Complications
By: Vixenette

Chapter 2

March 1976-The Marauders’ Sixth Year


Peter Pettigrew watched. He watched as two heads full of dark hair swung in close to each other, as two pairs of eyes met, as matching grins on each face lit up the common room. He didn’t notice that he was staring-only that he was glad he had his camera.

CLICK.

Sirius blinked and looked up. “Peter, damn you! You caught me on the wrong side! Everyone knows my good side is my left!” He smirked. “And James is having a bad hair day again!”

“Bugger off, prat!” James hit Sirius in the arm, causing a yelp of mock pain, and straightened up, moving away from his friend. They had been discussing a certain girl that James had been eyeing, and whether or not she was going to be at the next Quidditch match, for she had missed the last two due to reasons unknown. If James was going to impress her with his athletic prowess, he needed her to BE there.

Peter smiled and grinned at the two of them, but inside, he seethed. They thought he didn’t KNOW about James’ obsession with Lily Evans. He kept a sneer from showing on his thick lips, and pushed his limp blond hair from his gray eyes. They thought their little ‘best-friends only’ secret was safe from everyone, including Peter and Remus, but they were wrong.

At that moment, Remus Lupin himself appeared in the portrait hole, his robes folded over one arm and his tie loosened around his neck. In his other arm, he carried a book. His face was twisted in a scowl. “Sirius, you bastard!! I need to speak with you!” His voice, usually soft and low, took on a higher pitch when he was angry or excited. His brown eyes landed on the intended target, who was trying to actually hide behind James at the sight of his werewolf friend.

“Remus, old boy. Why the angry look?” Sirius grinned that grin again, the one that usually set girls sighing and teachers relaxing.

It never worked on Remus.

Loping over with grace that didn’t belong on a tall, gangly body such as his, Remus reached the space in front of James and Sirius and shoved a book in front of the handsome face of the latter. “I let you borrow my Arithmancy book for ONE LOUSY DAY, and you MARK in it!” He flipped it open to page 63, where it showed lopsided drawings of animals in the margins. What could have passed for a horse was galloping across the bottom of the page, and some type of bird flapped its wings in the corner.

“Say, Sirius, that’s a nice turkey…” James began, his eyes wide and his mouth twitching, trying not to laugh.

Sirius sighed and rolled his eyes, taking the book from Remus and pointing at the bird. “THAT, my friend, is a mockingbird.” He tried not to look up at the fuming teenager in front of him as he met James’ eyes and shrugged. “Maybe old Dumbledore should think about adding in some art classes, and get rid of some of these nonsense subjects.”

“Like Potions…” Peter murmured, and felt himself swell with a little pride as Sirius pointed at him, face lit up, and grinned again.

“Exactly, Peter! Like Potions! I mean, do we REALLY need to know what powdered root of asphodel is supposed to do to a Love Potion?” Sirius paused, wondering if he should push further. He decided to. “Or Arithmancy. What a useless subject THAT is. I mean, isn’t Art so much more fulfilling?”

"Or Music," James commented. "And there's no powdered root of asphodel in Love Potions, you wanker." Sirius made a rude gesture at him, not looking at Remus.

Peter snuck a glance at Remus’ face and sniggered. He usually felt kind of bad when Sirius got on one of his teasing sprees, because they most often involved the person who took them the worst. Remus, as predicted, looked as if his face was about to explode, his eyes bulging in rage.

But Sirius seemed to know, sometimes, when to stop. He took a deep breath, told himself to relax, and stood up, facing Remus. “Sorry, chap, we’re just playing with you. I’ll just erase these, and your book will be good as new.” He took the book back from James. “Okay?”

Remus huffed and threw himself down in the free armchair. His hair, getting slightly long, fell into a curtain in front of his eyes, but he didn't bother pushing it back. Instead, he just glared at Sirius through the strands.

"You know, Moony, I bet you'd be a smash with your hair done like this," James commented, pointing at his own hair and glancing sideways at his friend.

Sirius smirked, and Peter found himself laughing outright. "You don't DO your hair, James," he said breathlessly. "You just get out of bed and go to class. Do you even own a comb?"

"He got you there!" Sirius chuckled as he reached out to tousle James’ hair, which had the unfortunate tendency to always stand up near the back. James scowled at him and pushed his hand away.

Sirius laughed again and finished erasing the drawings from Remus' book with a spell, handing it back to the owner. Remus took it, still looking at him.

"What?" Sirius asked. "I fixed it, didn't I?" Remus just rolled his eyes. "Don't roll your eyes at me, young man. Cocky son of a bitch, aren't you?"

