(9:41am) Peter: 11 Ok today? I have to monitor a shift change at noon.
(9:43am) Marlene: That works better for me anyway.
(9:43am) Sirius: I’ll have to check my schedule…
(9:43am) Peter: You literally have nothing on Thursdays.
(9:44am) Marlene: So a yes from Sirius. Rem?
(9:46am) Remus: Yea, I’m good with that.
James finished his run less than 4 feet ahead of Dorcas, turning around to give her a high five just as she began letting out a stream of breathless curse words in his direction.
“I fucking had your sorry ass, Potter” She smiled, slapping his hand and gasping for breath. “You waited to the last second on purpose! Sly bastard!”
They grabbed their bags and waters, laughing and placing fake bets on which classmates would finish ahead of which, enjoying the few minutes they had to rest before hitting the showers.
“You’re coming to our party tomorrow right? It’s mostly just old Hogwarts peeps, but you are of course welcome” James asked on their way back toward the training building. “Marlene mentioned it, right?”
“She did” Dorcas nodded, “but I have a dinner with my parents, and can’t really cancel again, no matter how much I might want to” She finished with a grimace, giving James a defeated sort of shrug as he held the door for her behind him.
“I never hear you talk about your family” James observed. He glanced up at her suddenly, his expression fierce and protective. “Is it…. It’s not a homophobe thing, is it?”
Dorcas laughed humorlessly as she shook her head. “Believe it or not, they were completely fine with that!” She took a deep breath. “They aren’t overly fond of me doing this though” She said, gesturing vaguely to the training building they had just entered.
“They don’t want you to be a cop?” James asked, a little taken aback. “hmmm…. because it’s dangerous?”
“Yea” She shrugged in reply, tapping her recruit badge onto the security scanner. “That, and they think I rushed into the decision… that I didn’t think about it properly.” James just gave a humorless laugh as he followed her, scanning his own badge. “I know! It’s ridiculous!”
“Well…” James said, really considering her words “It was out of the blue…”
She froze in the middle of putting her badge back into her bag to look at him.
“If you are thinking that I randomly decided to change the entire trajectory of my life, at a dinner with friends, and never gave it a second thought afterward, you’re wrong.”
“I’m not saying that” James rushed out, hands slightly raised in surrender. “But it may seem that way to them is all.”
She nodded with a deep sigh as they continued toward the changing rooms.
“I’m a biracial lesbian in training for the New York Police Department” she deadpanned “surely they know I wasn’t just like… ‘Sure! 6 months of physical and mental hell sounds like great fun! I’m going to make so many friends!’”
“I don’t know…. That sounds a lot like the reaction I got from Sirius when I brought up joining the force to him last year” James snorted through his laughter, Dorcas joining in with a look that clearly showed she was not surprised.
“How is he doing? Ya know… with his brother being around lately?”
“Seems to be handling it really well, though I think when Reggie goes back to England this weekend it will be tough on him.” James said
“Does he have to go back?” Dorcas asked, moving with James in the line to refill their water bottles.
James nodded dejectedly, closing his eyes as if to hide an eye roll. “Yea, or else his family would come looking.”
“They have to know he’s here in the city though… it’s been a week.” She replied.
“He set up some interviews with several business firms in the area so that it just looks like he is trying to intern here” he explained. “Not a bad idea, mind, since it means he could get away from them for a while. But I suspect once they find out his loyalties have changed for the lawsuit, they won’t be paying for him to pick school back up at Cambridge next semester anyway.”
“What will he do? Just drop out of school?” Dorcas asked, concern etched on her face.
James smiled at his friend’s empathy for Regulus. “We have a plan.” He said cryptically, giving her a small wink and grin before he disappeared into the locker room.
House of Hotties:
(10:46am) Lilyflower: Lunch?
(10:46am) Moony: Can’t. Thursday Lunch Crew, remember?
(10:46am) Lilyflower: Oh yea!
(10:47am) Lilyflower: Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here… sad and alone… and a little jealous.
(10:47am) Lilyflower: *sniffle sniffle*
(10:47am) Moony: ….want to come with?
(10:48am) Lilyflower: nah. I’m just fucking with you.
(10:48am) Moony: D guilt tripping me yesterday, and now you?
(10:49am) Lilyflower: Well… it looked like fun when she did it so, I thought id give it a go.
(10:49am) Moony: And was it everything you thought it would be?
(10:50am) Lilyflower: No.
(10:50am) Lilyflower: Total letdown really.
(10:50am) Lilyflower: I suspect that’s partly your fault though.
(10:51am) Moony: Yea? How do you figure?
(10:51am) Lilyflower: Well you weren’t nearly as guilty as I wanted you to be. You just folded so quickly.
