For disclaimers, et al, see first chapter.
A/N: Thank you to all who have been (sort of) patiently waiting for a continuation of this story. I had writer's block for six months (not fun!), while the girl I write with had a baby. All in all, she got the better end of the deal, don't you think?
Remus woke abruptly to the sound of a low moan and a thrashing from the body next to him. He turned and pressed his lips to the feverish brow, murmuring soothing words until the sounds subsided.
He hadn't meant to fall asleep, had stayed awake until the first tendrils of dawn had begun to colour the horizon, but exhaustion had won him over. Now, the first golden rays of sun shone through the curtains, and Remus knew their time was limited.
As Remus sat up he felt the familiar weakness creep through his body. Tonight was a full moon. Would he have to bear it alone?
Leaving Sirius to a few more minutes of sleep, he crept to the bathroom and turned on the shower until the room filled with steam. As he stood under the thrumming water, an indescribable feeling of grief crept over him. The past two weeks had been so stressful, so hard on his heart he didn't know if he could make it through today. And certainly, if the verdict was against them, he didn't know if he could go on without Sirius.
Remus' knees weakened and he abruptly found himself sitting on the shower floor, hugging his knees to his thin chest. A low keening erupted from deep within and he rocked there at the bottom of the shower, for once allowing the grief to take over. For the past two weeks he had been too numb to feel anything, to let any emotion rise to the surface. From years of hiding, a life of keeping to himself, he had easily suppressed anything that threatened to erupt.
Not this time. This time the pain was so strong it could not be contained. The thrumming of his heart was painful against his chest, every tear was scalding on his cheeks, and the mere thought of life without Sirius threatened to tear his body apart. Every inch ached from the pain and low, desperate moans escaped him now, in-between the wracking sobs.
Footsteps sounded outside, and the door creaked open, but Remus couldn't stem the flow of tears.
He gazed through the haze and noted Sirius' outline.
"Are you alright?" Sirius' voice seemed far away, unreal, and yet there was a familiar lacing of concern in the otherwise detached tone.
The thought of losing Sirius' love caused him to choke back another sob.
Another tentative step came towards him. "R…Remus?"
"Please," Remus whispered hoarsely, "Sirius, go away." Not that that was what he wanted. More than anything he wanted to have Sirius hold him, tell him, with his characteristic confidence, that nothing could get Sirius Black down.
Another sob wracked his frame and the door was pulled open.
Sirius gazed down at him, his expression unreadable. With agonizing slowness he held out a hand. Unthinking, Remus took it and allowed Sirius to haul him to his feet.
It was as if time stood still. Sirius was getting splattered by the shower but didn't seem to notice. The droplets shone like miniature stars on his midnight lashes and Remus felt his body respond, though he tried to force the sudden rush of desire away.
A stream of water ran down Remus' cheek and with a jolt he felt Sirius' gentle finger wipe it away.
Though his expression was still neutral it was as though another force was at work, and Sirius bent towards him. Suppressing a groan, Remus leaned into the kiss, his lips captured by Sirius' own. His hands found there way to Sirius' shoulders, pulling him more firmly against him and he felt, with a certain amount of pride, that Sirius was not altogether unmoved.
Their tongues twisted and tangled, Remus pressing himself closer, allowing Sirius to feel his desire. After a moment, Remus felt Sirius move his hands down his wet back, a finger tracing the curve of his backside. A moan escaped Remus lips and Sirius captured the sound in his own.
It was a desperate kiss, Remus knew that, but still he clung to the small hope that perhaps Sirius was coming back to him already. With a subtle movement he rubbed himself against Sirius and was rewarded by a tiny sigh. He smiled into the lips and held Sirius even closer.
Sirius' hands ventured around to the front, and began a slow torment of his chest, tweaking his nipples into hard peaks, causing Remus' breath to come harder. Sirius' hand traveled lower and was so close to his hard member that Remus shifted impatiently to put himself into Sirius grip.
"Remus? Are you up there?"
With a muffled curse, Remus gently pushed Sirius away from him, turning to shut off the water.
Though Sirius' cheeks were flushed and his body was still obviously aroused, that infernal expression remained soulless. The grey depths seemed fathomless and Remus wrenched his gaze away, grabbing a towel and covering himself up.
He was about to leave the room when Sirius grabbed his arm with surprising strength. "Remus?" His voice was soft, barely more than a whisper.
