Notes: Harry Potter, etc is the intellectual property of JK Rowling. I'm making no money here and have no intentions to do so ever. Set during Goblet of Fire. In honor of kel's birthday, all for her. Title and summary from the Robyn Hitchcock song. Huge thanks to Mare, Younger and Mosca. Happy birthday, Kelly!


The only visitors Sirius had at the cave after Harry and his friends visited were owls, and once, Remus.

Remus didn't send a letter beforehand, trusted the sounds of his climbing up the cave to be warning enough. They were. He spotted the black nose of a dog peeking out from behind a rock a few minutes before he reached the entrance of the cave, but Remus just coughed and kept climbing, attempting to look like a casual explorer.

At the cave entrance, he heard a rustle of feathers and then Sirius asking, "What are you doing here?" Remus stepped in and saw that Sirius was smiling, happy.

"Spending a weekend exploring. Staying in shape." Remus smiled back and walked further into the cave. He sat down against a stone wall and opened his bag. "I brought some food, as well." He passed it all over to Sirius who ignored it. "Not hungry?"

"Not right now. Harry sent something this morning." Sirius paced, still grinning, battered robes flapping. "And here you are. Did Dumbledore tell you how to get here?"

Remus nodded. Directions to a cave and underneath it, two more places to try for employment, both short-lived, both low paying and both probably already filled. Remus said, forcing his voice even and light, "I had a free afternoon and the weather's nice."

Sirius hadn't noticed any hesitation in Remus's voice but Remus thought it was because of his joy at a visitor. He paced faster and asked for news, spoke for ten minutes about notes he'd had from Harry and with all that, never took his eyes off Remus. It was almost unnerving.

Remus said, "That's all the news I have. You don't hear much teaching, ah -- not-very-bright-students to Apparate. In Bath of all places."

Sirius snorted. "Well, if anyone could, it'd be you."

"Teach or hear?"

Another big smile that could almost belong to another, much younger face. "Both."

"I was very focused." Remus nearly smirked. Two idiot twins from Bath who'd had two O.W.L.s, and no N.E.W.T.s but were nonetheless determined to pass their Apparating exam on the fifth try. Their parents, at least, were rich and willing to ignore Remus's "illness" both months. The twins'd squeaked through and now Remus was unemployed again. With no reference because "we don't want people to know that they had so much trouble" and because the parents weren't stupid or generous enough to keep ignoring the truth about what Remus was. Not in these times.

He told Sirius the funniest stories of the dim twins and their Apparating mishaps and Sirius laughed louder than the stories deserved, his barking laugh that Remus hadn't heard in years.

Remus said, "You're awfully cheery."

"It's good to see you." Sirius finally stopped pacing and sat down across from Remus. Remus almost let himself wonder at the emphasis in Sirius's voice.

"Company is always nice, isn't it?" Remus said and looked away. "And you've decorated and everything." He waved at the bare rocks and Buckbeak tied up farther down.

"I try." Sirius smiled. "Do you remember our room?" His voice was eager.

Remus thought about Sirius, getting to talk about happy things. "Which year?" He squinted at the blank wall and tried to picture the room.

Sirius said, "Hmm. First year it was rather dull, wasn't it? James had that one Quidditch poster and Peter got one just like it over Christmas. You never put anything up and neither did I."

"Hmm." Remus nodded. "So what am I remembering then? I didn't -- James had a Quidditch poster? Because now that you say that, I can't picture it."

"It was just the first and second year. Then he was on the team and didn't need a poster." Sirius reached over and opened the box of food Remus had brought. "Ooh, nice." It was sweets, mostly, but Sirius took out each package and squinted at it, smiled and set it aside. "When James turned it all red with yellow stripes? Which year was that?"

Remus thought. "Third. It was a mistake." He grinned. "He claimed it wasn't, of course."

"It did look nice."

"It was very bright." But none of them complained and it wasn't changed back until over the summer. "Planning to try it here? Make the cave more like a home?"

