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prompt for Day 29
Discovery | Day 29 | PG | 638 words
The Hogwarts grounds, James always thought, were a better prank than anything even the Marauders had ever been able to design. Every corner of the castle had a secret passage or a hidden room and the grounds themselves hid dozens of surprises, from the abandoned cottage on the edge of the Forest to the ancient swing tied to a tree behind the last greenhouse.
It was only right, then, that the Marauders were the ones to take on the momentous task of mapping the castle and grounds, each shortcut and passage and Forest hide-out. It had begun the winter of their fifth year, when wind and snow had confined them to the castle's innards and a newly-prefected Remus had insisted they find something to do with their time other than just pranking.
The Map itself had been Prongs' idea – though he wouldn't be called that until the spring of their sixth year after they'd all transformed the first time for Moony – the tracking feature suggested by Wormtail when the original design had been completed early sixth year. Moony, always the most devious when one least expected it, designed both the locking charms and the charms that included the personalities of each Marauder in the Map's quickly well-worn parchment. Padfoot's research, which Moony teased him about endlessly, was integral to the mapping and tracking charms, and it had been his burst of inspiration that had christened both the Map and their new Animagus forms at the end of sixth year. With the final naming charmed into the map and the last few bugs worked out, both projects – the best pranks in history, according to Prongs – were completed, just in time for seventh year.
Seventh year, though only a few months gone, was looking to be their wildest yet, James had to admit. The number of pranks they were able to design increased exponentially due to the Map. Evans had finally started to look at him with something other than disdain, the Quidditch team was looking up, and his N.E.W.T. classes didn't seem to be nearly as hard as he was expecting. James Potter was a happy man.
He stopped whistling as he approached the last greenhouse, sneaking silently around the side in the hopes of surprising his friends. He knew Remus and Sirius were planning on meeting there – he'd intercepted a note during their Transfiguration class – and wanted to surprise them before dragging Sirius off to practice. But, when he was able to see the swing, he stopped dead in surprise.
Remus was seated on the swing, Sirius standing behind him in perfect position to push the swing. But they weren't swinging; they were kissing.
Sirius was standing right behind the swing, in such a way that Remus' back was pressed flush against his chest. Remus' head was turned to the side, and Sirius' down, so they could reach each other's lips. After a few seconds they pulled apart, smiling.
Later, James would wonder why the fact that his two best mates were snogging didn't bother him. He would corner them in the dormitory and give them parental advice in a solemn tone before grinning, slapping them both on the shoulder, and congratulating them. When asked how on earth he knew, he would merely smile mysteriously and wink at them before gliding down to the Common Room. It would be this smile that would intrigue Lily Evans enough to pester James about its cause, which in turn would assist him in finally taking the girl of his dreams on a date.
Prongs, of course, didn't know any of that when he stood in the bushes watching Moony pull Padfoot down for another kiss. He only shrugged and walked away. Pads might be his best mate, but he could come up with his own excuse for being late to practice.
prompt for Day 30
Toffee Apples | Day 30 | PG | 438 words
Remus' kisses tasted like the toffee apples they'd helped Lily make for the Order Halloween party, sweet candy and slightly tart apple blending into a flavor Sirius would always equate with the holiday.
Mrs. Black always had toffee apples at her Halloween parties when Sirius was little, beautifully dipped and decorated things that the House Elves had always slaved over and Sirius' relatives had eaten with knives, forks, and impossibly little mess. They had been beautiful but tasteless, phrases that Sirius would later apply to his cousins with a sardonic twist to his lips, and he'd not known they could be any other way until Hogwarts.
Hogwarts toffee apples were big and relatively simple in appearance, but their flavor burst over the tongue with the first bite and hung on long after the apple was gone. They were eaten as much on the sly between classes as in the Great Hall and never with anything other than fingers, juice dripping down the chins of first and seventh years alike.
It had taken the Marauders three years to convince the House Elves to give up the recipe to the apples, the particular way they mixed the toffee to get just the right crunch when it hardened, the twirl as they came out of the pot that kept the apples on their sticks and created the star-like swirl of candy right at the point where the stick left the apple that left the rest of the stick clean to hold. They had hoarded that secret until graduation, and the following fall Godric's Hollow smelled of apples – Mackintosh were best – and toffee from September until the end of November, when the approaching winter was better suited to cocoa and eggnog.
The apples had been a success at that year's party, greeting the chefs with delighted first bites and many compliments. Dumbledore's eyes had twinkled knowingly when he ate his, but did not give away their secret. Lily gleefully denied using magic to make them, and refused to share the recipe. And on their way out the door, after everything had been cleaned up and the last sticks tossed in the garbage, Remus had pulled Sirius aside and kissed him, tasting of toffee and apples and joy.
