless boy who needed to be scolded for sneaking into Hogsmeade. The final night of the Tri-Wizard Tournament had changed him. He now had first-hand knowledge of the danger he was in. He wouldn’t stray far, nor did he need to be reminded.
Remus smiled and gave Harry’s hair a quick swipe. “O.K., I’ll stop nagging.” He was pleased to see Harry smile back. Harry needed to be aware of the danger around him, but Remus knew that it would be best if Harry didn’t dwell on it constantly. “Did you see where Sirius went?”
“Harry paused with one hand one the door handle as Hedwig flew outside. “Yeah, he said he’d be right back, changed back into a dog, and ran outside.”
“Leave the door open, Harry. It’s a beautiful day outside.” Harry nodded and kicked off just outside the door. Remus planned to follow, but he didn’t want to be too obvious a shadow. He took a few moments to heat a mug of water and drop in a teabag. While it steeped, he opened a few windows to allow the cottage to air out. He took his mug with him when he went outside to watch Harry fly. Harry and Hedwig were wheeling, dipping, and rising in an elaborate game of aerial tag. How many times had he flown with his friends like that, or watched while James and Sirius did?
“We’ve got to get Ron or Hermione here for a visit. Harry needs his friends,” Remus thought. As he headed for the garden bench, he looked around for Padfoot. He had expected to find him watching Harry fly. “Where’s Sirius?” he asked when Harry swooped low enough.
“Haven’t seen him. Let me take a look around.” Harry pulled up on his broomstick and rose up in an ever-higher spiral as he looked for his godfather in the vicinity of the cottage. He looked down at Remus, now far below him, and shook his head. “Can’t see him.” Hedwig had flown off to hunt for a snack, so Harry began practicing his dives. Several times in a row, Harry pulled up only after Remus thought his own heart would stop, but Remus bit his lip and said nothing.
“He knows what he’s doing. You promised not to nag. And where is Sirius?” Remus looked around again. He was beginning to worry. “He’s never left without telling me where he’s going before. Just how badly shaken was he by running into a former lover of mine—whom I’m still friends with—whom I ordered him to be nice to? Damn, where are you, Pads?”
As if reading Remus’s mind, Harry again circled high above the cottage, scanning the area as intently as he would a Quidditch pitch. However, the black dog he sought proved as elusive as a snitch. Harry dove down to the ground and landed gracefully in front of the garden bench.
“I still don’t see him anywhere,” Harry said. There was a worried crease between his eyes. He was beginning to worry about Sirius too, albeit for different reasons. “You don’t think anything’s hap—” Harry broke off abruptly, perhaps realizing that it might be unkind to voice his fears for Sirius’s safety in front of Remus.
“Don’t worry about him, Harry,” Remus said with false cheer as he pulled out his wand. “Padfoot’s probably off chasing squirrels or something. Accio map.” A folded piece of parchment flew out the cottage window and into Remus’s waiting hand. “I made this after being reminded just how useful the Marauder’s Map could be,” Remus explained. He unfolded the parchment, tapped it with his wand, and said, “Harry’s toy griffin.” A map of the cottage and its environs began to appear. Harry moved closer to Remus’s arm to get a good look. Remus searched the woods northwest of the cottage first. Since Harry hadn’t seen him from the air, it seemed probable that Sirius was under the canopy of the trees.
“Where are you, Padfoot?” Remus felt a weird mix of apprehension and anger. “You’d better not be off in a jealous sulk somewhere. All of those times I had to sit there and smile while you talked about some girl or flirted with some girl right in front of me.” Nowhere on the map was a dot labeled “Snuffles.” “Please just be off in a jealous sulk somewhere, Sirius. Please be all right.”
“There he is!” Harry exclaimed as he pointed to “Snuffles” just coming into view at the lower edge of the parchment and heading toward them.
“That direction,” Remus said, pointing at the stone wall on a low rise south of the cottage. Harry left his broom hovering beside the bench and began walking toward the rise to meet Sirius. Remus stood undecided for a moment and then went in the opposite direction into the vegetable patch. He was angry with Sirius for being jealous—“He has no right to be jealous of anyone I saw while he was gone,” —and he was angry with Sirius for making Harry and he worry. Remus thought it might be prudent to delay speaking to Sirius, lest he say something he’d regret later. The weeds and garden pests would face the werewolf’s wrath instead.
“—but then Remus got out a map he made of the area, and we saw—”
Remus heard Harry chattering to Sirius as they drew closer. The conversation was one-sided, and Remus surmised that he would see a boy with his dog if he turned around, but he did not turn around. When a wet nose nudged him behind the ear, Remus stood up and brushed the dirt off his knees before looking at Padfoot. The dog cocked his head and looked up at him with sad eyes.
“Puppy eyes—no fair,” Remus thought as his anger melted away. “You worried us, Padfoot,” Remus said quietly.
Sirius suddenly shifted into human form. Remus knew that it was safe; the map had clearly shown that they were alone, but he felt slightly uneasy anyway. Sirius generally avoided appearing human while outside.
“I’m sorry I worried you, Love,” Sirius said as he brushed his fingers against his lover’s cheek. “Just took longer than I expected.”
