Padfoot has accused you of enabling her “bride-zilla” attitude. You know you’re not, however, you love her so much, you want everything to perfect for her. With that desire, you had sat the three of them down last weekend and read them the riot act. No hangovers at the ceremony. No pranks. No gorging yourselves at the buffet table. No exhibitionism.
You should have rephrased that last one, you think, having reflected on Sirius’s and Remus’s reaction. They don’t look at each other as the words leave your lips, but you notice that both of them seem to sit rigid for the rest of the speech. Later, when they’re walking to the floo powder, you see Remus lay a hand on your best mate’s shoulder and whisper something encouraging in his ear. If you were better at lip reading you’d assure yourself that Moony has said “he’ll come around” but you’re not sure.
Now they’re acting stiff, like they’re unsure how to act with each other around you. You suddenly regret the entire speech. But it’s Saturday, the late afternoon sun is pouring in the windows turning everything it touches gold and you’re having a hard time regretting anything for too long. Your mum has pushed all the furniture against the walls, leaving the large carpeted area in the center of the room clear for practicing dance steps. You’ve insisted that they take their afternoon off to come and prove to you that they will not make fools of themselves while spinning your great-aunt Eunice around the dance floor at your wedding.
You remember the balls at Hogwarts, where Sirius would make up ridiculous new steps like “the drunken penguin” or (your personal favorite) “the McGonagall Yodel” and these memories are enough to cause concern. Thus, you send him first to dance with the music of the Victrola, but you should have known better. He’s a charismatic lad and he charmed your mum years before he became her unofficially-adopted-son. Thus she’s laughing and praising him two beats into “the Witch’s Fairly Decent Granada” because he’s become all pure-bloodied breeding, spinning your mother around gracefully about like the ice skaters on the pond you saw at Lily’s house. You’ve forgotten that he was once the heir to one of the most powerful wizarding families in the United Kingdom and that they would have forced him to take dance lessons once or twice during his imprisonment with them. The song changes and “Chasing Plaid Fluxweed Seeds” fills the room and he leads her in some kind of reel that you’ve never seen, and she’s laughing “oh! I haven’t done this in years!” and he’s grinning because he’s won her over once again.
You catch Remus gazing at him and you avert your eyes. It’s not that you get offended by that sort of relationship, although Lily swears that’s why it bothers you so much. Really, it’s just that they’re two of your best mates and you think it would be gross if you caught them snogging. You’ve seen them both naked on a number of occasions and you can come up with pretty realistic visual images of them shagging.
Remus insists that you dance with your mum next. You catch Moony running his hand down Sirius’s bicep and resting his palm on your best friend’s elbow. Sirius looks flushed from his dancing and is grinning at Remus’s unusual public show of affection. Your mum, obvious to all this, is pleased to see that you’ve retained some of those dance lessons from your younger days (even if you forgot to bow to her as the song began). You just grin at her while silently sending a grateful smile to Moony—hand still on Pad’s arm—who taught you how to waltz during your third year in preparation for the Halloween Ball.
You only take her around the floor once, and then it’s his turn. When Remus dances it’s comfortable and friendly, none of the technical steps like his boyfriend or the coziness of mother-son like with you. He makes polite conversation about her juniper bushes while they foxtrot to Paula Thundercreek’s warbling. Once the overly sweet violins die out, he makes a stiff bow (the Wolf has a done a number on his body in nineteen years) and now it’s Peter’s turn.
You’re watching him pull her along to her gentle chiding. “No dear, one-two-three, one-two-three! Feel the music.” Every bit of instruction makes him blush red like a radish and you snort at the comparison. You look for the canine Marauders to share this notion with, but they have disappeared. You gnaw on your lower lip. You don’t know too much about their relationship, but there was that one time you Apparated into their home unannounced and Moony came out of the kitchen looking flustered and zipping his trousers (Sirius came out too, but he just looked pleased with himself), so you assume they’re shagging. Not that you want that mental image.