Remus couldn't help but laugh a little. "Yes, yes, I know. Sorry I'm such a bad influence on you, Saint Sirius." He looked around the common room, the light from the fireplace making his eyes glow orange. "I'm hungry. Who's up for a kitchen raid?"

"Not me," James groaned. He spread himself out along the couch that him and Sirius were sharing, knocking the other boy in the ribs with one of his boots and causing an offended squawk. "I'm about ready for bed. Test in Potions, tomorrow, you know. I don't think that Professor Tiggins would appreciate me falling asleep in the middle of it."

Sirius pushed at James' leg. "I'll go, Remus. They might have some of those chocolate éclairs that we had the other night..."

"Bring one back for me, if they do," Peter piped up. "I've got to finish that damnable essay for History of Magic. I swear Binns has it out for me."

"He doesn't even know who you are!" James laughed.

"Yeah," said Sirius, "he even calls you Mr. Pandafinee."

Remus nudged Sirius. "Come on, let's go before I eat YOU. Peter, I'll bring you back something, okay?" He ignored Sirius' leer as he smiled at Peter before turning and heading to the portrait hole.

"Did he just say he was going to eat me?" Sirius mused out loud. James snickered.

"I do believe he did, Padfoot."

Sirius smiled as he stared at the portrait hole. "Well, then, what am I standing around here for with you two?" He followed his werewolf friend out of the common room.


Heaven on earth-that's what chocolate was. Sirius savored the smooth, sweet taste on his tongue as he sighed, his eyes closed. He swallowed the last bit of the third éclair he had eaten and raised his hand up to lick his fingers.

More chocolate. He was undeniably the happiest man in the world. No one made better chocolate éclairs, not even his mother, who had once won first place in a cooking contest for 'Alia Black's Famous Fig Tarts'. She had won 200 galleons, and she had taken Sirius to the Muggle London Zoo, allowing him to buy as many ice cream pops as he had wanted that day.

But 'bless her,' he thought. 'She's no Hogwarts house elf.'

He opened his eyes to find a pair of warm brown ones burning into his face. Sirius returned the stare, but Remus, sitting across the table from him, seemed to be looking THROUGH him, and not AT him.

"You can have a lick, too, if you'd like," Sirius allowed himself to drawl, startling Remus out of his musings.

"What?"

Sirius bit back a chuckle, and looked Remus in the eye. "You heard me."

The other boy just shook his head. "No, I didn't. I was thinking about something else, and I guess I must have spaced out or something. What did you say?"

"Nothing important, Space Boy." Sirius ignored the irritated huff from his friend as he stood, running his hands across his gray trouser-clad lap to get the crumbs off. "Look, I got some chocolate on my shirt." He pointed to the dark brown spot marring the brilliant white on his chest.

"If you didn't inhale your food, you'd probably avoid disasters like that one," Remus commented lightly, smirking. "I didn't get even a speck on MY clothes."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah. Not a one. My clothes are perfect. Look, my shirt's not even wrinkled at the bottom where I had it tucked in earlier."

Sirius gazed at the bottom of Remus' shirt. Indeed, it was smooth and pressed. He briefly wondered how Remus could always make the school uniform look so casual, even when wearing the pressed robes over it and the tie straightened and tight. Sirius himself always looked like an uptight arse when he tied his own tie. In fact, the only time Sirius could look casual while wearing the damnable clothes was when he purposely wrinkled and stained his shirt and trousers.

"Let's go, Oh Perfect One. Can't let the night air wrinkle your precious pressed shirt."

Remus smiled and followed Sirius out of the kitchens, thanking the elves, two of the chocolate éclairs wrapped in napkins for James and Peter. The quiet of the castle pressed in around them as they walked down the corridor.

Rounding a corner, Remus almost dropped the éclairs as he rammed into Sirius, who was stopped. A hand came up over his mouth, and Remus paused, looking questioningly at the other boy.

He almost didn't hear what was said as Sirius leaned in close, hot breath in his ear. "Snape. I just heard his voice up ahead."

The Slytherin was not visible to Remus, and he didn't hear so much as a peep, but he nodded at Sirius, relaxing as his mouth was released. The two shuffled off to the side into a slightly opened door. Breathing quietly, the two stayed perfectly still as sounds of whispers came from the other side of the door.

"He DOES want a Gryffindor. That one with the light hair. You know...er...I forgot that git's name..."

Remus listened intently. He recognized the voice. It belonged to a seventh year Slytherin named Lucius Malfoy, who's elegant voice slightly raised at the end of each word, a trait so common of those who were brought up wealthy.

"The Dark Lord wants HIM? I know of whom you're talking about, of course. That tall one who hangs around with Black and Potter." It was Snape's voice. He spat out the next word. "Lupin!"

