“You’re good to be friends with him.”
Sirius frowned at her tone. “It’s not a chore, Mrs. Potter. We aren’t friends with him because we feel sorry for him. We like Remus. In lots of ways he’s the strongest of the lot of us. He holds us together. We’re best friends. I don’t know what I would do without him…” Sirius trailed off, his face heating up at an alarming rate. He hadn’t intended on voicing his feelings so strongly, and he suddenly realised that it probably wasn’t something a fifteen-year-old boy should be saying out loud if he wanted to retain any street cred at all.
“I didn’t mean for it to sound like that,” Mrs. Potter assured him quickly. “It’s just very rare that teenage boys can look past physical weaknesses to see a person’s strengths.”
“Can we stop talking about it now?” Sirius was beginning to feel trapped, and wasn’t sure how much longer he could answer her questions without lying or giving away Remus’s condition. To his relief, Mrs. Potter’s face softened, and she gave a short nod.
“Of course. Forgive me. Thank you for talking to me.”
She sighed and dried her hand on her dish-towel. Then she reached out and affectionately ruffled Sirius’s hair before opening the door and returning to the lounge. Sirius turned back to the washing up, his heart still racing as he thought back on the conversation to see if he had accidentally given away any clues to Remus’s condition.
“I don’t know what I would do without you, either,” a soft voice said behind him, causing him to jump guiltily.
“Moony.” Sirius glanced at him. Remus was leaning back against the kitchen table with his arms crossed over his chest. “I should have known you would overhear that. Though I thought the door was pretty thick. How good is your hearing anyway?”