"Do I love you?"
Remus turned away again, wrenching his arm out of Sirius' grip before he could see the fresh tears spilling down his cheeks.
No matter what it cost him, he would not lose Sirius.
But a large part of him feared it was already too late.
They reentered the courtroom just as the clocks were striking nine.
It was, if possible, even more crammed with people than it had been the day before. Yet the atmosphere was strangely hushed for such a crowd. Flashbulbs still popped as Remus and Sirius threaded their way towards the front, and whispers and stares still followed their entrance, but the relative quiet was unearthly.
Remus noted with slight apprehension the two chairs set out for him and Sirius. The previous day, they had been separated. Wordlessly he sat down, motioning Sirius to take the other chair.
Amelia Bones inclined her head ever so slightly. "Good morning, gentlemen," she said. Her tone was carefully neutral. "I do appreciate your punctuality."
Sirius sat ethereally still, his expression only conveying a mild interest in the proceedings.
Dear god, Remus thought, eyeing him surreptitiously. He toyed nervously at the faint creases in his trousers.
"As you may well have guessed," Amelia continued, "this court, after much debate and consideration, has reached a verdict concerning the case of Sirius Black." She paused, sipping leisurely at a small glass of water while Remus tried vainly to stop fidgeting. "I see no reason to prolong this," she said. "Mr. Black. Mr. Lupin. Would you please rise."
For a moment Sirius did nothing, staring blankly ahead of him as Remus quickly stood up. Then, gingerly, he also rose.
"Mr. Black," said Amelia. "You were previously sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban for your part in the murders of Lily and James Potter, for treachery and for espionage. Furthermore, this life sentence was not completed."
Remus' stomach clenched.
Amelia's voice softened. "This court admits it was… misinformed… of the details at the time of the Potters' deaths. We deeply regret our error and wrongful accusations. You will of course, in time, receive due compensation for your time spent in Azkaban." Amelia paused, clearing her throat slightly. "In the meantime, Mr. Black, your sentence is hereby renounced. You are free to go."
All around them the courtroom erupted into jubilant shouts, cheers and whistles.
"Mr. Lupin," Amelia added over the noise. She nodded towards Sirius. "Take him home."
Remus gaped at her as the verdict sunk in.
Sirius was free.
He threw his arms exuberantly around Sirius, who staggered slightly under the assault. "We did it!" Remus yelled. "We did it! Sirius! You're a free man!"
"That's good, right?" Sirius asked. He still looked a bit vague, but Remus could swear the eyes were somehow brighter.
"Yes, it's good," Remus laughed. "It's very good."
The firewhisky flowed freely at Grimmauld place that day. There were sounds of laughter, pats on backs and shouts of congratulations, yet Remus stood quietly against the cool wall, sipping from the smoking goblet gripped tightly in his hand. He had foregone the whisky, instead drinking his Wolfsbane potion and trying to force back the thrumming headache at the base of his spine. He had been remiss in taking the potion the last few days, with everything else taking priority and now he was worried that one little goblet would not be enough.
His eyes fell gently on Sirius, who was sitting on the sofa between Harry and Dumbledore, a silly smile on his face but that damned vacant look still in his eyes. What the hell am I going to do? Remus thought despairingly, running his fingers through the stray lock that had fallen over his eyes. He thought of inviting someone to stay with them tonight. Thought of locking himself down in the cellar, but was too scared of Sirius wandering in on him.
The afternoon sun shone brightly through the window and warmed his shaking hands, and still he gazed at Sirius. Would he ever come out of his state? Would he ever have his Sirius back?
As though he knew he was being watched, Sirius turned, his eyes locking with Remus'. The moment lengthened into infinity, and suddenly Remus' shaking hands were aching to hold Sirius close, celebrate with him his new found freedom. He had actually moved an inch or so away from the wall when Sirius turned away to answer something Tonks had asked him.
Should I go to him anyway?
For the rest of the afternoon that thought was foremost in his mind. The well-wishers dwindled in number until finally it was just the two of them and Harry.
Sirius went to change out of his now crumpled suit, and Harry turned to Remus, concern evident in his green eyes. He couldn't fail to notice the shaking of Remus' slender frame, the slight sheen of perspiration that had broken on his brow.
"Do you want me to stay?" Harry asked, a steadying hand on Remus' shoulder.
"Thank you but no. It's still a couple of hours away. I…I can handle it."
