It began with the scandal of Davey Gudgeon, in their sixth year. No one really knew the specifics of it but there was no trouble in everyone talking about it at length. In the Great Hall Remus saw more heads bowed together in quiet discussion than he had that time Severus Snape spontaneously turned into an albatross during dinner. Sirius was still serving detentions for it, and no one had dared eat the puddings for a week afterward.

"Did you hear?" asked Peter excitedly, before Remus had even sat down. "Remus, did you hear?"

James snorted and cuffed Peter on the back of the head. "Give the man some breathing room there, Wormtail." He turned to Remus. "Did you hear, then? About Gudgeon?"

Remus shook his head and set his schoolbag to the floor. "No," he said, reaching across the table to help himself to some Shepherd's pie. "I haven't heard." Remus frowned. "Isn't he the one who nearly lost his eye to the Willow?"

"Aye," said James. He leaned closer suddenly, and lowered his voice conspiratorially. "But get this - Gudgeon's a queer."

"Is he?" Remus turned away from James and finished filling his plate. He managed to keep his fork steady as he worked and was very proud of himself for it. "A shocking revelation indeed." He shovelled in a few mouthfuls of food, chewing too quickly and swallowing too soon, nearly choking himself. "How do we know this?" he asked, after a gulp of pumpkin juice.

"I heard he was caught snogging some Ravenclaw behind the greenhouses," said Peter. "But Omar Patil says he heard that one of the teachers found them in a cupboard in the Defence classroom."

James shook his head. "No, no. You've got it all wrong, Wormtail. As usual." He ran a hand through his hair and shot a quick glance down the end of the table, where Lily Evans sat having what Remus thought was likely the same conversation they themselves were having. "They were shagging - shagging! - in the Quidditch broom shed. Madame Siegel nearly hexed them; she thought one of Hagrid's beasts had escaped because of all the noise!"

Remus grimaced as James threw back his head and laughed, with Peter mimicking him a moment later. He managed a mild chuckle and continued to eat too fast knowing it would mean a bellyache later. James and Peter continued to joke about the plight of Davey Gudgeon, and how he'd got chucked from the Hufflepuff Quidditch team afterward because who would want to play with a poof?

"I mean," said James, with a great and melodramatic roll of his four eyes, "you have to go in the showers with 'em and everything! If it were me I wouldn't want some bloke looking at my bits, if you know what I mean."

Remus was certain he knew what James meant, but he said nothing. Finished his dinner.

That night he did get a bellyache and wound up in the hospital wing, where Pomfrey fussed at him and poured a disgusting potion down his throat. It was pink, and thick, and it tasted like minty chalk. Remus thought it made him feel worse than he had before.

Eventually she allowed him to leave and Remus slowly made his way back to Gryffindor Tower. He wasn't looking forward to going back up to the dormitory. James would likely be awake, as would Peter and Sirius would be out of detention, and the three of them would no doubt be talking about Gudgeon again, making jokes and laughing cruelly. Remus felt his stomach give another unpleasant squirm at the thought.

It wasn't that Remus himself was gay. He actually had very little idea of what being gay meant. He'd never known anyone to be queer, wouldn't know one if he saw them. He didn't think you could really tell anyway - much in the way that no one could just look at him and think werewolf. He wondered how James and the others could be so cruel to someone who was different and yet accept him for what he was. After all, he turned into a slavering beast once a month, one that would like nothing more than to eat any of them without a second thought.

Certainly, that had to be far worse than Davey Gudgeon snogging another boy behind the greenhouses, he thought.

With these thoughts on his mind Remus climbed through the portrait hole and trudged up the steps to the dormitory, and was surprised to find it still. Snores came from Peter's bed - someone had forgot to put up the usual Silencing Charm around him, so Remus drew his wand and quietly muttered the spell himself - and there were twin lumps in James and Sirius's beds as well. It looked as though they'd all be asleep for some time.

Grateful for his good fortune, Remus got undressed and crawled into his own bed. His stomach was finally settled, and he was tired, and he didn't think it would be long before he fell asleep.

Except that he couldn't shut his mind off.

He closed his eyes and saw Gudgeon there. Davey was tall, with dark hair and bright eyes. He was a Beater, or had been until that day, and Remus could remember seeing him at matches against Gryffindor, quite clearly. He wasn't bad-looking, Remus mused, and then he immediately regretted it because boys didn't think other boys were fit, did they?

No, they didn't.

