Pain and Pleasure

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Sirius remembers the last night he spent with Remus before his imprisonment in Azkaban.

Disclaimer: Characters © J.K. Rowling

Author's Note: This style is strange. I've been reading poetry all afternoon. And it's my first piece of fanfiction since getting my internet connection back, so bare with me. Oh, and this has nothing to do with the Queen song "Pain and Pleasure", which may surprise those who know me. The title came to me just now.

I'm open to criticism, so fire away.

***

It was dark. Had been for some time. I knew you wouldn't have waited up for me, and I was relieved you hadn't. I couldn't face you, not just then. Now, I look into your face and see your pureness shining back at me from your deep, amber eyes, but back then my vision was clouded. I think everything was clouded then.

You'd switched off the lights and locked up, but I did some last minute clearing up, tidied the kitchen, rearranged the coat stand, putting off the time when I had to walk up the stairs to our bedroom. What if you were still awake? What if my suspicions were correct, and tonight was the night? I wanted to leave. If I could have thought of any excuse, I would have walked right out of the house in that instant, but I could think of nothing except how much I loved you, and that you might be a traitor.

Our house was full of memories. Pictures adorned the walls, moving photos of our childhood. Most of them showed Lily, James and Peter, our closest friends. I shuddered to think what was happening to them. What I was convinced you were doing to them. How was I supposed to know you suspected me of these things? How was I to know we were both wrong? Like I said, these were foggy days, when facts were never quite what they seemed. If you'd told me the sky was blue I'd have wanted proof. Maybe not asked you ought-right, but I'd have taken it with a pinch of salt.

Eventually, I was too tired to put off the inevitable. My work was starting to take over my life. We were snowed under at the ministry, you knew that, but you still got shirty when I was late home. I see now you were only concerned for me. But just maybe you didn't want me stumbling across any of your secrets. You'd kept things from me before, I couldn't know in those troubled times that you were the only person telling me the whole truth. Lies entangled our entire race, and it was my job to pick out the fine strands of truth from the knotted web of deceit. I had to know who was trustworthy and who wasn't. The task should never have been mine.

I stumbled up the stairs. Went into the bathroom first. Pulled off my sweat- soaked clothes. Washed. That old metaphor of washing away the dirt of the day would fit in nicely here, except I never tried to wash away anything. I knew you were bad for me (you blinded me, after all, from seeing the truth) but I clung to you as if you were the last leaf left in a winter which would last forever.

You understand what I'm saying, don't you?

I scrubbed until my skin was red, putting of the moment when I would have to go into the bedroom. I felt fresher. It was a slight relief. Then I caught sight of my face in the mirror; eyes dull and weary, lips cracked, forehead creased. How could you ever love me? How could you live with me and not want to betray me? What had I ever done for you except love you with all my imperfect soul? Tears escaped from my eyes. I deserved whatever you had in store for me.

I went into the bedroom. The lights were off. Nothing had changed. It was a normal night. With a small sigh, I began to dress for bed.

"Sirius?" I froze; you were awake.

"It's me," I said hoarsly.

You sat up and stared at me. In the dark, I couldn't see your features, but your eyesight defied all reason. "Sirius," you murmured, "come to bed. Don't think I don't know you spent last night on the couch, and God knows where you were the night before. . ."

I stared blankly at the bed. Visions of you flickered before my eyes; your soft, warm smile, beautifully crafted frame, flat stomach and long legs. I could think of many less desirable things than getting into bed with you, but there were principals. How could I sleep with a traitor? (Amusing, that you should ask yourself the same thing but hours later!)

"Sirius?" you murmured again. I blinked slowly.

"Yeah, Moony?"

"Come here. Now." I couldn't disobey that. It wasn't the request of a lover, it was the command of a master to his dog. To disobey would mean disciplinary action. With you, that meant a battle of emotions which I knew I was not ready for. I came and sat at your feet. You leaned forward in bed so that you could put your arms around me.

"I love you," you murmured into my ear. Did that (I asked myself) mean you would spare me whatever fate was in store for my friends? I found my lips moving of their own accord; "I love you too."

"I know you do," you said. "And I understand. You *know* I understand. You're under so much pressure at work, the job's getting bigger every day instead of smaller, you're worried about Lily and James. . . But you have to know that the world's fate isn't in your hands. Mine is."

I blinked again, suddenly. Of course I didn't hold the fate of the world in my grasp. There were several of us on the job, and three dozen Aurors besides. I wasn't alone, but maybe you were. I couldn't see it. But I could feel your hands sliding beneath my nightshirt, and your breath on my neck. I turned to face you, and met your kiss. "I'm playing with fire," I told myself. This isn't right. What if. . .?

But you flipped me over and pinned me to the bed. There was little point fighting you, we both wanted this. I couldn't hand you over to the Aurors without a proper goodbye. From your point of view, you just wanted the old Sirius back, the one who came home from work bouncing and cheerful and loving you. The passion with which you loved me then tried to make up for lost time, but I scarcely noticed the pleasure or the pain. My mind whirred. I wanted to talk to you, ask you why you betrayed us all (blaming you for Peter's crimes! Yes, you may wish to strike me when you read this, my Moony, but I promised you honesty in this letter, never tenderness or blurring of the truth to save your feelings). I could feel you around me, though. Above me, under me, inside me, body and soul. There was no escaping the fact that whatever happened, whatever either of us did, we were one. I could rely on my impulses and hand you over as a traitor, but I would suffer as much as you if not more. I couldn't do it to you. You had to have a chance.

Afterwards, I lay in your arms. I felt more exhausted than I ever had, physically, mentally, emotionally. You didn't speak again until I stirred.

"Where are you going?" You murmured.

I staggered out of bed, snatching up some clothes as I went. "Have to check on Pete," I said. "Make sure he's alright."

"You need sleep."

"I can look after myself, thank you Moony."

I looked back at you over my shoulder. You were no longer the powerful hunter who had overcome my taller, stronger frame and loved me as if I had never slighted you in any way. You looked small, thin, pale, almost ill. Your eyes no longer shone in the dark. You knew that was the last time we would make love, we both knew. You were scared because you didn't know why. Was I the traitor? How could you explain your love for me to Lily and James if this was so? How could you justify it to yourself? All this went through your mind. Don't think it didn't cross mine every single day.

I left you there, in our bed, alone. Before I went, you called out to me. I didn't hear you. I didn't want to.

If only one of us had thought to look further afield for our traitor. When I discovered Peter gone from his lodgings, I went straight to Lily and James' house. While you were making love to me, they died. That's how I knew you were innocent. That's why I didn't catch Peter in time.

What? You wanted honesty, Moony, don't change your mind now! The truth hurts, darling. But not as much as your hate, and never - never! - as much as your love.