Turning Time

Nine Flashes of Memory

10 March, 1973 12:09

Filch's voice drifted through the corridor. "Where are they, Mrs. Norris? I know it was you four that broke in, come on, we haven't got all night…"

Remus and I scrambled for somewhere to hide. "Shit, shit." We were almost to the Gryffindor Tower, but we needed to disappear.

"Here!" Remus opened a nearby door and beckoned me in.

"Hang on, I think it's too small—"

But we didn't have a choice. Remus managed to shut the door, practically piling onto me. I held my breath; though it had only been a subconscious wish, I had wanted this.

Remus dropped his voice to a whisper. We were so close, he hardly had to move his lips. "Why do they have an empty broom closet here? I've never seen it."

I shrugged, too embarrassed to look him in the eye. I felt responsible for his discomfort, somehow. I stepped so my feet were on either side of Remus', then propped my hand on the door behind him, the only way I could shift my weight without leaning on him.

The minutes ticked by, and the small distance between us became more and more obvious. I let the fantasies play out in my mind—almost against my will, as I didn't want to show any arousal. I figured out how I would get the most dramatic effect, suddenly tilting his head and pressing my mouth to his. He would draw back, for a moment, to study me—how long have you felt this way?—and I would grin and push him harder against the wall, and we'd kiss again…

Remus fidgeted, his voice a bit husky. "How long should we wait here?"

I looked up at him, about to reply, but as I met his gaze I forgot what he had asked.

Kiss him.

Remus, too, didn't look away.

Kiss him.

I tried to stifle the thought, then realized I had unintentionally leaned closer. I turned my head. "Er, what did you ask again?"

Kiss him, do it now.

"It doesn't matter, I think Filch is gone by now."

"Oh, yeah, probably." I tried to hide my disappointment as Remus shuffled to face the door. He tried the knob, and when it wouldn't open, he tried again, more roughly. "It won't budge."

"Here, let me try." I reached for the knob, forced to press my body against Remus in order to secure a grip on it. I wasn't any luckier. "It must be locked." I reached for my wand and pointed it at the door. "Alohomora."

Nothing.

Remus exhaled. "Lumos." In the light, we could see there was a keyhole above the doorknob—so why wouldn't it open?

"Look for a key," Remus said. He shuffled back to face me again, holding his arm down to illuminate the floor.

I scanned the ground, then—"I see it, hang on." There wasn't much room to bend down, but I managed, fingers just barely able to grasp the key.

"Got it." I stood up, slowly, but was unable to avoid grazing Remus as I straightened. With hardly a glance at him, I fit the key in the hole and unlocked the door. After I leaned back, I felt Remus' lips on my cheek.

Shocked, I elbowed him in the gut.

Remus groaned, hand at his stomach. "Bloody hell, Sirius…it was an accident."

I blinked, my heart racing. "How could that have been an accident?"

Remus, after recovering from the pain, studied me. "I—I thought you felt it, too."

I swallowed. "Felt what?"

Remus shook his head. "Never mind, I shouldn't have—I'm sorry."

This was my fault. I had confused him. It wasn't possible for him to truly be attracted me, let alone any boy—and besides, it would never work. We were best mates. But I couldn't give him a reason other than, "It was just being stuck in here together. It doesn't mean anything. If it had been a girl, you'd surely be balls deep in her by now."

Remus' brow furrowed, doubtful.

"Well, there's only one way to tell—"

I reached past Remus and opened the door, nearly causing him to fall backwards. We took a moment to adjust to the light from the torches, then started down the hallway. With each step, I could feel the tension lift.

"See? Just circumstance. If we had been trapped in a classroom, somewhere more spacious, nothing would've happened. It's not your fault."

Remus nodded slowly. "I'm sorry."

I shook my head. "Everyone has times where they forget themselves. We're all such attractive blokes, it was bound to happen at least once."

"You won't tell James and Peter?"

