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Darling, you're the one I want

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James Potter had a very good day today. 

He wakes up early, stretches his body, drinks water, and goes for a run. 

He is aware that it’s too early for a run and according to Sirius no sane person would ever do that but it's quiet and peaceful and James loves it.

When he returns, his parents have woken up too. They are both dressed already so James goes upstairs to get dressed too.

He chooses a pair of blue jeans, a white t-shirt, and a yellow denim jacket as his outfit and changes. He makes sure to pin his pansexual flag pin onto his jacket too.

He doesn’t even bother trying to tame his hair as he knows it is no use. Even the best gel out there is no match for his vicious hair. After spraying some cologne on and grabbing his backpack, James goes downstairs again.

He quickly eats toast and eggs with chai for breakfast and then leaves to meet up with his best friend, Sirius Black. He kisses his mum on the cheek and waves good-bye to his dad on the way out.

He finds Sirius waiting for him at the bus station. They’re wearing a maroon shirt with black overalls that reaches just above their ankles. Their hair is pulled into a bun and their eyes are smudged with kohl. They’re also wearing jewelry; silver rings, earrings, and a septum ring.

Honestly, looking this gorgeous should be illegal.

When Sirius notices him, their face breaks into a wide smile and they get up to engulf James in a bear hug.

“Prongs! You will never believe what happened to me this morning!”

James laughs, “what happened?”

“Uncle Alphard told me he had a present for me… and it was a motorbike!”

James is aware of Sirius’ love for motorbikes, “that is great! You need to take me on a ride on it!”

Sirius’ eyes sparkle as they go on to chatter about it. They’re still talking when their bus pulls up and they go to their seats. They continue throughout the way too.

James is happy and grateful to see them like this. He knows that Sirius has awful parents who they ran away from last year and now lives with their Uncle Alphard. They are getting better and James could not have been more proud of them.

They reach their school and hop off the bus.

Remus and Peter are waiting for them there and James and Sirius run over to meet them.

The Marauders are together again after the summer to create more mischief. James can tell that it’s going to be a good year.

Remus, in true Remus fashion, is wearing a dark brown sweater vest, with a white shirt underneath, both of them tucked into his black pants.

Peter, in all his smart casual glory, is sporting a pair of black trousers and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Out of all their fashion styles, James always thought Peter’s was the coolest; he made everything formal so casual yet still… formal, and looks extremely attractive too.

“Hello lads,” Sirius says.

“Morning!” The other three chorus in perfect sync.

“I got a new motorbike,” Sirius tells them proudly. “Good for you, Sirius.” Remus says. His eyes linger on Sirius for a little longer and James smirks to himself. It’s so obvious that they fancy each other.

Sirius had always been openly gay and genderfluid and Remus had came out as bisexual a couple of years ago.

James himself identified as pansexual.

He would always point out different male celebrities to Sirius, exclaiming how pretty they were. How he thought that that was a completely heterosexual thing to do was beyond him.

It had hit him when he looked at a cute boy in a cafe and thought how much he wanted the boy to kiss him. He was so shocked that he dropped his drink and to his great joy and horror, the cute boy came up to help him. James finally lost his mind when the boy turned around and winked at James before walking away.

He was very confused after that because he still liked girls and non-binary people. In fact, he thought he’d date anyone; gender wasn’t his main concern.

He decided to come out to his parents a month after that. They were extremely supportive of him. His mum cried and hugged him and his dad kept repeating how he was proud of James. He then told him about his confusion. They told him that bisexuality and pansexuality were a thing. James realised that he identifies as Pansexual. He came out to his friends around seven months ago.

After that, he was always open about his sexuality. He bought himself a pin with the pansexual flag and proudly wore it everyday.

Peter was their token straight friend.

“James, did you talk to Lily?” Remus’ voice pulls him out of his thoughts. He smiles at the name of his girlfriend.

“No, not yet. I will before form though.” Remus nods and soon, they start discussing what pranks they should pull this year.

Together, the four of them walk into the school.

They’re in year 12 now, which is a very important year; their A-levels start this year. James feels very mature indeed.

He chose Biology, Sociology, and Psychology as his subjects. Sirius chose Arts, History, and English Literature. Remus took ICT, Computer sciences, and Math. Peter took Business, Economy, and Math.

James parts off from them 10 minutes before form to go see Lily. Peter comes with him, saying he needs to see Mary too.

Mary and Peter had grown up together and so were best friends. James absolutely loved the chaotic energy they both shared.

They find them sitting on one of the benches along with Marlene. They look up and smile wildly when they spot James and Peter. Mary runs up to Peter and throws herself on him, who catches her and spins her around before wrapping his arms around her. Mary had been gone on vacation all summer so it made sense they were this excited to see each other.

James smiles at them before turning his attention to Lily. “Hello. You look beautiful.” Because it’s true; Lily always looks beautiful.

She’s wearing a pale pink flowy dress with white daisies embroidered on it. Her hair is tied in a braid with little strands peaking out.

Lily blushes and smiles. James leans in and kisses her softly.

They talk about their summer, Mary excitedly telling them about her vacation. She’s wearing a black top with blue denim pants and a forest green cardigan. Like Peter, her style is also smart casual.

Marlene is wearing an oversized lavender sweatshirt with light blue denim pants. James can see the white collar of her shirt peeking out and her beautiful blonde pair and pulled in a loose ponytail.

When the bell rings, they move to where Remus and Sirius are and walk to their form room.

Their form teacher is Professor McGonagall this year. She was their English teacher back in GCSEs and they had always looked up to her. She was strict and formidable but caring and loved all her students.

She talks to them about their GCSE grades and what to expect in A-levels. She also hands out their timetables. Out of the four of them, Remus and Peter are the only ones that share a class together. James has biology with Lily though.

They part ways when the bell rings again. James has Psychology first. The lesson goes by with his teacher explaining everything they’re going to learn for the next two years, the structure of their exam, and their coursework.

He has periods three and four free so he sits in one of the empty classrooms and draws his friends’ outfits from today.

Drawing people’s outfits is one of James’ favorite things to do. He is horrible at drawing anything other than outfits and goldfish, which is a weird thing to draw but James loves goldfish.

He has one named Fish back home. Fish is one of his best friends; he always talks to her when he’s bored or when he just needs to talk. James has always been a very talkative person so it made sense that he spent most of the time he spends in his room chattering away to his fish. Fish was a very good listener and sometimes looked at James in a way which suggested that he’s being very stupid which led to many epiphanies.

When lunch comes around, James packs his stuff and goes to the cafeteria. His friends are already there. He goes to sit in between Sirius and Lily, giving the latter a peck on the lips before taking his lunch out.

His mom packed him some samosas and some seekh kebabs with a little container that has ketchup in it.

Evan Rosier joins them too.

James isn’t as close to Evan as he is with the rest but Evan is still a good friend. He’s wickedly smart, has a very dark sense of humor, and cares deeply about people close to him. He’s on the swim team with James and that’s how he met him.

Conversation is lively around the table. His friends talk about their summer, their plans for this year and how their classes have been so far. This is one of those rare occasions where James stays quiet for the most part, listening to his friends and just basking in their presence.

He notices that Sirius hasn’t spoken a word since lunch started. They haven't touched their food either. He’s confused for a second before following Sirius’ gaze and immediately realization dawns upon him. Sirius has been staring at their brother, Regulus Black.

Regulus was sitting in the far corner of the cafeteria with his best friend, Barty Crouch Jr. He’s talking to Barty in whispers.

James feels his heart skip a beat as he looks at Regulus. Why is his heart acting like this? James wonders for a brief second if his heart knows something that he doesn’t.

Sirius and Regulus were close once and James had been on talking terms with Regulus too, but that changed when Sirius ran away from home. James knew that despite Sirius pretending that they hated their brother and didn’t want anything to do with him, they cared about Regulus deeply and still felt guilty for not putting in more effort. James had told them multiple times that they did a good thing by leaving a toxic household but Sirius felt like they had failed as a brother to Regulus.

“You should try talking to him again,” he tells Sirius softly.

“And say what?”

“Tell him that you’re sorry? That you miss him and still care about him?”

“He won’t listen.”

“It’s worth a try.”

Sirius doesn’t say anything, just continues to stare at their brother.

Lunch ends and they all pack their things before going back to classes again.

James has Biology, then a free, and then double Sociology. James is so glad he chose these subjects; they’re incredibly interesting and he loves learning about human bodies and how they work, both physically and mentally.

After school, he meets up with his friends again. They all decide to go to the ice-cream van outside the park. James quickly texts his mother to let her know that he’ll be home late.

He gets himself a raspberry sorbet ice-cream and sits with his friends on the bench under a massive tree. Sirius orders chocolate chip mint, Remus orders chocolate fudge, Lily and Marlene decide to get strawberry shortcake and Peter and Mary go for cookies and cream.

The weather is hot today but there is also a gentle breeze so it’s nice.

Peter tells them a story of how he rescued a stray kitten and named it Peter Jr. because he’s self-obsessed like that. Sirius chatters about their new motorbike and Remus and Lily discuss the new books that they’ve been reading. James entertains them with a story of how he tried to climb a tree during the summer but failed miserably.

James walks with Lily to drop her off after they’re done eating and being a bunch of goofballs. They talk about little things on the way and James is reminded just how much he loves Lily. He hasn’t told her yet but he knows that he does.

There’s one thing that’s bothering him though. He had noticed multiple times today that Lily would stare at him with confusion before looking away and blushing when she’d realize that she’s been caught. James hopes that he hasn’t done anything wrong and he’s so desperate to ask her but also doesn’t want to push her. She’ll tell him when she’s ready, he keeps telling himself.

They stop in front of his house. Suddenly, Lily leans in and hugs him. He wraps his arms around her and just holds her there. His concern grows ten-fold when he hears a small sob. He squeezes her gently before pulling away.

“Lily. Talk to me,” he says softly.

She shakes her head and sobs more. James is patient though. He holds her again and lets her cry. Finally, she sobs her cease and she pulls back.

“Something happened over the summer and it got me thinking and now I feel so confused and I don’t know what to do and -”

“Lily. Lily, calm down. Breath. It’s okay. Do you want to tell me what happened?” James says in a soothing voice.

Lily shakes her head, “No, not until I make sense of this. I’m not ready yet. I hope you understand.”

“Of course. You don’t have to tell me but I’ll always be here if you do change your mind.”

Lily sniffs and nods her head, “You’re a good person James. I’m lucky to have you.”

James smiles at her and hugs her again. They stay like that for a minute before Lily pulls away again and walks up to the door of her house.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then?”

“Yup. See you tomorrow. Take care.”

Once he’s home, he goes to greet his parents. He then grabs a fruit from the kitchen counter and goes up to his room.

He goes over everything they did in class and studies the next few chapters of Biology. He also rants about his day to Fish and tells her about everything he learned today.

He doesn’t realize how long it's been until he looks up and it's dark outside.

He decides that he has studied enough for one day and goes down to the kitchen where his mum is making biryani. He helps her cut the vegetables for the raita.

“You did put lemons in it, right?” He asks his mother.

His mother rolls her eyes fondly, “Yes, James, I did.”

James nods, “Good.” Because lemons in biryani are very important and he loves the sour taste of it.

Once he’s done chopping the vegetables, he goes over to the biryani pot and snaps a picture of it. He sends it to Sirius.

We made biryani. Wanna come over?

Sirius replies within seconds.

BIRYANI!!!! I'M COMING OVER

Chuckling, he puts his phone away. “Sirius is coming over,” he tells his mum.

“Did you tell them about the biryani?” Effie asks, amused

“I did. They love your biryani, mum, and as they should. You’re an amazing cook!” Effie smiles at him.

The bell rings and James goes to open the door. Both Sirius and his dad are standing there, Monty looks amused at the way Sirius is jumping from one foot to another.

“Did Effie make biryani?” He asks; Sirius’ love for biryani is a widely known fact.

“Yup.” James chirps as he moves aside to let them in.

Finally, the four of them sit around the dining table and dig in.

James makes sure to put lots of raita on his plate and Sirius quickly puts a chicken leg piece on theirs.

During dinner, they tell Effie and Monty about their new motorbike and soon Sirius and Monty are engaged in a very heated conversation on how to take care of bikes and which products are the best to use.

They watch a movie after that. James had always been a fan of those cliche teen romance movies that had the sappiest ending but no one else shares his love for them so more often than not, he’s forced to watch either a horror (by Remus, Peter, and Mary), a sci-fi (by Lily and Marlene) or an art documentary (by Sirius).