It was this memory, one of the last happy ones before the war really began, before the deaths and the lies, that kept Sirius going throughout the years in Azkaban, as much as turning into Padfoot. The joy in that memory would have been enough to summon a Patronus, had he had a wand, and was too strong for even the Dementors to take away.
prompt for Day 31
The Boy Who Loves You | Day 31 | PG | 882 words
Remus lay in bed and watched the snow fall softly against the window, hands curled around a cup of tea he lacked the strength to spell warm again. The snow itself was odd, falling on Halloween and actually sticking to the ground. Six months had passed since Voldemort's defeat, but world was still recovering, wizarding, Muggle, and natural, it appeared.
The war had been devastating on both sides. In the final battle, it was only the fact that more Order members than Death Eaters were standing that decided the outcome in their favor. Most of the champions for both sides were dead, or severely injured. The spell that killed Voldemort in the end, after the systematic destruction of the Horcruxes, killed the caster as well.
It made perfect sense, to Remus at least, that the greatest war in the modern wizarding age wouldn't have clear lines of victory and defeat or a Chosen One to stand victorious at the battle's end. Harry had given his life to save both the wizarding and Muggle worlds, but depressingly little had changed. Anti-Muggle sentiment was just as strong among Purebloods as it had been before the war, it was just better hidden. The Ministry was just as incompetent when it came to dealing with ex-Death Eaters and then families of victims as it had been after the last war, and Remus was just as alone.
If anything, it was worse this time than last. Remus was older now, and the years had been far from kind. He'd become dependent on the Wolfsbane potion to get through each month's changes but had no access to it; Snape, an enigma to the very end, had died in the final battle and Hermione, who had brewed it for Remus the year Snape was in hiding, had died in Ron's arms in a bed in St. Mungo's. As many witches and wizards had died in that first 24 hours after the battle as in the battle itself, as Remus had been unable to get near a healer. By the time things had calmed down, Remus had fled back into the shadows, and none of the survivors had gone looking for him. Just like last time.
Remus had gotten off light, in comparison to the rest of the Order, but he'd taken injuries as well. The cuts and bruises had been minor, healed in a matter of days by the healing power that came with lycanthropy. But the spell that had knocked Remus to the ground, had kept him from helping Kingsley or Tonks or the twins, had damaged his heart, and six months of transformations stretching the muscles had only exacerbated the problem.
"You always did think too much," a voice said, pulling Remus out of his reverie and his eyes away from the silent snow. "Merlin's beard, Moony, I go away for a few years, and look at the trouble you get yourself into."
"Sirius," Remus breathed, tears forming in his eyes. "You're back. What took you so bloody long?"
"Not exactly," Sirius said with a sad smile, sitting on the edge of Remus' tiny bed. He lifted a hand to the light and only then did Remus notice that Sirius was a pearly grey, his hand translucent in the low light.
"Oh," Remus said. He started to say something else but Sirius stopped him, resting an insubstantial finger against Remus' lips. He could feel a light tingle where Sirius would have been touching him, but nothing more.
"I can't stay long," Sirius said. He looked younger, less painfully gaunt than he'd been after Azkaban. Falling through the Veil seemed to have taken off the Azkaban years entirely, and if Remus squinted he could almost believe he was looking at Sirius circa 1978, dressed in Muggle jeans and a smile, hair wind-tossed from having just gotten off the motorbike. Then his heart gave a rather nasty twinge and he was pulled back to the present. "I wanted to come see you before..."
"Before what?" Remus prompted when Sirius did not continue but Sirius shook his head. "Pads..."
"Soon enough," Sirius said, scooting up the bed so he was pressed against Remus' side. His back and hip protruded through the wall, but he didn't seem to mind. He settled his head on Remus' shoulder, hovering just above it. Remus lost track how long they sat that way, watching the snow fall past the window and accumulate on the sill. Remus hadn't felt as content in years, even though he couldn't feel Sirius against his side and at times the pain made it difficult to breathe.
"It's time," Sirius said suddenly, after what could have been minutes or hours. He dropped a kiss the werewolf couldn't feel on Remus' lips and slid off the bed. Sirius held out a hand and Remus took it, allowing Sirius to pull him up and away from the husk of his body. He stood and looked down at himself for a moment, taking in the totally grey hair and gaunt frame. He hadn't realized quite how old he looked. "Let's go."
Remus could feel Sirius' hand on his now, and shift their grip so their fingers tangled. This time when Sirius kissed him Remus could feel it, and Sirius tasted of Hogwarts toffee apples.
Feedback is better than toffee apples or chocolate.