"What is there to tell? You like girls. There's hardly a moment where you aren't head-over-heels for some girl. But, sure, I won't. " His concern frustrated me, but not as much as his visible relief after I promised to keep it a secret.

3 April, 1973 12:31

I reached into my pocket for my wand.

"Muffliato. Lumos Minimus."

I pulled my covers over my head and set my illuminated wand next to me. I felt around under my pillow for my picture of Remus and lubricated my hand. The image of Remus smirked at me, mouth parting a little as he laughed. I imagined him kissing me, how his skin felt—warm, alive, heavy against me, the slow, steady rhythm of him, our closeness, the sound he made as he came—

I slowed to a stop. Immediately after, I used a cleaning spell, then stuffed the picture back under my pillow, feeling sick to my stomach. My heart raced as I dug my nails into my palms, trying to calm myself. What had I done? I had crossed a line that could never be uncrossed. I didn't fancy Remus; I didn't like boys. I was just around boys more than girls, and because of that, I didn't feel attracted to them in the same way.

What the hell is wrong with me?

The worst part was I felt in my gut it wouldn't be my last time giving in.

26 May, 1973 14:08

"Sirius?" Remus had bent down to pick something up from the floor beside my bed.

"Hm?" Distracted, I was slow to to realize what he held in his hand.

"What is this?"

I looked up. It was the picture of Remus I kept under my pillow. Shit, shit, shit. "A picture, obviously."

He didn't falter. "I mean, why was it under your pillow?"

Had he seen it fall out? "I dunno. You know how messy I am. I've lost things in my bed before."

Remus looked at the picture again. "But it's from of a larger picture of the four of us. You cut everyone else out."

"So? I have pictures of just James, too."

"But you don't keep them under your pillow."

"It wasn't under my pillow on purpose! One of the house-elves probably moved it, I dunno, they've done shit like that before."

"So James keeps a picture of Lily under his pillow accidentally?"

I gawked at him. "You mean you were messing around with his stuff?"

Remus rubbed the back of his neck. "No, I—fine, yeah. He tosses off at night, too, and I was gonna call him out."

"Is that what this is? You think I…" I looked between the picture and Remus, unable to bring myself to say it.

Remus flushed and shrugged.

"I told you, I'm not a poofer." I brushed past him and reached under James' pillows. Sure enough, there was a picture of Evans from the bust up, smiling at the camera.

"What about Peter?" I asked, ignoring Remus' stare as I crossed to his bed.

"Nothing. He does it in the shower, probably, like normal people with roommates should." Remus didn't stop me as I lifted up his pillows, probably knowing I wouldn't find anything. "Do you want a better picture of me?" he asked.

I froze. "What do you mean?" I turned to read his expression. "I told you, it wasn't supposed to be—"

"I know." Remus rifled through James' things to find the camera. "But if you wanted a picture of just me, you could've asked."

I swallowed. He was the picture of innocence, and I had to force myself not to read to much into how he was acting. It was just wishful thinking—but I shouldn't be wishing it, either. "Yeah. Well then, I'll, er, ask Peter for one later, too."

Remus nodded. "Right." He handed me James' camera, then went to the window. "If I stand in front of this windowpane, then it'll look more natural, like I'm outside."

"Right." I lifted up the camera, anxious to get it over with. I couldn't tell if Remus intended on acting as though he fancied me, or if he was completely oblivious. Either way, I was forced to play along. "Push your hair out of your face. Otherwise I…" …won't see your eyes as I toss off.

Remus smirked and pushed his hair back. Picture one. His scars were usually fainter in the sunlight, but the pink tinge on his cheeks brought out the white lines.

"Why don't you take a close-up?"

I nodded, stepping a bit closer. Picture two.

Instead of looking at the camera, Remus looked at me, unsmiling, his lips parted slightly. Picture three.

"Now stand in front of your bed, so I have a picture of the dorm."

Remus nodded, but instead he lay down, one arm mid-stretch over his head.

I took a deep breath, then positioned the camera directly over him. He looked into the camera like he was willing it to bend down, kiss him, fuck him…

Picture four.

