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Clasping Hearts by QuidditchSeeker

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 3,520

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Romance, Angst
Characters: Lupin, Sirius
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 03/10/2008
Last Chapter: 03/26/2008
Last Updated: 03/26/2008


(Thanks to Moonys Aimee for the wonderful banner!) In the dead of night, Professor Remus Lupin makes his way to an empty classroom he hasn't been in since he was fifteen-years-old. Inside, stands the Mirror of Erised, and as he remembers the first time he looked inside the glass, he can't help but wonder what he'll see now that almost twenty years have passed. Will he have learned from his past mistakes, or will he still want the same man who has changed so much over time? (WARNING: SLASH)

Chapter 1: Clasping Hearts

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters seen in this story, they all belong to JK Rowling and the Harry Potter series. The plot, however, is of my own creation and imagination. 

It had been years since Remus had last faced the mirror that he now stood before. Almost two decades, to be exact, since the man had stood in the small, cramped room as a fifteen-year-old boy. There had been fewer scars on his pale skin, and his eyes had still been bright and alive, full of an energy that he had not seen since his youth. That time, he had merely stumbled across the magical mirror, hardly aware as to what he was getting himself into when he'd pushed the door open in hopes of finding a place to hide from Filch.

A ghost of a smile graced his chapped lips as he thought back to that night. He and the rest of the Marauders had been wandering about the corridors a little after midnight. It would be another year or so before any of them would come up with the ingenious idea of the Marauders Map. So, for that night, at the sound of Filch's echoing footsteps the foursome had split in all different directions.

It had taken him more than a few minutes for him to actually notice the mirror after darting into the room. Unlike Sirius or James, he had always found these quick escapes to be more frightening than hysterical. He'd been leaning his full body weight against the door, his hands pressed flat against the wood as though he could keep anyone from knowing he was behind it, as he let out deep, uneven breaths. It was only after he had heard footsteps pass by the room, without pausing, that Remus had allowed himself to slide down onto the floor and look around the room.

As it was now, the room had been bare back in 1975. An empty classroom that most likely hadn't been used since the time of the Founders, with only one small window that allowed a pool of moonlight into the room. The light was a constant reminder to him of his curse, and so he had turned away from the window only to find himself staring at the only object in the room.

It had been out of place then as well, the muted gold ornate frame, which surrounded the rather old mirror, was hardly the type of thing one would expect to find in a classroom. It was large too – big enough for even Hagrid to see his whole reflection – and seemed to swallow Remus's slight frame in comparison. What it was doing in the empty classroom, the teenager hadn't a clue. He had still been sitting on the floor, staring, when his arms had begun to move on their own accord before he had pushed himself off the cold, stone floor.

Glancing around the room, Remus could almost see his younger self making his way towards the mirror with slow, hesitant steps. Unsure of whether or not the mirror contained dark magic or not, he could remember when he had first sounded out the sentence engraved on the frame. Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. It had taken him ages to decipher the words, and being the curious boy that he had been back then, Remus had focused more on the riddle than on the glass before him. It was only after he had finally figured out the message that he had allowed his brown eyes to drift down to his reflection.

Thinking back, he reached up to run his fingers through his thinning brown hair as he had in that moment so many years ago when he was but a child. It had been instinctive, of course, for whenever he bothered to look in a mirror he was constantly reminded that he was not – nor would he ever be – as handsome as two of his best friends. He'd been such an insecure teenager back then, so afraid that his mates would leave him once they learned the truth. Of course, he should have known that they'd already discovered his secret – they had just biding their time, spending the hours they weren't all together on becoming unregistered Animagi. It would be another month or so before the three boys would come to him, to show what they had done for him.

So, with his hands in his hair, his clear brown eyes had flickered to the glass expecting to see the pale-faced boy he'd always been, trying once more to make his hair disheveled and chaotic in all the "right" ways. Yet it had only taken a mere second before the fifteen-year-old jumped back and practically cracked his neck as he glanced around the room trying to see who else was with him. Remus laughed quietly to himself as he remembered this, alone in the big empty room as he allowed himself to become lost in the memory of that moment of utter terror. Because the reflection in that mirror hadn't been of himself trying to fix his hair, it had been of...of...

