DISCLAIMER: They are not mine! How dare you insinuate such rubbish! I mean, that's not to say it wouldn't be interesting to own them, but the fact stands that I do not. Humph!

WARNING: Gods, yes, this contains slash. I am going to make a standard warning to just insert in all of these. I think this is my 20th story so I think that means I've come up with like 20 different warnings and disclaimers; I think I deserve a rest.

The Nuances of Scent

By

LizzY Tears

0000

Remus had always understood that some smells could bring back memories. He had used the technique in exams more than once; actually caused a certain smell to be around him while he studied and then had it with him during the exam. The other Marauders thought he was bonkers; but he was the one who managed to pass everything.

But getting back to smells.

Remus was lying on the double couch in the Common Room, staring into the fire while attempting to discreetly discover the source of a particularly pungent smell that had been haunting him for some time.

It was really only a suggestion of a smell, something that lingered at the back of his mind when he wasn't concentrating, something that tickled the back of his throat when he was caught off guard and something that ultimately claimed his every thought.

It was really becoming a problem, actually, because study appeared to mostly to consist of:

"Belladonna generally has the properties of …" I wonder if it smells like that smell, could be worth checking it out … study, Remus, study!

So for once, his acute sense of smell was turning against him and making him a prisoner within his own senses.

Glaring, Remus folded his arms in annoyance and narrowed his eyes, staring intently at the fire with his forehead creased as he attempted to discern the source of the mystery smell.

It wasn't the fabric softener (or the magical equivalent) the House Elves used on his bedding, it had been the first thought that sprung to his mind and he had checked.

It wasn't a flower or plant in the Forbidden Forest or the Herbology room. He knew this because he had painstakingly hunted down every one during the full moon (the desire to discover the source was strong enough to pervade his monthly insanity and force him to continue his quest even then) and Herbology respectively.

It wasn't a smell of food being prepared or served; he had paid special attention to the scents inside the Great Hall at mealtimes and the smell was not to be found there.

The fragrance was also not to be found inside the dormitory; Remus had searched it thoroughly when everyone else was vacant and the room was empty and his.

It was quite despairing, really, this endless search for something apparently unattainable. He thought despondently that it was actually a metaphor for life or love; always searching, rarely finding, the always expected something that we live for.

He had the vague notion that he half knew the odour very well and had only forgotten the cause, rather than simply having smelt it once or twice before and attempting to recapture something his memory told him was greater than it was. He had the same problem with food; he tasted something once and forever craved the same sensation he had experienced then, and even when he tasted the same food, it was never quite what his memory had promised him.

So he was left feeling very frustrated and annoyed that this aroma was so allusive. He racked his brains attempting to discover the root of his mystery smell, trying to place exactly where he knew it stemmed from, trying to remember every scent he had ever encountered and trying to catalogue every smell he knew well.

It wasn't his soap, his sheets, food, flowers or plants, parchment, quills, classrooms or other rooms. It wasn't the Shack, it wasn't Hogsmeade, it wasn't the lake, it wasn't their tree, it wasn't the Invisibility cloak (although something was nagging at him and telling him it was related to the Invisibility cloak in some way, which puzzled him even more), and it wasn't the Common Room.

It wasn't even a smell he was faced with very often; that of wet, dirty boys as they came in from Quidditch practice. It wasn't the smell of the library or books and it wasn't related to the cushions he spent a lot of time with in Charms.

He was sure it had nothing to do with the school, and it obviously had nothing to do with being outside. It couldn't be related to his monthly changes and it wasn't sweets or chocolate. It wasn't to do with Quidditch, detentions, trouble, pranks or Butterbeer. It wasn't bedtime, morning, afternoon or night specifically and it wasn't the Owlery or Transfiguration.

But somehow … somehow something was telling him that it was all of those things, imperceptibly, impossibly linked somehow to all of the aspects of his life.

Still sitting in the now slowly emptying Common Room, a frown of pure vexation fixed on his face, he was even desperately beginning to consider that it was his friends he was smelling, picking up on their distinctive odours they created as part of their person.

He focussed first on James. James smelt physically of the open air, grass, welcome cooking smells, brooms, the Owlery and usually Lily's perfume mixed with his own personal hygiene. Emotionally he smelt of great contentment, joy as he flew above the clouds, arousal as he spent time with Lily and mischief as he pulled another prank on Snape.

All of this gave him a fresh, teasing perfume with a hint of sweat as his physicality would dictate.

Remus shook his head. The smell was not James.