"In honor of my house, of course." A jaunty smile this time, laced with humor, as Sirius said, "Gryffindor!"

"Buckbeak would complain." The hippogriff rustled, as if to agree. Remus glanced at it, and smiled at the floor.

Sirius stopped smiling. "When I was thinking about the room, I was thinking, too, there was that Hufflepuff with the blonde hair, in our Herbology class, and I wondered whatever happened to her."

"Was she our year, then? Blonde Hufflepuff covers a few of the students from our time."

"Our year. And she had these teeth, she was missing two, one on top, here," and he pointed, and then below, "another one here. Always wondered why she didn't get them fixed." Sirius frowned.

"Amadea Nairn?" Remus tried to remember her. "Right?"

"Yes." Sirius clapped his knee. "She was always so quiet. But there was once, James and I were sneaking down to the kitchens for snacks, I think, we were studying late," another jaunty smirk, "and she was pacing up and down the hallway, talking to herself. So we snuck closer, of course, to hear and she was rehearsing this conversation. Declaring her love. I think she heard us, James might have sniggered, so we never did find out who she was in love with. I never saw her with anyone, but ..." Sirius glanced at the rocks above Remus and didn't say anything more. They had had their Herbology classes with her but Sirius hadn't paid attention to her outside of class. Remus didn't sigh or move his hands, but it was almost an effort.

"She works at a greenhouse in Leeds. Potion supplies. She lives with a Muggle woman." Remus raised an eyebrow and tilted his head.

Sirius nodded with a grin. "Perhaps it was for Professor McGonagall."

"She's an attractive woman."

"A little old for the lot of us back then." Sirius snorted.

"But attractive. In her own way."

"I think I'd be too intimidated. Also, she has that love of rules." Sirius stood up and started pacing again, nervous suddenly. "She's not my type."

Remus said, "Nor mine. But you know that." He stared at Sirius's hands, his red knuckles.

Sirius was quiet for a minute or more and then said, "So Amadea is in love and growing plants. How about the rest?"

"Everyone in our year? Our house? Who was ever at Hogwarts during our years there?" Remus laughed. "Should I start with the As?"

Sirius rolled his eyes. "No, no. Just the people we knew. And not the ones I already know about."

"We knew? I didn't know you'd been nursing this obsession with Miss Nairn's love life, so I think I might forget someone." Remus glanced at Sirius's face, it was calm now. "Anyone in particular you were thinking of?"

"Actually, no. I lost touch with so many people, even before." A twitch from Sirius at the 'before' and Remus looked away. "And I trusted Peter's stories so I wondered, too, where I was told wrong."

"It turns out I'm not a spy, if you missed that." Remus heard Sirius laugh and looked up again. Sirius had stopped in front of him and was standing right by Remus's feet, his face calm and the laughter gone. Remus took a breath and said, "What did he say to make you think that?"

Sirius didn't back up like Remus had expected, or even move. His eyes narrowed but he didn't stop looking down, meeting Remus's eyes. "He said, he said you talked about me all the time, when I wasn't there, wanted to know what I was doing. He implied, in his way, that you felt what my mother would call an 'unnatural attraction' for me, which, of course, I knew." Sirius said and his mouth twitched. "I think he figured out from my reactions how to make it all sound like, hmm, like you were bitter about everything. And we were all very suspicious of everyone. I shouldn't have believed."

Remus looked down at Sirius's dirty feet. He was barefoot and Remus hadn't noticed at all. Then Sirius stepped back and almost laughed, not light or easy. But his voice was even as he said, "Really, I should have realized anyone my mother liked was bad."

"She liked Peter?"

"She did. I think he said something to her when she met him in our second year, something about the great house of Black, I guess, he always was good at flattery." Sirius snorted. "And she liked my brother and Snape and really, everyone she liked, went bad. Or was already bad."

