He should not be doing this. Remus wasn't the sneaker. He didn't spy on people, let alone his best friend. That was something James or Sirius would do. But he had to know, and with James hung up on Evans and Sirius…
Sirius was the one he was following.
He knew it was wrong. Why should he want to spy on Sirius? But every night for the past three weeks, a week after the start of school, Sirius had been sneaking off at night. Which wasn't so peculiar, but the fact that he did it without telling him or James or Peter, or without any mysterious pranks coming up out of nowhere the next day? Well, that just wasn't like him.
And where he was disappearing to was unusual. When Remus tried to track him with the map last night, his name disappeared. Meaning one thing: Sirius was going into the room of requirement.
Now he was really curious. What business could Sirius have in the room of requirement? It didn't make sense. So he was going to find out. And if anyone wanted to blame his curiosity on the fact that he may have had a tiny crush on Sirius? Well…screw them.
He reached the wall, and paced in front of it three times, thinking take me too where Sirius is, take me to where Sirius is; take me to where Sirius is. What he got wasn't quite what he was expecting. Instead of the door appearing, the wall seemed to bubble out and suck him in.
Well that was different. He had ended up in a dark corner of a room filled with tiny glass trinkets. In the center was a large nest of pillows where Sirius lay…with his head in the lap of a girl he'd never seen before.
He knew he'd never seen her because he would have remembered. Her hair was died rainbow, and her clothes looked like someone had pounded out a piece of gold and covered it with glitter, then sewn it into a dress. Sirius had his head in her lap, and she was combing her fingers absently through his hair as they talked. Was this a secret girlfriend? While the thought should have made him happy for Sirius, instead it just pulled at his heartstrings. What were they saying?
Sirius was telling a story to the girl. "…you should have seen him. The look on Mooney's face was absolutely precious."
The girl rolled her eyes. "Mooney this, Mooney that," she said in an accent that seemed to be a crossover between a very strong American southern accent, and a very light Scottish accent. "He's all you ever talk about."
"Oh, shut up, Isla," Sirius said with a grin. "I talk about lots of things 'sides Mooney."
"Of course you do," said the girl, Isla. "You talk about Mooney's eyes, and his hair, and his shoes, and his grades and—ack!" A glass horse flying at her head cut her off. She ducked, and the glass figure fell to the floor and shattered. "Oh you know I'm just teasing. And look, now ya broke 'im." She touched the glass shards, one by one, and said a word in what sounded like gibberish. The shards started glowing, then shaking, and then zipped to fit together as if they'd never broken. She smiled. "That's better."
Remus looked at her, stunned. Sirius just looked annoyed. "Little showoff."
"Like y'all're one to talk. You spend every chance you get trying to impress yer friends, ya little lovesick pup." The grin rolled off her face. "You know, you're gonna have to tell 'em sometime. All of 'em."
Sirius stopped smiling. "Not this again."
"Sirius, you have to. Their yer best mates. It's not right for you to keep this a secret."
Sirius turned over on his side so he was facing away from her. "You're my best mate." This hurt Remus a little.
Isla shook her head. "No, I'm yer anima sororem. It's not the same thing and you know that."
Sirius turned back to facing the ceiling. "What if they laugh at me? Or I disgust them? What if they reject me? What if…what if he rejects me?" He sighed. "I don't know if I could bear it if he rejected me." Now Remus really wanted to know what they were talking about.
"What if what if what if. You know what mama says about what ifs. Si quis te ad mortem usque velis, sed quia non."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. You can what if yourself to death, but you won't know until you try,"
"Exactly," she sighed. "Sirius, it's not fair of you to keep this from them. It's not fair to you, and it's not fair to them, and it's most definitely not fair to me."
Sirius looked at her like he'd gone crazy. "Okay, not fair to them I get, but how is it not fair to me, or you?"
"On the flipside of you knowing all their secrets, and them not knowing this about you, it's not fair that you have to bear the weight of this alone, while all of them have each other to lean on."
"I have you."
"That's how it's unfair to me! It's not fair that I get to carry the weight of all your troubles! That's what mates are for! To help me bear the load!" She looked at him. "And it's certainly not fair that I get to go home tonight and lie to my family, and yours by telling them that you're just peachy keen! How do you think that makes me feel! Lyin' to people who I see every day and night! All because you can't even stick one foot out of the closet!" Remus's eyes widened. Closet? Surely she couldn't mean…
"What would I even say? I can't just walk up to them at lunch and tell them I'm g-g…you know."
She sighed, and leaned back on her elbows, tilting her head so she could still look at him. "Sirius, you can incorporate enchanted vibrating dildo's into a conversation about you're transfiguration homework! Saying the words 'I'm gay' shouldn't be this hard!" Remus's jaw dropped. Sirius was…gay! The thought made his heart jump.
Sirius rolled over until he had his face buried in a pillow. "Isla! You're not helping."
She sat back up and started running her fingers through his hair again. "I'm sorry, hun. I don't mean to make you feel bad. I just…I want to see you happy."
"I'm happy here. With you."
She smiled gently, sadly. "Not happy enough. Not like you could be if you told them. Won't you even tell Remus? He'd want to know. It involves him, don't it?"
Sirius shot up into a push up position. "Especially not Remus! Don't you get it? I can't take the risk that he'll reject me! That he would be disgusted." Sirius choked up. He dropped his head and rolled onto his side so he could curl into a ball.
Remus didn't understand. Why would Sirius be more scared that he would find out that James or Peter? He hadn't done anything to make Sirius he hated gays. Not that he could remember. He hadn't acted particularly homophobic. If anything he was the most liberal and understanding member of the group.
