Author's Note: Written for Ash. Thank you to Madam Minnie for the great beta work.
He watched him leave, closing the door silently so as not to wake his sleeping roommates, not knowing that at least one of them was awake and very much aware of what he had just done. No, it wasn't the first time. Nor would it be the last. He seemed to be destined to see the same scene, again and again, for several nights each week as long as they remained together in this room. It was really all right, in a way, for he always came back.
Remus wondered why there was a need for all the secrecy. Everyone knew about themóJames was Lily's and Lily was James'. But then, perhaps it was all this publicity that made them crave for something secretósomething quite forbidden and known only to themselves. Maybe, he just enjoyed seeing her during odd hours.
Lovers never do get enough of each other, he thought.
A small part of him wondered when he would return. He had tried waiting for him, but sleep always overtook his best efforts. And when he woke to the morning, he would always be there.
He liked sitting on the grass, just listening to them banter sometimes. He felt like an assigned guardian to these two fools he called friends. The crazy, handsome one that people liked more than they cared to admit, and the thoughtful, talented one whom everyone adored.
He was supposed to be the smart one.
He lifted his face to the skies, soaking up the sun. A part of him heard the noisy laughter produced by his companions. But he was no longer listening.
Sometimes he wished he could just disappear... like this... in the sunlight.
He didn't like being lonely in the midst of happiness.
The next time it happened, he decided to leave. He waited for a few minutes after James closed the door, counting the seconds until he knew it would be safe to leave the room, for the other would surely be out of the Tower. Carefully, he tiptoed out of the dorm room, his slippered feet making no sound on the stone floor.
He looked for a good place to think, to be awake without fear while everyone else would be sleeping in their beds. But he knew, at the back of his mind, that at least two people would be like him. For they would be with each other and this he could not accept without a little bitterness.
He tried to fight away the thoughts of them together. What could they be doing? But the images wouldn't stop. He saw himóJamesówrapped in her red, red hair in the dark, their lips touching, ever so softly, on their bodies. It was torture, yes, and he couldn't help but make himself suffer with his foolishness.
He ran through the halls, out of breath, running away from the visions that flashed through his mind, again and again. He even heard her laughter, his whispers of pleasure that weren't meant for him to hear. He is with her. With her.
And not with me.
And somehow, in his agony, he found himself in a room, facing a window. There was someone else, sitting alone. And at that moment, the voices stopped.
"James?" He stared with disbelief.
The other looked back, turning slowly, meeting his gaze not without a little confusion.
Remus looked around, expecting to find her. He was a little relieved to find it empty aside from them. Maybe she just left? "What are you doing here?"
James cocked his head. "I always come here."
Remus tried to catch his breath. He couldn't really explain it, and James didn't seem to be waiting for an answer. And so he yielded to the pull of gravity, and sat opposite him.
The other smiled and turned to the window. The snow fell gently over the moonlit grounds. It was bright outside in contrast to the darkness that surrounded them indoors, and in the borrowed light, Remus saw what he should have seen when he came in.
"You come here alone." It was not a question.
James looked up and nodded. "It's a good place to stay."
He was right, really. Their breaths fogged the frozen glass slightly, and Remus brushed his off, taking some of the dust along with his sleeve. "I have these dreams." He shook his head.
"Dreams?" He took off his fogged glasses and wiped them off.
Remus stared at him hungrily, seeing the long lashes cast grey shadows on his face, a face he had memorized through the years. A face he had learned to love. And it was the kindness that he saw there which caused the tears to suddenly spring from his eyes.
"It's foolish." He took his hand from the glass. "I shouldn't have waited for you." He turned his face away, hoping that the dark would be kind for once, and hide his shame. He suddenly hoped that James wouldn't understand, that he would take the confession as a friend's concern for his safety. But it really was a useless hope.
Fingers cold from the glass took Remus' own, and held them, pressing his hand once. Remus didn't try to resist. He only stared at James, puzzled. He didn't want his kindness, and wanted his pity even less.
"It's all right."
Remus felt himself being pulled forward, and felt his arms enclose him, holding him tight as they closed the space between them. And, in this dusty room with its meager light, he finally understood.
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