Today he’s being forced to watch a sci-fi movie where this teen boy sets out to find a key to some fortune in a virtual reality. It’s an interesting movie, James thinks, interesting enough.

Sirius decides to sleep over and texts their uncle.

When the movie finishes, they and James say good night to Effie and Monty and trudge upstairs.

Sirius already has a pair of pajamas and a toothbrush that they keep here because of how many sleepovers they have at James’ house.

Once they have both changed and brushed their teeth, James switches the light off. The only light source is his lamp now, which changes colors. They both crawl into the bed and doze off.

 

 

Regulus Black had a very bad day today.

He wakes up to the sound of his mother screaming at him to wake up already. He groans and rolls over, glancing at his alarm clock. He feels a rush of irritation towards his mother when he realizes that it’s only 6:30 and that he could have slept for another 30 minutes.

He gets ready for school, putting on his expensive outfit, gelling his hair to make sure it’s perfect, and putting on his shoes.

He thinks about skipping breakfast just to get out of the house quicker but decides against it. He doesn’t need to give his mother another excuse to question him.

He eats his breakfast; tartine with butter and blueberry jam with a cup of coffee, calls out a “Good-bye, Mother” and leaves the house.

Their chauffeur, Keaton, is waiting for him next to his car. Regulus quickly gets in and relaxes back in his seat.

They pick Barty up on the way and for the first time since he woke up, he feels an ounce of happiness.

Barty has been his best friend since primary school and has always been there for him.

They talk about their summer. Regulus’ parents had taken him to France this year but it was more of a business trip than a vacation. His parents would leave him at the mansion and go off to attend their meetings or fancy parties. Regulus would use that time to go out and explore France.

Barty tells him how his mother managed to convince his dad to let them go to the beach for a day.

Regulus has met Barty’s father and immediately disliked the man; he was never there for Barty or his mother, and when he was, he would always dictate them around. He expects so much from Barty but never tells him that he’s proud of all the effort he is putting in; instead he calls Barty a disappointment more often than not.

They finally arrive at the school. Regulus gets out of the car and immediately spots his brother.

He’s talking to his friends; James, Peter, and Remus. Regulus avoids looking at James and instead focuses on his brother (looking at James gives him a funny feeling in his stomach that he has no clue about). His brother looks happy, he notes. Happier, fresher, and full of life. Part of him is glad that his brother got out, but a bigger part of him is also very bitter; not because his brother left but because he didn’t ask Regulus. Regulus would’ve gone with him if he had asked but that didn’t matter now. Regulus was planning his own escape.

Regulus also feels a rush of envy as he looks at Sirius’ outfit. He can dress up in any way he wants to now while Regulus is still stuck with his tailored pants and shirts. Regulus can not wait to be free of his parents so he could be himself more.

He turns back to Barty who is staring at Evan Rosier with a longing gaze.

“You could try to talk to him, you know?” Regulus tells him.

“No!” Barty squeaks. “He’d think I’m weird and awkward.”

“I don’t think he would think like that.”

Barty has been in love with Evan since year 10. Evan was friendly with them and would often hang out with them but the majority of his time was spent with Regulus’ brother and his friends. Regulus liked Evan; he was quite intelligent, had a good sense of humor, and cared about his friends.

They go to their form class and choose their seats at the end of the class. Regulus takes his text books out and goes through them while Barty takes his sketchbook out and starts doodling. The bell rings and students start filing in the classroom. Regulus puts his books away as their form teacher enters.

For the next thirty minutes he listens to his teacher talk to them about their GCSEs.

This is Regulus’ last GCSE year so he has final exams coming up in May and June. He will have a set of mocks too in December. He will start his A-levels next year. His mother expects him to continue with Business and Math but Regulus was more interested in Design and technology, ICT, and Art and design.

He is handed his timetable; he has chemistry first, then double business, and then math before lunch.

Regulus is the first one to leave his classes and so he’s the first one in the next classes as well. He takes his things out, listens to his teachers, takes notes, then leaves.

Lunch arrives and he meets up with Barty at their table, which is the table in the furthest corner of the cafeteria. He looks around and immediately regrets it as he sees James Potter walk in and sit beside his girlfriend and Regulus’ brother. Regulus feels his stomach twist as he watches James lean in and kiss her. He looks away and focuses on the food on his plate.

He makes a half-hearted conversation with Barty, who Regulus is sure knows that something is wrong but doesn’t ask him about it, for which Regulus is grateful since he himself doesn’t know what’s wrong.

Once lunch is done, he waves good-bye to Barty and leaves for his next class which is Economics. He enters the classroom and immediately moves to sit on the last table.

Finally the school ends and he meets up with Barty again.

He is dreading going back home; Walburga is going to ask about his day in detail (not because she cares about him but because she needs to make sure he behaved himself), his father will ask him about Sirius (also not because they care about him), and then they’ll lecture him for about an hour on how a Black should be like in public and everything they expect from him, then they’ll make him go to his room and spend the entire day there.

Keaton is waiting outside the school gates for him. The drive back home is quiet; it’s obvious Barty is not looking forward to going home either. Regulus reaches for his hand and squeezes it, meeting Barty’s eyes and giving him a reassuring smile. Barty manages a grimace.

Finally they reach Barty’s house. He grabs his bag but before he can leave Regulus pulls him into a quick hug and whispers, “it’s going to be okay.” Barty nods and walks away.

Regulus reaches his own home. He knocks on the door and one of the maids comes to open the door for him.

He quickly goes up to his room, washes his face and combs his hair down.

He then goes back downstairs and to the study, where his parents are waiting for him.

His father asks him to take a seat and he does.

“How was school today?”

“Good, Sir,” Regulus tries his best to keep his voice neutral.

“Good?” His father’s repeat, warningly.

Regulus decides not to anger them and tells them about his day. He lies about seeing Sirius in the morning, instead telling them that he saw him once in between classes but not properly as he was in a hurry.

He tells them about what he learned today and all the classes he attended.

His parents look skeptical as he mentions the Sirius part and Regulus’ heart races. He hopes they won’t question him further about it. He lets out a tiny sigh when they both nod and dismiss him.

Regulus walks out of the study as fast as he can and goes straight to the kitchen. He fixes himself a meal and takes it to his room.

He spends the rest of his day in his room going through his textbooks, planning his week, thinking about Sirius (and definitely not James) and about Barty.

He hopes his friend is ok. His parents haven’t given him a phone yet so he has no way of contacting Barty.

Around 6 p.m. he gets up and takes his journal out. This journal is his most private thing. He had bought it about 5 months ago and had managed to sneak it past his mother by hiding it amongst other books. He takes his pen out and starts writing.

2 September, Monday

I saw Sirius today. He looked good. I know he’s living with Uncle Alphard now. Uncle Alphard was disowned too because he likes men. I don’t think he deserved to be cut off from his family for that. Or maybe in this family’s case, being cut off would be better. Him, Sirius, Andromeda, and even I were all better off without this family.

Back to Sirius; I was angry at him. Hated him too. But I don’t think it’s hatred anymore. I think it’s envy. He gets to live the life I want to live too. He gets to wear cool clothes and not gel his hair and be himself. I guess part of me is happy for him too. He’s my brother, my first best friend. He deserves that happiness, that freedom.

I saw James today too. I don’t know why but looking at him hurts my chest. In both good ways and bad ways. Good ways when he’s alone and bad ways when he’s with Lily Evans. I don’t know what it means and I’m not sure if I want to know. I want to talk to Barty about it but what would I even say? That James Potter makes me feel things?

Regulus shuts his journal close and shoves it back into the drawer. He tries to distract himself by thinking of something else. Anything else.

He doesn’t realize when he falls asleep.

He has a nightmare: he dreams that he’s trapped in a room. He screams for anyone to let him out. Looking around he realizes that the door is shrinking. He bangs his fists on the door desperately. Just as the walls close in on him, the scene changes and suddenly he’s in an open field. He’s the only soul around for miles and miles.

Regulus jerks awake.

He only has a minute to calm down before his thoughts wander back to his nightmare. The room was scary, especially with his claustrophobia but why was the open field even worse? He had felt so alone, so lonely, and so helpless.

With a start, Regulus realized because that is how he felt in real life. He’s completely alone in a house that is meant to be a home but will never be. Especially not after Sirius left. And he feels so helpless all the time; he can’t help Barty, and he couldn’t help Sirius.

He doesn’t realize that he’s crying until he tastes salt on his lips. Hot tears slide down his cheeks but he furiously wipes them away and counts to ten. He can’t cry. He doesn’t get to feel bad. He was the one who pushed Sirius away. He had thought it was for the best for both of them. He had been wrong but there was nothing he could do about it. Crying wouldn’t help.

Regulus knows that he needs to get out of here too. If he couldn’t help anyone else then he would help himself. He would try his best to. He has been planning this for weeks but it all leads down to one question: where would he go? He could go to his Uncle Alphard too but that would mean putting him and Sirius in trouble and that’s the last thing he needs. He doesn’t have anywhere else to go.

He knows what things he’ll take with him; he’s already packed them all in his bag. The only things he’ll need to pack are his journal and his textbooks.

He ends up staying awake for the entire night. He tries to make himself busy but it doesn’t work. The feeling of loneliness is too strong. For the first time since a very long time, Regulus wishes he had his brother, so he could wrap his arms around him and tell him that everything’s going to be okay.

Regulus is shocked when it hits him: he misses his brother.

Chapter Text

Sirius Black loves their Uncle Alphard.

 

He had been there for Sirius in a way no one else was, not even James. Their uncle took them in when they had nowhere to go, provided them with shelter, food, and love . He made sure Sirius had their freedom to make decisions for themselves while also setting some limits. He made sure Sirius had everything without spoiling them. He was the parent Sirius always wanted and needed. 

 

Uncle Alphard also gave the best advice. When Sirius came out to him, he was so supportive that, if it wasn’t for Walburga’s training, Sirius would’ve cried. Sirius also told him that they identify as genderfluid and would like their uncle to use they/he pronouns with them. His uncle told Sirius that everything was okay, that he loves Sirius and is proud of them. 

 

Sirius had then proceeded to tell their uncle about their crush on one of their best friends. Their uncle would look amused when Sirius would chatter off about Remus and understanding when Sirius would complain about how hard it was to be in love with Moony. 

 

Today marked a week since school had started. Sirius, as usual, was forced awake by their uncle. They were not a morning person so waking up in the morning was a disaster for them but they still had to wake up early so they could get ready properly. 

 

Today, they decide that they will wear a white t-shirt tucked into black denim pants and their leather jacket. They smudge some kohl on their eyes, slide on their rings, the small golden ones today, and change their septum ring. Their hair would be loose today and their shoes would be their biker boots. Checking themselves in the mirror and then stopping there for a minute because damn, I’m beautiful , Sirius hops down the stairs to the kitchen. 

 

Uncle Alphard is making pancakes. He stacks three of them on Sirius’ plate and Sirius immediately drowns them in honey. They have a glass of coffee with them too. 

 

After breakfast, they grab their bag and shout ‘Goodbye, I love you,’ to their uncle and leave for the bus stop. 

 

They only had to wait five minutes for James. Their best friend is wearing white pants with a white t-shirt but with a lavender shirt on top that has its buttons open. He looks absolutely striking. 

 

He’s also wearing his tom and jerry watch on his right wrist. 

 

They board the bus and talk on the way. Sirius tells James about their new painting and James tells Sirius about all the new origami pieces he has made.

 

James has an obsession with origami. He’s pretty good at it too and even has a glass cabinet in his room that displays his best pieces. He has some of the most impressive pieces like a dragon, a giant dog, and a small ball with wings but Sirius’ favourite is the jar of little stars he has. It reminds them of Regulus. 

 

They reach their school and meet Remus and Peter.

 

Peter is wearing a black turtleneck with black dress pants. His sleeves are rolled up and he’s wearing a silver and blue watch on his left wrist. His lovely blonde hair is styled in a way that they are neat and yet messy at the same time. Not that he didn’t like his own aesthetic, Sirius wishes he had the elegance that Peter had. 

 

Remus is wearing a dark green, oversized sweater with brown corduroy pants. His sandy hair is curled and some of the strands fall on his eyes. He is so beautiful it hurts.

 

Sirius hides their smirk as they realise that James’ fingers are probably itching to draw their outfits. 

 

They go through their form and their first four classes. At lunch, they all sit together at their table. Technically, it’s not their table but they’ve always sat on it so it feels like theirs. Evan decided to go sit with Regulus and Barty today.

