|Very Bad Things
Author: freudian fuckup PM
On the list of Very Bad Things Sirius Black has done, Snogging Moony In a Bathroom is really only eighth or ninth.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Remus L. & Sirius B. - Chapters: 15 - Words: 58,832 - Reviews: 444 - Favs: 548 - Follows: 136 - Updated: 02-14-09 - Published: 04-06-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4181253
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Notes: The structure of this chapter is a little different, but I hope nobody hates it too passionately. Anyway, I really like the way this part turned out, so I hope you all do, as well.
Remus is... twitchy. It's in his fingers – they ruffle the pages of his books and tug at the loose thread on the sleeve of his cardigan. It's in his eyes, darting around the room at every little sound, every architectural creak and groan. Mostly though, it's in his mouth. He chews on his bottom lip. He chews on his top lip. He chews on the inside-corner where his lips meet until it's raw and coppery.
Sirius has been gone – gone! As in not around, as in physically – for four days and three hours. He's staying at his uncle's flat, which he'll move into in June. He's supposed to be "doing a bit of spring cleaning," which is a phrase for "getting smashed and walking around starkers" with which Remus was previously unfamiliar. Dumbledore is letting him miss lessons because he supposed to talk with an Auror who is stationed nearby, Moody something or other, about The Future. Remus wonders if Sirius will show up for their meeting.
At first, it was lovely being alone. Remus had curled up on his bed with the oldest, dustiest book the library had to offer. It was about a cup and a sword and a tree and a green hill, Remus thinks, though he can't quite remember. Everyone else was in the Common Room, crowded around the fire, elbows rubbing, hands "accidentally" brushing, and typical adolescent insanity. Remus couldn't help but feel a tad superior when, minutes after Sirius left, he successfully channeled all his energies into reading, and not counting the hours until Sirius returned, or anything so cliché. It was nice.
Seventeen minutes later he'd let out a heaving sigh and stopped pretending to read.
Four days and three hours later, Remus is still on page thirty-two. It's so unfair. He loves old books, and this one is a real treasure. It has a cracked, leathery cover that was probably blue once, but is currently waffling somewhere between gray and green. The spine is soft and worn, and the pages are supple, like skin, only not as disturbing as this might imply. Reading a book that has been read by other people is a very intimate experience. Remus thinks about all the licked-fingers that have turned the pages before his, and about all the eyes that have stared intently at the same words he is staring at, and feels connected to readers past. It's terribly personal, and something he enjoys indulging in privately, thank you very much – which is why it's unforgivable, in his mind, to waste such valuable reading time being besotted.
And he is besotted, in the most squishy, runny, embarrassing way imaginable. There's really no avoiding it at this point. He figures he's about a day shy of digging out the photograph he took of Sirius last month (even though photograph-Sirius alternates between blowing kisses and making lewd gestures at the camera), and about two days shy of some pretty flagrant abuses of the Polyjuice potion. It's exceedingly fortunate that Sirius is supposed to return later this evening.
Remus returns to his book. Was the tree on the hill? And whose sword was it, exactly? It's all a blur, and the characters keep pausing mid-sentence and asking if he's paying attention.
"Bugger," he mutters, and tosses the book to the foot of the bed. Moments later he feels guilty, picks it back up, makes sure all the pages are straight and tucks it under his pillow. He stands. He's not sure why, but he feels like if he sits still another moment he'll slowly dissolve into a puddle of hormones and boredom. The floor is too littered to pace, so Remus settles for kicking around bits of clothing and trash that have accumulated nearby. It's not terribly satisfying. He glances at Sirius's bed. Sirius's bed glances back.
It's been lurking, these past days, and niggling at Remus's subconscious. It's just a bed, like Remus's bed is just a bed. Except that it is Sirius's bed. Remus pointedly looks in the other direction. He will not do that, it's too, too emasculating, even for Remus, even for such desperate times. His traitorous eyes dart back to it, against his will, and it looks, if possible, softer than it had moments before.
