Under Your Skin

There may not be another way to your heart, so I guess I'd better find a new way in

It had happened all too easily one day in History of Magic class. The air had been hot, the professor's empty monotonous words causing no more stir than a fan lazily turning in stagnant air. The boredom weighting them all down was trying even the patience of Remus, a true scholar. He happened to lift his quill from his page of meticulous notes and stole a glance to his right. Immediately next to him was James, unabashedly and undoubtedly fast asleep. Head down on his notes (which contained a couple lines he had halfheartedly copied down before giving in to his stupor), the tiniest bit of drool escaping his mouth and dampening the parchment, and—was that a snore he had just heard? Remus smiled to himself and looked to James's other side.

Sirius, surprisingly, was not asleep. Instead, he had his chair tilted back (Remus's brain twitched at the flagrant danger his friend was engaging in), one foot resting on the knee of the other leg and tapping the edge of the desk with no particular rhythm, just a relentless soft sound heard in between Binns's equally inexorable drone. But it was what Remus beheld as his eyes traveled upward that made him nearly choke.

Without even a pretense of paying attention to the lesson, Sirius was instead directing his ministrations at one oh-so-innocuous sugar quill. Remus gaped as Sirius drew the quill into his mouth, savoring the sugary flavor, before drawing it out again to hover between his lips, sucking the tip gently. Then his tongue darted out and traversed the length in a way that was ever so slow, languorous. Deliberate. It was amazing the way that sort of easy laziness could so thoroughly pervade every one of Sirius's actions, stirring the deepest envy within Remus.

Finally Sirius looked up from his sugary plaything to notice his friend with his jaw nearly at the floor, his quill forgotten and his hand twitching so pleasantly. Sirius waited until his eyes had perfect contact with Remus's, and then let him watch helplessly as he made a great show of taking in every aspect of Remus's body before flicking back up to his face, pausing one tantalizing moment, and then winking. Then he casually turned back to his quill, sucking the end as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

After that, the sound of a chair crashing back and a very flustered boy tearing out of the room broke the torpid silence, which settled just as stiflingly back on the room as soon as the door slammed shut on the room.

I won't be satisfied 'til I'm under your skin

In the days that followed, Remus spent as much time as possible holed up in the deepest, darkest corners of the library, tearing through every book he could find in the "Romance" section. In times like these, the written word had been Remus's best hope in figuring out what the hell was happening to him. It had gotten him through all previous quandaries and dilemmas, so surely somewhere there was some magic equation that would make all the funny squiggles he felt whenever he saw Sirius disappear, as well as the disturbing dreams wreaking havoc on his subconscious. He shuddered at the thought of last night's installment, and how happy he had felt, and how that feeling had gone away so sharply when he woke and the painful realization of reality crashed down on him. What scared him was the uninhibited bliss he felt in that ethereal world, and how it seemed to be guiding him to seek the same joy in the world of reality. But that was impossible. He didn't want to feel these things for Sirius. They were disturbing, unsettling, and most of all dangerous. They scared him in a way he couldn't abide, so he continued to shove them away and search for the antidote in his books.

Why couldn't Sirius have just stayed Sirius? His irresponsible, flighty, and always entertaining friend they all indulged affectionately. Now he was Sirius, the one thing he couldn't have but wanted to desperately, and thus had to avoid. Sirius was the unstable element, the thing balanced precariously on the edge of destroying the carefully planned life Remus had set up for himself. Everything had its place, from his books to his friends, and the thought of one of them straying past their allotted space and testing the boundaries might cause the whole house of cards to topple over. Without his structure, Remus had nothing. He was not in love with Sirius.

It had been three days since Remus's friends had seen nothing more than a blur dashing past them at mealtimes and in the common room, nor heard more than a creak as he slipped into his bed hours after the rest of them had turned out the light. Remus had spent all his free time in the library, migrating cautiously from area to area as a precaution if one of them were to come in, peeking out from his vantage point ever so often to survey the vicinity and make sure none of them were lurking about. Part of him was disappointed that Sirius hadn't come after him, but the larger part was immensely relieved that he hadn't had to deal with the repercussions that would surely ensue. Remus wasn't sure which he hated more, instability or uncertainty. So he spent his nights up late among stacks of dusty books, weary of searching for that elusive solution but unwilling to face the other option.

It was during one of these midnight lucubrations that Sirius happened upon this withering shell of his friend in a dark corner of the library where one towering stack met the next. From his position, it was evident that Remus had been sitting cross-legged on the floor, the book open on his lap, but now his comatose form slumped over the tome in much the same way James had been that one day that seemed so long ago, now. One candle, balanced on a stack of books nearby, emitted a flickering light that played across his features. Sirius smiled and stepped closer to wake him up, but a stray book caught his foot and before he knew it he had toppled very nearly on top of Remus, who awoke with a start to find himself in very close proximity to Sirius's body.

"Sirius! You were just… there, and… I…" For indeed, Sirius had been starring in another of Remus's ever-irritating-in-their-frequency romantic dreams, and it was with some shock that he woke up to much the same visual in reality. However, as he had been avoiding Sirius diligently for the past three days, his first impulse was to run away, and he attempted to get up and do just that. But Sirius wouldn't let him go.

"No, please, Remus," and his eyes looked so soft in the candlelight, and that funny stirring was back in Remus's stomach. "I didn't mean to cause this… rift between us. I only meant to, well… wake you up, in some ways… and well, you know me, I had to go about it in my own gitlike way, and try to… er, well, seduce you in the middle of class…"

Remus looked away, his cheeks flaming. So it had been deliberate. He narrowed his eyes. "So I was just your toy? As much as that damn sugar quill? I was just a little pawn on your chessboard, is that it? A way for you to have some fun on a particularly boring day? I don't think s…"

His words were cut off by a pair of most insistent and demanding lips pushed quite roughly and suddenly onto his own. Remus's eyes flew open in surprise, and he was just giving in to that pleasantly wet sensation when Sirius pulled back and said, "Don't you get it? It wasn't… just that. It's just that your head is buried in those books so often, I knew I'd have to take some desperate measures to get you to notice how I… well… how I felt… about you," and Remus noted with no small amount of satisfaction how wonderfully red Sirius's face was becoming, and how earnest his eyes had been, though they were now downcast, and how this was such a change from languid, casual Sirius, and how that was an even further indication of the depth of his emotions. "And, well… I daresay I had fun doing it," and a hint of a grin played around his face, and: there, the same old leering Sirius was back again.

And Remus was smiling up at him ever so tentatively, and then Sirius's face came closer to his again, and that sensation was back, and Sirius was kissing him so intently, so sincerely that he couldn't help but kiss him back, and wrap his arms around his friend, one hand even catching on the bottom of Sirius's shirt to brush up against skin so warm and comforting, and as his other hand tangled in Sirius's ever-mussed locks he felt the other boy moan in a way that had never seemed so much like perfection. Remus broke the kiss with a gasp, hardly believing what was happening. His perfectly constructed world might be crumbling around him, but he buried his face in Sirius's chest and gave in to chaos.