 

Sirius glances over to where their brother is sitting. At first glance he may look okay but Sirius knows him inside out. The way his shoulders are hunching slightly, the barely visible dark circles under his eyes, his pale skin even paler. Sirius was tempted to go up to him and talk to him but they know Regulus would just shut them out. He had made it very clear that he hated Sirius after Sirius had run away. 

 

They focus on their lunch and laugh along with their friends. After lunch they have a double free so they go to the art room where their painting is and paint. They spend an hour and a half there, until Remus comes to pick them up.

 

The rest of the school day passes too. Sirius does their best not to think about Regulus and focus on taking down notes instead. Finally, the bell rings and they pack their things and leave the class. They smile when they see their friends at the school gates. 

 

Peter and Mary are holding hands and swinging it wildly between them. Sirius thinks they look like they're competing to see who can pull hard enough to rip the other’s arm off. James has his arm around Lily’s waist and is talking to Remus and Marlene. Sirius’ heart skips a beat when their eyes land on Remus. 

 

They walk over to them and James is the first one to notice them, his grin immediately widening. Sirius feels themselves relaxing and grins back. They talk to them for some time before they all have to part ways; James has swimming practice so is staying back. Lily, Mary, and Marlene have plans for a girls get-together and Peter has to babysit someone’s child. 

 

They all leave and they’re left alone with Remus.

 

“I’m walking home with you,” he says, wrapping an arm around Sirius. Sirius immediately loses their mind and nods dumbly. They walk like that and eventually Sirius relaxes enough to slightly lean into Remus. 

 

“You’re worried about something,” Remus says. It’s not a question, it's a statement. 

 

Sirius curses Remus for being so observant and themselves for being so open.

 

“Regulus.”

 

Remus nods, a look of understanding on his face. 

 

“It’s just… he’s my baby brother. I care about him, no matter how big the distance between us is. And seeing him like that hurts me. I wish I had fought harder for him. I wish he could be braver. I wish I could just talk to him.”

 

“Okay, first off, stop blaming yourself. You ran away from a toxic household. Sometimes you need to save yourself before you can save others. You can’t keep beating yourself over something that’s already happened. Instead, you should focus on the future. Think about the next thing, you know. If you wish to reach out to Regulus, then I think you should do it.”

 

“What if he doesn’t want to talk to me?” 

 

“Then you’ll know that you tried. You can always try again and you keep reaching out until he knows that he can trust you again. Sirius, you need to think about this from his perspective too. He probably thinks you abandoned him and it’s going to take him time to learn to trust you again.”

 

“Shit, Moony, you’re right! I abandoned him, didn’t I?”

 

“Sirius. You had no choice.”

 

Sirius doesn’t speak after that. They just lean further into Remus who wraps his arm around them tighter. Sirius always felt safe in Moony’s arms. 

 

Finally they reach Sirius’ house. Sirius hugs Remus and pulls away just as their uncle opens the door. He gives Sirius a suggestive look once Remus leaves, which quickly turns into concern as he takes in Sirius’ expression.

 

He lets Sirius go up to his room to freshen up. He made pasta today. He puts some in two plates and sets them on the table. He has just finished setting up the rest of the things when Sirius comes down. They silently go to sit in his chair.

 

Once they have a few bites down, Uncle Alphard sets his fork down.

 

“What happened, Sirius?” 

 

Sirius stays quiet for a long time. They debate not answering and pretending that they didn’t hear their uncle but decide against it. Their uncle always makes them feel better when they talk to him. 

 

“Regulus.” At the mention of his name, Uncle Alphard sits up straighter.

 

“What about him?”

 

“I worry about him. I saw him today and he looked bad. Like he hasn’t been eating and sleeping properly. I feel so guilty. I couldn’t help him. I ran away but never thought of him. I asked him, I know, but I should’ve put more effort. And now it’s my fault he’s alone with them and -”

 

“Sirius, calm down. Take a deep breath. Come on… Good. Now listen to me: What you did was not selfish. Nobody deserves to be treated like the way you and Regulus were. You did everything you could do at that time. None of this is your fault.”

 

“Do you think I should talk to him?”

 

“Do you want to?” 

 

Sirius nods, “then I think you should.” Uncle Alphard says simply. 

 

“But what if he hates me? And never talk to me again?”

 

“I don’t think Regulus can ever hate you Sirius. He’ll be angry and bitter but never hateful towards you.”

 

Sirius looks unsure so Uncle Alphard continues, “Look Sirius, you talk to Regulus, okay? And be careful about what you say to him. If even a very small part of you thinks that he needs to be taken out of that house immediately then you tell me and we break him out. My door is always open for him just like it is for you.” 

 

Sirius thinks for a minute and then nods. The tension from their shoulders slowly dissipates and feels relaxed enough to finish their lunch. 

 

After lunch, they decide to visit Peter and see how the babysitting went. Peter loves kids and Sirius was sure he would be a great babysitter. They text him and ask for his location. Peter replies back in five minutes and Sirius pulls the location out.

 

30 minutes later, they are standing in front of a very fancy house. They go up to ring the bell and Peter comes to open the door. He’s bouncing a child on his hip. 

 

“Sirius! Thank god you’re here.”

 

“Hi, Peter. You alright?” 

 

“Yes, come in.” He moves aside so Sirius can enter and closes the door behind him. Sirius is led to the living room where he sets the child down in the play pen and walks over to the kitchen counter. He pours himself a glass of water and grabs a juice box and hands it to the child.

 

“What’s its name?” Sirius asks. 

 

“It’s?”

 

“The child’s.”

 

“I- Dora. Her name is Dora.” Peter glares at Sirius. Sirius has the decency to look sheepish as they look at Dora. She’s barely one year old, with two tiny teeth, and brown hair. Her eyes are grey. Looking at them sends a chill down Sirius’ spine because they are so familiar

 

“What’s her surname?” They ask shakily. 

 

“Tonks. Nymphadora Tonks.”

 

Sirius can’t breathe. They came here to have a good time, to relax, and to take their mind off Regulus but now they feel like they’re suffocating. Their family is everywhere isn’t it?

 

“Peter! Tonks!! Andromeda Tonks! My cousin!” Sirius is panicking now. 

 

They haven't seen his cousin in years . Ever since she was disowned for marrying someone from a lower status than the Black family. She had run away and that was the last Sirius ever heard of her. Their parents had forbidden them from contacting her and had been very watchful over them. Once Sirius was free too, they had tried contacting her but she seemed to have changed her number and Sirius couldn’t find her address anywhere. 

 

Sirius vividly remembers her shouting “I HATE EVERYONE IN THIS FAMILY” before she walked out of the door and slammed it shut behind her. They had been each other’s favourite cousins but did she hate them now too?

 

“I need to leave.” They tell Peter.

 

“Why? I thought you missed Andromeda?” Peter looks genuinely confused but Sirius wants to grab him by the shoulders and shake him until he sees sense. 

 

“Because, Peter, she hates me.” 

 

“I’m sure she doesn’t. Why else would she have so many framed pictures of you and your brother?”

 

Sirius’ brain short circuits. What?

 

Peter chuckles, “Come here.” He walks over to the mantle and Sirius follows him. There are at least 20 different frames with Sirius and Regulus’ pictures. The rest are of her daughter, Nymphadora, and a few of them are of her and her husband, Ted Tonks. Sirius takes a closer look at her; she looks older but there’s joy on her face. Sirius is so glad about that because their cousin deserves the world. 

 

Sirius agrees to wait for Andy and spends the next hour talking to Peter (more like arguing about which ice-cream flavour is the best one) and watching over Dora.

 

“I’m just saying that there are other good flavours than chocolate chip mint ice-cream,” Peter shrugs.

 

“Peter! There is literally no flavour better than chocolate chip mint ice-cream. Name one!” Sirius cries out dramatically. 

 

“Raspberry sorbet? Cookies and cream? Chocolate fudge?” 

 

Sirius’ eye twitches. “No.”

 

Peter rolls his eyes, “chocolate chip mint ice-cream is overhyped in my opinion.”

 

He’s saved by the sound of keys twisting around the lock otherwise Sirius would’ve started wrestling him. Instead, they freeze. 

 

Peter goes to the door and Sirius can feel their heartbeat picking up. They can hear Peter and their cousin talking and their voices are getting louder and louder. 

 

Andy walks in. Her eyes fall on Sirius and she freezes too. 

They stare at each other for what feels like hours before Sirius croaks out, “Hi, Andy.”

 

Andy rushes forward and engulfs Sirius in a very tight hug. Sirius wraps their arms around her too.

 

They stand there for a long time until Andy pulls away and holds Sirius’ face between her palms. She scans his face and then smiles. 

 

“I missed you so much,” 

 

“I missed you too, Andy. I tried looking for you.”

 

“I know but I couldn’t risk reaching out to you.”

 

“I ran away. From home. I live with Uncle Alphard now.”

 

“Oh, Sirius.” She guides him to the sofa and they both sit down. Ted comes over to introduce himself and then takes Dora upstairs to put her to bed. Peter also greets them goodnight and leaves. 

 

“Tell me everything.” Andy demands once they’re alone.

 

Sirius tells her everything. 

 

“Reg couldn’t get out.” They whisper. 

 

“Oh, my darling Reg. Did you talk to him? How is he?”

 

“I tried talking to him. Was told that he hates me, but I’ll try again. I refuse to leave him with Walburga and Orion Black. He doesn’t look okay though and I don’t know how I can help him.” Sirius confesses. 

 

“You can start by talking to him.”

 

Sirius is determined to talk to their brother tomorrow.

 

They talk to Andy for a bit longer, telling her about everything that has happened since she left. They come out to her as gay and genderfluid and asks her to use they/he pronouns for them. She accepts them wholeheartedly and tells them that she’s proud of them. 

 

It’s quite late when Sirius finally says good-bye to Andy. They hug each other tightly before they leave and Andy closes the door behind them. 

 

Sirius goes home feeling a lot better than they did before and allows themselves to smile, which widens when they get home and find their Uncle singing loudly along a David Bowie song. Sirius decides to join him.

 

Soon, the living room is filled with laughter and the voice of David Bowie





Remus Lupin loves his mother. 

 

Hope Lupin is kind, caring, soft, and affectionate. 

 

She had raised Remus in the best way she could and had never let him feel the absence of his father. His father had died when he was very young and so had little time with him.

 

He has memories of his father. He remembers his wrinkled face, his kind eyes, and his mischievous smile. He remembers warm sunny afternoons with him, he remembers early Christmas mornings with him, and he remembers the soothing feeling he would get when his father used to read to him. 

 

When he was twelve, he was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. He remembers the agony he would feel in his joints and how they would hurt at even the slightest movement. 

 

He had gone to his mother one night, crying, when the pain got unbearable. Hope had rushed him to the hospital and after many blood tests, x-rays, and MRIs later, the doctors had finally told them. 

 

They told him that it was a chronic disease but with treatment, he can enter remission. Remus hadn’t believed them at first because this pain was too much to just go away but once his treatment started, the pain lessened. He takes medication only now but back when he was younger, the pain was bad enough for him to need therapy as well. 

 

His mother had been with him through it all. She had held him as he cried, went out of her way just to see a smile on his face, made sure he knew that she loved him, and would sacrifice her sleep just to stay up with him when he couldn’t sleep.

 

Juvenile Arthritis and everything else that came along with it was something Remus struggled with for most of his life. He didn’t have many friends because of this and was very insecure. That is, until he met James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. 

 

They had met when they were fourteen. All of them were sent to detention together, James and Sirius boasting about it, and that’s how they had gotten close. Remus had tried to push them away at first but slowly opened up to them. He was glad he did; these were the best friends he could’ve ever asked for.

 

James Potter was a boy with a heart so big it could house the entire planet. It held so much love, so much acceptance, so much understanding. He never made Remus feel like he was any less than them due to his condition. 

 

Peter Pettigrew, despite his own insecurities, made sure other people always felt confident in who they are. He made his friends smile even when they didn’t want to. He accepted Remus and quickly learned everything about his condition so he could help him.

 

Sirius Black. Remus could write poetry about him. He could also punch him. Sirius annoyed him to no limits, made Remus fear for his sanity, and helped Remus in a way no one else ever had. He loves Sirius and it took him a while to realise that it wasn’t in the same way he loves James or Peter. 

 

After that, he had met his other friends; Lily Evans, Marlene McKinnon, and Mary MacDonald. 