Sirius's bed is usually hostile territory, full of unsavory things, so why does Remus want to lie on it? It's ridiculous. Remus walks over to the edge of it and throws a paranoid glance around the obviously empty dormitory. He just wants to test something… With a sound like the air evacuating his lungs, Remus collapses prostrate on the bed and squeezes his eyes closed against the humiliation. Being on Sirius's bed is pleasant, though not as pleasant as, let's say, being on Sirius's bed with Sirius, but it's still better than sitting all twitchily on his own mattress. And it smells...
Oh no. No, no, no. There are some lines Remus is determined not to cross, and consciously smelling Sirius's pillow is one of them. The temptation is not the same as it is for, say, James to smell Lily's hair (which he does, often in public to the horror of all, including Lily) because there's an underlying canine draw. Sirius smells like security, like pack. It's the most natural thing in the world for the Remus-the-wolf to be drawn to it, but it makes Remus-the-boy feel like a bit of a loony.
He rationalises it like this: He always smells Sirius in this room. His certain smell, like earth and musk and salt, clings to the curtains, seeps into the woodwork. It's the same for all of them, and Remus can smell James (moss and soap) and Peter (lemon and dust) too, in their respective spaces. But Sirius is everywhere. So really, when you get right down to it, it's not a question of whether or not Remus is going to smell him, it's a matter of where. And by lying on Sirius's bed, it's more passive, less a conscious effort, which makes it better, somehow. It makes no sense, but then so few things in relation to Sirius do as of late.
Without exactly meaning to (but without any effort to stop himself) Remus breathes in deeply and wonders what in the hell "late Friday" means in Sirius-speak, and whether or not he will be back soon enough to prevent Remus from actually crawling beneath the sheets and being eaten by whatever terrifying creature lurks below.
"Good lord, man. Pull yourself together."
"Ha ha. Missed me?" Sirius says stretching out beside Remus, whose cheeks burn so fiercely that his whole head is in danger of catching fire. Sirius is coatless and red with cold, his eyes bright and his feet bare. He must have been standing there long enough to take off his shoes and oh god, Remus wants to be eaten by the Bed Monster.
"Oh my god! Oh sweet – I just – Oh my god!"
"Relax," Sirius drawls, sounding more nefarious than two syllables should allow. "I expected worse. Really! No shrine in my image? Not even a modest one?"
"Shut up," says Remus, rolling away.
"Where are you going?" Sirius asks innocently, catching Remus by the shirttails and rolling him back.
"In search of my dignity, if you will kindly release my shirt, please and thank you."
"You are not! C'mere," Sirius says throatily, slinging his leg across Remus's legs, hitching him closer. "So. Why are you on my bed? Not that I mind, of course. Just curious. For posterity's sake."
"Posterity? I hate to be the one to tell you this, but what we've been up to lately rather negates the possibility of offspring."
"Oh, pish posh. My stunningly gorgeous, busty, blonde wife shall bear many children. Most of them mine. Sir Sirius the Fertile, they shall call me, and sterile peasants will make sacrifices to my loins."
"Ugh, do you really believe anyone will want children badly enough to go near your loins?"
"You tell me. You don't even want children and I practically have to beat you away with a broomstick."
Remus hits him with a pillow.
Sirius laughs like a child. "Oh, well, when you put it so articulately, I can see your point. But you never answered my question: My bed, you are on it. Why?"
"It was lonely."
"It was, was it?"
"I just said that it was."
"It missed me?"
"I suppose it rather did."
"Uhuh. Well, I missed it, too. Even though it smells like a library died all over it."
"What do you have against libraries?"
"Nothing! Only I don't particularly want to shag the Muggle History section."
"Please tell me we are no longer discussing your bed."
"Were we ever really discussing my bed?"
"I suppose not."
Their faces are close together, and Remus has gone cross-eyed trying to look at Sirius. When his eyeballs start to ache, he rolls onto his back and Sirius automatically fits his mouth into the crook of Remus's neck, absently licking and biting at his throat. A year ago, this would have been disgusting, unthinkable, more than a little shocking. Three months ago, it would have been pleasant, unsettling, and still a little shocking. Now, it merely results in increased twitching.
"So, how was... Umm, the. Thing. Things. The flat and things," Remus says, focusing on the weave of the curtains and not the way Sirius's fingers are moving against his stomach.