Well, of Sirius Black.

His laugh echoed off the empty walls as he though of the way he had stumbled back, so startled he had lost his footing on the completely even floor. He'd scrambled up to his feet quickly though, his cheeks flushing hotly as he glanced around the room with a haunting look of suspicion on his face – so sure that Sirius, James, and Peter were somewhere in the dark corners laughing at him – before he had inched his way back up to the mirror to look at the image playing out before him. At first glance, he had only noticed Sirius but as he allowed his eyes to focus he saw that he had missed out one very important detail of the image.

And that was himself.

For in the mirror, it wasn't only Sirius Black staring out at him, with that devilish grin worn on his lips and his dark hair pushed out of his face. He was there too, standing beside Sirius, smiling, instead of looking sickly and terrified that his friend might discover the truth about him. He was laughing, his brown eyes bright with a look of mischief in them that Dumbledore would have been horrified to on seen the face of one of his respected Prefect. Yet it wasn't only that – what made his breath hitch, what made the young teenager gasp – had been that in the mirror the two boys were clasping each other's hands.

Oh, of course, Sirius had held his hand in the past. There had been many occasions when he helped to boost him up into a tree or held out a hand to pull Remus up off the ground after James had tripped him up as a prank. Those moments had always been brief, hardly meaningful, before one of them would drop the other's hands and wrap their arms around each other as most teenage friends do. Only this image had been different – they were holding each other's hands, as though they were dating. As though they cared for each other in a more-than-friendly way.

The thought was laughable – or at least that's what Remus had told himself at the time. He'd done his best to push off the idea, to mock the image and joke to an empty classroom that the reflection was a lie. Yet even those words couldn't get him to tear his gaze away from the glass as the images began to flicker past him. It continued to change, a sort of mirage of images that he might dream up in the dead of night. The two of them sitting out beside the lake, his mirror-self whispering into mirror-Sirius's ear before the boy leaned back and laughed as his image blushed happily.

The reflection changed again, and instead of sitting outside in the son, the two mirror-boys were alone in the Gryffindor common room. The only light in the crimson and gold room was the flickering of the fire, and Remus watched with such an intensity he didn't think possible as his mirror-self's hand reached out to tentatively grab hold of Sirius's. They were both staring at each other, completely unaware of Remus's presence just outside of the mirror, watching in on the two of them with a sense of wonder as his indignation began to die down. No longer did he watch the mirror with distrust and disdain – no, instead, his eyes were locked on the image before him as his heart pounded inside his chest. He couldn't quite believe it – wasn't sure if he truly was feeling such things or not – but it was almost as if he wanted the images to be real.

Surely not.

Yet he didn't look away – couldn't even bother to try and turn his head – as Sirius leaned forward slowly, hesitation in his every movement, before his lips broke past the barriers and collided with Remus's. At that moment he gasped, as his hand shot up to his lips, as though he somehow thought that the dark haired troublemaker had really kissed him. His eyes wide, he watched as the two boys kissed, blissfully unaware of the consequences were they to be caught in their mirror-world. Perhaps that was why they didn't notice, for in that world, things were perfect and there was no chance of them being caught. Remus watched as his mirror-self's hand became entangled in his best mate's dark locks. From outside the mirror, he could feel the crotch of his school pants tightening as his groin throbbed. His cheeks burned and he tried to look away but couldn't, too enthralled by the reflection of him snogging Sirius. Thoughts were swimming through his mind as he tried to shake himself away from the mirror once more – tried to remind himself that it was silly, a stupid mirage that could never possibly come true.

Poof. Queer. Pervert. Freak. Faggot.