He squeezed his eyes shut and willed the thoughts to go away, tried to take them back, but they kept coming. Gudgeon and some faceless boy, snogging. James had said they'd been caught shagging in the broom shed. How did boys shag each other? Remus wasn't stupid, he knew about the hand-jobs some of the boys did in the showers, but no one ever talked about that. That wasn't queer, because it was just for fun. Sirius had explained it once, when Remus had walked in on him and James naked in the dormitory, their hands between each other's legs.

"It doesn't mean I'm, you know, a poof," Sirius had said after, to a red-faced Remus who sat cowering by the Common Room fireplace. "It's just something we do sometimes. You know, help each other out." Then Sirius had laughed. "It's not like James is ever going to get anywhere with Evans, is it?"

Remus shivered. It was cold in the room. The fire must have gone out. He'd always been more aware of the cold than the others. He shivered again and rolled over. The next bed across was Sirius's, and he could see him lying there with his face pressed into his pillow, mouth open and drooling slightly. Every so often he would give a great sigh, almost like the doggy snores of Padfoot on the morning after a full moon, when Remus was the first one awake.

Sirius. He hadn't been there that evening due to a detention with Filch. Remus wondered what he thought of Gudgeon. He knew it was likely that Sirius agreed with James because Sirius always agreed with James, but he couldn't help but be curious. Sirius had been so laid-back about being caught with his hand in another boy's pants - was it really all that different than what Gudgeon was doing?

Slipping out of bed and wincing when his bare feet touched the stone floor, Remus padded silently over to Sirius's bed and prodded him in the shoulder. "Padfoot."

Sirius snorted, but did not wake. Remus tried again. "Padfoot? Padfoot." He leaned in close, hissing into Sirius's ear. "Wake up, you stupid sod. Wake up."

He shoved Sirius then, and Sirius's eyes flew open. "Yes! I have a hammer!" he shouted, and then he frowned and looked up at Remus. "Did you wake me up?"

"Yeah," said Remus, suddenly feeling foolish for it. Also, he was cold, and he shivered, wrapping his arms around himself. "I wanted to ask you something."

"It couldn't wait until morning? What the sod time is it?" Sirius rubbed his eyes and yawned, and looked to the window. "It's still dark, you toerag. I'll never get back to sleep now."

"Sorry," said Remus. "Um, I'll go back to bed. Nevermind."

Sirius made an odd, squawking sound. "Like hell, you're going back to bed!" he yelped, pausing when the lump in James's bed grunted and moved. When it was still again, he glowered up at Remus. "You woke me up, so ask me whatever the fuck it is you had to ask me at bloody hell o'clock in the morning. Or I swear, Moony, I'll hex you so your willy comes out of your forehead, so help me."

"Er." Remus shifted from foot to foot, running his hands up and down his arms. "I just- we were talking about Davey Gudgeon at dinner and you weren't there, so I wondered... you know."

"I don't know- and Merlin's beard, you're freezing. Get in." Sirius threw back the blankets and scooted over. "You'll catch cold and end up in the hospital wing again, and Pomfrey'll have to name it after you."

Remus hesitated. Sharing beds wasn't uncommon in the dormitories, especially on cold nights, but for some reason he was reluctant to do it tonight. Nevertheless he was freezing, and he really wanted to know what Sirius thought of the whole Gudgeon debacle, so he climbed into the bed and settled under the covers beside Sirius, turning slightly to look at him. "Thanks," he said.

Sirius grunted. "So, you heard about Gudgeon then?" He laid back, arms crossed behind his head and eyes on the canopy above them. "Yeah, Fabian Prewett told me. Said it was a Ravenclaw or sommat, Professor Apastron caught 'em having a wank together in the Astronomy Tower."

"That's not what James said," Remus murmured. "He said they'd been, er, shagging in the broom shed."

"James is a pillock," Sirius laughed. "He's got it all wrong. They chucked Gudgeon into detention with me tonight. I got it straight from the hippogriff's beak. He and the other bloke were just, you know. Helping each other out."

Remus nodded. "Like you and James do sometimes," he said quietly, and at once he wondered if he ought to have. They hadn't talked about it since. Remus hadn't really thought about it too much - or he hadn't let himself think about it. Much.

Sirius turned and looked at him, and his eyes seemed a little too bright for the dark of the room. "Sort of like that," was all he said. "Anyway, it's bollocks, is what it is. They chucked him off the team for it and that's just bollocks. He was a bloody good Beater. Hufflepuff hasn't got a chance for the Cup now. Not that they ever did, of course." A toothy grin.