But you also know that being in your parents’ house with Lily always makes you horny—it’s the danger of being caught by Mum and Da that makes you all hot and bothered. You worry that Sirius claims your parents (even cited them as relations on his application to the Auror Academy) and will, therefore, claim the same dangers as being desirable. You grumble aloud. You just know they’re off in some unused back bedroom moaning; you REALLY want to stop the mental image of that near-brother’s naked torso (seen so oft in Quidditch showers) meeting those scarred pectorals (viewed every full moon). You physically shake yourself—hoping to dispel the visual.
Instead, you return to analyzing Peter’s dancing ability; he’s not that bad, really. He’d be more graceful if his bloody shoe would stay tied. A laugh comes floating into the room from behind you. Ignoring Wormtail’s veg-red face (“No, no! Left! Not right, Peter!”), you search for the source of the guffaw.
You find your way to the rarely used sunroom. Once, before Hogwarts, you and your tutor used to study in here on sunny winter days, enjoying the light you were often deprived of during those short, cold months. The wicker furniture of this room is old at best and definitely dusty, but the present company is unaware of the furnishings. The record player’s hum is muted in this room, but they are ignorant of that as well. Remus and Sirius are dancing—struggling as both of them attempt to lead, resulting in some awkward tangle of boy limbs and sunbeams. Your mouth is open, you realize. They are not shagging… but the hand on Moony’s back is slipping lower, until Padfoot’s pinky is sliding under the waistband of Remus’s trousers. Moony calls him “lewd” and they laugh.
Truly Moony, you think, even when being seduced he uses elaborate language. You’re amazed at how close they seem, not just the way they’re holding on to each other, with Sirius clasping the small of Remus’s back and Moony’s fingers brushing aside Padfoot’s robe and onto his collarbone, but how they aren’t talking, instead enjoying the silent communication shared between their locked eyes. Then Remus bangs his shin on something and curses. They both begin to laugh again when Sirius says, “I love when you talk dirty, Moony” and they continue to sway, oblivious to the pain and you. Then Padfoot shifts and rests his forehead on Moony’s temple, still holding his gaze and he beings to sing along with the phonograph.
But I know one thing is true,
That the river’s only reason is to find the ocean blue,
That’s the way, that’s the way I feel about you.
Remus leans into Sirius’s arms, letting him lead for the moment. Suddenly, you feel stupid. For the first time, you realize they love one another. You’re struck by this. Love each other. Not just like you love them. Love each other like you love Lily. Want to hold each other and protect each other and you can’t believe you didn’t know this before.
You should have. You remember when they told you and Peter during the spring of your seventh year.
“We’re together now, we wanted you to know. But we won’t… won’t do anything that makes you uncomfortable…” and you had blinked a few times and Peter had sputtered. Then you had laughed.
“This is the greatest--” And they had relaxed, but you had continued, “prank Messrs. Moony and Padfoot have ever thought up! You got me, mates! I totally bought it!” And Peter had joined in on the laughter.
“You even got James! You got James! Haha!” But your grin died when you’d seen the remorseful look the two had shared. Sirius’s eyes looked stormy and Remus had touched his hand, and just like that, the storm clouds disappeared. You glared. Stood up. Stomped out of your dorm room. Peter had followed.
Lily had chastised you for it.
“So what, James? They accepted us without any question.”
“It’s different, Lily!” And she had crossed her arms and set her jaw and you knew the discussion was over so you never brought it up again.
You remember nearly a year ago, during a quiet dinner at your and Lily’s flat, while Sirius was away on an Order mission, Remus had mentioned that moving was the most “irritating thing in life, beside the Ministry”. Peter had looked concerned and asked if Sirius and he had broken up. You had held your breath, hoping that this ridiculous phase they were both going through would be over and that they would find some birds and settle down. But Remus had laughed lightly and Lily had shaken her head mirthfully at Peter.
“We’re getting a bigger place. A cottage in Blenheim, to be specific. Pads swears that Moony needs some space to run and downtown London isn’t exactly allowing for that. Plus, that flat was disgusting.” Remus had wrinkled his nose a little and smiled.