Heart beating furiously, I handed the camera back to Remus, crossed to the side of my bed, and stuffed the pictures in my drawer. "Seeing as Lauren fancies you, she would like these. Do you want me to pass them along?"

Remus' voice was muffled as he put his shirt back on. "It doesn't matter to me what you do with them."

I clenched my jaw, trying not to imagine that he wanted me in that moment.

14 September, 1973 14:39

I tapped the piece of parchment and said, "I solemnly swear I am up to no good," to review what we had written.

Pranks…TOP SECRET

Snivellus: something to make Lily see what an arse he is, snakes? grease-related prank GOAL: make him cry again (it's been a year, we need to do better!)

Christopher Barry: Taste of his own medicine…List of everything he's done in the past year: tried to get Aluria to blow him; helped the Slytherins smuggle illegal shit from Hogsmeade because he's a prick; generally being a dickhead

Eileen Myddelton: let's try something strange, like her. Ideally, something involving Moaning Myrtle

Simon Rumblem: FAT ARSE Get a load of food, biscuits maybe, magical delivery system?

Avery and Mulciber: really raunchy confession to McGonagall of their love, or Binns? BINNS, DEFINITELY And get them caught for something

Ganymede Coburn: POOFER (confirmed!) something with penises (sp?)

The last one, Ganymede, had been recently added on by James and Peter. Peter had simply written "POOFER" after his name. I stared at the letters until my eyes were dry and the word had lost its meaning. We hadn't had as explicit a reason for targeting Ganymede before, but since he had publicly told people what he was, we—or they, rather—could now blame his sexuality.

5 November, 1973 19:50

James and I had grown accustomed to lying on the couch together while everyone talked. Even though he was shorter than me, he let me rest my head against his shoulder, his hand playing absent-mindedly with my hair, or teasing the back of my neck. Sometimes we'd take turns massaging each other. Until recently, my only thought had been that it felt good, natural, but not…

I flinched at James' fingers on my shoulder. He was too busy listening to Remus explain something from last week's History lecture to notice.

"So why didn't Binns just fucking say it like that? I understand the charm of having a ghost teach, but one day someone's gonna die from boredom in his class, and imagine explaining that…" James continued on. I pretended to listen, instead looking over at Remus.

Remus blushed and looked away. He had been staring at James' hand, at the closeness of us.

I let him believe I didn't think anything of it. "James, my back is kinda sore. Can you help me out?"

"Hm?" James paused, then ran a hand through his hair. "Sure. Anyway, I'm thinking we could get Peeves to help out. You know, just to figure out how to make the class more interesting." He repositioned himself, legs on either side of me, and began to massage my back. "We could figure out his past, help him move on…I'm surprised no one else has done it yet."

I closed my eyes, losing myself in the feeling.

James' voice tickled in my ear. "Some of the girls are watching us."

I cracked an eye open. He was right; across from us, a group of girls stared at us, at James' hands massaging me. Now they were looking, and Remus was looking.

"Keep going, then." I closed my eyes again.

After a period of silence from James, he asked me, "Why do they like it so much?"

My brow furrowed. "Dunno."

"Do you think it'd be hot if two girls did this?"

I took too long to respond, so James continued, "Why is it hot, though? It must be because it's forbidden. Surprising."

"Imagine how surprised would they be if they found out we were fucking."

James stopped, but kept his hands on my shoulders. "Not as surprised as I would be. Christ, the shit you say sometimes…" He chuckled. "Well, I'm finished here. They can dry off now, I'd think."

10 December, 1973 2:30

We tried to distract Remus, but he had hardly any energy to even laugh.

"I'm going to turn any minute."

James and I exchanged a look. "And?"

"So leave. It's not safe." Remus sat up and began to take off his shirt.

I stared. "What are you doing?"

Remus furrowed his brow a little. "If I keep my clothes on, they'll get ruined." Pink singed his pale face. "Another reason for you all to go."