"Why would they chuck him from the team?" Remus asked. "It seems a bit stupid, really. They only hurt themselves."

"Because they're toerags." Sirius shook his head. "I mean, they made this enormous thing out of it, and everyone does it, I don't care who says what. It's stupid, yeah. Stupid."

Then Remus saw what Sirius was trying so hard to hide: worry, in the faint line that formed in the centre of his brow. "You should be careful," he said, without thinking. "If they'll sack Gudgeon then they might sack you too. And James."

Sirius snorted. "They wouldn't dare," he said quickly. "We're the best players on the team. McGonagall would go spare."

"Not if she were the one to catch you doing... that," said Remus unhelpfully.

"Well," Sirius shrugged. "We don't do it that much anymore, anyway, so it's not a big deal."

"Oh." Remus was quiet for a moment, and thoughtful. "Why not?"

"Jesus, Moony! Give it a rest!" Sirius rolled onto his side, away from Remus. "Go to sleep, would you? There's an exam tomorrow in Potions, you know."

Remus frowned. "Since when do you care about exams?" he asked, lying back against the pillow anyway. He said nothing for a long moment. Remus sighed. "Sorry, Padfoot," he said softly. "Goodnight, then."

The room fell silent, save for the sound of Sirius's breathing and James's nocturnal grunts from across the room. An owl hooted outside the window, and the faint chirrup of bats. Remus lay awake, staring up at the canopy.

"It was only that one time, really," said Sirius suddenly, voice slightly muffled by the blankets. "When you came in."

Remus turned his head, looked at the back of Sirius's. "Oh," he said. "I thought it was more."

"No." Sirius rolled onto his back. "James just- He's got Evans on the brain, you see. Won't settle for any other girl so he was- He wanted to do stuff and I wanted to do stuff so we just... did stuff together, you know? Best mates, you see."

"I see." Remus could only see the outline of Sirius's face in the light from the window, the light of the half-moon. "Was it... all right, then?"

"Yeah," said Sirius. "It was- odd. I mean, 'cause it was Prongs, you know? And he's a bloke and all and I thought it wouldn't matter if I closed my eyes, but I still knew it was Prongs, so."

"You didn't mind?"

"I don't know. I didn't much care, I just wanted to get off." Remus could hear the grin even though he couldn't see it. "It was all right."

"Ah. Okay," said Remus. He nibbled at a fingernail.

"What about you, Moony?"

Remus jerked his head toward Sirius. "What? What about me?"

The grin returned, and Remus could see the glint of white teeth beneath grey eyes. "You ever done the business, then?"

"Er." Remus was grateful for the darkness when he felt his face begin to burn. "Not really. I sort of - er. With a girl, there was some stuff, last term..."

"Yeah?" Sirius rolled over, facing Remus. "Who?"

"Not telling you."

"Come on!" Sirius sat up suddenly, prodded Remus in the shoulder. "Tell us."


"You snog her?" Sirius poked him again. "You snogged her, you great arse, and you didn't tell us!"

"I don't kiss and tell," said Remus haughtily, scowling and crossing his arms.

Sirius scoffed. "Well, la-dee-da. Now I think you're having me on. No one says that anymore, Remus. God." He slumps down, as though disappointed. "If I didn't know better I'd swear you're the queer at this school, sometimes."

Remus's stomach churned. "M'not," he mumbled. "I've kissed only girls." He kicked Sirius in the leg. "Not blokes."

"Oi!" Sirius kicked him back and made a show of bending his leg up and reaching under the blankets to rub it. "Yeah, well. I have, but it doesn't make me a ruddy shirt-lifter."

"You have?" Remus looked at him. "Oh, James..."

"No," said Sirius quietly. "Not James."

Remus's eyes widened.

"You won't tell anybody." Sirius's hand found Remus's arm and he squeezed, somewhat painfully. "Promise me, Remus."

"Let go," Remus said, shoving him off. "Why would I bloody tell anyone, you fuckwit? When you know what I am?"

Sirius was silent for a moment. "But I told that to someone," he said eventually, reluctantly. "You could do it in revenge."

Remus sighed. "I couldn't," he said wearily. "Because I'm not like you."