Sirius was staring at him, his face inches away as they both leaned against the now-closed door. Even if Remus could risk speaking now, he wouldn't have known what to say just then.

The voices were moving farther away. "Yeah," Malfoy was saying, "the Dark Lord told my father of a very powerful Gryffindor that he was anxious to get his hands on for recruitment. Said that this student would be essential in getting to the person that is in..." The voices were so far away now that they couldn't be heard any longer.

Remus sighed and turned so that his back was leaning against the door. He eyed the room wearily, noting the clean floors and dusted corners. The house elves really do take their job seriously. Who ever comes in here to notice the cleanliness? He pushed himself off of the door and walked slowly around, finding a mirror propped up against the wall in the back. Trying to ignore the silence behind him, he stepped in front of the mirror.

Sirius watched his friend in the darkness, the only source of light coming from the quarter moon, bleeding silver through the small window. For a long time, Remus stood in front of that mirror, not saying a word. Uncomfortable at what the two Slytherins had been talking about, Sirius longed to fill the deafening silence that had practically smothered the room. He stared at Remus' back, hoping that his friend would say something, anything, that reflected his thoughts. Does Remus know about the Dark Lord wanting to recruit him?

Remus said nothing. He just stared into the mirror, and Sirius began to get anxious for...anything. A word. A sound. A song and dance. Just something to break the silence. He walked up next to his friend.

He couldn't be sure, but Sirius could swear that he saw wetness at the corner of Remus' eye. The taller boy was still staring into the mirror, transfixed.

"I know you're handsome, Moony, but I'm starting to get a little worried about your vanity," Sirius commented quietly, as if the sound of his voice at a normal volume would shatter the mirror. Remus blinked, and turned to look at his friend.

"What?"

Sirius let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "I said I...never mind. You're shirt IS perfectly pressed, you know. You don't have to inspect every thread."

Remus regarded him solemnly. "Come here." He moved a little away from Sirius, and pointed to the place where he had been standing. "Look in there," he gestured to the mirror, "and tell me what you see."

Perplexed, Sirius stepped forward, but did not look away from Remus' face. "I already know I'm a handsome devil. I don't have to look at a mirror twenty times a day to confirm it to myself."

A smile crept onto Remus' face, the corners of his eyes crinkling a little. "Just look, you prat."

Sirius shrugged, and then turned to face the mirror. It was just what he expected-himself and Remus, standing next to each other in the room. But as he watched, something strange started to appear behind one of the room's columns in the mirror. A person, no, THREE people stepped out from behind the column, and stood behind Sirius and Remus.

It was James, Lily Evans, and Peter. James had his arm around Lily's waist, and she smiled up at him briefly before turning back to face the mirror, nodding to Sirius. Peter clapped a hand on Remus' shoulder, and James put one on Sirius', although he couldn't feel it.

There was something even more odd about the scene, though. They all looked older, about mid-20's, and the Sirius in the mirror had turned to face Remus, having to look up because Remus was taller. They were leaning towards one another, happiness lit in both of their faces. The other three were smiling at both of them.

"What do you see?" Remus asked, breaking Sirius out of his trance as he watched. He turned to look at his friend, realizing that this was almost the exact same scenario as what was in the mirror, minus the other three.

Taking a deep breath, Sirius instead asked his own question. "What kind of mirror is this?"

Lips drawing tighter together at the diversion of the question, Remus shrugged. "Maybe it's something that you wish for."

Sirius had been thinking that maybe, just maybe, it showed the future. "Oh. What makes you say that?"

A smile. "I saw myself standing outside, at night, with the full moon behind me. I wasn't transformed. I was normal."

"You aren't abnormal WITHOUT the mirror," Sirius heard himself speak. "I was thinking that it showed the future, but then yours wouldn't make sense, unless someone found a cure."

Remus laughed a little. "Highly unlikely, that. I'll be beyond help if someone ever manages to find one, anyway." He shook his head. "What did you see? And no changing the subject this time."

Taking another glance at the mirror, Sirius saw the five even older, perhaps in their forties this time, and Remus was kissing Sirius, with looks of happiness aimed at them from the other three. "I see us growing, getting older and older, and we're all happy and healthy and still friends. Me, you, Peter, and James. Even Lily Evans, and she's with James." He swallowed the last part, the part of himself and Remus snogging in front of their friends. He felt something stir in his stomach.

He couldn't stop watching.

"Are you done looking?" Remus asked. He had moved back to the door, a closed look on his face. Sirius took one more glance, sighed, and followed his friend out of the room, the conversation between the two Slytherins gone from his mind.


NEXT

BACK