Isla curled her arm around Sirius's neck and tugged lightly until his head was back in her lap, where she started stroking his hair lightly, soothingly while he cried. "From what you've told me, that don't sound much like Remus at all. You've always told me about kind, sensitive, accepting Remus. The Remus who, after getting pranked, would smile and say 'good one guys', and sometimes even laugh along with you. The Remus who would help up Severus after James left after pushing him down." Remus didn't know Sirius saw that. He blushed. "Remus, who sits there comforting James after he gets turned down by Evans…again. Remus, who knows you steal bites of his tart when he's not looking, and doesn't say anything. Remus, who you instantly fell in love with after your first month here in first year, before the Marauders even existed."
Wait, what?! Sirius was in love with him? No way. There was just no way on heaven and earth he could be that lucky. Sirius Black, in love with him!
Isla continued. "That Remus," she said, "wouldn't ever reject you. Even if he doesn't return your feelings, don't you think he'll still want to be your friend? Do you really think that telling him what you are, and how you feel, is going to turn the sweet, sensitive, boy you know into some sort of homophobic monster? Because I don't."
She took a glass heart about the size of fist from the ground near her feet and looked at it. "Love is scary, it's true, but it's also wonderful." She blew on the heart, which started to glow pink at the touch of her breath. "And while he may not feel the same, and you're feelings for him may fade, you won't experience that euphoric wonder if you hide you're heart in a stone castle. You got to try."
After five minutes of near silence, but for Sirius's light sobs, Remus realized that he could hear Isla singing very quietly. It was a lullaby, one he knew from times that he would spend late nights in front of the fire with the other boys in the dormitory.
"Can ye no hush your weepin'
all the wee lambs are sleepin'
Birdies are nestlin' nestlin' together
Dream Angus is hirplin' oer the heather
Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell
Angus is here wi' dreams to sell
Hush ye my baby and sleep without fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear.
List' to the curlew cryin'
Faintly the echos dyin'
Even the birdies and the beasties are sleepin'
But my bonny bairn is weepin' weepin'
Dreams to sell, fine dreams to sell
Angus is here wi' dreams to sell
Hush ye my baby and sleep without fear
Dream Angus has brought you a dream my dear."
About halfway through the second verse, Remus began to hum along. He was lost in memories. Which was why he didn't realize at first that Isla had stopped singing, and Sirius had raised up his head to look in horror at the corner where Remus was hiding.
"H-hello?" Sirius choked out. "Who's there?"
Remus stayed in the corner, afraid of what his reaction might be. Isla crooked her finger, and suddenly the glass figures at his feet started to push at his ankles, forcing him forward into the light.
Sirius gasped. "R-Remus? H-how much did you…" His lip was quivering, and he was looking at him as though he was afraid he might suddenly decide to crucio him.
"All of it. Or, well, enough, at least."
Sirius broke down in tears, burying his face in Isla's gold-clad shoulder. Isla looked at him desperately. Please, her eyes seemed to say. Please don't reject him. Please tell him everything's alright.
Remus did the only thing he could do. He raced over to them, knelt down and took Sirius into his own arms, holding him close and rocking him. "Shhh, it's okay Sirius. It's okay." Still Sirius cried, clutching Remus's shirt in clawed hands. Remus held him close until the tears stopped and Sirius's breathing was marginally calmer. He tried to let go so he could look at Sirius's face, but when he loosened his grip, Sirius's hands in his shirt tightened, pulling him back as his breathing became erratic once more. So Remus just held him.
When it seemed that he had finally calmed down, Remus loosened his grip, ever so slowly, and looked at Sirius. Sirius had his face turned away, his eyes downcast. He's still afraid I'll reject him, he realized. Remus didn't know what he could do to reassure him, so he did what felt right: he gently took Sirius's chin in his hand and tilted his face toward him, then, slowly and softly, almost delicately, he kissed Sirius full on the mouth.
The kiss was unlike anything he could have ever dreamed of. It was sweet and warm and tender, and encompassed every bit of love he had to offer. It was comfort and reassurance and forgiveness and hope all wrapped up in one kiss.
Sirius pulled away, eyes still wet with tears and with a look of desperation you might see on the face of a kicked puppy who had just been shown kindness for the first time. He seemed to be searching his face for something. Whatever it was he was looking for, he seemed to find it, and pulled Remus back into the kiss, this time kissing with all the vigor left in him after crying so hard for so long. Remus returned the favor.
When they broke for air, Sirius swallowed deeply and took a deep breath. "You…you don't hate me then? I mean, you don't find me…revolting?"
Remus sighed. "No Sirius! Why would you even think that? I could never find you anything but wonderful!"
"I…I though maybe, when you found out I was gay… you would hate me. That you would all hate me."
Remus clutched Sirius's head to his chest. "Sirius. Even if I wasn't gay, and I wasn't in love with you, you're our friend. We wouldn't just abandon you. You didn't abandon me when you found out I was a wolf. How on earth could you think I would abandon you?"
Sirius's eyes started to water again. "Oh Remus, thank you." He buried his face in Remus's chest. "Thank you."
Up above, in the rafters of the room, Isla smiled down at her anima fratris, or soul brother. At long last, he had taken the first step in a journey that she knew would end in him being happier than he had ever been.
Still smiling, Islandiria of the House of Black's Guardian Angel Family spread her wings; one white, one rainbow and both frilled with gold, looked up, and flew off into the night. She had a long way to go if she wanted to get back to heaven by morning.