The next morning I awoke to Sirius snoring his head off. Fabulous. I shivered with pleasure at the memories of last night, before locating my pants, pulling them on and climbing out of bed.
I waited outside the bathroom until James emerged. He wolf-whistled as he saw me.
“Woah...fun night last night Mooney?” he winked.
I stared at him, confused. We’d definitely shut off the sound with the muffiliato spell...hadn’t we?
He laughed. “Go and look in the mirror.”
I hurried into the bathroom and groaned loudly; my neck and shoulders were absolutely covered in lovebites. “Shit!” I muttered.
I heard James laughing again. I came back out and shoved him. “Shit!” I repeated. “What am I gonna do?”
Why had nobody ever magically invented anything to remove lovebites? Broken bones? No problem. Quidditch injuries? No problem. Bloody bruises? No bloody problem! But lovebites? Nothing. I guess we’re meant to just take the pain of embarrassment that comes with the pleasure.
Upon hearing my early morning curses, Lily poked her head out through James’ curtains.
“What’s up Rem - oh!” she giggled.
I threw her a filthy look. “Oh, I am gonna kill him,” I groaned.
“Good night Remus?” she teased.
I smiled reluctantly. “Yeah, it was a bloody good night actually, thanks for asking.”
James laughed. “And there was me thinking you were the animal, Moons.”
I reached for the nearest solid object (one of Peter’s shoes) and threw it at him. It bounced off his head. “Ow! You prat,” he muttered, winking at me before jumping back into bed.
I climbed into bed and shoved Sirius, half-affectionately. “Si,” I muttered urgently. “Wake up! You’re late for triple potions!”
He sat bolt upright in bed. “Shit!”
“Just kidding,” I admitted, pseudo-apologetically. “Look what you’ve done to me!”
He stared for a second, then burst out laughing. “It’s not funny,” I sulked. “Everyone’s gonna see!”
“Aww, petal,” he teased. “I’d forgotten you bruise like a peach.”
I shoved him. He shoved me back. I lost my balance and fell through the curtains onto the floor with a thud.
Peter poked his head out. “What are you doing?” he mumbled, wiping his eyes. “Wow...you sure know how to mark your territory, Padfoot.”
“Eurghhh,” I moaned, partly in response to the tease but partly winded from landing on my back.
Sirius laughed and jumped on top of me. “Get off,” I muttered, trying to shove him off.
He merely pinned my wrists to the floor and kissed me in an attempt to subdue me. Need I tell you it worked?
Peter just threw a cushion at us. “Go back to bed!”
For the rest of the day, I skulked around the Quidditch pitch, wrapped up in several jumpers and a large woollen scarf. James and Sirius’ practice went on for a long time.
Peter joined me for a while, then just as he was leaving, Lily appeared. “How’s it going Rem?” she asked.
I shrugged. “Me or them?”
She laughed. “Both.”
“They’re doing well as usual. And I’m fine.”
There was a pause. “You?”
She smiled. “Yeah, I’m good thanks.”
We watched in silence for a while, then I felt Lily shiver next to me. “You cold?” I asked.
She nodded reluctantly. “A little.”
“Want a jumper?” I offered.
She shook her head. “No. The guys are finishing anyway so I think I’ll head back inside. You coming?”
I saw her smile and I realised I had been unconsciously fingering the bruises under my scarf. I sighed. “Sure. I’ve got to face the music somewhen. I guess it’s no big deal.”
She laughed quietly. I turned to her, something dawning on me. “People are going to talk,” I mumbled.
She stopped laughing and looked at me seriously. “You’re worried about how Sirius will respond to that.”
I nodded, feeling guiltily like I was betraying him. “You saw how he reacted about Lydia.”
She sighed tiredly. “If Sirius can’t handle a bit of castle gossip, he shouldn’t have left those marks in the first place, Remus. You can’t spend your whole life worrying about him.”
I nodded resignedly. “I know, Lil. But...I just hate to think that he might get upset.”
She shook her head firmly. “You’re too nice sometimes Rem. Sirius left those marks there but he won’t openly admit to being with you. He can’t have it both ways. Either he owns up or he lets people speculate.”
As we sat down for dinner, an incredibly muddy James and Sirius joined us. As was becoming increasingly common again, Peter was nowhere to be seen. I idly wondered whether he was back together with his elusive ‘lady friend’ again or if he had perhaps found another.
As we all pulled off our outside clothing, somebody wolf-whistled. I ignored it. Several people we knew from other years commented, but I just laughed people off with casual replies. Like I said earlier; no big deal.
I was just contemplating how impressed I was that Sirius was keeping his cool when someone called across to me, “So who’s the lucky lady, Lupin?”
Sirius leapt to his feet. “Leave him alone,” he snapped.
“Sirius!” I hissed, pulling him back down into his seat. “Stop it! They’re just teasing.”
He twisted round in his chair, scowling at the person furiously. “Sirius, quit it,” I warned him. “You’re making a scene.”
His gaze snapped back to mine and he banged his fist on the table, making the cutlery jump and clatter. “If you can’t handle it then leave,” I snapped, struggling to keep my temper.
“Fine,” he hissed, getting up and storming out.
I sighed, refusing to be baited. “Don’t worry, I’m not going after him,” I murmured to Lily.
James smiled, looking strained. “It’s probably for the best. If you go after him, he’ll only say something he shouldn’t. Best to let him calm down first.”
I nodded, trying not to lose my restrain and run after Sirius.
Half an hour later, I made my way up to the dormitory with trepidation. Refusing to be intimidated, I opened the door and went in. Sirius’ curtains were pulled around his bed. I opened them. He was curled in a ball in the middle of the bed.
“Sirius, we need to talk,” I began, sitting on the edge of the bed.
He looked up at me, pain in his eyes. “I...I didn’t mean to lose it then, Remus. I’m sorry,” he muttered, taking the hand I offered him.
I nodded, squeezing his hand. “I know you are. But...you can’t have things both ways. Either you let the school think that I’m single and available and let them jump to their own conclusions...or you have to be open with people about us. I know that it’s a big thing to ask - and to be honest, I’m not sure that it’s such a good idea, either. But the alternative is that people will assume I’m straight. A couple of girls might make a pass at me. But you have to trust me that I’m not going to go behind your back. You can’t live your life fighting off jealousy. It won’t work, Si. It’s already putting us under strain. I don’t know how many cracks I can take before it’s too much...and I know that you don’t, either.”