Neither of them said anything. Remus was still, feeling Sirius beside him, all tension and uneven breathing. He felt only slightly guilty for what he'd said, even if it had been the truth. After a long while, he thought perhaps Sirius had fallen asleep, so he rolled over to lie on his side, facing Sirius.

Sirius was looking right back at him.

"Oh," said Remus, moving back a bit, unnerved by Sirius's sudden proximity. "I thought you'd gone to sleep."

"I'm sorry," said Sirius, so softly Remus thought he might have misheard him, until he said it again. "I'm sorry, Moony."

It wasn't Sirius's normal voice. It sounded younger, naked in the darkness of their room. Remus took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, suddenly exhausted.

"I know," he said. "I know you are. I shouldn't have said..." He cleared his throat, and searched for some way to change the subject. "Who was it, then?" he asked.

"Who was who?"

"The boy. The one you kissed?"

"Oh," said Sirius, and the cocksure flippancy returned to his voice at once. "Just some bloke, over the hols. Met him down the pub."

Remus frowned. "You just met him, and then kissed him?"

"No," said Sirius. "We snogged. Big difference, that. Snogging's like... it's all tongues and such. It's really good, wet and kind of messy."

Remus didn't think a snog sounded very appetising. "Er, all right."

"I thought you said you'd snogged girls?" asked Sirius, raising an eyebrow.

"I didn't," said Remus. "I said I'd kissed them. One. Er."

"You pansy," said Sirius, laughing. "Well, really. Girls are for kissing, anyway. You snog a bloke. Otherwise you are queer."

"...huh?" Remus stared at him. "How is that even remotely logical?"

"It's like this." Sirius sat up, getting into the discussion again. "You can't kiss a bloke because then you're queer, because then it's all soppy and gooey and, you know, the way it's supposed to be with a girl. Like, when you go off and get married and have loads of sprogs and all that. You can't want to do that with another bloke so you just - you snog 'em and get off and that's that."

"That sounds..." Remus thought for a moment. "...really stupid."

"It's not!" Sirius insisted. "It's- oh, come here, I'll show you."

Remus froze. "Wh-what?" he asked.

Sirius prodded him. "Budge up a bit, come on." He pushed Remus back until he was propped up more on the pillow. "All right?"

"Sirius, what are you-"

He never finished the sentence. Sirius's mouth found his and at first, it was sloppy and uncomfortable. Remus struggled for a moment but Sirius's hands came round to grip his wrists, and he realised he wasn't going to get away. He didn't have much choice but to let Sirius kiss him.

No, kiss was the wrong word. There was a tongue pushing his lips apart, and then it was in his mouth, and it twisted round his own and Remus understood that he was being snogged. He opened his mouth a little wider, letting Sirius suck at his tongue, drawing it against his own. His grip loosened from Remus's wrists, and one of Sirius's hands found its way into his hair.

Before he knew what was happening, Remus found himself covered in Sirius. Sirius had settled over him, pushing him down into the mattress and kissing him so hard their teeth clicked. Sirius groaned, and Remus made a surprised sound and grasped at Sirius's pyjama top only to realise he wasn't wearing one, and he gasped.

"What?" Sirius pulled away, staring down at Remus as though he'd never seen him before. "Remus-"

"More," said Remus, reaching up and taking fistfuls of Sirius's hair and pulling him back down, catching Sirius's lips with his own. Sirius obliged, settling between Remus's legs, bringing their hips together. As they kissed - no, Remus told himself, snogged - they began to move against each other, looking for friction.

"Oh God," said Sirius against Remus's mouth. "God-"

"Move." Remus shifted, bucking up against Sirius. "Just- please, move." He was harder than he'd ever been in his life, and so close that when Sirius's tongue plunged into his mouth again he came, seeing stars and cursing a litany between Sirius's lips. Moments later Sirius shuddered and swore, and warmth spread across Remus's belly.

For a moment, neither of them moved beyond attempts to catch their breath and shift when the mess between them became cold and sticky. Eventually Sirius found his wand and uttered a quiet Scouring Charm, and rolled off and away from him. Remus pushed himself up on his hands, swallowing thickly and trying to process what the hell just happened.

"See?" a breathless Sirius said, without looking at him. "Told you it was brilliant."

"Is it-" Remus swallowed again. "Is it always like that?" he asked.

"No," said Sirius, with what Remus could only ever describe as a wolfish grin. "Sometimes it's better."