"The flat was alright. Nice, sharp corners, utilitarian fixtures. You'll like it. It's very practical."
"And the meeting?" Remus says, his voice a little higher than normal.
"Oh, you know. Drinks were had, propositions made. They want to name a wing of the Ministry after me, the usual."
"Of course," Remus says, because he can't remember any other words. Sirius's hair is tickling his neck, and Remus is afraid he is going to scream, or make some equally telling sound. He's no good at this part – at the starting. The finishing he is good at, or so Sirius assures him, but the starting he hasn't mastered. It's never been an issue, really, because Sirius is all start, start, start, all the time, which has worked well for them, until now.
Sirius's fingers have stopped moving, and he is being very still, and that is alarming in and of itself. What's more alarming though is that Remus is not sure how much longer he is going to be able to follow suit. His toes wiggle. His lips swish back and forth. His fingers rub tiny circles against the sheet beneath them. He is going to – oh god, he is going to explode. And why isn't Sirius bloody doing anything?
"Well, I'm spent." Sirius says resignedly.
"Spent. I'm tired. Am I sleeping in your bed tonight, or are you planning to relocate? Or we can both sleep here, but you're going to have to put on some pajamas because your trousers are all itchy, and you know how delicate my skin can be."
"Agghhh!" Remus shouts, and rolls on top of Sirius, pinning him to the bed by his hips.
"Well, this is new," Sirius says casually.
"I'm – Sirius, do you know how long you have been gone?" Remus realises his voice sounds strained and panicked, but if it keeps Sirius from wanting to sleep, of all things (after being gone! For days!), then so be it.
"About, what, four days?"
"And three hours. And twenty-two minutes."
"Is this your subtle way of telling me that you missed my love-sugar?"
"That you need my sweet, sweet lovin'?"
"Oh god, not anymore."
"That you want a taste of my honey pot?"
"Do boys even have a—don't answer that. Stop it. Please. I am not above begging."
"Wait, I have another!"
"No! No, no, no."
"Don't you dare—"
"That you've lost that lovin' feeling?"
"Alright, that's it—"
Remus wraps his hands around Sirius's throat and makes a spectacle of strangling the life out of him, until Sirius splutters dramatically and goes limp.
"Oh dear, I've killed him," Remus says, still sitting on Sirius's thighs. He yawns. "With all that natural charm, that marble jaw-line, to have died with his... precious flower in tact. Such a waste."
Without meaning to, Remus thumbs Sirius's jaw and then his lower lip, watching the muscles quiver and tighten. Sirius opens one eye and stares up at Remus, searching his face.
"You know... If you're going to murder me, the least you could do is shag me to death."
Remus gulps. It's a joke, it's all a joke. It is, really. Isn't it?
"Is that so?"
"Yes. It is."
"Well. Good to know."
Remus must sound as terrified as he feels, because Sirius suddenly looks sheepish and adds hastily, "You know I'm just taking the piss, right? It's not like we have to – I mean, right now, of all things."
"What's wrong with now?" Remus hears himself say. Oh bugger. He didn't mean to say that. Did he?
"Err... Well, nothing. Nothing, I just." Sirius makes a huffing sound and looks away. He looks unsure. Remus has never seen him look unsure. It makes Remus's insides warm, and he wants to kiss Sirius. He wants to touch Sirius's skin. He wants to—
"James is with Lily," Remus says casually, as though he were mentioning the weather.
"He is. For the night."
"And Peter is asleep on a couch downstairs." Why is he still talking? Why is his mouth saying these things while his brain shrieks Oh sweet Merlin on a cracker what am I saying? in increasingly high pitched tones?
"He was when I came in."
"And we are..."
"And alone." When did his voice start sounding so rough? And why isn't Sirius blinking?
"And... Ok, say something, Sirius. I need you to just – just keep talking," Remus says, a bubble of fear rising in the back of his throat. He feels like his organs have suddenly become mobile, and his appendix is lodged in his throat.
Sirius sits up so that they are face to face, with Remus straddling his lap. At the exact same moment, they reach for each other's shirts. The perfect coordination of their motions startles them both so that they pause momentarily and stare dumbly at one another. Sirius shakes his head a little and starts to undo Remus's buttons. He says, "Ok, ok, talk. I can talk. I talk a lot. Errh, what do I talk about, usually?"