The words kept coming and going, and yet Remus couldn't bother to believe a single one of them. He knew, deep down in his gut, that he didn't need another reason to be judged. Being a werewolf was bad enough; did he really need to condemn himself to even more glares? And he watched the image change again, to the two mirror-boys laying on his four-poster bed, the dormitory empty except for the two of them tangled in a heated embrace, he couldn't help but wonder if it would be so terrible. Wouldn't something like that – he thought, watching as Sirius rolled them over and began to unbutton his school shirt – be worth the names?

Remus had never thought of Sirius in that way. Or at least, he had never admitted to himself that he thought of the boy that way. There had been times, yes, when he had caught sight of his best mate making bed eyes with a few of the girls in the other houses and he had been upset. But not jealous – he had just been...worried. And so, as he nodded his head with such surety, the teenager finally tore his gaze away from the mirror (but not before catching sight of the two mirror-boys clad only in the boxers) and hurried out of the classroom, never bothering to look back.

He chuckled at the memory fondly. It would be another year or so before Remus would finally admit to himself the feelings he felt for Sirius. But those images – especially the one of the two of them holding hands – would stay in the back of his thoughts whenever he caught sight of the dark haired, mischievous Marauder. It would be countless hours of worrying, numberless thoughts of degrading names which he would call himself, and never ending days of planning before he would finally blurt out his true feelings for the boy in a moment of inhibition. He would flush, curse himself out loud in front of Sirius, before slouching into himself, afraid of the reply he would receive.

He should have known, of course. Should have realized that Sirius would never have said anything cruel. The smile on Sirius's face should have said it all, but Remus had been to busy staring at his hands to notice it. So, how could he have known? How could he have ever seen – when he had been so preoccupied worrying about himself – the feelings that the other boy felt for him?

"You arse – what took you so long?"

The words would haunt Remus for the rest of his days. For those few years, when they had been together and happy, it had all been some huge joke between them. Whenever one of them would turn up late (even if only by a minute) for a meal or a class, they would each call out the same line to each other. Other's would stare – confused and startled, they couldn't quite understand why these boys were making such a big deal over a mere sixty seconds. But as the years would pass, he would begin to wonder if he should have told Sirius at all. If the hurt and betrayal and heartbreak was worth those few years of happiness. And when he thought this, Remus would hate himself all the more for even questioning their love. Even if the boy had grown to be a man he could never recognize, he would forever love the reckless teenager who had once loved him back.

They had never thought those years were going to end – at that time, coming out to James and Peter had been their largest conflict. Sirius hadn't bothered to worry about his parents' reactions – they despised him anyway. In fact, the teenager had made it into a game, as he'd spent the rest of their sixth year coming up with the most outrageous coming out stories. In the end, he'd kept it rather simple. Despite hating the man the boy had grown to be, Remus still smiled at the thought. The boy had chosen to be straight, and too the point, hoping to shock his parents into speechlessness.

"Y'know how Regulus thinks himself to be in love with that fourth year Slytherin bint? Well, I just thought you should know that I'm in love with a half-breed sixth year Gryffindor. Male, by the way."

He'd been kicked out of his home within five minutes. Though not before he'd cast a sticking charm on his room with his brother's wand (Regulus had gotten a warning notice from the Ministry) so that they couldn't take down any of the Gryffindor memorabilia he'd covered his bedroom walls with. Remus had gotten the letter announcing his coming out within an hour, and he'd quickly floo'd over to the Potter's where he knew Sirius would be heading. They had embraced, and the Potter's had seen – and unlike the Black's, they had merely asked if Remus would be staying for dinner.

Those years had been the good ones. When life was easy and Voldemort was but a whisper in the wind, a rumor that had yet to be confirmed. The two of them so in love, neither he nor Sirius had ever bothered to question that it would ever come to an end.

Only it had. They had. Everything had been destroyed, and Sirius had been the one to ruin it all. Bitterness wafted up through his senses, as he practically retched on the memories. The boy who he thought of when he reminisced was not the man he'd seen in the newspapers that morning. Those eyes...those eyes, which had once been so beautiful and dazzling, were now wild and crazed, sending a shiver of fear through Remus's scarred body. He hated seeing those photos; they were a constant reminder that the boy he had once loved no longer existed in the world.

