Disclaimer: Everything belongs to JKR whether she likes it or not.
A/N: the NSFW version of this story can be found on Ao3 under the same title and username.
I made a cover from this story, but unfortunately you can't see it right now. Some brilliant person cut the internet line and I have had to do all this on my phone. My phone doesn't cooperate in uploading it.
IWSC required info found at the bottom.
This was written for my beautiful friend, Farbautidottir. She's an incredible writer and y'all should check out her work.
Sirius watched the footprints, his eyes settling on a particular pair. They paced across the floor, reaching one end of the Shrieking Shack before turning and heading back the direction they came. Sirius had watched these same prints for two days now, hoping against rationality it would solve something he could not.
His eyes hadn't settled on the name beneath it. They searched only for the letters of "Remus Lupin" so that his footprints could be found, but Remus hadn't left the shack all this time. With the moon rising, full as it nestled in the night sky, Remus had been stuck. Sentenced to wander the shack until daylight came again and he was freed from the monster that consumed him.
That had been yesterday, but Remus hadn't returned.
James had shown up that morning, his lips pressed into a disappointed line, but he had said nothing. He knew what had happened between them, the fight Sirius and Remus had had, the things Sirius had said. It had done more than tear the two of them apart, but had run a crack through the heart of the Marauders as well.
Sirius knew he had to apologize, that his words had been uncalled for and as he focused on the pacing footsteps once more, he knew it was now or never. That if he didn't say something soon, Remus' wounds would heal without him and that would be it. Things would be over for sure.
Night had already begun to fall again and Sirius knew he'd be unseen beneath the shadows, the setting sun darkening his path to the shack.
He folded the paper, tapping his wand on the map and mumbled, "mischief managed". He watched the red ink fade away, the magic seeping into the recesses of the parchment until it was ready to be called forth again. When it was blank, he stuffed it into a pocket of his robes, his wand sliding alongside it.
He knew the way. He didn't need the map to guide him, didn't need it to avoid prefects or professors. Curfew was over an hour away giving him more than enough time to make it to the willow. It was coming back that he was unsure of.
His roommates said nothing as he left, slipping through the door of their dormitory and down the staircase. He was followed by silence as he stepped through the common room and finally the portrait hole.
With students tucked away in the library or their own houses, the castle had fallen into silence. There was only the occasional chatter of a portrait, the call of a ghost, but Sirius' mind had drifted elsewhere and he paid no attention.
He thought of Remus' eyes and how often he had fallen inside them. He thought of how they had grayed, the usual blue eclipsed by a storm of rage. Hurt.
"You're a dog, Sirius." Remus sneered and though he turned away, it wasn't fast enough. Sirius had caught the anger that lined his features, the injustice, and though he knew they had their place, he couldn't help but retaliate.
He laughed. He laughed! "You just happened to notice?"
That had been it. The final retort that had sent Remus away hours before his condition called him to the shack.
And what had he asked? Why had Sirius been so incapable of giving it?
He remembered, too, the confusion in Mary's face. Their kiss had been broken apart, stumbled on by Remus himself. Sirius wanted to say that that's what had started the fight, but he knew it had persisted even before that. He knew the issue at hand wasn't that he'd been kissing Mary, it was what he was afraid to admit to the world. To himself.
It was these thoughts that filled him as he traipsed through the castle, almost defiant though no one would stop him. He thought of how Remus' lips had felt beneath his, the way Remus' tongue explored his own, drawing pictures of what could be. Sirius remembered the softness of his skin, velvet beneath Sirius' touch, of the scars that dotted it and the spaces between where scars would come.
He stepped through the broad castle door, standing fully in the evening air and paused. How badly had he wanted Remus to forgive him. To take him back. That is what had brought him this far. But if he couldn't? Could they live another two years together? Skirting by with distant kindness and thoughts of what had been and would should be? Could Sirius forgive himself?
He felt a rush of fear in his veins. An urging that he should have done this sooner and his pace quickened, dragging him to the edge of the castle grounds, to the knobbled tree that shook with life, stretching its limbs and threatening anything that came near. He'd been beaten by the willow once, nearly flattened as a branch had swung low to the ground before he could reach the knot.
Sirius watched it this time knowing that if it came, he might deserve it. That if it swung at him again, Remus might feel the slightest bit of retribution. He found himself pausing again, almost considering, before his stubbornness — perhaps fear, though he wouldn't admit it — drove him to poke at the knot in the trunk, the tree freezing in an instant.
He scrambled along the dirt path that led beneath, led through the hole of the trunk. This place was familiar. He had been here nearly as many times as Remus. Every full moon for six years. If he counted right, he supposed that was near seventy.
Seventy times he had taken these steps, double if he counted going back. Seventy times he had found comfort in the shack. Seventy times he had been here with his friends.
What he was doing now, what he was going to say, — to admit — was a first.
His hands grappled with the sides of the tunnel as he reached the bottom of the stairs. He had memorized the twists and turns the tunnel took, the sharp edges of the walls as his fur had rubbed against them, but few times had he taken this walk as a human.
Sirius pulled his wand from his pocket, casting a lumos. Blue light radiated through the tunnel, guiding him. He stepped over rocks, his trainers sliding on the loose dirt. This place felt unfamiliar on only two legs and he was thankful to reach the end, the door through which Remus waited.
He stepped through the threshold onto the planks in which Remus' pain had been carved, his howls of agony drawn across the wood by his claws.