"Sex? Although that seems redundant. Pranks? Your family?"
"Oh god, don't even mention—"
"Sorry! Uhm... your hair? Your—" Remus catches his fingernail on Sirius's second button.
"Hair! I have hair. I have good hair. It is shiny and attracts many suitors."
"On second thought, something else, I think."
"Like what?" Sirius seems to be struggling with a button, and Remus quietly sympathises, knowing full well that his is the sort of shirt with holes that are just a bit too small, and you can never work them properly without complete concentration, which he is pleased to note Sirius cannot muster.
"I don't bloody know! Anything, Sirius, just, keep talking to me, please."
"Alright. Ok. Food? Food! I like food. You like food. What kinds of food? If I talk about chocolate will it get you all revved up?" He asks, waggling his eyebrows.
"Not necessary," Remus says dryly, glancing ever-so-briefly downwards.
"Oh—" Sirius's voice cracks. "Right."
"Ahhh!" Remus says triumphantly, managing at last to pull apart the last button.
"Oh, bugger this," says Sirius. He pushes Remus backwards onto the bed and tears his shirt open so that buttons go flying off every which-way. They are now upside-down on the bed, with Remus's head lying dangerously close to the end, and Sirius positioned firmly between his legs.
"I like this shirt!" Remus protests, without thinking.
"You'll like this better," Sirius says, his voice dark and wicked. He bites Remus's chest.
"WHAT?" He says, a little too loudly, staring up at Remus.
"Trousers. Trousers," Remus repeats lamely, making a frantic gesture.
Sirius climbs off him, and yanks Remus's too-loose trousers and pants down in one sure motion. Remus chokes on his own saliva, and he is certain his eyeballs are about to tumble onto the floor, but some desperate, raging instinct takes over and he kicks until his legs are free of clothing.
When he looks up, Sirius is standing beside the bed, and he is extremely naked. It occurs to Remus that he has never really seen Sirius naked. He's touched Sirius naked, and he's kissed Sirius naked, but there was never a lot of looking – or lighting, for that matter – involved. And Remus is naked, too. It's all very unsettling.
"Stop thiiiinking about iiiiit," Sirius says in what he probably intends to be a sing-song voice, only it comes off a little too predatory.
"Not thinking, just... Looking," Remus says, and immediately regrets it.
"Oh, uh... Not a problem," says Sirius, and he winks lecherously. He climbs back onto the bed, pulling the curtains closed around them, casting them in dim, red-tinged light. Sirius looks – scared? Awkward? It's hard to tell, because neither of these emotions is typical for him.
Then they are just sitting there, not touching, not talking, not wearing any clothes. Remus wants to stare obscenely at Sirius (who is naked, don't you know, and right bloody there) but somehow he can't bring himself to look. Something has to happen, and it has to happen in the next three seconds or else Remus going to be forced to commit hara-kiri on the bedpost to counteract all the nudity and shame.
"Look, I'm not... certain... how this is supposed to go..." Sirius begins uncertainly.
"Me either," Remus is quick to add.
"But I think... I think we're going to have to, you know... touch or something. Eventually."
Remus nods, but he can't make his arms work. What is wrong with his arms? Are they still there? He can't feel them. What if his arms have fallen off and he shall forever be the armless werewolf, doomed to wander the streets opening jars with his feet for pocket cash. And more to the point, why is he so damn concerned about his arms when they are not the part of his anatomy that is demanding his undivided attention now, now, right now, thank you.
Sirius hesitates a moment, then reaches out his hand towards Remus's face, cautiously, as though Remus were made of sharp edges. Two fingers (a little shaky, Remus notices) touch Remus's cheekbone and something happens, and then they are definitely touching again.
Sirius is mildly concerned that he is going to die. He's been in more dangerous situations, he supposes (a certain impulsive Apparition into the women's at the Hogshead springs to mind), but he's never been this nervous before. And over what? Over sex? Over Remus? It's absurd! They are being stupid, so Sirius stops being stupid and kisses him.