“A cottage, Rem? Unbelievable. I never would have assumed the infamous Mr. Black would be the cottage-in-the-countryside type.” Lily had teased.
“Thatched roof and all.” Remus grinned back.
“I would love to see you make him garden.” She had tilted her head back in laughter as the picture played out in her head. Peter knit his fingers around his wine goblet and then addressed Remus.
“Are you two getting married?” Remus straightened in his chair. You remember thinking that before this question, Lily was the only one of you who ever had the nerve to ask about their relationship.
“The Ministry has rules about that. We could have a ceremony, but it would never be legal. Plus, it would put him in more danger being tied to a werewolf and all.” You had seen his face darken, but you had pretended it was because of the new legislation that denies him the right to work, marry, or have children.
But now you understand. You see that, watching them lean into one another’s touch, they love each other. This entire last month makes sense.
Sirius glaring at the debate of “Hawthorne” or “Renaissance” for the silverware pattern.
Remus’s forehead creasing in frustration at “which color of ascot? Powder blue or Gryffindor red?”
Their glum attempts at smiles at the engagement party when your father tells Sirius they’ll hold a bash for him when he ropes the right witch.
They will never have that party or the squabble over flatware. They’ll only have this, you know now, the half-acceptance of their friends (because that’s all you’ve offered, really) and a forgotten, dusty room as a dance floor.
You want to shout at them “dance in the living room!” Then you want to say, “dance together at my wedding!” You want to tell them that they deserve that, but you know they deserve so much more. These are your best mates, after all, and they deserve to be happy. They’re in love. They deserve to have people happy for their love and showering them in rice. Saying any of this would break the magic of their shared moment, so you stay silent.
You’re aware that the last chord of the song is hanging in the air. You watch Remus leaning back to look into grey eyes. Then he brushes his nose to Sirius’s chin. Sirius’s eyes are alight. You’ve never seen him this happy, not even that time you and he stupefied that idiot Slytherin Quidditch captain Crabbe and you left him pantsless on the staff table in the Great Hall… with lipstick drawn like a suggestive kiss on his bits.
“Not too bad, Moony, you only stepped on my toes twice.”
“Your giant paws are too big to avoid.” You’re surprised that their soft, happy kisses are interrupted by this banter. This is some strange intersection of things you know. Moony and Pads banter you’ve known for nearly nine years. Love you understand from first hand experience, but you’ve only had about three minutes to apply this kind of love to your two bantering mates. You try to rephrase your thinking about them now that you know this.
Then you watch as your-as-good-as-brother admires the sun in Moony’s (your brother’s love’s) hair. Remus is intertwining their fingers together and he’s leaning his shoulder into Sirius’s chest. They’re nose-to-nose, standing together like one person, and you hope that when you and Lily stand together it's that clear that you love one another. Then there is a noise behind you and they’re turning toward the door. Peter is falling onto the carpet beside you, flailing his arms like a fledgling, and you want to silencio! him, but Mum would probably Avada Kedavra you for hexing a guest in her house.
Remus is blushing and moving away from a now-glaring Sirius. You can’t repress the need to fix what this blundering fool had broken apart. If Peter had stepped in on you and Lily, you wouldn’t move away from her touch, you wouldn’t let her move away from yours. So you step forward, and take one of each of their hands in yours and bring them together. You knit their fingers together again, suddenly, you realize that you can’t tell Sirius’s fingers from Remus’s anymore and that makes you smile. You clasp your hands over top their joined grasp.
“Messr. Prongs would like to share his deepest congratulations to Messrs. Padfoot and Moony and would like to ask… rather beg, their forgiveness for being the world’s largest prat for the last few years.” You’re feeling sentimental, because you’re in love too, so you add, “Moony was right, it took me long enough, but I came around.” And your cheeks hurt from smiling so wide and suddenly Sirius is laughing (because he’s never been good with emotions and you know he’ll laugh instead of crying most days) and Remus is thanking you with his eyes and you just squeeze their entwined hands.