And so, that night he had made his way out to the familiar classroom, which he had avoided like the plague since his fifth year. When he had passed it by, the man would unconsciously picked up his pace before he turning the corner and allowing himself the chance to relax. That night he stood there, the classroom still empty, the moonlight still shining, and the mirror still largely out of place, so that he could prove something to himself.

Twelve years had passed since that fatal night. Twelve years since Sirius had walked out of their apartment promising to pick up some dinner and be home soon. Twelve years since his best friends had been murdered, and his lover lost to the brutal realization that he was a Death Eater. So much had changed, and Remus Lupin desired nothing more than to prove to himself that he had grown. To prove that he, unlike so many others, had learned from his past mistakes. That despite those late night wishful dreams and lustful fantasies, he wanted something different – something more.

There had to be something, he told himself. After all these years of being an outcast, didn't he desire to have a place in the wizarding community? Or what of his parents, who he had not spoken to in years? And what of James and Lily and Peter...? Did he not want just one more day to be with them? Just a chance to say goodbye to the greatest friends he had ever known? Didn't Remus want something tangible? Something real, which he could touch and work for – a dream, which was possible to come true?

There had to be so much more to this world than Sirius Black.

So, bracing himself and squaring his shoulders, Remus allowed his eyelids to flutter close for a brief moment. Taking deep, uneven breaths, he felt as though he were that same fifteen-year-old boy leaning up against the door so many nights ago. Licking his dry, chapped lips he eased his eyelids open and focused on the glass in front of him. It was older than it had been all those years ago, dustier, and a crack was beginning to grow in the upper right hand corner, but none of these things could take away from the shock and pain of what he saw.

His eyes wide, he saw himself staring at a version of the wanted criminal who he had never met before. This man was not a boy, nor was he the madman shown in all the newspapers. No, this man had aged gracefully, laugh lines etched in the corner of his still devious eyes. His lips were spread into a generous, loving grin, and his skin was clean-shaven, his face full rather than gaunt. His dark hair brushed back, it was graying nicely at the temples, this Sirius Black was one of the most handsome men he had ever seen.

And he was not alone.

No, beside him stood someone who should have been familiar, but Remus was sure could never exist. This man was fitter and tanner, with fewer scars covering his ageing body. He looked decade's younger wearing clothes that fit him. His lips, too, were turned up in a delighted smile and his brown eyes were bright and alive, looking like the same curious boy he had once been. There were fewer gray hairs on his head, and his stance was tall and proud – he looked happy.

In the background, Remus could see James, Lily, and Harry together, smiling. Other Potter children ran about joyfully, and Peter was picking one of them up and carrying them on his shoulders. But these things, in comparison, hardly mattered. For the two men in the mirror, who were now gazing into each other's eyes and murmuring promises of love, were clasping hands.

Just as they had been all those years ago.

Anguish washed over him, and Remus slammed his fists against the mirror. It was hardly enough force to break the glass – barely enough to even add to the crack that was already there. There was not enough strength left inside him to showcase the pain that was ripping at his heart as he slammed his eyes shut and felt the hot tears slide down his aged cheeks.

Turning away he cried out to the empty classroom, "Why?" before he buried his face into his hands. Why wish for something he could never have? Why want a boy who no longer existed in the man who would most surely receive the Dementor's Kiss? Why dream of someone who had destroyed every bit of happiness in Remus's life?

"Because," a gentle, caring voice called out into the darkness, breaking through his silent sobs. Blinking rapidly, Remus could feel the tears stick to his eyelashes as his brown-eyed gaze focused on the man who was now standing besides the door, watching him from behind his half moon glasses. Professor Dumbledore gave him a sad little smile before he carried on, "We always long for the things which are denied to us, and dream of the ones who slipped away from us."