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Sirius POV

The weeks pass by and still Remus won’t be…Remus. It’s nearing on Christmas break, and I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with him over the holidays. He always goes to James’s house with the rest of us for Christmas, but this year, has he even remembered Christmas? I could simply go ask him, but he hasn’t actually spoken to anyone other than Clover since we got back from the funeral.

And I could go ask Clover, but she’d probably tell me to go ask him myself.

More than anything I suppose, I’m worried about him. I understand death is tough stuff, but we’re his best mates. We’re supposed to be there for him, but he won’t let us be. I think all the Marauders feel like we’ve failed him when really, there isn’t anything we can do without feeling as if we’re intruding on him.

Remus POV

I feel bad that I don’t feel bad about not letting my friends in. I know they’re worried, but really, they shouldn’t be. I’m coping.

I feel worse that I’m confiding in Clover and not them. It’s not even that we talk about my dad or anything. She’s just there and it makes me feel better – that’s all there is to it honestly. I don’t really know what we talk about because it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes we don’t say a word and its fine. I’ve always wanted a friendship like that.

And no, I never thought I’d say I wanted a friendship with Clover, but for now, it’s enough. She said she likes to make the moves, so I’m letting her. At the end of the day now, my emotions are too drained to plan anything for my life other than sleep anyway.

Today we’re going to Hogsmeade again and Clover’s paying for everything like she wanted. It’ll be the first time for me being in a crowded place, and I only hope I don’t crack.

“Hey Remus, you ready?” Clover asks, popping her head in the boys’ dorm.

“Where you going Moony?” James asks me.

Clover answers by opening the door wide and looks at him directly. “We’re going to Hogsmeade.”

“Sweet,” James responds. “Let me get my coat.”

Clover shakes her head, “Sorry James, it’s a date.”

“Again?” he whines. “Aren’t you guys over each other yet?”

“I don’t really think they’ve been on each other yet,” Peter smirks earning him a smack on the head from Sirius who seems to have flown across the room to deliver it. Sirius resumes his posture and walks gracefully to his bed on which he promptly flops on to.
“Leave them alone,” he grunts from this position.

Clover grins and rolls her eyes. “You heard him,” she says amusedly.

The entire time this conversation was taking place, I had remained on the side, out of the action. I was an outsider looking in on my own friends.

Clover turns to go expecting me to follow. “Wait,” I command. “Are you guys going to the Potters for Christmas again?” I ask trying to be smooth.

“Er…” Sirius shoots upright in his bed, “yes. Right guys?” The other two boys respond with wide eyes and vacant head nods.

“Good.” I try to smile but it ends up as more of a grimace. “I can’t wait.”

James whoops and Sirius’s frown melts into a wide grin. “I knew you’d come back Moony,” he says.

“What are you talking about Pads? I never left,” I smile dolefully and leave with Clover still standing in the doorway. I have to turn around and pull on her arm to get her to come completely ruining my dramatic exit.

“What was that all about?” she hisses.

“What?” I shrug. “I’m going to James’s for Christmas Break.”

“Oh,” she sighs. “I couldn’t tell what you were saying – your back was turned you know.”

“Sorry,” I say immediately. “I’ll try to remember to turn to the side so you can overhear my conversations.” I try to rein in the sarcasm that’s threatening to slip out but to no avail.

“Well,” she says snidely, “I’m going too.”

I consider this. I don’t really know what I expected especially considering it was her first Christmas without her parents and such. Of course she would want to be with Sirius and of course Sirius would invite her. I’m just slightly miffed that her choice of lodging over the holiday doesn’t have anything to do with me.

“Don’t be silly either,” she says sticking her nose up in the air looking at me out the corner of her eye. “I’m going for both you and James. You need me.” I would comment on this but the look on her face tells me I’d better not.

“Okay.” I’ve learned finally that that’s the safest response when talking to Clover.

Her mouth eases into a small smile. “Good. I’m excited.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Clover say she was excited about anything, but whatever, I’ll go along with it. “Me too,” I say putting my arm around her waist.

It’s been like that for a couple weeks now – this easy give and take. I’ve learned how to satisfy Clover in a conversation yet give her enough to comment on. The most important thing though may be the discovery of when the best time was to put an arm around her or hold her hand without her getting upset over my acting first.

Right now I’m relieved that I finally broke through the icy feelings that have been circulating between the Marauders recently. I think I’m finally becoming more myself now. I think it’s like that for most people though. Every day after the funeral is a little bit easier until the day you wake up and realize you’re going to be okay.

And with Clover in arm, I’d say I’m more than okay. I’m glad to note that my feelings for Clover haven’t seemed to change through my depression. I’d been vaguely worried that she’d become more of just a friend. I think now though that in maybe a few weeks time, she’ll be giving me the tingles and making me wonder just as much as she ever did.

We talk the entire time on the way to Hogsmeade and it’s nice to finally be away from Hogwarts for a while. As we enter the village and I’m surrounded by people for the first real time in weeks, I start to suffocate slightly so Clover pulls me into a little boutique filled with girly frills and things.

I spy a pink dress with ruffles and pull it out from its rack. “Look Clover, it’s so you!”

She laughs for a second before making a gagging noise. “Take it away,” she shakes her head. “I don’t know what could possess someone to even make something like that.”

“You know Clover,” I say trying to stay serious, “some girls do like pink. I know that must be a shock for you – ouch!” Clover’s just nailed me in the shoulder with black stiletto shoe.

“Let’s get out of here,” she commands. “We’ll go to The Three Broomsticks.”

“As you wish,” I say as I hold the door open for her and wave her through like a princess.

She looks at me with undisguised amusement. “You really are back.”

“If that suits you m’lady.” I can’t help it; the laughter is coming through in my voice now.

“Oh stop it,” she grins and she steps through onto the cobblestone street.

The night before we leave for Godric’s Hollow, all the Marauders are throwing clothes and shoes aimlessly through the air hoping they’ll land in somebody’s trunk. We just want to get out of the castle mostly, but also, we’re just really excited about Christmas. Although I don’t think anyone would admit it.

I’m excited as well but not just for those reasons either. I’m excited to be spending the break with Clover and my friends. I’m pretty sure it’s the best situation to ever occur in the Marauders tight yet insanely quirky circle.

Clover lugs in her own trunk and gives it one more pull before it lands in front of the fireplace. “Here,” she says. She looks around at us all and catches my eye smiling before tossing her hair and leaving again.

I can’t help it; I’m smiling like a fool now.

“I thought maybe you’d grown up a bit and forgotten about that little crush,” Sirius says pointedly.

“I don’t think it’s possible for any of us to grow up Sirius,” I reply and receive laughs of agreement from the peanut gallery.

Sirius looks like he’s about to get upset but decides against it. “Regulus isn’t going to be home for Christmas this year,” he says suddenly.

“Is he going to be enjoying a nice Christmas dinner with his master then?” James jokes.

“I don’t know,” Sirius says, “but I’m not complaining if he is.”

“Has he talked to Clover lately?” James asks and everyone looks at me.

I shrug. Now that I think about it Clover hasn’t said a word about or against Regulus lately which I find strange. Sirius seems satisfied by my response however and the night progresses amid several good burns and hours of laughter.

Before I go to sleep however, I think how strange it is that the four of us can sit around and joke about less than serious subjects when we are all sitting on the edge of a great war and we all have so very much to lose.

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