James' eyes didn't stray from Remus'. "That's bullshit, we're not leaving you."

Peter looked away as Remus slipped off his pants, then said, "And—and you'll get hurt, won't you? Maybe we can do something…"

"I knew this was a stupid id—" Remus convulsed.

"Go, go," I told James and Peter, who rushed to the door, but didn't leave.

Remus bent forward, limbs shaking. I inched closer, then rested my hand on Remus' shoulder. Maybe it was irrational, but I thought he would recognize me—or any of us, I supposed.

Then James was grabbing my arm, pulling me back to the door. "He'll turn us, or kill us. C'mon, for fuck's sake!"

I let James drag me back, watching as fur sprouted from Remus' skin. He let out a long howl before turning his wolfish head toward us.

Peter shut the door just as Remus made a first leap toward us.

"Colloportus!" To hide the tremor in his voice, James shouted the spell.

Remus threw himself against the door, growling. After several minutes, his protests turned to whimpers, then silence.

"D'you reckon he's given up?" Peter asked.

A low growl from the other side of the door was enough to answer his question.

James sat down, head hung in thought. "We've gotta do something more." He looked up. "Was anyone paying attention to Remus when he told us about werewolves?"

I tried to remember. "Hang on…he said—well, werewolves only hunt humans, right? Well, we could transfigure ourselves into animals, like Professor McGonagall."

"I don't think it's that easy. She's a—oh, what's it called. An Animagus. You have to be registered and shit."

"And…?" I smirked at James.

He grinned. "And now I know what our next project is."

15 January, 1974 16:52

I turned the corner and nearly ran into Ganymede. "Oh, sorry."

"That's okay." He ducked his head and kept moving.

"Hang on!"

Ganymede started and turned around.

"I told James and the others not to bother you anymore," I said as we walked to the next landing.

Ganymede stopped, brow furrowed. "Thank you."

"Well, you didn't deserve it. You don't have to thank me."

Ganymede studied me, then stepped closer.

My cheeks turned hot and my stomach felt light, tingly. As though disconnected from my mind, my hands reached up and rested on the sides of Ganymede's head. I pulled him in and kissed him on the lips.

Ganymede placed one hand where my neck met my shoulder, one at my waist. He got over his surprise, and I could feel his lips curl into a smile.

After a minute, I pulled away. We stared at each other. I knew he had kissed multiple blokes before, but this was my first time with anyone.

I leaned in to kiss Ganymede again, but he ducked away. "Er—I can't."

As the passion of the moment faded, I realized I had fucked up. If anyone found out about this, I'd be ruined. Remus would know I'd been lying, and more importantly, if James found out, I knew everything between us would change.

Ganymede continued, "You're attractive, sure, but you're…too much of a prick. And, I know what you're gonna ask, and yeah, I won't tell anyone." He turned to go.

"How long have you known?"

"That I was gay?" Ganymede trained his blue eyes on me. "Since I was nine, I suppose."

I nodded. I didn't even know now, at fourteen.

Ganymede softened. "I'm sorry. You want my advice? Wait until after Hogwarts before coming out. Before getting with a bloke, even. Date girls if you have to, but it's not worth doing everything in secret. I've tried that."

26 December, 1975 11:19

James sat down across from us, clearly excited. "So I've been looking through the book my dad gave me yesterday, and I think I've found something to help me with Lily."

I glanced at Remus' paper for the answers as I suggested, "A spell to add three inches to your manhood?"

Remus sighed and moved his paper closer to me, then said, "Personality transformation potion?"

James clapped us on the back, a little too hard to be playful. "Nope. And if you hear that either of those exist, let me know." He raised his voice a little, signaling us to stop what we were doing so we could pay attention. "It's a memory-loss potion."

Remus paused in chewing his quill. "How's that different from a memory spell?"

"This one lasts twelve hours, and it targets a specific person, or specific people. Then after the effects of the potion wears off, the drinker forgets the events of the previous twelve hours. So…"

"So?"