They didn't talk about it the next morning, or even days later when it happened again, this time in Remus's bed after the others had gone to sleep. From sixth year into seventh, Sirius and Remus went on as they always had during the day, with the night reserved for lips and tongues, for moving against each other until they were left spent and gasping.

Then Hogwarts was behind them. James, having miraculously overcome Lily Evans's natural resistance to his dubious charms, took up a flat with her in London, while Peter remained at home with his mother in Surrey. Sirius had a flat as well, not far from James, and it seemed only natural for Remus to join him there, which he willingly and happily did upon request.

Sirius didn't think Remus had anywhere else to go, honestly.

They were still carrying on as they had done in school. Sirius would come back to the flat at the end of the day and find Remus there, reading or writing, conducting research at Dumbledore's behest. They would talk, get take away or see a Muggle film, or meet James and Peter for drinks at the Leaky Cauldron.

A perfectly normal existence, even by wizard standards.

At night, though, Sirius would often steal into Remus's room, slipping into bed beside him and reaching for him, and Remus would be waiting. By now they knew each other's bodies as well as they knew their own, and Sirius knew exactly what to do to make Remus writhe beneath him. He knew that on the run up to the full moon Remus preferred to be in control, to have Sirius on his back, to be the one inside. Sirius knew that if he ever had need of a warm body to move against and a warm bed to sleep in, it was only as far away as the next room.

And that was what they'd agreed, though without words. An arrangement of sorts, to ensure that neither of them would have to spend a night alone if he didn't want to. It had carried them through school and it would likely get them through adulthood - however much of it they had, in the face of the war that was steadily brewing.

It was a good arrangement, Sirius felt. He liked knowing there would be someone at home, waiting for him if he needed him, and he thought Remus appreciated that as well. He always had a standing date for films and parties, and if he wanted to fool around it was as easy as sneaking up behind Remus and jumping on him.

It made Sirius look forward to going home, which wasn't something he was used to.

"Moony?" He pushed open the door and peered around the front room. It was as it always was - strewn with books on every surface, Sirius's shoes on the floor, Quidditch pennants tacked up on the walls and yesterday's take-away curry fermenting on the coffee table.

But no Remus.

Sirius shut the door behind him and strode quickly through the flat, looking into the rooms and checking the bath. No sign of Remus. Finally, in the kitchen, he found a note attached to the contraption Remus had insisted they get to keep food in, which baffled Sirius because what was the use of learning all those Cooling Charms, then? He picked up the note, and read.

Padfoot - Gone out with Dorcas for tea. Might be late - have the rest of the curry if you didn't leave it out last night. If you did, there's Muggle money in the cupboard behind you, so you can go and get a pizza. Or, if you are so inclined, do a bit of the shopping so we don't have to eat take-away every night. I'll see you later, or tomorrow. - Remus.

Sirius frowned, and crumpled the note in his hand. It wasn't the first time Remus had gone to tea with Dorcas Meadowes, a pretty girl they all knew from school. Sirius didn't like her, though he never could sort out exactly why.

Ignoring the Muggle money Remus had left for him, Sirius abandoned the flat and, after an hour of wandering Soho aimlessly, finally ducked down an alleyway and Apparated to the only place he could really go.

"Sirius?" Lily answered the door, hair in a sloppy bun and an apron tied around her middle. She brandished a broom - not a proper one, a Muggle broom - at him. "What're you doing here? I'm cleaning; you'll get mud on my floors. Go home!"

"Don't want to," said Sirius, kicking off his boots and leaving them in the hall before pushing past Lily and stepping into the flat. "Prongs here?"

"He's out with Kingsley Shacklebolt," said Lily with a sigh, shutting the door. "He'll probably be out all night, Sirius. They went to the Cauldron, you could probably find them there."

Sirius didn't want to find them. He didn't even know why he was there. He looked at Lily and ran a hand through his hair. "If it's all the same to you, I'd rather wait here."

Lily eyed him warily. "All right," she said, and then she thrust the broom at him. "But only if you help me clean."

"Clean?" Sirius blanched and regarded the broom as though it were a hot poker. "Evans, you're out of your tree, if you think I'm going to help you clean. Especially like a Muggle." He shakes his head. "You're a witch! Use a cleaning charm!"

"It's not the same," said Lily, shaking her head. "And my parents are coming, and they'll know. Trust me. They always know when I use magic to do something the easy way. Get to sweeping."