He turned his thoughts to Peter instead. The small boy smelt of sweets first and foremost, and grass because he was there so often watching James, of the kitchens where he scrounged food and a soft, baby smell that came from his copious use of talcum powder. In the emotional spectrum, there was a strong suggestion of timidness, of awe, of intimidation, but of a great desire to be kind, to help his fellow Marauders achieve their own goals and often forget his own.

Remus tended to associate his smell with youth, of questing for new things, of testing boundaries and discovering one's self. He smelt soft and almost … cuddly, with definite hints of talcum powder and general cleanliness, as though he had always not long ago stepped from a shower.

Remus sighed in agitation. The smell was not Peter.

The smell was more … like vanilla, that allusive scent that could never quite be captured by the human senses. The scent was like … spices that should not fit with vanilla, but somehow, teasingly, did. The odour was that of pine trees, grass and the brittle, old smell of brooms mixed with broom polish and maintenance. The fragrance was fabric softener, sweets, Butterbeer and cooking smells, with emotion smells that Remus could not quite put his finger on and remember.

He was straining his nose once again to find the scent and hone in on it, instead finding only the acrid smell of smoke from the fire, when suddenly his drooping eyes flew open.

It was there.

The smell Remus had been so desperately searching for so very long (or so it seemed) was there, in the room with him.

It had just appeared without warning, a fresh blast of sensation from an unknown source.

Growing quite excited at the sudden nearness to the completion of his long and tiresome search, he twisted himself around in his seat, violently knocking the book he had given up reading to the floor.

His eyes widened as he registered what had brought the deliciously familiar and long sought smell with it.

Sirius Black, his friend and roommate, had just entered the room dressed in his pyjamas and a dressing gown.

There were water droplets clinging to his jaw and down his hairline, and his skin had that just washed look about it; pink and fresh.

His hair, Remus realised, was also sopping wet and hanging in messy strings down his face, with the water leaking out into the dressing gown and the fabric of his pyjamas.

He had paused on the last step of the stairs, and was looking around the empty Common Room with an air of affronted dignity and interest. He seemed to be searching for something, his blue gaze sweeping over the chairs and tables, fixing on no one sole object.

Finally his vision came to rest on Remus, sitting twisted in the chair by the fire, his mouth hanging open as he stared at his friend.

"Oh, hello, Moony." He said casually and stretched, moving towards the fire.

Remus twisted himself back the right way and then backed up in the chair looking terrified and apprehensive.

"Stay there!" He barked almost fearfully, holding his hand out in command.

As it appeared to be shaking he didn't think it was making much of a power statement, so he tucked it back underneath himself as he struggled to maintain his precarious perch on the arm of the chair.

Sirius paused a moment in his procession forward and looked at him in confusion.

"What?" He asked in uncertainty, his eyes taking in Remus' defensive position.

"Just stay there!" Remus told him, trying to gain control of himself and his dramatic reaction.

"Remus, I'm not going to bloody well just stand here and freeze!" Sirius replied in annoyance and strode defiantly forward. "It's cold down here!"

"I know." Remus said in a strangled tone of voice that caused Sirius to glance at him again.

"Blimey, are you okay?" He requested, moving from the fire where he had begun to warm his hands towards Remus on the couch, who tried to inconspicuously push himself even further away while appearing perfectly casual and nonchalant.

"M-me?" He stuttered, shrugging jerkily. "I'm fine. Just fine. Fine and dandy. Dandy as in dandelion. Muggle flower. Weed, actually, I –."

He choked off his babbling as Sirius was suddenly sitting next to him and shaking his shoulders.

"Moony!" He exclaimed, amusement and alarm flickering over his face. "What's up with you?" He studied Remus' face closely as his senses suddenly overloaded with the increase in the intensity of the scent he had been seeking.

"Fine." Remus said dreamily and unconsciously leant forward, savouring the gift of the delicious and inaccessible perfume radiating from Sirius' nearness.

The smell, as Remus was finally presented with it in its entirety, unsullied by memory, was just as he had remembered it.

It was vanilla, with spices and scents of outdoors. It was made of the dead pine needles of brooms and the polish and hard work they required. It was possessed of sweet smells of candies and Butterbeer. It was part of the Shack, the full moon, of outdoors and cooking smells.

It was like smelling his own sheets, like coming into the dormitory after the boys had finished Quidditch, like waking up in the morning when the day was overcast and the house elves had warmed the dorm with heat spells, like going to bed when the wind was outside and Butterbeer or hot chocolate was warm in his stomach.