 

Lily has such a sweet and warm personality. She is always kind and never judges. Mary has the most chaotic vibe ever while still being classy and elegant (it’s no surprise her and Peter get along so well), Marlene is kind of shy but once she gets comfortable, she is the coolest person ever. 

 

He loves discussing books and literature with Lily, he loves gossiping with Mary, he loves talking about politics with Marlene (and making plans on how they can overthrow the government). 

 

All of them had welcomed him into their little group, supported him, and given him unconditional love. 

 

So it’s safe to say that along with his mother, his best friends are his family. 

 

Friends are the family you choose. 

 

He wakes up to the smell of waffles and immediately feels more awake. Waffles are his favourite. It’s a Saturday so he doesn’t have to get ready for school. He washes his face and brushes his teeth. He changes into a white shirt, an oversized black sweater vest and beige pants and runs a hand through his sandy blond curls. 

 

Once he’s ready he rushes downstairs and greets his mother. She smiles at him and dumps some waffles onto his plate. They eat their breakfast, enjoying the quiet morning and talking about their plans for the day. 

 

Remus is going to be meeting up with the Marauders at James’ house and they are going to watch a movie.

 

James is wearing a forest green t-shirt with a pair of beige sweatpants, Peter is wearing dress trousers and a turtle neck (honestly, does this boy need to look like a freaking CEO at all times?). Sirius is wearing cargo pants with a black crop-top. They aren’t wearing any jewellery but their eyes are smudged with kohl and their hair is in a loose braid today, with a few strands framing their face. 

 

Remus inhales and then exhales slowly.

 

James was the one to choose the movie this time and Remus was sure he would choose something with romance in it. They all carry their snacks; Maltesers, caramel popcorn, popcorn with chaat masala, cans of soda, and sour candy, up to James’ room. 

 

He is correct; the movie James chose was a Bollywood movie about a couple that belong to families from different classes but love each other so they run away and elope. The ending was sad though; the girl’s brother visits them, pretending to be friendly but instead ends up killing her husband and son. 

 

It had English subtitles so everyone else could understand what was being said. 

 

By the time they're done watching, James and Sirius are a sobbing mess and Peter is sniffling. Remus feels like crying too. What possessed James when he chose that movie?

 

Sirius and James continue sobbing and at this point Remus is sure they are just being dramatic. He locks eyes with Peter, who shakes his head, amused.

 

“I need to watch a happy movie now.” Remus declares.

 

“I don’t think I’m capable of feeling any happiness now that I’ve seen that movie.” Sirius wails dramatically. Remus throws popcorn at them. 

 

“We can suffer together for the rest of our lives, Pads.” James sniffles.

 

“Yes, Prongs! We’ll live together, suffer together, and die together.” 

 

They both look at each other, burst into sobs again, and wrap their arms around each other.

 

“Remind me again. Why are we friends with them?” Peter asks, looking over them in disbelief.

 

“We found them, decided to take them under our wing because, let’s be real, they wouldn’t last a day without us.”

 

“Yeah, you’re right. Now we’re stuck with them for the rest of our lives.” 

 

“OI! You’re friends with us because we’re amazing, beautiful, intelligent, funny, and a delight to be around.” Sirius looks up from James’ shoulder, not a single sign of tears on their face. 

 

Dramatic idiot.

 

“You’re none of the above.” Peter throws back. 

 

“If you don’t stop being mean to me and my other half, I will start singing!” James looks up too.

 

Now that is a legitimate threat; James singing could be mistaken for a goat with a sore throat. 

 

“Please don’t do that,” Peter looks horrified. 

 

James takes one look at Sirius, who nods, and starts singing loudly in Hindi.

 

“TU CHEEZ BARI HAI MAST MAST.” He goes. 

 

Remus covers his ears and yells at James to stop. 

 

The singing finally stops and Remus can relax again. Sirius is looking at James like they’re seeing their favourite celebrity. 

 

“My God, Prongs, David Bowie who? I only know you!” 

 

“Thank you, Padfoot. Knew you would appreciate it.” 

 

They decide to watch another movie, a happy one this time. James chooses again and this time it’s a cute and funny movie about four friends who are facing troubles in their marital lives, but after taking a vacation away from everything, they are able to work out their problems and get a happy ending. 

 

Remus should’ve known James would never choose anything that doesn’t have romance in it. 

 

Once they’re done with that movie too, they all decide to get up and stretch. 

 

“Now, we can do two things. We can either watch another movie or play UNO,” Sirius says.

 

“Let’s play UNO.” Remus says immediately. He knows playing UNO, or any other game, with James and Sirius is risky, but he is also so tired of watching movies.

 

“All in favour of UNO?”

 

Peter and James nod and James goes to bring his deck of cards.

 

They have barely played three rounds before Remus is arguing with Sirius.

 

“You lying, cheating, stupid piece of shit!” Remus yells.

 

“You idiot! You’re the one cheating!” Sirius yells back. 

 

Remus wants to pull their perfect hair.

 

“Sirius, you can’t gaslight Remus into thinking he didn’t put a draw four for you. Just pick four cards up and move on,” Peter says cautiously. 

 

“YES I CAN AND I WILL!”

 

James throws his card into the air, “we’re done playing this game. Let’s look for something else to do.” 

 

Peter hands him his cards. James starts gathering up his cards and looks and Sirius and Remus expectedly. Sirius looks like he’s going to start shouting again but he just hands James his cards and looks away.

 

Remus gives up his cards too. 

 

They sit in James’ room silently for sometime, Sirius still uncharacteristically quiet and refusing to look at Remus. Remus looks away from him too.

 

James’ room was one of Remus’ favourites. The walls were painted a pastel orange colour, but there were so many posters stuck on them that the orange was barely visible. One of the walls had a bulletin board which was full of photographs of James, his friends, Lily, his parents, cousins, and random places in India. Remus loves looking at these photographs no matter how many times he’s already seen them.

 

There’s the origami shelf, a full-body mirror, an egg chair, and a book shelf that has mostly textbooks and romance novels. James really is a hopeless romantic. 

 

“I’m sorry I called you an idiot,” Sirius’ quiet voice breaks him out of his thoughts.

 

Remus is surprised; Sirius rarely apologises first. 

 

“Apology accepted. I’m sorry I called you a liar, cheater, stupid, and a piece of shit.” 

 

Sirius smiles, “Apology accepted.” 

 

They spend the next hour gossiping and drinking tea that Effie made for them.

 

Suddenly, James sits up straighter and smacks Sirius on their arm, “Sirius!”

 

“James!”

 

“Did you talk to Regulus?”

 

The rest of them sit up straighter too. 

 

“I did.”

 

“Well?” Remus asks.

 

“I uh… I talked to him. Told him that I miss him and that I need to talk to him.” 

 

“What did he say?”

 

“He agreed. We talked. I asked him about our parents. He’s fine for now. Like they don’t… they don’t hit him or anything, but I’m still worried. I told him that he needs to get out of there and that he can come stay with Uncle Alphard. He didn’t say anything after that.”

 

“That’s good, isn’t it?” Peter says. “At least he listened to you. He doesn’t hate you, and who knows? Maybe he will leave that house one day.”

 

“I’ll keep trying to talk to him.” 

 

They continue talking until Effie calls them down for dinner. 

 

They had decided to sleep over at James’ house. They all changed into their pyjamas and brushed their teeth. Since they could not all fit onto James’ bed, they had to bring in extra mattresses. 

 

James refused to sleep on his bed when his friends were sleeping on the mattresses so ten minutes later all four of them sprawled around on the mattresses. 

 

Remus was the last one to fall asleep. The last thing he heard was Sirius’ loud snoring and the hum coming from Fish’s tank.

Chapter Text

Mary MacDonald loves partying.

 

Not the parties that involve lots of alcohol and loud music and random people showing up at her house but the ones where the only people that were invited are Peter, James, Remus, Sirius, Lily, Marlene, and Evan. 

 

Alcohol is involved but only one bottle. 

 

They play truth and dare, gossip, do stupid stuff, and most importantly; spend time with each other.

 

Perhaps spending time with her loved ones would be a better term for it. When she was young, she would always be attending family gatherings and meeting up with her relatives, both close and distant. Her parents would also host these events at their house. 

 

She loved dressing up and meeting with her cousins. They had so many games that they made themselves and she loved playing them. 

 

Her relatives also always brought the best dishes and food is one of her favorite things.

 

Most importantly, it was the feeling of being surrounded by so much love and joy that made her the happiest. The fact that all these people shared blood and DNA with her and were her family. Her aunts were always fussing over her and her uncles always brought her gifts. Her older cousins were protective of her and her younger cousins looked up to her. She was well loved and she knew it. 

 

She wakes up early and is determined to host a party today. She sends a text to Peter and he agrees to pick her up for school. Both of their houses are very near to the school so walking is easy for them. 

 

She changes into her outfit for the day; a royal blue, velvet shirt tucked into black dress pants. She clasps her gold chain necklace around her neck and slides on some gold rings. She takes out her black silk bandana and ties her curls back with it. 

 

She goes down to the kitchen where her mom is making breakfast. She smiles at her mom when she slides two pancakes onto her plate. 

 

After finishing her breakfast, she checks her phone and realizes that Peter texted her a minute ago. She calls out good-bye to her mom and leaves. Peter is waiting for her outside. 

 

He’s wearing a faded green high-neck with gray dress pants. He has his newest watch on his wrist (the one he received from his sister). 

 

“Hello!” 

 

“Marry! Hi,” Peter smiles widely and links their arms together. 

 

“I want a party.” Mary says as they walk together. 

 

“Yes! We haven’t had one for so long.” 

 

“My house this time. I’ll get the house ready and you tell everyone about it.”

 

“I’ll do that, don’t worry. Are you sure you don’t want any more of my help?” 

 

“Yeah, I’m sure.” 

 

Peter nods and they start talking about their subjects. Like Peter, Mary took business, economics, and math too. 

 

They reach the school and part; Peter wanting to talk to Barty and Mary wanting to talk to Lily and Marlene. 

“I’ll see you later then. Love you” He says.

 

“See you! Love you too.”

 

She skips over to where Lily and Marlene are. Lily looks worried about something and Marlene is comforting her.

 

“You can always talk to us, Lily. Whenever you want to, just call us and we'll be there.” Marlene is saying. 

 

“Lily? Are you alright?” Mary asks.

 

“Yeah, I’m okay, I just don’t know what to do right now but I’ll come talk to you when I’m ready.”

 

“Okay, we can understand.” Marlene says and Mary nods. 

 

Lily smiles, “you guys are the best friends anyone could ask for. Thank you.”

 

“Of course. We’re always here for you.” Mary says.

 

“I’m hosting a party!” Mary says after some time.

 

“Yes! When? Where?” Marlene says excitedly.

 

“Today at my house.”

 

“I can’t wait!” 

 

They discuss it for a little more before the bell rings. They move to their form class and take their seats.

 

Lily is wearing red corduroy pants with a red floral shirt. Marlene is wearing a bright red, oversized sweatshirt with a black skirt. 

 

Form ends and Mary has double math. She waits for Peter and together they walk to class. 

 

Math has always been Mary’s favorite subject. She’s always loved playing around with numbers and solving mathematical problems. She struggled with it sometimes, and hated it too but it was still her favorite. 

 

Peter on the other hand, found business easier. He loved talking about them, explaining how they worked, and their types and the pros and cons of each one. One of his favorite part time activities was searching up business case studies and analyzing them. 

 

They both helped each other with their subjects. They would meet up at the park, the cafe near their house, each other’s house, or the library and study.

 

The rest of their time was spent gossiping about either a celebrity or people from their school, babysitting, or watching random videos on Youtube. They also liked to go to the park and swing, trying to see who could swing the highest. 

 

After math, they had a double free period so they decided to sit in one of the empty classrooms and think of the dares or truths they would ask their friends today.

 

“I know the perfect thing to ask Evan!” Peter exclaims. 

 

“What?” Mary gasps.

 

“He has a crush on Barty. I’m going to dare him to ask him out!”

 

“No!” 

 

“Yes!” Peter squeals. “They’re going to be so cute together!”

 

“Oh my God, I can imagine it! Them being all cute and coupley. Wait, how do we know Barty returns those feelings?”

 

“Oh, I know.” Peter smirks. 

 

“You’re such a genius, Peter!”

 

“Thank you, thank you.” Peter bows and Mary giggles. 

 

They continue talking for the rest of the period. 

 

Being friends for so long, both of them know that they can be weird and goofy around each other and the other would never judge. 