He misses Remus's mouth, of course, because he wasn't counting on their both rocketing forward at the same moment. His mouth lands somewhere in the vicinity of Remus's eye-socket, and though this is obviously not ideal, it could be worse. Remus is all over his face, pressing kisses everywhere, never staying still long enough for Sirius to find him. He feels like he's on a wild goose chase, only he's blind and horny and so is the goose. His fingers firmly in Remus's hair settle the matter, and when their lips finally meet, Sirius forgets what lungs are all about.
"Are we really?" Remus mutters against his mouth.
"You better believe we are."
"Oh... ok. Do we have – do we need?"
"Hang on." Sirius reaches out from the curtains and feels around for a moment. He produces his wand and mutters a spell that he hopes is a real spell and not just every dirty magazine he's ever read having him on. Apparently, it is, because Remus's eyes grow wide and his hips twitch almost imperceptibly towards Sirius's (naked, so very, very naked) body. Sirius grins and tries not to look too pleased with himself.
"Where did you learn—"
"I just thought, you know, with the snogging and what not? It seemed err… practical?" He hopes he is conveying the proper proportions of humility and soul-crushing embarrassment.
"Yes, well. Good," says a voice not unlike Remus's from Second Year.
Sirius freezes. He knows what comes next of course, but he's not exactly clear on the appropriate manners for this sort of thing. He knows what fork goes where and how to fold his napkin, but for some reason, his tutor never covered the proper way to ask if someone is up for being fairly violated in the name of getting off.
"So, I should..."
"What? ...Oh. Oh, I. Oh, yes, I think so..."
"Here, can you—"
"To the left?"
"Yeah and just, with your legs."
"Right. Is that?"
"No, hang on."
"Slow, Sirius, try to go—"
"Slowly. Got it."
"Oh. Oh. My god."
"Ah hah hahhhhgghhh."
"Ahhh. I. What, yes?"
"You're pulling my hair."
"S'ok. Is this? Should we be... Should something..."
"Be quiet now."
And Sirius twists his fingers into Remus's fingers, and presses their foreheads together, and silently pleads with any deity listening that he doesn't look as scared as he feels. Or that if he does, Remus will want him anyway.
Remus breathes. He hasn't done that in a while. It feels nice. It's a little difficult, what with Sirius's entire weight collapsed on his chest like a large, sweaty bag of sand and bones, but it's still nice. One of Sirius's damp, sticky hands is tangled in Remus's damp, sticky hair, and the other is tracing nonsense shapes on the side of Remus's face. Their legs are all mixed up. Remus's left arm is numb. It's all completely horrific. It's all completely blissful.
"Nugghh," Sirius says into Remus's cheek.
"My thoughts exactly."
Remus puts his hand on the small of Sirius's back. It's slippery. He moves his hand up Sirius's spine, which is also slippery, and when Sirius shivers, it makes Remus smile.
"We'll have t'move someday, you know," Remus says lazily. Sirius's fingers move from Remus's cheek to the junction of his jaw and ear, then to his throat. Remus swallows.
"M'not moving," Sirius grumbles.
"Ever. 'til ever."
"Well, that's going to be difficult to explain when next year's Seventh Years try to move in."
Sirius's laugh is low and rough, like sandpaper and some sort of jazz instrument. Remus never cared much for jazz. Too chaotic, too unpredictable. Like sex, his brain helpfully supplies. Yes. Like that. Except that with most jazz records, Remus does not feel the need to listen to them again. And then once more, possibly, if they aren't too tired.
When he's quite sure his lungs are going to collapse, Remus shifts a little to the left and feels Sirius's weight slide onto the bed beside him. It's funny how small Sirius really is. Well, not small exactly. Sirius is average, probably, not that Remus has collected any figures on the subject, but he feels small when Remus holds him, because he is tight and compact, coiled muscles and blunt angles. Remus on the other hand is lanky, acute angles and skinny limbs; however, he is definitely taller and a little broader in the shoulders these days. It used to be the other way around. Sirius was nearly a head taller until Fifth Year, when Remus shot up like a beanstalk in a fairytale, and Sirius continued to grow at normal boy-pace. It's strange is all, to realise so tangibly that Sirius, who is larger than life, is just a person with a body that he did not choose. It's frightening to think about, so Remus tries not to, mostly, but it's more difficult when Sirius's very mortal body is pressed against his, breathing and living and susceptible to all the dangers bodies are susceptible to: curses, decapitations, stab wounds, disease, and old age.