(10:51am) Moony: mmm. You’re right. Completely my fault.
(10:52am) Moony: If you want to try again, I can do better.
(10:52am) Lilyflower: No, no. The moment is passed.
(10:52am) Lilyflower: You killed it.
(10:53am) Moony: *hangs head*
(10:53am) Lilyflower: There, there… You’ll get it next time.
Remus was laughing as he walked to meet Sirius, Marlene, and Peter at the same table from the following week, Peter having already brought over a bunch of Chinese takeaway for them to sort through.
“What’s funny?” Marlene asked, giving Remus a quick side hug before he sat.
“Lily…” Remus replied. “She wanted to meet for lunch then was being all dramatic about our little lunch thing”
Marlene gasped, placing a hand over her heart dramatically for affect. “Firstly, she definitely could have joined us-“
“Hey! I practically had to beg!” Sirius cut in indignantly. Marlene ignored him.
“-Secondly,” Marlene said over Sirius’s huffing “little lunch thing?! This is sacred, Remus!” She gestured toward the Chinese food as she were presenting a highly sought after prize.
Remus laughed, nodding in agreement. “You’re right, you’re right!” He grabbed one of the drinks and claimed it as his with an open straw. “And she was just fucking with me. We’ll be seeing enough of each other this weekend anyway.”
“That’s right” Peter hummed “you guys are going home this weekend, yea?”
Remus nodded and pulled out the phone vibrating in his pocket.
House of Hotties:
(11:06am) Lilyflower: [Photo]
(11:06am) Lilyflower: How’s that do?
He laughed and showed the rest of the group at the table.
It was a picture of Lily, lip out in an overly dramatic pout as she gave her best puppy dog eyes to the camera.
They decided to take a group picture in return, each hanging their heads, as if wrecked with guilt at her lack of attendance.
(11:08am) Moony: I am overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame.
(11:08am) Moony: [Photo]
(11:08am) Lilyflower: I knew you would be. I’m an icon, after all.
(11:08am) Moony: It’s true.
(11:09am) Lilyflower: 😂
(11:09am) Lilyflower: love you!
(11:09am) Moony: Love you!!
“Stinks you two will miss the party Friday” Marlene mumbled around a large bite of rice. “Dorcas won’t be there either. She’s got dinner with her folks.”
“I’m not much looking forward to going home, to be honest” Remus said through a smile that wasn’t fooling anyone. “It’ll be the first time being in that house without my mom there.”
No one really knew what to say, so they made do with mumbled “that sucks” and “I’m sorry” as they began piling food onto their plates.
Sirius looked up from his food to meet Remus’s eye briefly with a smile. “Need backup?” He asked, and though Remus knew he was being sincere, and he knew that he would love for Sirius to be there, he laughed and shook his head no anyway.
“It’ll mostly be Lily picking out what she wants from my mother’s closet while I nod at everything she tries on” Remus chuckled.
“Honestly” Marlene nodded very seriously, eyebrows raised “that sounds like heaven to me. Your mom was a style icon, Remus.”
“Yea…” Remus laughed “So I hear.”
“You sure you don’t want to keep some of them for yourself?” Peter teased with a smirk “You might look nice in some of those heels. Maybe a nice floral dress?”
Remus laughed along, noticing Sirius frown out of the corner of his eye. “Maybe if I wasn’t twice her size… I bet I could pull it off.” He brushed his hair from his face and batted his eyes.
“You totally could Remus!” Marlene barked out a laugh. “One skirt for each leg. It’ll be the new style!”
They continued laughing, Sirius a bit more forcedly than the others, but Remus didn’t comment on it.
Everyone lamented the idea of a party without Lily and Remus, while Remus smiled, silently flattered. “You guys had parties before you met us” he shrugged. “I’m sure you’ll find the strength to enjoy yourselves. …..hard as it might be” he added with a dramtic sigh and a shrug.
“I mean…. we’ll do our best” Peter sighed, hand over his heart.
“But you’re sure asking a lot…” Marlene added.
“I guess we could try… for you…” Sirius grinned.
Marlene paused in her laughing to pull her vibrating phone from her pocket, giving them the ‘just a second’ finger signal as she moved to leave the table, saying “This is Marlene” into the phone as she walked away.
While she was gone the boys took turns making up stories about who the call could be from, the theories ranging from ‘booty call from Dorcas’ and ‘the arcade is on fire’ all the way to ‘super secret dance-assassin agency calling to give her instructions for her next mission’. It was good fun.
“That was another private client!” Marlene gushed out before she even reached the table. “They want to have a meeting Saturday!”
Shouts of “That’s amazing!” and “Fuck yea!” went around the table, causing odd looks from strangers at nearby tables.