 

Mary showed Peter her worst parts and he still stayed. He saw her in all her tainted glory and still loved her. Mary did the same to him. He let her in and told her about his insecurities. They both showed each other love, acceptance, understanding, and embraced each other's goods and bads when no one else did. 

 

Mary was also the only one who knew that Peter was aromantic.

 

They understood each other to a spiritual level, as Peter liked to say.

 

When they were younger they had even tried to read each other's minds and spent thirty minutes staring into each other’s eyes. They were disappointed, however, when Peter suddenly asked if she was thinking about chipmunks and she told him that she was thinking of strawberry ice-cream. 

 

Lunch passes, and so does the rest of the school day. Mary waves good-bye to all her friends and goes back home. She tells her mom about her plans. Her mother has a meeting in the evening and then a date with her friends so Mary will have the house to herself. 

 

Around 6, the doorbell rings and the Marauders, the girls, and Evan pile into her house. 

 

James is wearing a baby blue shirt with a white collar and beige pants. Sirius is wearing a black crop top shirt with black sweatpants. Remus is wearing an oversized green cardigan with soft black trousers. Evan is wearing a black shirt with black jeans and a dark red jacket.

 

They all gather around the living room. Mary has pushed the sofas back so they can comfortably sit on the floor. They sit around in a circle and spend time talking to each other and munching on the snacks Mary provided. 

 

Mary notices how Peter keeps looking at Evan and smiling and how Lily still looks slightly worried.

 

She’s smiling, but her eyes tell a different story. There’s a hint of distress in her eyes that, now that Mary thinks about it, has been there since summer ended. She wonders what changed that made Lily so anxious. 

 

Or was it something that happened over the summer? Mary had been gone all summer but if something had happened then Peter or anyone else would have told her about it. Perhaps no one knew either? If that was the case, she hoped Lily would tell someone sooner rather than later instead of keeping it all in. 





Peter Pettigrew loves making people happy. 

 

He always makes sure his friends are happy and smiling. If one of them is troubled, he would make sure that they know he’s there for them, or try to distract them from whatever is troubling them, or just do little things for them that’ll make them smile. 

 

Growing up, his parents would always fight. Their marriage was falling apart, Peter could tell. As much as he wished for anything else, he knew that his parents were close to getting a divorce. He would spend his nights crying himself to sleep because he loves both his mom and dad and he wanted them to be together. 

 

Their fights would affect Peter terribly. No child should have to go through that. His parents stopped paying attention to him and his sister. 

 

His parents would try to stop for their sake but after a few days they would go back to fighting. It was like pretending to be okay when they weren’t was taking out too much from them and they would lash out their anger and frustration onto each other. 

 

One of his relatives noticed this too and they suggested that Peter’s parents go to therapy. They did. It took a very long time, longer than Peter would have liked, for them to start tolerating each other. That tolerance led to them slowly getting more comfortable around each other which then led to slow dancing in the kitchen and going out on random dates. 

 

Some part of Peter was still paranoid after that. He supposed it’ll always be paranoid. Whenever his parents would get into an argument or disagree on something, Peter would panic and run away to his room and hide under his blanket. His sister will find him there and hold him. He would only come out when his parents weren’t arguing anymore. 

 

Peter started noticing how happy everyone was after that. His mother looked younger, his father looked fresher, his sister would come home from school and her tired face would morph into one of joy. He saw how his mother’s soft laughter or his father’s booming one would carry around the house more frequently. He liked this happiness. He liked the feeling of seeing everyone else happy.

 

That’s when he vowed to always do his best to make other people happy because Peter thrived on that feeling of seeing joy on other people’s faces, and knowing that joy is there because of you? Even better. 

 

This is why when he found out that Evan and Barty like each other, he knew that he had to do something about it. He wasn’t doing it with the intention of meddling, but merely giving Evan the push he clearly needed. 

 

When he thought that everyone had interacted with each other for long enough, he took out the bottle of alcohol and shouted, ‘truth or dare time everyone!”

 

“I’ll go first.” Sirius exclaims.

 

He looks around the room before landing his eyes on James, “If you could get away with one murder, who would you kill?” 

 

“Snape. Definitely him.” 

 

Sirius nods, “correct answer.”

 

James dares Evan to eat a raw piece of garlic, Lily gets dared to let everyone send a message to someone on her phone, Peter gets asked to do a belly dance, Remus is asked about his crush to which he blushed furiously and took a sip from the bottle, Sirius is dared to strip down to his boxers by Marlene which he proudly does. Peter makes sure to drink as little as possible. 

 

An hour later, they are all very drunk but not as much as James. He dodged the most questions and therefore had to drink the most. 

 

Finally it’s Peter’s turn again. 

 

“Evan truth or dare?” Please choose dare. 

 

“Dare!” Peter smirks.

 

“I dare you to ask Barty out.” 

 

Evan freezes, “I- What- Why… What?”

 

“Ask Barty out. I know you want to.” 

 

“Not because of a dare?” 

 

“I’m telling you that you should ask him out. Don’t see this as just a dare.” 

 

“He’ll reject me and then our friendship will be ruined.” 

 

“He won’t, I promise.”

 

“I do want to.” Evan says after a pause. 

 

“Then you have to jump over this fence,” James says quietly.

 

“But what if I fall?”

 

“What if you don’t? What if you get to continue your journey?” 

 

Evan thinks for a minute.

 

“Okay,” he says.

 

“Okay?” Peter asks. 

 

“Yeah. I’ll ask him out.”

 

“Yes!” Peter exclaims.

 

“And besides, if he rejects you, I can always beat him up.” Sirius slurs.

 

“No, Sirius, you’re not beating anyone up.” Remus sounds tipsy too.  

 

The game goes on, people getting more and more drunk. 

 

It gets interesting when Mary asks James about all of his crushes and he lists them all one by one.

 

“Lily, of course, that one boy who used to be in year 13 when we were in year 11, and… I think that’s it… Oh! Regulus too.”

 

Silence follows. 

 

“Regulus as in Regulus Black?” Lily asks.

 

“That’s the one.”

 

Peter realizes that James is too drunk to realize the consequences of what he just revealed but Sirius has gone really quiet. Even his hiccups have stopped.

 

James had a crush on Regulus? Sirius’ younger brother. They haven’t even interacted before. At least Peter thinks they haven’t. Is James secretly friends with Sirius’ brother? No he would never go behind Sirius’ back like that, especially when he knows how much Sirius wishes they could talk to Regulus. Being on talking terms with Regulus would be very cruel of James. 

 

Peter notices that Lily has gone quiet too. The rest have continued their game and seem to have forgotten about James’ confession, except for Sirius and Lily. Peter can understand Sirius’ reaction but why is Lily acting like that? It isn’t like her to get jealous like this. Peter tries to read her expression. She looks anxious but also like she has just realized something important.

 

Tonight has been one heck of a night, Peter thinks. 

 

Around an hour later, they all decide to stop. Peter helps Mary find extra pillows and blankets for them and they all pass out in the living room. 

 

Peter falls asleep pretty quickly too but not before catching the look Sirius sends in James’ direction. Peter only hopes nothing has changed between them.

Chapter Text

James Potter once had a best friend.

 

James was 10 at the time and had met him in a park. He immediately thought that the boy was very beautiful; with soft red curls, sharp blue eyes, and a mischievous smile. He was walking his dog and had come across James when the dog had run up to him and had started barking around him. 

 

At first, the boy was very rude and snapped at James. James, however, did not give up. He bent down to pet the dog and upon seeing this the boy softened and apologised. 

 

He was still closed off after that but the more time he spent with James, the more he opened up. 

 

His name was Leonardo but he told James that he could call him Leo. He was also two years older than James. 

 

He would visit James at his house and James would visit him at his. They formed a strong friendship. They would do everything together. They would visit the park together and eat ice cream, they would go watch movies together, they would sit down and draw together, and cycle around the neighbourhood together. 

 

He loved doing everything with Leo but his favourite thing was always watching the stars with him. They would climb the roofs of their houses and lay down on a blanket together, watching the stars. Spring was his favourite because the Leo constellation could always be seen then. 

 

Leo would also protect James from all the bullies. James was bullied a lot because of the colour of his skin which led to a lot of insecurities. James started hating his skin colour, his accent, his language, and his culture. 

 

Leo came along and would fight for James until James could fight for himself. He supported James and made him more confident. 

 

He would always tell James how beautiful his skin was, how pretty his accent sounded, how fascinating his culture was, and how poetic his language is until James started believing it himself. He grew confident in himself and started talking about India more and more. 

 

In turn, Leo would tell him about his own culture and country. He told James about Spain and his home. He told James stories about his cousins and the places they used to visit. He would ask his mother to make Spanish dishes for James. Croquetas, Jamón Iberico, and Paella were James’ favourite. In turn, he would ask Effie to make Biryani and Nihari.

 

One day, Leo started complaining about random pain and aches in his back. James had urged him to go tell his mother but Leo dismissed his concerns, saying that he probably sat with the wrong posture or pulled a muscle.

 

It got worse. James was getting more and more worried and would plead with Leo to talk to someone about his pain. Leo finally told his mom about them and she took him to a doctor. 

 

James had been in his room when his mother had come in to tell him that Leo was waiting for him outside. James had rushed to where he was but halted when he saw Leo. 

 

He was tense and there was this look in his eyes. James didn’t know how to describe it. It was like he knew everything and nothing all at once. 

 

James felt fear gripping every fibre in his muscles. He could feel the adrenaline rushing through his veins. He could hear the word ringing in his ears. 

 

Cancer. 

 

James felt like his world had stopped moving but Leo, like the brave brave person he was, had comforted James and told him that he was strong and will fight this disease. 

 

James had believed him. 

 

He believed him through all those chemotherapies. He believed him when he started looking sicker and sicker every day. He believed him when his hair started falling off. He believed him when his parents finally shaved his hair off. He believed him when he would vomit daily. He believed him when he got so weak he could barely move without tiring himself out. 

 

“You’ll stay with me?” James had asked.

 

Leo smiled, “Until the very end.” 

 

James was 11 when Leo was diagnosed and 12 when his mother told him. 

 

James had gone numb. He had fallen on his knees and his mother had caught him. He had stared at nothing for so long that his mother had started panicking. It had hit him then, so suddenly and so hard, that Leo was gone. 

 

That he would never see Leo again, would never see him smile, never hear him laugh, never hear him cry, or talk in that beautiful Spanish accent, or run around with him, or eat new food with him, or colour a new picture with him, or climb any tree with him. 

 

He was alone to carry on the life they had started together. 

 

His best friend, his protector, his truest and most confident companion was gone. 

 

James is 16 now, turning 17 in a few months. He has outlived Leo by two years today. 

 

He has spent two years without Leo.

 

He wakes up early and changes into a white shirt and light blue denim pants. He quickly puts on his pink denim jacket and leaves the house. 

 

He reaches Leo’s grave and sits down in front of it.

 

“Hi, Leo.” 

 

James visits this grave often but makes sure to always visit it on Leo’s birthday and the day he died. 

 

“It’s been two years now and still not a day goes by that I don’t miss you. It hurts . It hurts so much Leo. I gave you a piece of my heart and you took it with you. I can always feel it missing.” 

 

James is crying now, “I still get angry at you sometimes… because why did you have to go?”

 

It’s getting harder to speak. 

 

“I need you, Leo… I need you here with me. I have Sirius… but they can never replace you. They can never give me what you gave me. What I have with them will never be the same as what I had with you.” 

 

James had stayed. Leo may not have been able to keep his promise but James made a promise after he died to always cherish Leo’s memory and keep it alive.

 

Until the very end. 

 

James had vowed to never have a best friend again after Leo’s death but Sirius had literally barged into his life (ran into him in the principal's office) and before James could do anything, Sirius had declared themselves as ‘James Potter’s best friend’. James had been angry at first because who was Sirius Black to replace Leo? 

 

James’ mother had explained to him gently that Sirius wasn’t replacing Leo. It had taken him a long time to realise this but once he did, he allowed Sirius in and started considering them as his best friend too. 

 

He talks to Leo for a bit longer, telling him about his school and his subjects, and his friends. He can’t stay for long though, because of school. 

 

“I love you, Leo, and I always, always will.” He says before getting up and leaving. 

 

When he comes home, his parents look at him understandingly. He nods at them to tell them that he’s fine and goes up to his room to grab his bag. 