Cowed, Sirius swept. He helped Lily change the linens on the bed. He fluffed sofa cushions. He brushed Lily's cat, Minnaloushe, sneezing all the while. And he did it without complaint, which is why after a couple of hours Lily came up behind him, as he was dusting James's Quidditch trophies, and told him to join her in the kitchen for tea.

"What's going on, Sirius?" she asked as she poured him a cup. Sirius had to admit that he liked Lily's tea better than anyone else's, except perhaps Remus's, and he thought it might be because both of them made it the Muggle way. He sipped thoughtfully, and didn't look at her.

Lily sat down across from him, chin in hand, studying him. "Did you and Remus have a row?" she asked. Sirius did look at her then, narrowing his eyes. He shook his head.

"No," he said. "He wasn't even home when I got there."


"He's out with Dorcas Meadowes," said Sirius unnecessarily. He wasn't certain why he said it. He sipped at his tea until he noticed Lily's face. She looked stricken. "What?"

"He's- but I thought..." She looked at Sirius, eyes wide and ludicrously green. "How could he do that? Do you?"

Sirius frowned. "Do what?" He shrugged. "He goes out with her all the time. She's pretty fit, can't say I blame him." He finished his cup and reached for the kettle, pouring himself more tea and warming Lily's cup. When he looked up at her, she still looked horrified. "Lily, what is it?"

"You..." Lily shook her head, covered her eyes with her hand, running it up into her hair. "I'm sorry, I just thought... aren't you and Remus... er." She made a frantic little gesture with her hands. "I thought you were together, the two of you."

Sirius blanched. "We- ah, no." He ran a hand through his own hair, nervously. "We're not. Who... who told you we were?" He was going to murder James.

"No one," said Lily quickly. "I just thought- When we saw you last week, the both of you were... I just thought it looked like..." Lily suddenly swiped at her eyes, and Sirius realised in horror that she was starting to cry. "Oh, ignore me. I'm being stupid. I just assumed, and James is always telling me not to bloody do that, it gets me into trouble!"

"Lily," said Sirius, reaching across the table to touch her hand but thinking better of it, and pulling back. "What're you talking about?"

She sighed, slumping forward. "Last week, at that party. You and Remus were there, and I thought-" Lily pushed the hair out of her eyes. "Remus looked at you like James looks at me, sometimes. So I thought..." She laughs suddenly, wearily. "You must think I'm an utter idiot, Sirius."

Sirius swallowed. "Listen, Lily," he croaked. "Listen, Moony and I- We have this arrangement, see? It's... We're not, I mean. It's not like that." He leans forward. "I'm not queer," he said urgently.

"Ah." Lily just looked at him for a long time. It was unnerving, and made Sirius squirm in his seat. Finally, she sighed and pushed her untouched teacup away. "Isn't that lonely?" she asked.

"Lonely?" Sirius blinked. "Well... no. It's supposed to be so we're not lonely. I mean, I've always got him and he's always got me."

"Except right now," Lily said quietly. "He's got Dorcas Meadowes, and you're here, helping me tidy my flat."

Sirius froze.

"I have to go," he said suddenly, jumping up and going for the door. Lily followed; he could feel her grasping for his sleeve from behind. Sirius jerked his arm away. "I have to go."

"Sirius." Lily's voice sounded frantic, slightly apologetic. "Where are you going?"

"Out. Maybe I'll pick up a bird. He's not the only one who can do that, you know." Sirius pulled open the door. "Tell Prongs I'll owl him. Thanks for the tea."

Lily leaned against the wall. "Oh, Sirius," she said. "I'm sorry."

Sirius gave her a dismissive wave. "Don't be," he said, and he grinned at her. "You're right. It is lonely. I don't have to wait round for Remus. I can do what I want. Just like he does."

With a CRACK! he Apparated, leaving Lily standing bewildered in her hall, wondering what she'd done.

He had left the curry out. Remus poked at the box with his wand and wrinkled his nose. Sirius had a habit of forgetting why they had got a refrigerator. Remus often wondered if it was perhaps because Sirius often forgot what it was for. He never really could get his head round Muggle objects.

Quickly, Remus tidied away the spoiled food and set about picking up the books and things from the floor. Sirius's boots still lay by the door, so Remus picked them up and carried them into Sirius's room, where he found a lump in Sirius's bed, beneath the covers.

Smiling to himself, Remus dropped the boots to the floor and stole quietly into the room. He sat on the edge of the bed and cleared his throat. "Anyone at home?" he asked lightly.