Remus wraps himself around Sirius, unconsciously, and breathes, inhaling the smell that in so many ways is Sirius. There are a lot of things he likes about Sirius that are physical. It's not just the fact that he's graceful in exactly the same way that Remus is not, or that he has eyes like knives – but smaller, subtler things, too. The slight off-centeredness of his nose from a fistfight with Regulus that he refuses to discuss. The rough calluses on his hands that make Remus shiver when they touch his skin. The way his lips shrink inward when he concentrates. They're all meaningless, corporal things that ultimately have nothing to do with who Sirius is – except that they do.
When Remus was young and his body was constantly being torn apart and reconfigured, he was always told that it's not what's on the outside that counts, it's who you are inside. Only, as he's gotten older, Remus has come to understand that it's both. It's a delicate combination of the things you can't see and the things you can, the outward signs of the inner madness that make the man. And neither can truly exist without the other, no matter what his mother tells him. It's a sobering realisation. It's admitting that they are not forever, that they are so utterly dependent on these fragile bodies and breakable minds, and that they are, essentially, the most vulnerable things in the world.
Perhaps this is what it means to grow up. Adulthood, Remus believes, is carrying around this knowledge, this fear with you all the time, and not going completely bonkers.
"I can't bloody believe this!" Sirius shouts, entering the dormitory like a tropical storm-front, more violent than the hot September rain that is currently drenching the castle, making it swollen and full.
"What are you on about?" James says, without looking up from his broomcare manual.
"Of all the ridiculous – There are so many of them, and it just had to be – Fuck!"
"You're scaring Peter," Remus says mildly, trying to catch Sirius's eye. Peter glares in Remus's direction, but doesn't object.
"What are you on about, Pads?" James repeats, setting aside his book and looking mildly concerned.
"My uncle, the decent one, Alphard – he went and died. Tosser."
For a moment, no one is sure how to react. None of them, including Remus, really understand all the complicated ins and outs of Sirius's family, so they generally keep quiet and follow Sirius's lead when he gets like this. It's been better the past year or so – without holidays at home to fuel the fire, Sirius is no longer likely to smash things at the sight of his brother, or shout obscenities whenever relatives come up in conversation – but it's still a minefield that no one is too keen to tread.
James musters all the courage within arm's reach and says, unassumingly, "Err, that's terrible?"
Remus would speak but he's too busy watching Sirius's movements, the lines of his shoulders and the set of his jaw, trying to feel (the way he sometimes can with Sirius) what he needs to do. It might be a canine thing, but Remus suspects that it's more a result of growing up in the same room. Sometimes, it's as though they are tuned to the same frequency, one that the others can't quite hear. It doesn't make them any closer (like James and Sirius are closer) but it allows Remus to know sometimes what Sirius needs to hear without having to ask.
"Were you close with him?" Remus asks carefully.
"Yeah! I mean, not pillow fights and braid each other's hair close, but we got on. And he was, I don't know. He wasn't like them."
Sirius collapses on his bed looking annoyed. James takes this as his cue to clear out. He leans close to Remus and mutters, "Perhaps we'd better—" and jerks his head towards the door. Peter doesn't hesitate, and is out of the room before Remus can answer.
"Right, no, you go. I'll be along, just let me get my books," Remus says quietly, eyeing Sirius from across the room.
James shrugs and thumps after Peter, who is probably halfway to India already.
Sirius is sitting very still. When normal people are upset, they tend to gesticulate and flail about, but Sirius's brain is wired backwards. When Sirius is upset, he goes very tense and still, a taut rope about to snap, and Merlin help the bystander who sets him off.
Cautiously, without any sudden movements, Remus moves from his desk to sit on his own bed, facing Sirius.
"What was he like?"
Sirius slides his eyes towards Remus but says nothing.
"Was he – was he uhm—" Was he like you? Remus wants to ask, only he thinks this is perhaps not the right thing to say.
"He was first rate," Sirius says simply. He crosses his arms tightly across his chest and gives no indication of continuing.