 

He quickly eats breakfast and leaves for the bus station. Sirius is waiting there for him. When they see James, they wrap him in a tight hug. James melts into the hug, needing it. 

 

They hop on the bus and stay silent on the way. James doesn’t feel like talking and Sirius doesn’t push him. 

 

They had been mad at James when he had blurted out the fact that he used to have a crush on Regulus but then James had explained to him that it was before they ran away and was now over it. Sirius knew that you can’t control who you feel feelings for but Regulus was still his baby brother. One that was still in their parents’ crutches and estranged from Sirius. 

 

When they reach the school, they meet up with the rest of the marauders and the girls. James gives Lily a hug and a kiss on the cheek. 

 

“Are you alright?” She asks with concern in her voice.

 

James just nods at her and looks away. 

 

His eyes land on Regulus and he can’t breathe.

 

Regulus is wearing black dress pants with a white t-shirt. His hair is gelled and he’s standing tall and proud.

 

Regulus reminds James of Leo in a way. Leo was closed-off and snarky too at first, but once he got comfortable with James, he was kind, caring, and full of love. James knew that deep, down Regulus, was kind and full of love too. He just needed someone to show him love first. 

 

James had hated Regulus at first because how dare he treat Sirius the way he treated them? Could dare he not understand Sirius’ situation? But then James had thought more about it and tried to see it from Regulus’ perspective. James understood why he acted like that now. 

 

James looks away from him and catches Lily’s knowing look. 

 

“What?” 

 

She shakes her head, “nothing.”

 

They all move to form. James has double biology first. 

 

They study the structure of the heart and the cardiac cycle. 

 

After biology, James has a free period and then psychology before lunch. 

 

James knows that Regulus has classes all day long since he’s still in his GCSEs so the only time he can talk to him is during lunch. During his free time, he sits in an empty classroom and tries to do the sociology homework that he had no motivation to do last night. 

 

He can’t focus though, and his mind drifts off to thoughts of Leo. 

 

One of James’ happiest memories with Leo is when James spent an entire day with Leo. This was before he was permanently shifted to the hospital. The doctors told him that he was okay enough to leave his room and go out for the day and he chose to spend it with James. 

 

They had gone to the park and ordered ice cream. Leo was still weak so they had to take a rest every 10 minutes but James didn’t mind. All he cared about was spending time with Leo. 

 

After eating the ice cream, Leo asked James to teach him origami. James taught him how to make a lion. James’ lion was beautiful but Leo’s was a little wonky. James loved it so much that he asked Leo to let him keep it.

 

They went to the swings after that. Leo was not strong enough to push so James spent the entire time pushing Leo on the swing. Again, he didn’t mind, not when his friend was laughing so loudly for the first time in weeks. 

 

But that night Leo’s condition got worse. He was moved to the hospital next week.

 

Despite that, James could never forget the feeling of immense happiness that he got when he looked at his friend that day, all laughing and happy. There was joy on his face that James realised he hadn't seen in a very long time. That’s when he truly believed that Leo would make it. 

 

James thinks that that’s the reason Leo’s death hurt more. If he had accepted it as Leo did, it would not have been so sudden but James had refused to accept it. Refused to believe anything could happen to Leo.

 

He had never imagined that he would have to live in a world without Leo. 

 

The bell rings, making him jump a foot in the air. He packs all his things and leaves for psychology. 

 

Lunch arrives and James walks to the cafeteria. He sits at his usual spot between Lily and Sirius. Lily asks him if he’s okay and he smiles at her and reassures her that he’s fine. 

 

During lunch, Mary tells them how she and Peter tried skateboarding in the park, resulting in Peter falling into the pond. That managed to draw a laugh out of James and his heart swelled with love for his friends. 

 

The rest of the day passes by quickly. James’ sadness, however, lingers with him throughout. It’s like his subconscious knows that today was the day James lost a piece of himself and trying to feel happy is taking too much effort. 

 

When school ends, James practically bolts from his seat and runs outside. He’s so early that he manages to catch a glimpse of Regulus. He’s walking towards his car with Barty Crouch. James wonders if Evan asked Barty out and if Barty said yes. 

 

His friends come out and crowd around him. They’re all chattering away about their day and their plans for the rest of the day. 

 

James walks over to Lily and takes her in his arms. She wraps her arms around him and they stay together like that. James feels slightly better when he pulls away and smiles at her. She tries to smile back but James is confused when it only comes out as a grimace. 

 

“James, I need to talk to you.” 

 

James is instantly concerned by the tone of her voice and nods. 

 

“Can you meet me at the park around 5 please?”

 

“Of course, I’ll be there.” 

 

Lily nods and manages a small smile this time. James smiles back at her and they both say goodbye to their friends and head home. 

 

James walks Lily off to her house before walking to his. His parents are in the living room watching T.V. 

 

“Hey, mom, dad,” he calls out. 

 

“James!” His mom gets up and walks over to him, wrapping her arms around him. James melts in his mother’s arms. 

 

They pull apart and his mom guides him to the kitchen. He pulls his denim jacket off and goes over to sit at the table and his mom puts a plate in front of him. She made daal chawal today. 

 

James sprinkles some chaat masala on the daal and digs in. His mother’s cooking never fails to amaze him. 

 

After eating, he finds himself wrapped in a blanket beside his parents as they watch a comedy show together. He is grateful for his parents. He knows they’re trying to distract him and it works too. James manages to forget about the heavy sadness and focus on the show for a while.

 

When it’s 4:45, he unwraps himself from the blanket cocoon and turns around to tell his parents that he’s going to meet Lily but finds them asleep. His dad has his arms wrapped around his mother and is snoring softly. James smiles at them fondly and pulls the blanket over them. He turns the T.V. off, grabs his jacket, and leaves the house. 

 

He arrives at the park. He knows where Lily will be because they always meet at the same spot. He goes over and waits for her. 

 

As time goes on and on, a feeling of dread settles in his gut. He remembers how Lily had looked at him when she had asked him to meet. 

 

Finally, Lily arrives and he is alarmed to see the redness under her eyes and how puffy they are. She looks at him guiltily. 

 

“Lily? What’s wrong?” 





Lily Evans had the most confusing summer of her life.

 

Her neighbours moved out of town and a new family moved into the house. They only had one daughter and she was about a year older than Lily. 

 

She was very pretty, Lily noted, with long black hair, electric blue eyes, and beautiful brown skin. Lily tried to gather the courage to go and talk to her but every time she tried, she would become a stuttering mess and make a fool of herself. 

 

Petunia, on the other hand, had no problem talking to the girl. She could easily strike up a conversation and, although Lily would look from afar and would never be able to hear what Petunia is talking about, she knew from the expression on the girl’s beautiful face that she didn’t like her sister very much. 

 

One day, she was out in her mother’s garden, watering the roses, when she heard someone call out her name. Her parents were away and Petunia was on a date with her boyfriend, Vernon, so Lily was confused. 

 

She looked around and realised that it was her neighbour. She was leaning against the fence and smiling. Lily felt her throat grow dry as she looked over at her. She was wearing a black crop-top with ripped jeans and a leather jacket. Her hair was pulled into a high pony and she looked striking. 

 

“I’m Laxmi.” 

 

“Lily.” 

 

Laxmi smiles, “You have a lovely accent.” 

 

Lily blushes, “it’s Irish.” 

 

“You moved here from Ireland?”

 

“No, I was born and raised here but my parents are Irish and would speak in their Irish accent around me so I learned it too. What about you?”

 

“My dad’s from India. Mom’s from here.” 

 

“Oh,” Lily smiles, “my boyfriend is from India too. Punjab.”

 

Laxmi smiles, “I’ve been to Punjab. It’s a beautiful place.” 

 

They talk for longer. Lily finds that it’s easy to talk to Laxmi. They talk about their lives, their home countries, their school, and their friends.

 

After what seems like hours, Laxmi’s mother calls her for dinner and she says goodbye to Lily, who waves back, and runs in. 

 

After that, their friendship grows. Lily hangs out with Laxmi almost every day. She tells her parents about her too and Petunia scoffs every time Laxmi is mentioned over dinner, which angers Lily but she doesn’t want to fight her sister. 

 

One day, Laxmi comes over and is hanging out in Lily’s room when Lily comes in and freezes. Laxmi looks gorgeous . She’s wearing a kurta with black trousers and her hair is pulled into a loose bun and her eyes are rimmed with kohl. 

 

“You look so beautiful,” she gasps out. 

 

Laxmi looks up and smiles, “thank you.” 

 

They end up watching a movie together.

 

Lily can’t help but glance at Laxmi now and then. She admires her sharp jawline and her beautiful ethnic nose. Her bright eyes are so focused on the screen and her soft lips. Lily feels something in her stomach as she looks at Laxmi’s lips and she immediately looks away, cheeks blazing. 

 

After that incident, Lily starts questioning whether or not she likes Laxmi in a more-than-platonic way. Does she want to kiss Laxmi? She definitely does. 

 

She goes onto the internet too; how do you know if you’re gay, how gay are you tests, looking at different female celebrities to see if she feels anything different. 

 

She spends a lot of time thinking about this and it starts stressing her out because every time she’s around Laxmi, her heart rate picks up and she needs a minute to calm herself down. The fact that Laxmi got a septum piercing does not help either. 

 

She thinks about James too. He’s so sweet and caring towards her. He respects her boundaries and privacy and never forces her to do something she doesn't want to do. He never minds when she cancels plans at the last minute, instead he’s the most understanding person on this planet and tells her that it’s okay if she wants to reschedule. He takes her out on the sweetest dates and always makes her laugh without even trying.

 

One day, Laxmi comes over and tells her that she’s moving away again. Lily was heartbroken because she just had her and now she’s moving away again. They cry and hug for a long time. 

 

Laxmi hesitates before turning around and then as if she’d made the decision last second, she leans in and kisses Lily.

 

Lily freezes. Because she’s still dating James and it’s Laxmi that’s kissing her. She has an internal battle with herself, but the feel of Laxmi’s lips on her is euphoric. 

 

It’s over as soon as it started and suddenly Laxmi’s rambling, “I’m so sorry! I don’t know why I did that. I know you have a boyfriend. I’m sorry. I’m really really so-” 

 

Lily places her hand on Laxmi’s shoulder, “It’s okay.” Is it?

 

Laxmi still looks unsure so Lily wraps her arms around her and hugs her. 

 

Laxmi is gone three days before school starts.

 

Lily spends a lot of time thinking about that kiss.

 

She feels so conflicted; she liked the kiss but she’s dating James. She knows that she didn’t initiate it but she still feels like she cheated on James. She can’t do this to him, he doesn’t deserve it. 

 

She wants to break up with James but at the same time, she is dreading it. 

 

That’s why she had asked him to meet her at the park today. Lily knows that James would be understanding but she’s still nervous. The guilt has gotten too strong and she needs to tell him. 

 

“Lily? What’s wrong?” He asks softly. Lily gently lowers herself to the grass beside him and takes a deep breath. 

 

“We need to break up, James.”

 

He freezes, “what? Why? Did I do something wrong?” He looks like a kicked puppy and Lily wants to cry again. 

 

“No! You didn’t do anything wrong. You’re wonderful, James.” 

 

“I don’t understand. Why do you want to break up?”

 

Lily pauses before saying, “Remember when I said something happened over the summer?”

 

“Yeah…”

 

“I… I met a girl and she was… she was beautiful , James, and that made me question a few things. Things I’m still figuring out.”

 

“You think you might be gay?” James asks softly, understanding filling his eyes. 

 

“Yes.” 

 

“Okay.”

 

“Okay?”

 

“Of course. I won’t force you to be with me. If you need time by yourself then please take time for yourself. I hope you figure it all out and feel comfortable too. I’ll support you always.”

 

“James, I’m scared.” Lily can feel her tears slide down her cheek. 

 

“It’s going to be okay, Lily. I’m always here if you need me and I’ll always support you. Our friends will too and so will your parents.”

 

“No, you don’t understand. I kissed her, James! I kissed another person while I was dating you.” 

 

Hurt flashed in his eyes before it is replaced by even more understanding.

“It’s okay, Lily.” 

 

“How is it okay, James?” 

 

“I’m not mad. I understand that it must have been very confusing and scary for you. Trying to figure out your sexuality is never easy.”

 

Lily wants to cry again because how can this human be so perfect?

 

She knows that he’s hurting. James Potter loves with his entire heart. He loves so loudly and boldly, and so easily. He gives his everything and that’s why it hurts so much too. 

 

He hasn’t told her that he loves her yet but she knows that he cares deeply. 