The lump grunted. Remus pulled back some of the blankets to reveal Sirius, fully dressed and looking bleary. Remus sighed. "What did you do, fall into bed with your clothes still on you?"

Sirius turned away from him. "Waited up for you," he grumbled. "Long tea."

"We met up with some folks from the Order," said Remus, standing up and pulling off his jumper, and toeing off his shoes. "You should have come along, James was there, with Shacklebolt. I tried to owl but I guess you weren't at home yet." He shucked his trousers and pants and pulled back the blankets, sliding in beside Sirius and curling around him from behind. "Sorry, didn't mean to worry you."

He felt Sirius stiffen in his arms. "Wasn't worried," he muttered. "Was out with some friends myself. Brilliant lot. You know Marlene McKinnon? That Hufflepuff with legs up to her neck? She was there."

"Was she?" Remus ducked a hand under Sirius's jumper, fingers ghosting over the skin there. "I hope you had a good time." He tugged at the jumper. "You should get out of these, it can't be comfortable."

Sirius gave a non-committal grunt but obliged, slipping out of his jumper and sitting up enough to pull off his trousers and toss them over the side of his bed. Remus watched with a small smile.

"I heard you paid Lily a visit," he said, once Sirius had returned and he was able to get his arms around him again. When he felt him stiffen, he tightened his grip. "We stopped at James's before I came back here. She told me you'd called by."

"She made me clean," Sirius said, bitterly. "Madwoman."

Remus laughed. "Poor you," he said, ducking his face against the back of Sirius's neck. "She told me what you talked about."

Sirius said nothing.

"I'm not seeing Dorcas, Sirius." Remus smoothed a hand over Sirius's hair. "She's engaged, actually. To one of the Prewett brothers."

"I wouldn't care if you were- what?" Sirius rolled over, finally, to face Remus. "She's engaged?"

Remus smiled. "She is. She's very happy about it. We were celebrating the engagement tonight actually. It was sudden, which is why none of us knew until we got there."

"Oh." Sirius frowned. "Well, even so, I still wouldn't care if you were seeing her. Or anyone else. That's what we agreed on, isn't it?"

"Not really," said Remus. "Seeing as how we've never talked about it. In four years, we've never once discussed that, Sirius."

He felt Sirius take in a sharp breath. "Has it really been four years?" he asked quietly. "I hadn't realised."

"Four years." Remus pressed his forehead against Sirius's. "Since I got into your bed and asked you about Davey Gudgeon." He paused. "Do you know what's happened to him, Sirius?"

Sirius shrugged. "Haven't heard a dicky bird."

"He lives in Chelsea," said Remus, smirking slightly. "With that Ravenclaw fellow he was 'having a bit of fun with.'"

"...oh." Sirius's eyes widened. "He's- Gudgeon really is a queer?"

"Yes," said Remus. "As am I."

Sirius stared at him. "You're not queer," he said. "You- Come on, Remus. You're having me on."

Remus sighed. "Sirius, I am naked, and lying in a bed with you right now. We sleep together on a regular basis." He grins. "Not only am I a queer, Sirius, so are you."

"I am not," Sirius said. "It's not like that-"

"Isn't it?" Remus reached up and touched Sirius's face, brushing the hair from his eyes. "Sirius, do you know what we did last night?"

Sirius turned faintly pink around the edges. "You, er, fucked me," he said. "But that doesn't mean-"

"Not that," said Remus, pressing a finger to Sirius's lips. "This." He leaned forward and pressed his mouth where his finger had been. He kissed Sirius, softly, the way they had done for the last year or more. Just the soft press of lips together, parting just enough to share breath and taste, and the sigh that passed from Sirius's mouth into his own. He kissed Sirius.

After a moment, Sirius kissed him back.

When they parted, Sirius looked at him with wide, grey eyes.

"Oh, my God," he breathed. "I'm a sodding poof."

Remus laughed. "Of course you are," he said, kissing the corner of Sirius's mouth. "Good luck for me, loving you as I do."

Sirius blinked.


Remus smiled.

Sirius blinked again. "Oh." He frowned slightly. "Well... I suppose if I'm queer then I must love you too?"

"Yes," Remus nodded. "You do."

"Oh." Sirius looked thoughtful. "Well, that's all right, then. If we're poofs and all."

"We are, Sirius." Remus pulled Sirius on top of him and murmured happily into his mouth. "We most certainly are."