Harry gave his shoulder a quick squeeze then turned to pick up his coat which had been draped across the back of the sofa. "Well, if you change your mind you know where to reach me. I can be here in seconds."
Remus smiled gratefully and watched as the boy, no the young man, strode out of the room, a bounce still in his step.
After a quick tidy of the room, Remus sat down next to the window, gazing into the gathering twilight. Though the moon had still not risen, his body gave an involuntary shudder. Remus closed his eyes, breathing deeply.
The scent of soap caused him to open them a few minutes later. The heat of the recent shower still emanated from Sirius' body, and Remus' rapidly heightening senses could make it out even from across the room. Sirius stood in the doorway, his body outlined by the light coming from the hallway behind. He gave a dashing smile, the kind Remus remembered from their carefree youth, and a pang of regret for those lost years tugged at his heart.
After shuffling uncertainly for a few moments, Sirius finally entered the room, taking the chair closest to Remus. "I want to thank you…" Sirius began softly.
Remus smiled gently. "For what?"
Sirius frowned, as if trying to remember some vital information, then smiled back. "For all you've done for me today, in the court room. I just…felt good knowing you did that….for me."
"You would have done the same for me."
Sirius' closeness was pushing him to his limits. His senses were overloading with the pure maleness of him, the heat, the slight sheen still on his skin, the droplets falling from his damp hair…
Sirius stared down at Remus trembling hands and took one gently in his own, caressing it with strong fingers. Remus was thrown back to another memory, another time when Sirius had lost his memories while in Azkaban, another moment when their hands had touched simply…because.
Remus had to smile at the gross understatement. "I know, its ok."
He raised his eyes once more, to gaze into the clear depths of Sirius' grey ones and was lost when Sirius leaned forward.
"I want to help you stop." Sirius whispered into his lips before claiming them tenderly with his own.
Remus closed his eyes once more, leaning into the kiss, trying to ignore the rising tremors. How much time did he have? Should he even do this? But surely Sirius knew what he wanted, didn't he?
Sirius plunged his tongue inside Remus mouth, tasting and teasing, eliciting a moan from the smaller man.
Remus pulled away fractionally, Sirius' breath still hot on his lips. "Do you know what you're doing?"
"I'm kissing you."
Sirius paused, another frown appearing as he thought over the question. A spark grew in the depths of those eyes as he took his hands away from Remus' and planted them firmly on either side of his face. "Because I love you."
"But you don't know…"
"I felt it this morning…when I saw you…I don't know if it's right or wrong, but you're mine. I think you always have been."
Remus gave up the fight as Sirius' mouth cam back down hard on his, his hands caressing his jaw then traveling down his shoulders to pull apart the shirt covering his chest. Whether he was weak from happiness or the coming moon, Remus didn't care. All he could do was lay back as Sirius nuzzled his neck, licked across his collar bone, then tenderly took a nipple into his mouth, teasing with his teeth.
Remus raised his hands to run down Sirius' back then mould themselves to the shape of his backside. He just now realized how much he had missed Sirius these last few weeks. Missed his laugh, missed his face…missed this.
He groaned when Sirius' hands fumbled at the buckle of his trousers. He raised his hips to aid in the downward slide of the material, his already hard member springing to meet Sirius eager grasp.
A sudden violent shudder raced its way through him and he dared to open his eyes. The moon was slowly rising into the sky.
With a swift movement, Remus pushed at Sirius, trying to sit up. He could now feel the racing of his blood in his veins, smell the life running through Sirius…animal thoughts.
"Sirius, you have to go." He ground out, pulling his clothes back on him.
"Re…what…why?" Sirius looked forlorn, lost, like a little boy.
"Please…"Remus begged him with his eyes to understand. You have to get as far away from here as you can. You're in danger…" Another shudder brought him to his knees. He must have been starting his transformation, for the look in Sirius' eyes was now one of terror.
With a last glance Sirius ran out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
Remus groaned. The potion was just enough for him to keep his mind…but the animal instinct had not been suppressed. With the whine of a wounded animal he transformed.
Sirius raced outside as fast as he could go, almost tripping in his haste.
Suddenly he bumped into something hard. He looked up into the cold eyes of Malfoy. His companions quickly shoved a dirty rag in Sirius' mouth and bound him at hands and feet.
"And now,' grinned Malfoy, "the final part of my plan comes to fruition."
… to be continued! …