Remus stares at his hands. He hates feeling like this – useless and inept. If James were here – but James, quite sensibly, has scampered off, and it's left to Remus. Maybe James was onto something. Maybe all Sirius needs is for them to bugger of for a while and let him brood and break things, and then later for them to pretend like nothing happened, even if their possessions are slightly abused and out of place. Remus stands up to leave. He takes three steps and Sirius says, "He liked me, Moony."
Remus turns around. Sirius hasn't moved and is staring resolutely at the ceiling. If anything, he's gotten stiller, but Remus knows, like he knows his own heartbeat or the phases of the moon, that he can't leave.
Without thinking, Remus walks over to the edge of Sirius's bed. He's not sure if he should say something, but he gets the sense that his job is to be there, and that'll be quite enough. Wordlessly, Sirius shifts over a little, away from Remus, and his eyes dart purposefully to Remus's face. Cautiously, Remus sits, then lays down beside Sirius, eyes on the ceiling, shoulders brushing. Their forearms touch and Remus's skin tingles. Lightning strikes close by.
"He was my family, and he liked me," Sirius says softly.
Remus's throat feels too small.
Sirius has never been the sort of boy that you can coax words out of, so Remus doesn't try; he just lies there and hopes that he is doing it right. He wishes he were a sponge and that he could sop up whatever emotion Sirius is leaking into the atmosphere, tuck it away, hide it in the hollows of his own bones where it'll never bother them again. He could bear it, really he could. He knows what pain feels like, especially pain that is as legitimate as it is tainted with self-pity and uncertainty. Sirius shouldn't have to know what that feels like. He doesn't deserve it.
Sirius wonders idly if Remus is still awake, so he whispers, "Are you still awake?"
Remus's hand coasts along Sirius's back, coming to rest against the back of his neck, which is wet and cold.
"Well, let me know when you're asleep. I should like to vanish into the night before you wake up."
Remus's laugh just then is like thunder, low and rumbling, and he can't hear it so much as feel it. "I shall be heartbroken, pining away for you always."
"Every howl at the moon shall be your name – in Werewolfish, of course," Remus continues, his voice rich with amusement.
"In that case, I'll try to remember your name, too. Rufus was it?"
Remus snorts and massages the back of Sirius's neck, absently.
"Mmmmphggh," Sirius grunts, pressing back into Remus's fingers, "keep that up and I'm still going to be here in the morning."
"I will keep that in mind as a strategy for future trysts."
"Future what nows? I thought you wolfy types mated for life or something."
"Pshh, what a load of bollocks. We only say that because girls think it's terribly romantic. Drives 'em wild."
"Are you implying that after such vigorous and incredible sex, I might not always be your main squeeze?"
"Well, how do I know that was good sex? I don't have a sufficient basis for comparison."
Something in Sirius's stomach twists unpleasantly, but he plows onward. "And what would you consider 'sufficient'? Two? Ten? Fifty-seven?"
"Fifty-seven? Don't be ridiculous. I'll need at least a hundred goes at it to tell if that was good."
Sirius bites his collarbone.
"Aggh! Have you had your shots? Look, if it makes you feel better, I'm sure you'll be in the top ten. Fifteen, at least. You're the sentimental favorite," Remus says, and presses his lips to Sirius's hair.
On the ragged, untamed edge of Sirius's brain there dwells an uncertainty, a lingering hint of doubt that perhaps things hadn't gone as well as he thinks, and that perhaps Remus is just too kind and unassuming and Remusy to mention it – but the slow, deep pressure of the fingers digging into his muscles siphon away tension and make it impossible to get worked up about anything.
Sirius feels a swell in the center of his chest, warm and uncomfortable, stretching his being in ways it isn't used to. He's all contradictions – boneless relaxation and dizzying insecurity, painful exposure and shadowy, secret in places. He wants to let Remus inside of him, into the unlit corners and decrepit rooms that even he doesn't visit these days, because he thinks – he knows that Remus will exorcise the dark things that lurk and loom.