 

Lily feels terrible that she has hurt James Potter but this is also something that she needs to do for herself. 

 

As if reading her mind, he wraps his arms around her and pulls her close, “I’ll be fine, Lily. I’m not happy and will probably cry a lot but I won’t hold it against you. I want you to focus on yourself. Don’t worry about me.”

 

“We’re still friends, right? I can’t lose you as a friend.”

 

“Yes, of course, we’re still friends.” 

 

Lily allows herself to be comforted for a little longer before pulling away.

 

“I don’t know what I’d do without you, James. You’re so good and so understanding and so caring . I am honoured that I got to be cared for so deeply by you and I am so so grateful that you chose me as your friend.”

 

“I care a lot about you, Lily, and I’m glad that we had what we had too, even if it was for a short while. It was wonderful and I’m glad that, even if we’re not romantically involved anymore, we’re still friends.” 

 

They sat together for some time before deciding to go back home because it was getting dark now.

 

Lily walks home by herself now. James wanted to come with her but she insists that she can go herself. 

 

Lily reaches her home and goes up to her room. She doesn’t feel like talking to anyone right now, especially not her sister.

 

Once she is in her pyjamas and on her bed, it hits her that she and James are no longer dating. 

 

She doesn’t regret breaking up with him but she still mourns the loss of the relationship she had. James was right; what they had really was wonderful and so beautiful. 

 

They had been close to each other in a way they weren’t with their other friends. Lily had opened up to him about her relationship with her sister and how she hated her boyfriend, Vernon. He in turn had told her how much he misses India and yearns to go back. 

 

James had even told her about Leo. The only other person that knew was Sirius. 

 

He had even told her about his crush on Regulus Black. Before he had blurted it out when he was drunk during the party, Lily had been the only one to know that. He had told her that he was over Regulus but Lily suspected that he just thought that he was over him. Lily was sure that some of those feelings still lingered, whether he knew about them or not. 

 

Lily also knew that he’ll never be over her. He had been asking her out for so long, there was no way that whatever feelings he had for her weren’t real or deep. She would always carry a part of James’ heart with her but that isn’t to say that he would never love again. 

 

James Potter thrives on love, whether it be the love he has for his parents, the love he has for his friends, the love he has for Lily, the love he has for Leo, the love he has for Fish, the love he has for himself, the love he has for his country and his family, the love he has for romance movies, the love he has for origami, the love he has for denim, the love he has for going for a run every morning, the love he has for the pansexual flag, the love he has for his subjects, the love he has for his town. He is overflowing with love and that is one of the many things about him that Lily loves. 

 

Lily hopes that she will find love again too. She knows that she’s not straight. She wonders if she still likes boys. She had feelings for James, didn’t she? 

 

These thoughts fill her mind until her eyes start getting heavy and she falls asleep. The last thing she remembers is how Laxmi’s lips felt on hers and that manages to bring a small smile on her face. 

Chapter Text

Barty Crouch Jr. hated his father.

 

He was a controlling, toxic, and manipulative man. 

 

Barty hated that he expected so much from him but never told him how proud he is of his son when he would do his best. He would emotionally blackmail Barty and never fail to remind him how he provides for him and put a roof over his head as if that’s the only responsibility a father should have.

 

Barty knew that his parents used to be in love. They had married each other after years of dating. He had asked his mother what had changed. She would only smile sadly and tell him to not worry about it but Barty knew. He knew that something had happened before he was born and his father did not love his mother anymore.

 

Barty wished he could be free of his father and be himself. He would imagine it every night before going to sleep. 

 

He imagined himself wearing t-shirts and jeans and coloured outfits, and lots of jewellery and not having to gel his hair every day. He imagines being open about his sexuality. He would love to wear a little pin like James Potter does every day.

 

He would love to hang out with James Potter and his friends. They seem so cool and funny and most importantly; they care so much about each other. Barty knows that he has Reg and he isn’t being selfish and wants more. If he ever gets a friend, he would make sure they’re friends with Regulus too. 

 

He also wished Regulus’ relationship with Sirius would get better. They had talked, but it wasn’t fixed. It was a long way from being fixed. He hoped for the sake of his best friend that he would be able to trust Sirius again.

 

Most importantly, he thought of Evan. Evan Rosier, to Barty, was the most beautiful boy in the world. He has the most striking pair of blue eyes and the softest strawberry-blonde hair. He was smart, caring, intelligent, and on the swim team. Barty definitely did not drool when Evan would walk around wearing a tank top, showing off his perfectly toned biceps. 

 

Barty wishes he could be open about himself. Show the world who he is. Have a chance at being loved, understood, and accepted. 

 

He wished he and Regulus didn’t have to hide like this.

 

He quickly gets ready for school, eats breakfast, stuffs the homework that he was doing last night into his bag, hugs his mother tightly, and runs out of the house. Regulus’ car is already there and before his father can come out, Barty is in the car and fastening his seat belt. 

 

“You alright?” Regulus asks once they’re driving away.

 

Barty nods, “you?” 

 

“Fine. Mother tried to interrogate me about Sirius again though.”

 

“What did you say?” 

 

“I think she knows that we talked. I don’t know how but I just got a feeling that she knows something.”

 

“You need to be careful, Reg. How would she know though?”

 

“She’s Walburga Black. She has her way. Don’t worry, though, she won’t hurt me.”

 

Barty is still worried for his friend though. Walburga Black can harm someone in more ways than just physically.

 

They reach the school and Barty looks around the yard, eyes immediately landing on Evan. It’s like his subconscious knows where Evan is and seeks him out. 

 

He looks beautiful. He’s talking to Peter and Barty feels himself fall a little more in love with him when he tips his head back and laughs, the beautiful sound vibrating through the air and settling onto Barty like a warm blanket.

 

“I feel like I’m watching one of those cheesy romantic movies,” Regulus grumbles from beside him.

 

“You need to get a crush too. It’s wonderful. I heard James Potter is single again.”

 

Regulus blushes as he says, “No, I do not! And how can it be wonderful? And where did you hear that from?”

 

“Okay, sometimes it can be painful but it’s amazing too. Being in love with someone.”

 

Because that’s what love is. Love is beautiful and so painful. It isn’t love if it isn’t a little painful.

 

“And that’s all everyone’s talking about. How the school's cutest and most popular couple is no longer together.” 

 

Barty was aware of Regulus’ crush on James. He had come to Barty, in tears and panicking, rambling about how James Potter is the worst and how Regulus hates him so much. When Barty had managed to calm him down, he had told him that he may or may not have feelings for James Potter. Barty had been surprised at first because his brother’s best friend? 

 

“Evan’s looking at you,” Reg says suddenly. 

 

Barty panics, “what!?” 

 

“He’s coming over now.” Why does he sound so gleeful? Can’t he see that Barty is having a crisis?

 

“Hey, Barty. Regulus.” Evan’s beautiful voice calls out.

 

“Hello, Evan.” Barty can tell without even looking that Reg is smirking. The little shit. 

 

“Evan!” Barty cringes at how squeaky his voice sounds. Regulus notices too and snorts which turns into a coughing fit and Barty doesn’t even feel any remorse as Reg goes on to choke on nothing. 

 

“Could I talk to you, Barty? Alone?” He asks and Barty realises with a shock that he’s nervous. 

 

Regulus’ coughing fits halt as he freezes too. 

 

Barty looks at him and Reg gives him a nod. 

 

“Uh yeah… okay.” 

 

Reg walks away so he’s not within hearing distance.

 

Evan clears his throat, “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but never had the courage to do it because… well because you make me nervous and someone asked me to do it already… well dared more like but I’m not doing this because of the dare! Well, I am but not just because of that. That dare only encouraged me to do what I already wanted to do.” He speaks so fast that Barty struggles to understand him.

 

“Evan,” he interrupts him, because otherwise Evan would never stop talking, “wanted to do what?”

 

“Oh! Right. Barty, will you go out with me? On a date? And be mine? My boyfriend, I mean. And hold hands with me?”

 

This cannot be happening. This can not be happening.

 

Barty pinches himself; it is happening.

 

This is literally his biggest dream and nightmare at the same time.

 

A dream because Evan Rosier just asked him out!!! Evan Rosier! The person Barty has been in love with for so long now. 

Nightmare because he wasn’t out yet. He can’t go on public dates with Evan and hold his hand around the school or openly be his friend because if word gets back to his father he won’t be pleased with Barty. He doesn’t expect Evan to hide because of him. 

 

“I- I need to think.” Barty manages to say.

 

Evan’s face falls and Barty feels bad. He feels conflicted. 

 

“I need to go. I can’t… I- I need to-” 

 

He turns around and walks over to Regulus. Regulus looks alarmed at his hysteric state and immediately walks over too, meeting him halfway.

 

“Barty? What happened? Where’s Evan?” 

 

Barty’s head snaps back and sure enough, Evan isn’t there anymore. 


“What did he say? Did he say something wrong? Do I need to go and punch him?”

 

Barty shakes his head, “he asked me out!” 

 

Regulus halts. 

 

“What! Really? Barty!” 

 

“I know! I told him I need time to think. I ran away, Reg!” 

 

“What are you going to do?”

 

“I want to say yes but I can’t risk it.” 

 

“I think you should talk to him. Explain and if he’s still willing to go out with you then I think you should go for it. You deserve happiness, Barty.”

 

Barty nods and takes a deep breath.

 

“I’ll talk to him.” 

 

The bell rings and it’s time for form. They walk over to their class, Barty thinking about Evan the entire way. He can’t stop thinking about it during form too and struggles to pay attention in his class too, which is physics. 

 

Throughout his classes, he has moments of panic too when he thinks about how he ran away. Does Evan hate him now? Does he think Barty isn’t interested? Does he think Barty’s a freak?

He wants to talk to Evan but at the same time, he’s dreading it. What if Evan lost interest? Was Evan even interested in the first place? Of course, he was interested! Why else would he ask Barty out? He did say it was because of a dare. He also said that the dare only pushed him to do what he already wanted to do. 

 

These thoughts invade Barty’s mind and he can’t shake them off. He manages to answer his teacher’s questions correctly during maths but only because he likes this subject and knows the topic already. 

 

Lunch arrives too soon and too late. Barty walks to the cafeteria slowly with Reg. He spots Evan amongst the sea of students and prepares himself. Regulus takes his hand, gives it a reassuring squeeze, and walks away to their table.

 

Barty approaches Evan, who looks up as he gets closer. Evan gives him a small, sad smile. 

 

“Can I talk to you?”

 

Evan looks angry for a minute and Barty’s anxiety increases but then he nods. They move to a quiet corner. 

 

“Yes.” Barty says.

 

“What?” 

 

“I want to date you but… I’m not out yet.” 

 

A look of understanding settles on Evan’s face.

 

“My father,” Barty whispers softly, almost scared, “he can not know.” 

 

Evan steps closer and nods, “we can keep it to ourselves as long as you need to. Just let me take you out on a date. It doesn’t have to be in the public. Just allow me the privilege of calling you mine.” 

 

Barty almost faints; he can’t go around saying things like that! It makes Barty want to kiss him. 

 

“Okay,” he says instead.

 

Evan smiles brightly which brings a smile to Barty’s face too. 

 

“When can I take you out?”

“Friday!” 

 

Fridays are Barty’s favourite days. His father is always out of town on Fridays so he makes the most of his absence. Everything good happens to him on Fridays. He wants this good thing to happen on a Friday too and this Friday would also be the last day of term before their winter holidays. 

 

Evan laughs, “okay. I’ll come and pick you up after school.” 

 

Barty walks to his table with the biggest smile on his face.

 

“So I assume that it went well?” Regulus says.

 

Barty nods happily. 

 

Regulus smiles, “I’m glad.” 

 

They spend the lunch discussing what Barty should wear on the date.

 

The rest of the day goes by quickly and soon Regulus is in the car with Regulus, going back home. He was still smiling, nothing could dampen his happiness today, not even the thought of going back home. 

 

He kept thinking about Evan and the date.

 

They reach his home and he hides his happiness away from his face. If his father sees his smile, he won’t stop questioning him until he finds the truth out. 

 

He goes straight to his room and changes into more comfortable clothes. He goes down to the kitchen. He can hear his father in his office, talking to someone on the phone. His mother is also at her job, but she left lunch for him before leaving. It’s a grilled chicken sandwich with a bottle of apple juice and a chocolate-chip cookie. He takes it all up to his room. 