"Rem?" Sirius called the name through the unwelcoming silence as he snuffed his wand. It was times like this, when he and Remus were alone, that the nicknames of "padfoot" and "moony" were forgotten, replaced by something else instead. Something just between them.
He heard the sound of steps from the floor above, Remus — no doubt — coming to shoo him away. Instead, he paused on the landing at the top of the stairs and their eyes met. The mere sight of him told of the night he had had. The torn T-shirt, the dingy trousers. The fresh scars and even fresher blood across his cheek.
"What do you want?" The tone of Remus' voice was not something Sirius had heard before. It was hesitant for reasons that had to do with him, outlined in the pain he had caused that Remus had not forgiven in his time alone.
Sirius stepped tenatively towards him, as though the wolf inside still raged even if they both knew it was gone for another month. "I wanted to...I'm sorry."
Remus sighed. The weight of their past conversations was held in his breath and Sirius knew it was not what he had wanted to hear. He stepped closer, taking the steps upward and toward his friend, his...he didn't know what. Though the physical distance between them closed, the emotional one seemed to stretch them ever farther apart.
He stopped at the top, Remus blocking him from moving any further onto the landing.
"I don't know what you expected." Remus began, his eyes focused on a spot of the shack beyond Sirius. "But, I can't. I can't continue this... this...thing between us when you can't bother to admit to yourself how you feel."
"It isn't about you." Sirius' voice was firm and he reached a hand out towards him, anxious to wipe some of the scarlet that stained his skin.
Remus pulled away, allowing space to fall between them again. "Yet, it is!"
It was Sirius' turn to sigh. He knew he was wrong. He understood the agony behind Remus' eyes had little to do with the conversation.
"I've hid enough. I've hid this." Remus gestured to the ramshackle building around them and Sirius knew it had nothing to do with the shack. "I've hidden the biggest parts of myself and I won't hide my sexuality too."
His words rang into the space between them. The roots of Remus' pain stretched further than Sirius had even considered. He felt like an utter arse.
"I'm...I'm not…" He stumbled over his words, forming the answer he had never considered.
"I know you're not. That's beside the point." Remus looked down at their feet, providing just for an instant, his embarrassment.
"I don't know what I am." Sirius said finally when minutes had passed between them. He said the words that had filled every crevice of his mind since these feelings for Remus began. "I just know I like you. I like girls. I like everything beyond and in-between."
Remus looked at him again, his eyes lighter than before. Some of the storm inside of them had cleared.
"I want to be with you." Sirius finished. Though he didn't know what label he fell inside, this was one thing he could be sure of. He reached out again and this time Remus let him.
Sirius' fingers trailed across Remus' cheekbones, grazing against the wounds and Remus gave into him. He relaxed in Sirius' arms and they fell into one. The silence that came was welcome, unbroken because they didn't want it to be. Easy, because they knew it wouldn't be for long.
Sirius closed his eyes, breathing in the scent of him. The saltiness of sweat, the iron of blood. Though Remus needed a bath, Sirius loved it. Loved the evidence of the night Remus had had and that now he needed Sirius — wanted him to make it better.
"I want to be with you and no one else." Sirius reiterated, his words barely a mumble and Remus nodded against him.
Sirius' hand dropped, running along the tears of Remus' shirt, the exposed skin beneath. The jagged cuts in his flesh created by Remus' own claws. How Sirius hated to see him like this. How he hated the agonized screams that tore their way from Remus' throat. Sirius should have been there the night before. He should have been beside James and Peter. Beside Remus. He should have helped ease Remus through the transformation, given him a distraction. Instead, he had been selfish.
His palm flattened against Remus' chest, his skin still lingering between the holes in the fabric. He pulled away just enough. Enough for Remus to look up and for their eyes to meet. And he couldn't wait any longer.
He released the T-shirt, his hands burying in Remus' brown hair instead as he pulled him closer. Sirius kissed him deeply. Though Remus' breath tasted stale and uninviting, Sirius loved it all the same.
Their lips moved together, tracing old patterns. It wasn't the first time they had done this, but now there was an urgency for something more. The gentle reminder that the barrier between here and more had crumbled and that nothing but want stood in front of them now.
It was Remus who pulled away, breathless and Sirius understood. He knew it was too soon. Knew that the time for more would come. Sirius cleared his throat, erasing the desire that still ensnared him, that still closed his mind off from his tongue, the things he wanted to say, to do.
"I brought the map." He said instead, opting to use his lips for speech though they fought him. "I thought, well I wasn't sure, but-" He blushed. Words so rarely failed him, but when they did, it was with Remus beside him.
"You don't think James and Peter would mind?"
Sirius smiled, pulling the map and his wand from inside the pocket of his robes. He swiped his thumb across Remus' cheek, drying away a fresh dot of blood that had escaped. His eyes wandered then to Remus' eyes and how tired he looked. How eagerly — Sirius was sure — Remus wanted to fall into bed. To sleep.
"I don't bloody care. We have sections to finish off and I'd like to do it together."
The fear of long before evaporated inside Sirius, the fight forgetten. Both were replaced instead by contentment. He'd be walloped by a whomping willow any day if at the end of the tunnel was this. Remus.
Story Title/Link: More
School and Theme: Illvermorny
Main Prompt: Fight
Additional Prompts: Whomping Willow and Torn T-shirt