“What did?” Remus asked, but Sirius had already turned away to return to the garden bench. He picked up a loose bunch of flowers that lay beside the map. Most of them were wildflowers, flowery weeds. Only someone generous could call them flowers, but when Sirius picked them up and carried them to Remus, Remus felt quite generous. Harry, grinning, sat down on the bench and pretended to be very interested in the map.
“First of all, don’t laugh at me for getting all girly with the flowers. I know you’d rather get chocolate as a peace offering, but it’s not as easy for me to get. Second, I apologize for growling at Sin. I have poor impulse control when I’m a dog.”
“Just when you’re a dog?”
“Poorer impulse control as a dog. I like someone; I wag my tail. I dislike someone; I growl. It wasn’t a conscious decision. Well, not completely.”
Remus nodded. He and his friends had had numerous discussions about their experiences as animals. Animagi behavior was controlled by a unique mix of human intellect and animal instinct. This was actually a very good thing when guiding Padfoot’s behavior toward the wolf.
“I understand, Sirius. I’m not angry with you for growling. I just hoped you wouldn’t do it again—if we ever run into him again, that is. It hardly required a peace offering,” Remus said as he nodded at the flowers in Sirius’s hand.
“No, these aren’t for that. Today I discovered that jealousy feels bloody awful.”
Remus glanced over Sirius’s shoulder at Harry. He was still grinning, obviously amused at hearing his guardian swear.
Sirius held out a few stems of a plant with several tiny daisy-like blossoms. “These are for all the times I went to Hogsmeade without you and came back reeking of perfume.” Remus took the offered flowers, and Sirius held out a few more. “These are for dancing with every girl at James and Lily’s wedding and not with you.” He held out one perfect iris.
“Stolen from Mrs. Thompson’s garden?” Remus wondered.
“This one is for that American girl in Switzerland. The one that made Prongs talk you into dumping me.”
“James did no such thing,” Remus said as much to Harry as to Sirius, “and you know it.”
Sirius held out the rest of the flowers. “And well, you can figure out what all of these are for. I was an insensitive prat and I’m very, very sorry I put you through all of that.”
Remus glanced back at the garden bench and saw Harry retreating toward the cottage. “You don’t owe me an apology; you were free to see whomever you chose.”
Sirius looked down at his feet and dug the toe of his boot into the soil at the edge of the garden bed. “I know, but it probably hurt like hell, and I’m so, so sorry I ever hurt you like that.” Sirius glanced over his shoulder and saw that Harry was gone. He dropped his voice anyway. “When Sin asked if you had someone to keep you warm at night—”
“Don’t Sirius,” Remus urged. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Sirius’s waist. Sirius held him and buried his face against Remus’s neck.
“I just got this image—”
“Please don’t, Sirius.”
“—and now I just keep remembering that night in Switzerland, and James scolding me, saying, ‘How do you think Remus feels seeing you with your tongue down some girl’s throat?’ How did I do that to you?”
“You didn’t know how I felt; you didn’t do anything wrong. But if it makes you feel better, I’ll accept your apology.”
“Thank you, Moony.”
Even as Remus kissed Sirius to show that he was truly forgiven, long-buried memories flashed in his mind: Sirius kissing that American girl as she stroked his thigh, Sirius returning to the dorm scented with jasmine perfume and sex, Sirius on the dance floor of a club with a brunette in a slinky black dress. Remus only realized that he was growling when Sirius began laughing against his mouth.
“Now who has poor impulse control?” Sirius teased. Fortunately, Sirius misunderstood. He began to kiss Remus again, deeper, and pulled Remus against himself more tightly, crushing their bodies together. Even through the many layers of clothing, Remus could feel that Sirius was aroused. The moment of jealousy faded as Remus’s mind and body responded in kind.
“Do you think Harry would notice if we disappeared into our bedroom for a while?” Sirius breathed into his lover’s ear. His breath was warm and sent a shiver of pleasure down Remus’s spine.
“I think he might.”
“Do you think Harry would mind if we disappeared into our bedroom for a while?”
Sirius was not playing fairly. He had told Remus of Harry’s fears that his presence would be an intrusion on their “honeymoon,” and both men had agreed to avoid any excessive displays of affection, at least for awhile. But Sirius was kissing his lover’s sensitive neck and grinding against his groin, counting on Remus to be the responsible one and put on the brakes.
“What if I were to say, ‘No?’ Would you be willing to walk hand in hand with me past Harry and into our room?”
Sirius stopped kissing Remus’s neck and stopped stroking the small of Remus’s back.
“I didn’t think so,” Remus said with a sly smile. He took a step back and Sirius’s hands slid onto his waist. “I have a better idea, Love. We’ll go inside, talk with Harry, make dinner—all the things we usually do in the evening. But every time I look at you, all evening long, know that I’m imagining all the ways I want to enjoy you when we do go to bed tonight.”
Sirius grinned a very naughty grin and put one arm back around Remus’s waist, walking with him toward the cottage door. “Don’t be surprised if I want to go to bed early tonight, and the more often you look at me like that, the earlier it will be.”
“Don’t be surprised if I bite you tonight. I’m feeling rather possessive for some reason.”
“I love when you bite me,” Sirius whispered back. “I love that you want to possess me, and I love knowing that I can drive you wild enough that you lose control.”
-Posted April 2003 (Before OotP)