"Like an evil version of the Sorting Hat."

"Do you think the Sorting Hat is good? It always struck me as neutral. It just sorts." Sirius had sat down and now Remus was looking at his feet again, dirty broken nails. It was sad, all the differences between then and now.

"It was Godric Gryffindor's hat. So I like to think of it as good, even if its actions are neutral." Remus grinned. "Gryffindor! Right?"

"Why did it ever put Peter in Gryffindor? He was never brave." Sirius glared at somewhere right over Remus's shoulder.

"The Sorting Hat moves in mysterious ways." Remus didn't want to talk about Peter anymore. He tried to think of something to divert Sirius.

Remus couldn't think of anything but Sirius didn't continue on the subject, so there was silence in the cave for a few minutes. Then Buckbeak moved again and Sirius sprang up as if to go to the hippogriff, but instead stood still, his back to Remus. Remus said, "Is Buckbeak hungry?"

"No. I fed him this morning." Sirius didn't move. "It was nice of you to come visit. Do you have a new job lined up?"

Remus did sigh this time. "No. Dumbledore sent me some prospects, but. It's very difficult now. Everyone knows what I am, and the new laws are very restrictive for people like me. I'm not anyone's idea of a good teacher."

"You're a great teacher." Sirius turned around quickly and squatted by Remus. "Better than Snape, I'm sure of that. And Snivellus gets to keep his job, despite being an oily excuse for a human being who shouldn't --"

Remus said, "He's not a werewolf. He's brilliant at potions. Granted, oily is a good word for him."

"Harry thinks he's a bad professor."

"Well, Harry's a boy. You didn't like McGonagall at all your first year." Remus smirked.

"She kept taking points off me and James. For the smallest things! Then my mother said something nasty about her and I changed my mind." Sirius patted Remus's knee. "He hates Harry."

"Because of us."

Sirius was grinning again. He hadn't moved his hand. "Well, it was years and years ago. He should have gotten over it."

Remus just stared at him. Finally, Sirius snorted. "Point taken. But still, if he wants to keep on hating me and you, he can feel free. But hating James's son? Typical twisted Snape logic." Sirius leaned forward and Remus could smell stale sweat in a wave. "You were always a good teacher."

"You never needed any help. Not you or James."

Sirius just made a face. He said, "You helped --" then he stopped and bit his lip. "Anyway. We all knew you'd be great." And they were all wrong, really, judging by how Remus was doing now, he thought. But he was doing good enough. Sirius said, "Do you still have that case James got you, when we graduated?"

"Yes. It's one of the nicest things I own these days."

Sirius frowned and leaned even closer. He did smell bad but somehow Remus wasn't bothered. Sirius said, "You could --"

"I'm fine. I'll be fine and I'm fine now." Remus didn't want to hear Sirius's new scheme.

"Okay then." Sirius nodded. His hand still on Remus's knee, his face a few inches from Remus's. "Okay then." Harry must have sent sweets, Sirius's breath smelled like vanilla and chocolate.

And somewhere in the middle of a thought about sweets at Hogwarts, Sirius closed the gap between them and kissed him. He moved back just an inch in a moment and said quietly, "I know we made a right cock up of this when we were at school, maybe I was the one, but I do think --"

"We were just boys," Remus whispered. He knew he was smiling.

"And now we're --"

There was noise outside. Time was never on their side. Remus could hear kids calling to each other, or someone. Sirius sprang back and in a moment, Remus was looking at the dog. Sirius barked twice, urgent. Remus stood up and put his pack on his back. "So I need to go. I'll make sure they don't come up here."

The dog nudged Remus's hand. Remus petted his head. "I need to go," he said.

Sirius lay down, rested his head on his paws. His eyes looked sad. Remus edged carefully out of the cave. He looked back and saw only a shine that might be eyes. "Later," he whispered. "Really." He smiled and left the cave. He heard a bark as he edged down the rocks and he decided it was hopeful.


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