“It’s really happening!” She said through a huge smile. She turned to Sirius, muttering a quick “thank you” as she gave him a fierce hug, Remus and Peter looking on in confusion.
“It’s all you Marls” Sirius smiled into her shoulder.
“I feel like we are missing something….” Peter laughed.
“It’s nothing” Sirius said hastily, waving his hand.
“A few more private sessions and I can finally leave the arcade” she added thoughtfully. “I suppose I should start looking for a replacement manager.”
“Oh!” Peter shouted suddenly, making everyone jump. “Sorry… I just know the perfect person.” Marlene smiled and looked to him expectantly. “Al. They have been looking for something that pays a bit more since they will be moving from their parents, and in with Frank and Emmeline.”
“Oh I love Al!” Marlene cheered. “I will give them a call about it this weekend!”
All in all it had been another great Thursday lunch. Before leaving they all gathered for one last picture, smiling and waving, to send to Lily.
(11:57am) Moony: [Photo]
(11:57am) Moony: We missed you!
(11:57am) Lilyflower: Look at those beautiful faces!
Sirius and Remus walked back to the bookstore together in comfortable silence, waving bye to Peter and Marlene in turn as they parted ways.
“Anything good in there?” Sirius asked at the entrance, gesturing to the side where the records were kept.
“Nah” Remus said, scrunching his nose and shaking his head. "Nothing on the list anyway."
“I think I’ll just head out then, I’m feeling a little tired”
Remus nodded as Sirius gave a small smile and made to leave. “Wait, Sirius.” He called to Sirius’s back. Sirius turned back looking a bit confused, but smiling anyway. “Everything ok? You seemed… I don’t know… put out?”
“I’m fine Remus, really.” He laughed, but Remus noticed that it didn’t really reach his eyes. “See ya!” he called as he made to leave again.
It was a few hours later when Remus noticed an email notification come in on his phone, and though he only had an hour left of his shift, he clocked out on break so he could read it anyway.
Remus Castaway Moonman Lupin,
I wish I knew your actual middle name. I imagine it’s got to be just as cool as your first and last name, so my expectations are high.
I quite like the emails too. I feel like I can tell you things here that I wouldn’t normally have the courage to tell people, which scares me and makes me happy at the same time.
And you were right about today, I was a little put off.
It still surprises me how well you can read me like that. Even James can’t manage it sometimes, and he’s the closest person in my life..
I guess there are more things I keep to myself than I realize…
When Pete was making jokes about you trying on your moms clothes, it made me uncomfortable.
I confess there are times I wish I had the nerve to explore more feminine type things. Nail polish, braids, you know…
Then I hear things like that and it just… I don’t like it.
I know he was joking and it was not malicious at all, but I guess that it just brought up some of the very NOT funny ways my parents reacted any time I ever dared to be different.
The first time I ever tried eye liner, I was grounded the entire Christmas holiday. I told everyone at school that the marks I had from the punishment were from falling during a ski trip, but James never did believe it.
When I eventually told him the truth, he wore eyeliner every single day of January with me, despite all the rude comments and dirty looks we got.
He’s such a fucking wonderful human it’s annoying.
Anyway, I guess some of that stuck with me, because it was the last time I ever tried to test the waters in that way.
Maybe that was a lot to tell you.
I’m fighting the urge to delete all of that, but I won’t because I don’t think that you will think of me differently.
You are a lot like James in that.
I wish you could meet Regulus. He leaves this Saturday, and I am already a little sad about it. I just have this fear that he will change his mind once he gets back, and I will go another 3 years without seeing him.
Or that they will have found out he was here with me.
They won’t like that, and knowing what they are capable of.... I just don't like it, is all.
Well, I might be in my feelings a little bit here, so I am going to go ahead and sign off before I get too deep in the wallows.
Remus checked his watch and went back to work, his mind trying to come up with some way to make Sirius feel a bit better.
“I’m headed off to Lily’s to see her a bit before she leaves” James said, peaking his head into Sirius’s music room. “Need anything while I’m out?”
“Nah. I’m good.” Sirius smiled.
He was working out a new progression on the guitar, attempting to put his feelings into the world with music, since words always seemed to fail him.
He wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he heard his phone vibrate on the table. He picked it up, smiling when he saw it was Remus.
(6:26pm) Friend Remus: Sirius can you do me a favor?
(6:27pm) Friend Sirius: Depends....
(6:27pm) Friend Remus: Buzz me into your building.
(6:27pm) Friend Sirius: What?!
(6:28pm) Friend Remus: Well, Id do it myself, but I don’t have a key, and James is across town at my apartment.
He jumped to his feet and ran to the panel next to the door to let Remus into the building, then returned his attention to his phone.