"So Lily forgets she ever knew the Marauders for a day. I make a good impression and see if it makes a difference without her ever knowing I did it. Could she come to tolerate me, or fancy me, or…or is it natural for her to hate me?"

Remus glanced at me, then back at James. "You sure you want to find out?"

James shrugged. "Why not?"

Remus motioned for James to hand him the book. "Let's see what supplies we need."

The next morning, James words roused me from sleep. I lifted my head. "What did you say?"

"Remus is gone. He must've gone to breakfast early…"

There was a pause, so I looked over. James held the memory-loss potion in his hand, The bottle was clear.

We realized what must've happened at the same time. The potion had been on Remus' nightstand, so that meant somehow he had taken it. "Shit."

Downstairs, in the Great Hall, we spotted Remus sitting alone at Gryffindor table. At least he could remember his house.

"Should we tell him?" Peter asked.

"Of course we should—" James stopped. "Maybe not."

"Why not?" The guilt was immediate.

"Who knows how he'd react. Plus, we could see what he'd think of us if he'd met us now."

I fidgeted. "Oh, alright. Let's at least sit with him, then."

We walked over and, as was custom, James introduced himself first. "Hey, I'm James Potter."

Remus shook his hand, then looked to me.

"Sirius Black." I shook his hand, too, but for longer than James had, it seemed. There was a hitch, too, in Remus' composure. I searched for the same fumbling when he "met" Peter, but it wasn't there.

We made idle chat with Remus, but failed to impress him; he excused himself once he finished breakfast, saying something about wanting to get to class early.

"What do you think it is? Why does he hate us?" James pushed his plate away, appetite lost.

"He doesn't hate us, it's just that he doesn't like us," Peter said.

"Thanks, Peter. That—"

Peter cut him off. "If you hate someone, you probably wouldn't change your mind. If we just doesn't like us, all we have to do is prove to him we're good blokes."

Later in the day, I almost started to tell James that Remus was staring at us, but I realized he wasn't staring at us—he was staring at me.

As soon as I looked back, he looked away. The same thing happened at least three times over the course of the day. I could no longer tell myself it was an accident.

Remus was attracted to me.

We managed to stall him in the Gryffindor Tower long enough before dinner for the potion to wear off. He nearly collapsed, so we had to help him up to the dorm and to his bed.

James was the first to speak. "We think we figured out why you took it, but—"

"Took what?" Remus sat up and rubbed his eyes.

"You took the potion we were gonna give to Lily." James grabbed the other potion from his dresser drawer and held it up. "You mistook it for this experimental stuff one of the house-elves left for you last night."

Remus blinked. "Bloody hell, you're right." He thought for a moment. "Did you tell me what you'd done while I was on the stuff?"

I shook my head. "Too many things could've gone wrong. We didn't know what to expect."

Peter cleared his throat. "And…you kinda hated our guts, Remus."

"What do you mean?"

"Whenever we laughed in class, or passed notes, you'd glare at us."

"Glare at you?"

As James and Peter explained, I thought of the moment I was keeping to myself. It was small, really, we were just washing hands next to each other in the loo. But nervous energy had been radiating off of him, I was sure of it.

27 March, 1976 21:47

Remus pulled on his trousers, uncomfortable with his own nakedness.

"It worked!" I high-fived James and Peter, then hugged them. Over a year of work and we'd done it. Not only had managed to distract Remus in his werewolf form, we had also perfected transforming into Animagi.

Remus was grinning, too. As I approached, he gestured to his bare chest. "No cuts. Now I'm not afraid anymore."

Not afraid. Perhaps it was those words, or the adrenaline pumping through me, or seeing Remus this way that made me take him and kiss him.

The sound of our lips reverberated in the silence, sending self-doubt roaring into my thoughts.

A hand rested on my shoulder from behind, and I pulled away in surprise.