 

He quickly eats his lunch while reading ‘Othello’. Once he’s finished he wanders around his room, finishes his homework, writes in his journal, and reads some more plays. 

 

It feels like a dream that Evan actually asked him on a date. Barty is filled with warmth every time he thinks about it; that maybe he is worthy of loving someone and being loved in return. He was sure Evan didn’t love him but that was okay. 

 

He is so glad that his father did not come in to check on him. Sometimes his father is so busy with his work that he doesn’t have time to question Barty about his school. 

 

He goes down again when it’s time for dinner. His mom is back and she’s busy cooking. His father is out of his office too, sitting at the dining table reading a newspaper. 

 

Dinner is quiet until his father sets his fork down. 

“How was school today?” He asks. He makes it seem as if he actually cares about his son. As if he’s genuinely interested in how his son’s one of the best days in a very long time went. As if he’s not asking just to keep tabs on his son and control every aspect of his life. Barty hates his father for it. 

 

“It went well, father. Nothing out of the ordinary.” Something very extraordinary happened today!

 

“Any news on that Black boy?” Why do you care? 

 

“No, father.” 

 

His father hums. Barty doesn’t dare look up from his plate. 

 

No one speaks after that. This is not how a family dinner is supposed to go, Barty thinks. Dinners with family are supposed to be cheerful and happy. 

 

When he’s finished eating and dismissed, Barty quickly hugs his mom and runs up to his room again. His father always makes sure he spends as little time with his mother as possible so their interactions when he’s around, are rare. They celebrate mother-son day on Fridays. 

 

Barty goes to sleep that night with only Evan on his mind. 





Evan Rosier loves going out.

 

He’s always planning for his weekends. Places he’ll visit, the food he’ll eat, people he’d meet. Fridays are his days and before going to school, he packs a bag for himself and when he returns home, he takes that bag and spends the entire day outside. He only comes back only when the sun goes down and it gets dark. 

 

The fact that he’ll get to spend this Friday with Barty fills him with happiness and he can’t wait for school to end. He had been giddy with excitement and anticipation this whole week and today was finally the day. 

 

He quickly packs two water bottles, two packs of cookies, two flashlights, a map of the city, his headphones, two power banks, a hand sanitiser, two packs of tissues, and his camera. 

 

He then gets ready for school. His outfit consists of a white shirt, blue flannel, and beige pants. He eats his breakfast and shouts out a ‘good-bye’ to his mum and sister. 

 

He walks to the school, thinking about the date he has planned the entire way. When he reaches the school, he looks for Barty amongst the sea of students and immediately spots him with Regulus near the entrance of the school. He smiles and walks over to them. 

 

They both notice him approaching at the same time and smile.

 

Barty is wearing a dark Turkish blue turtle-neck with black dress pants. His beautiful brown hair is combed back. He blushes as he notices Evan looking at him and Evan is once again blown away by how adorable he looks. 

 

Regulus is wearing a dark green shirt with black dress pants. His curls are gelled back too. 

 

They talk about random things before the bell rings and they have to go to their form classes. 

 

Evan finds it very difficult to pay attention to his classes. He’s going out on a date with the boy of his dreams! But he manages to take notes and answer the teachers’ questions. 

 

Finally, the school day ends and Evan goes out to meet Barty. 

 

“I’ll pick you up around 3:30, okay?”

 

Barty smiles and nods, “where are we going?”

 

Evan smiles too, “that’s a surprise.”

 

Barty rolls his eyes but his smile widens. 

 

When Evan reaches home, he goes up to his room and grabs the bag that he packed this morning. His mum isn’t home and his sister is at the cafe where she works part-time. He makes sure to leave a quick note to them on the fridge. He doesn’t have to leave a note since they both know that he spends his Fridays outside but Evan likes leaving a little note so he does it. 

 

He knows where Barty’s home is and 15 minutes later he is standing in front of it. He rings the bell, knowing that Barty’s father isn’t home yet. Barty comes out a second later and Evan smiles widely. 

 

“Ready to go?” He asks.

 

Barty nods, “Will you tell me where we’re going now? And what’s that bag for?”

 

“It’s still a surprise. And the bag has the supplies we’re going to need.” 

 

“Supplies?” Barty sounds both amused and apprehensive.

 

“Yes!”

 

There was a new restaurant that opened a couple of weeks ago. Evan had been planning on trying it out and now he gets to try it out with Barty. 

 

Barty launches into a tale of when he went to the beach with his mother once and found the prettiest sea shell he’s ever seen. He still has it, he told Evan.

 

Evan was only half listening though. He was more focused on how Barty’s eyes sparkled when he talked about the ocean, how he talks with his hands, flailing them around and making random gestures, how he speaks slightly faster when he reaches his favourite parts, and how fondly he speaks of his mother. 

 

Evan can feel himself falling deeper for this boy. 

 

They finally reach the restaurant. It’s small and has a very comforting atmosphere, with soft music playing in the background. The walls are a light shade of brown and the furniture is all dark brown. 

 

Evan leads Barty to a table that’s right next to the window so they can look outside at the busy street but also stay out of sight of any passer-by.

 

A waiter comes up to their table with the menus and Evan is pleasantly surprised to note that it has dishes from many different cultures. He already likes this restaurant.

 

“What are you ordering?” He asks Barty.

 

“I always wanted to try East Asian food, sushi especially.” 

 

“You’ve never had sushi before!?”

 

Barty shakes his head.

 

“We’re ordering sushi then. Is there any specific one you want?” 

 

“Baked Ebi looks good.” 

 

Evan smiles, “baked Ebi it is then.” 

 

The waiter approaches them again to take their order.

 

“One baked Ebi, and two Ramens, please.” 

 

Once they have ordered, they sit quietly for a while. Barty is looking out of the window, one of his hands placed on the table. Evan wants to reach forward and hold it. That’s what he does; reaches his right hand forward and gently caresses Barty’s hand, who startles slighting before blushing furiously. 

 

When he doesn’t make any move to remove his hand or give any sign of discomfort, Evan fully envelops his hand with his fingers. He can feel the heat radiating off from Barty’s hand and can feel the static in his fingers too. Barty twists his hand slightly, allowing Evan to hold it properly. His fingers still feel weird but it’s also nice. 

 

Holding hands with Barty is nice.

 

Their food arrives and Evan teaches Barty how to properly hold chopsticks. 

 

“You hold the upper chopstick using your thumb and pointer finger.” He demonstrates with his own chopstick. 

 

“Then hold the lower chopstick against your ring finger and keep it in place using the base of your thumb. Only the upper chopstick moves.” 

 

Barty tries but fails. Evan moves closer to help him and takes his hand to fit the chopsticks between Barty’s fingers properly. 

 

“There you go,” Evan smiles before realising how close he is to Barty. His breath catches and he looks up directly into Barty’s eyes. They’re blue, with flecks of brown.

 

Evan clears his throat and moves away. Barty looks away too, his cheeks are red and Evan’s face feels like it’s on fire too. 

 

Barty struggles to hold the chopsticks at first but after a few tries, he manages to use them properly enough to eat the sushi without dropping it. It’s not perfect but with practice, he’ll get better, Evan tells him. 

 

They eat the sushi first. Evan likes baked Ebi and based on his reaction, Barty does too. They talk about random stuff while they eat. 

 

Once they’re done and the bill has been paid, they leave. In a minute’s bravery, Evan reaches out and grabs Barty’s hand. He doesn’t pull away, instead, he links his fingers with Evan’s. 

 

Evan explains his Friday traditions to Barty as they walk around the neighbourhood. They reach the market and look around different shops. 

 

They find an antique shop and Barty insists that they check it out. Upon entering, the little bell above the door rings. There’s an elderly woman behind the counter, who smiles at them warmly before going back to her knitting. 

 

They look around the shop for a little while. Evan comes across this flower brooch. It has a silver centre with navy blue petals and is about an inch long. There’s a small pin at the back too. It’ll suit Barty, he thinks and decides to buy it for him. 

 

He finishes paying for it and gets it packed just as Barty approaches. 

 

“Find anything?” Evan asks him.

 

Barty shakes his head.

 

“Well, I got this for you,” he hands Barty the package. 

 

They wave the woman goodbye and exit the shop. Barty opens the package and gasps, “this is beautiful,” he says as he lightly traces the petals with his index finger. 

 

Evan smiles, “Let me pin it for you.”

 

Barty hands him the brooch and he unclasps it. He then pushes the pin through Barty’s shirt and clasps it again. 

 

“There,” he says softly as he steps back.

 

They continue walking around. People are hurrying around them; some hurrying to catch the bus or the metro, some hurrying to reach the shops and some are busy on their phones. Occasionally a car would whiz by too. 

 

They reach a candy shop and Evan drags Barty in. They get themselves a bag and put on the plastic gloves that were given to them. Evan immediately starts filling up his bag with his favourite candies and then guides Barty, who looks like he doesn’t know which candy to take. 

 

There are so many of them too; different flavours, different colours, and different shapes.

 

“These ones are good” - Evan points at the large strawberry-shaped ones - “and these ones too” - the red and green ones that taste like watermelon - “these ones” - the teeth shaped ones - “and these” - the ringed ones that taste like different fruits. 

 

“Is there any licorice?” Barty asks. 

 

Evan nods and guides him to an aisle that is full of licorice candy. Barty fills his bag with those too and Evan goes to get different chocolate. He gets mini bars, snickers, and bounty. 

Once they’re done, they pay for their candy and leave. 

 

They visit a CD shop next. They look around at the different games and movies but don’t buy anything. Evan isn’t really a fan of video games and neither is Barty. Barty does mention that he loves watching movies and Evan is already planning their next date to the movies and wondering what movie should he show Barty. 

 

Next, they visit a clothing store and look around at the different outfits. Barty informs Evan of his terrible fashion sense and proceeds to give him an entire explanation on what shirt suits what pants and which colours look good together and which ones should never be fit in one outfit ever. 

 

Evan listens to Barty ramble with a smile on his face. Barty knows a lot about fashion, he realises, and this just makes him like Barty more. 

 

Finally, they leave the neighbourhood and walk over to the little hills. Evan had asked for his sister, Pandora’s, help for this part. He just hopes she managed to get everything ready on time.

 

They reach the top of the hill and Barty gasps as he takes in the scene in front of him. There’s a sheet on the grass that has a little basket on it, a large plate that’s covered with a cloth, and two glasses and plates. There’s a blanket too that's neatly folded on the side. 

 

They spend the next hour eating strawberries, chocolate wafers, and nuts. Pandora packed some sparkling juice for them too which Evan serves in the plastic cups. The basket contains bacon sandwiches and cupcakes that were made by Evan’s mother. 

 

After eating, they both sit together under the blanket and watch the sun go down. The sky slowly gets painted in different shades of red, orange, and yellow. The beauty of it all takes Evan’s breath away and as he looks at Barty, he does actually lose his breath. He looks so stunning like he’s glowing. The fierce colours of the sky are reflected in his eyes, making them look like water and fire at the same time. 

 

Barty notices him staring and blushes. Evan just smiles and pulls him closer. Barty snuggles closer too and rests his head on Evan’s shoulder, who wraps his arm around him. 

 

They stay like that until the sun is gone and the sky has calmed down to a soft blue shade. 

 

They pack everything up and Evan walks with Barty to his home. He knows that he has to drop him off a little distance away from his house to avoid them being caught by Barty’s father. 

 

Before they separate, Barty turns to Evan and says, “Thank you. I had an amazing time today.”

 

Evan smiles, “I had a wonderful time too. Can I take you out on another date again?” 

 

Barty smiles too and nods.

 

Before he turns around, Evan calls out again. Barty smiles and looks at him expectedly. Evan takes a deep breath before asking, “can I kiss you?”

 

Barty blushes before nodding, “Yes, please.”

 

Evan leans in and softly lands his lips on Barty’s. They taste like fresh strawberries. It's awkward at first; their noses bumping painfully but then Evan tilts his head and oh… Evan feels a shiver go down his spine and his heart flutters. He kisses Barty softly yet passionately and Barty kisses him back with equal fervour. 

 

They pull back shortly but still keep their faces close. Evan looks into Barty’s eyes and smiles. 

 

“I really really like you,” he says.

 

Barty’s blush deepens and his eyes sparkle, “I really really like you too.” 

 

Evan doesn’t lose his smile as he walks back home. He still feels a little lightheaded but also like he’s flying. He feels like his body is on fire but also so calm. Like he could run a thousand miles but also sink down into a fluffy bed and stay there forever. 

 

He feels so free and so in love.