(6:28pm) Friend Sirius: Well this is a surprise
(6:29pm) Friend Remus: A good one?
(6:29pm) Friend Sirius: The best.
Remus barely got a single knock on the door when Sirius threw it open, immediately embarrassed by how eager he seemed. “Remus!” He shouted dramatically, attempting to cover his excitement with sarcasm.
“Sirius!” Remus shouted back, walking passed him and into the kitchen to set a small bag onto the table. “I got your email” he added, Sirius following him.
“Oh…” Sirius breathed.
Remus turned to look at Sirius full on, and Sirius could feel his heart begin to beat a little faster at the serious look on his friends face. What would Remus think of him? Why was he even here?
“Sorry I didn’t reply- I will, its just..” Remus seemed to falter. “I… Well, it made me upset.”
“Oh.” Sirius said again, eyes falling to the floor.
“Yea...” he said, and Sirius could hear him rustling with the bag he brought, but he couldn’t bring himself to look up. “Anyway… I brought a few things with me. I hope you don’t mind.”
Sirius lifted his eyes to look up, confused and surprised to see Remus standing there holding up pony tail holders and several bottles of nail polish.
“If you don’t like it” Remus added, “I also brought polish remover.”
Sirius’s whole face lit up, as he nodded and sat down at the table. “You didn’t have to do this. I mean… I love it… but…”
“I know I didn’t have to.” Remus grinned back “But it’s not like I flew across the country or anything.”
“It’s not so much that I think James won’t support me or anything” Sirius said a little while later, blowing his nails dry as Remus finished with putting the french braid in his hair. “I guess I just never really considered it enough to bring it up. It was always just there in the back of my mind.”
“Well” Remus said with a flourish “I think it looks great!” Sirius hurried excitedly to the bathroom to look in the mirror, Remus following him with an amused smile.
When he saw his reflection in the mirror, his hand immediately went to touch the braid, a smile forming on his face.
It didn’t take long, however, for the thoughts of “Men aren’t meant to look pretty” to enter his mind. Remus must have noticed, because he gently lead Sirius from in front of the mirror.
“Let me be the first to tell you, right now, how totally fucking badass and lovely it looks before anyone else gets in there” he said, tapping Sirius lightly on the head as they went back toward the kitchen table. “Now, it’s my turn.” He held his hands out expectantly, waiting for Sirius to begin painting.
“Pink or purple?” Sirius asked, the smile brightening up his features.
“Hmmm” Remus thought. “Pink on one, purple on the other.”
Sirius nodded and got to work.
Sirius had decided to keep the braid in, hoping it would last through the party tomorrow, while he passed some time practicing painting his toenails after Remus left. He wasn’t expecting to be completely comfortable with the changes, nor was he sure he would do it again in a hurry, but he was happy Remus had gently pushed him to try it out.
Sirius was putting the nail polish away and clearing off the kitchen table when James came in, waving at him with a big yawn.
“Does it smell like nail polish in here?” James asked absently as he plopped down on the couch and turned on the TV.
“oh, ummm… yea” Sirius replied, trying to sound casual. “Remus came by and we painted our nails.”
“That’s nice” James said, attention on the television. “You and Remus…. Hanging out…”
“We’re just friends Prongs” Sirius said warningly, turning to go into his room. “night, loser” he waved as he made his way passed the couch to his side of the apartment.
“Night lose- hey…” James cut himself off, catching Sirius’s attention. “are those… did you… braid your hair?”
Sirius turned to face James, his hand nervously reaching up to touch the braid. “uhh yea- well, Remus did anyway- but… yea” Half of him wanted to take out the pony tail holder and shake the braid out, but the other half of him really hoped James liked it; that he wasn’t weird for liking it himself.
James smiled up at him brightly. “It looks really nice.”
Sirius couldn’t hide the grin as he turned toward his bedroom, something in his stomach unclenching a bit as he pulled his phone out to text Remus.
(11:25pm) Friend Sirius: James likes the braid.
(11:25pm) Friend Sirius: And so do I. Thank you…
(11:25pm) Friend Remus: Of course he did! It looks great!
(11:25pm) Friend Remus: And anytime, really.
(11:25pm) Friend Sirius: Last song before I crash?
(11:26pm) Friend Remus: Listening to The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths right now while I finish up the packing with Lily.
(11:26pm) Friend Sirius: The song? Or the entire album?
(11:26pm) Friend Remus: Both! I just put the album on when you texted me, so the song is just about over.
(11:26pm) Friend Sirius: Well I better let you go before Frankly Mr. Shankly comes on and we hage to start this all over, huh?
(11:27pm) Friend Remus: haha! Goodnight Sirius
(11:27pm) Friend Sirius: night, Moony.