"Did I ever tell you about my favorite Christmas?" The words tumble from his mouth like it's an overflow valve, graceless and without warning. Perhaps it's where he's been the last few days, digging through old mementos, reading letters that were not intended to be read that were stuffed in boxes that were not intended to be open, but Sirius feels like he is a box and that it's high time he let someone start sorting him out properly before he ends up dead and in disarray like his uncle.
Remus's fingers still for just a moment before resuming their task.
"No, no I don't believe you did. How old were you?"
Sirius takes a deep, slow breath and decides that it's like Apparition – you just have to shut your eyes and do it and trust that you won't be torn into a million tiny pieces. "I was... eight. So Regulus was, what? Six, I guess. Birthday's in November, so yeah, six. And my uncle, Alphard, the one with the flat, came all the way from London to visit. I'd only met him a few times, but he had weird hair, so I liked him."
"Yeah. So, he showed up on Christmas Eve and my mother, bless her little soul, wouldn't let me stay up to see him – Reg either, but it serves him right for being such a wanker."
"He was six, how could he be a—"
"He was. Trust me… Uncle Alphard snuck into my room after my parents were in bed. My tutor, Bendiks, must have just ignored him, because I don't think that man ever slept. Maybe Alphard bribed him, I didn't ask. And he sat on the edge of my bed, and Reg crawled in beside me – we shared a room back then – and he told us things, Moony."
"About the world. About stuff that wasn't Noble or Ancient. About muggles and music, and not the sort of music my mother forced us to learn, but real music, the good stuff. He was old a hell, so I don't know how he knew about any of it, but he did. Even Reg was smitten; he was just that sort of bloke."
Remus's fingers move downwards, skimming Sirius's shoulder blades and coming to rest against his spine.
"Anyway, the next morning we all acted like nothing had happened. I actually liked keeping it a secret from my mother."
"Red flag, much?"
"Pipe down, I'm being terribly nostalgic over here."
"Never. At any rate, when Alphard left, he hugged me – like, really. Not the way my parents always buggered it up. And he told me his address and said that if either of us ever wanted to come stay, we could, and he wouldn't even tell our mother. Naturally, I wanted him nominated for sainthood." Sirius pauses, unsure if he should keep talking.
"He sounds great," Remus says.
"Yeah. Yeah, he was. He was really, really top notch... Anyway, he's dead now. They killed him, of course."
Remus shifts his hips a little, and his foot finds Sirius's foot and their toes touch.
"They – who killed him?"
"Death Eaters. My family. Semantics."
"But he – how do you know?"
"Well, it's obvious, in'it? One day he was fine, and the next—"
"But, but he was old, right? How do you know he didn't just..."
Anger flairs in Sirius's stomach. Not anger at Remus exactly, but anger that Remus has ignited. The unfairness of it all. The need to be understood, trusted.
"No, Moony, he did not 'just' anything. They killed him. They did. Even if they didn't hold the wand to his head – which I think they probably did– they ran him down. They killed him," he repeats again, with emphasis. He needs Remus to get this, because it's important and because he's never had anyone else to tell.
"Padfoot… It's not right, is it?" Remus says, his voice softer and warmer than the places where their bodies press together.
The anger simmering in him dissipates suddenly, and Sirius feels a wave of relief rush over him. He wants to hug Remus, except that he already sort of is, so he settles for squeezing him a bit tighter and twining their fingers together, fiercely.
"S'not," he mutters against Remus's bare, scarred chest.
Remus feels like he is clutching a live explosive, only it's his words rather than his movements that might set it off.
"Hey," Sirius whispers, raising himself slightly so that they are face to face. "Kiss me," he says quietly.
"Kiss me, again," Sirius says when their mouths break apart.
Remus does, again, harder this time, like he means it.
"Kiss me, again, and this time don't stop."
"For how long?" Remus asks, fighting a sloppy smile.
"For forever. Don't ever stop. Nothing bad can happen unless we stop long enough to let it."
"I don't know that your logic is quite—" but Sirius's eyes are large and desperate looking, so Remus kisses him again, and kisses him some more, and keeps kissing him, trying to pull away the anger and rejection in Sirius's mouth, the bitter taste of innocence that he never had a chance to enjoy. And he doesn't quite make it to the end of forever, but he manages to keep it up until Sirius is nearly asleep, which he hopes is close enough.