After turning around, James immediately pressed his lips onto mine, the intensity of his embrace doubling my bewilderment. But it didn't make sense to ask questions, not when I was so caught up in his fingers in my hair, which sent electric shivers down my spine to my—

James let me go. "I knew it."

I shook my head once, confused.

"You're a fag, I mean." James looked between my eyes and my lips.

No. No, no, no, this couldn't be happening. "And you're not?"

James thought a moment. "No. None of us are." He glanced at Peter and Remus, whose eyes were wide, mouths ajar. "But this is the one opportunity we'll have to practice, right? Wormtail, don't you want to know what you're doing your first time with a girl?"

Peter looked horrified, as though he'd just realized he'd joined a gay sex cult. "But I'm—but I'm not a queer!"

James rolled his eyes. "You don't have to be. Pretend he's a girl; it's not hard. What about you, Moony?"

Remus had been staring at me the entire time, face flushed. Trying to seem casual, he merely shrugged.

"Alright then. Wormtail, you first."

I wasn't that attracted to Peter, mostly because he had never showed a propensity for me like he had for James—so what was the point in risking our friendship? But one of us had to be confident about it, so I approached him, placing my hands on either side of his face. "Don't worry, it's simple. Easier than you'd think. Just follow my lead, alright?"

Peter took a deep breath, then let me kiss him. His touch was far smoother, and his insecurity led him to be gentle, cautious. After a minute, though we'd hardly broken the surface, he pulled away.

"Good?" I asked, eyebrow raised.

Peter was transfixed. He managed a nod.

"Remus, your turn." James steered him over to me.

I searched Remus' gaze for a sign of his feelings, but scared could mean a number of things. I took his arms lightly, and he fidgeted a bit, either because of my cold fingers or the fact that I had just kissed him, and we were both blokes, not to mention best mates…

Remus nodded slightly. "Go on, then." His bare chest heaved, and a bead of sweat ran down his brow.

I tilted my head and kissed him, incredibly restrained. He had to be eased into it, while James had only been able to go in for the kill. Ironic, considering I was the dog and James was the deer.

I rested my hands on Remus' chest, then worked them up to his shoulders, pulling him closer to me. And then tongue. I thought I had gone too far because Remus broke away, but he only did so to pull off my shirt.

I stared at him in disbelief. He was into it. Into me. I kissed him again, harder, bare skin on bare skin. I could feel him through his trousers, he wanted me—

"That was good!" James pulled me away by my waist. He rubbed his fingers back and forth across my skin—slightly, so only he and I knew. "Remus, what would you give it out of ten?"

Had I made James jealous?

James kept one hand on my back, but Peter and Remus couldn't see him massage me. I stifled a moan, but allowed my eyes to close.

"Seven," Remus replied.

My eyes flew open, and I saw Remus was staring at me again. "Seven? What the hell did I do wrong?" But it was hard to stay annoyed with James' hand at my lower back, tracing the line of my trousers.

"You were fine, it was me that was the problem. I still don't feel like I'm good enough."

What was he playing at? I went along with it. "Yeah, I could tell you could use more practice."

James took his hand away. "Here, let me see." He turned to Remus, who backed up in surprise, before James drew him in for a long kiss. After pulling away, James moved his mouth from side to side, as though judging a fine wine. "I think you know what you're doing. And I know I was brilliant. How about you, Peter?"

"I know what I'm doing, too," Peter said quickly.

"Let's head back, then."

How could James be so casual? Didn't he feel anything? Peter was emotionally shaken, it seemed, and I, and possibly Remus, had been aroused.

"So, Sirius, I suppose you being gay is gonna stay between us?"

I nodded quickly. "No one can know." I stopped walking. "Look, mates, this doesn't change anything, does it?"

"Course not," Peter replied. He was the only one to give a definitive answer. Still, he and Remus walked a bit more quickly than James and I, as though wanting to distance themselves.

"I don't fancy you, Sirius," James whispered.

"I don't fancy you, either."

James stopped in his tracks and pushed me against the tunnel wall, kissing me. His tongue slid over mine, and his hands burrowed into my hair. As he broke away for air, he asked, "You sure?"

My heart thudded. "No." I cleared my throat. "I mean, yes, I'm sure I don't."

James leaned back, satisfied. "Alright." He gestured for me to follow him as we hurried to catch up with the others. "Because I'm straight. And besides, I'm going to marry Lily, hopefully before I've lost my good looks to age. So hell, if I can enjoy my time before she comes round, why not?"

The following day went by like usual; but anyone paying close attention might've been able to sense the tension between us. Remus largely ignored me, but I couldn't tell if he was upset or just uncomfortable.

He didn't say anything to me that night, or the day after. Whether consciously or not, we were never alone together. James was completely oblivious, too distracted by the comedy in Peter's awkwardness around me to notice Remus'.

There was bound to be a reason eventually that we would be alone together; on Thursday, James sent me and Remus to the library to check out books for research.

Before we reached the library, Remus pulled me into the loo, made sure no one else was inside, then locked the door. "You made me think I couldn't be attracted to boys. You said you weren't attracted to boys. You've been lying this whole time."

"I did it to protect you. I didn't want you all to be different around me. And you see how it's like now, I mean, it's not quite the way I worried it would be, but it's still different."

"If you were so worried, why did you kiss me?"

I was suddenly aware of how close we were to each other. There were so many possible answers that ran through my mind, but instead I asked, "Are you attracted to boys?"

Remus crossed his arms. "You're changing the subject."

"I can't answer until you do. It's a simple question."

Remus sighed. "I—I don't know what's normal, and what's not. With you and James as apparent models of straightness, I couldn't—I can't tell."

"So if you were just answering the question, 'Are you attracted to boys,' you wouldn't say yes." Remus still looked conflicted, so I instead I asked, "Have you thought about kissing a boy?"

Remus flushed. "Other than you?"

"Yeah." He's thought about kissing me?

"I suppose I have…but I've thought about kissing girls, too. More about kissing girls than boys, probably. I just assumed—I assumed one came with the other. That all guys feel the same way, or similar, but just choose girls."

"What about having sex? Who—other than me—have you thought about?"

Remus turned an even deeper shade of red. "I never said I thought about you like that." Then he narrowed his eyes slightly, as if to ask, Have you thought about me like that? "You never answered my question from before. Why did you kiss me?"

I opened my mouth to answer, then closed it. "I don't want to ruin our friendship."

"It'll ruin it if we don't talk about it." He tried to keep eye contact with me, even as I turned my head. "Fine, fuck it, I'll start. Do you remember, back in second year, when I had you put lotion on my back?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

"When I couldn't get up after, it was because, well, because I was…excited, and I didn't want you to see."

I blinked. My first instinct was to laugh, so I had to take a second before saying, "Really?"

Remus hadn't noticed, he wasn't looking at me. "I didn't know what to think, after, but when I fancied girls, I figured it was just being touched that had caused it." He fumbled with what to say next, so I said,

"I fancy you, Remus. I have for a long time, I just—I couldn't admit it to myself."

"Oh."

"Why did you think I did it? Kissed you, I mean?"

"Well, I…I didn't consider it would mean more than…"

"Being attracted to you?"

Remus nodded. "I think I—I need some time to think. I can manage the library, by myself. I'll—I'll see you at dinner."

I waited until he had left the bathroom, then said to myself, "Fuck. Fuck, of course I had to fuck things up." Why would I think Remus felt the same way? Had I even expected him to tell me he fancied me, or to kiss me, even?

I splashed my face in the sink, then studied myself in the mirror. I had a sinking feeling we'd never be able to go back to how it had been before. I was already thinking about Remus differently—my stomach felt light just by imagining his reserved, calculated movements; his fond expression when he watched James and I plan; how somedays he touched me too much, other days as though he was deliberately holding back. And still, I couldn't figure out if I thought of all those things because I wanted someone, or if I wanted Remus.


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