It was like finding that his mother had sent him the next book in his favourite series, like discovering his favourite desert was being served for breakfast because somebody had told the elves it was his birthday, like getting a high grade on a paper he had worked hard on, like seeing the look on Sirius' face when he opened his present from Remus on Christmas, like seeing James' eyes light up when Lily entered the room, like Peter's wide grin when he was praised for something, like the look on his friend's faces when a prank went well and most especially it was like seeing the twinkle in Sirius' eye when he was happy about something.

The perfume was the way Sirius either loved or hated something; there was no middle ground. The perfume was how Sirius tried to be happy all the time, even when he wasn't. The scent was how charming Sirius could be when he tried and how mischievous he could be when he didn't. The scent was the triumph Sirius exuded when he won a Quidditch match or beat James at Chess. The odour was Sirius' temper, the way it was fire one moment and then smooth sailing the next. The odour was the confusing feeling he sensed from Sirius when they embraced for whatever reason, that curious mixture of attraction and confusion.

The smell, Remus had come to realise, the smell he had been searching for was Sirius, clichéd as it sounded.

But that was being philosophical about it.

What the smell really was that Remus had been missing, aside from all the other scents mixed in with the major one, was Sirius' shampoo.

Remus admitted to himself that he had always had something of a love affair with Sirius' hair. He knew it was a ridiculously pathetic symbol to form an attachment to, but he couldn't help it.

The thickness of it and the midnight black colour was something Remus found himself musing on when he shouldn't be. He often woke up from unusual dreams, mildly confused, which he vaguely remembered had something to do with touching Sirius' hair; running his hands through it seemed more accurate when he thought about it.

"Er … Remus." Sirius said now, looking a bit taken aback. "Are you … I don't mean to sound rude or stupid, but … um … are you … smelling me?"

He flushed red with this comment and Remus simply gazed at him.

"You washed your hair." He stated dreamily without thinking, and just barely registered the stupidness of that comment.

"Um, yes." Sirius said, the confusion etching deeper into his expression.

"You haven't washed it in a while." Remus continued, forgetting he was speaking the words aloud.

"No." Sirius agreed, having apparently decided to humour him. "I only got more shampoo today."

"Ah." Remus agreed, the sun suddenly coming through the clouds as he realised why he had missed the well-known smell for so long. "That's why, then."

"Why what?" Sirius asked, predictably.

"Why I haven't smelled your hair in a few weeks." Remus answered candidly and then clapped a hand over his mouth in horror.

A smirk played over Sirius' lips as he looked down at his friend.

"You smell my hair?"

"Oh, I'm so sorry." Remus covered, trying to extricate himself from the awkward position of being half bent backwards over the arm of the chair with Sirius all but leaning over him, his hands clasped firmly around Remus' forearms. "I didn't mean to say that, it just came out, I -."

"Look, Remus." Sirius said bluntly, shifting his weight slightly. "I came down here because I wanted to talk to you."

"Oh, yes?" Remus asked, hoping the spotlight was now shifted from his stupid, babbling, aroma induced comments. "About what?"

"Well, that's kind of awkward." Sirius said, glancing around and not meeting his eyes. "It's kind of … one of those things that you're not really supposed to talk about with another boy."

Now Remus' interest was piqued.

"Oh, right." He said, trying to remain indifferent, or at least sound it. "Well, go ahead, I don't mind."

"Well, you might." Sirius told him uncomfortably.

Remus got the impression that if both of his hands hadn't been fastened tightly on Remus' forearms, that at least one would have been pushed through his hair (dammit, his wet, shiny, dredlocky hair that Remus was having a hard time ignoring) in agitation.

"See, it's kind of like … one of those make or break a friendship things." Sirius tried to elaborate, but served only to confuse Remus further.

"Just say it, Sirius!" Remus commanded.

"I …" Sirius swallowed. "This isn't easy for me. I mean, if you were a girl, this would be a cinch, but … Look, I … oh bugger it."

Remus felt Sirius shrug one moment and then the next, he felt Sirius' lips on his, forcing them open.

Well, Remus had the presence of mind to think, this is an unusual situation.

When that simple little thought was finished with, Remus concentrated on slowly letting himself respond to Sirius' ministrations because otherwise, he gathered by Sirius' tightly wound muscles, if he didn't, Sirius was going to spring off him and make excuses.

That was something Remus didn't really want, he realised, as he felt Sirius' lips pull gently on his as they pressed against his mouth.

Now he could feel Sirius pressed against him as he realised Remus was not pulling away and was in fact responding, he could feel Sirius' lips move over his, his tongue slipping inside Remus' mouth and gently pressing the sensitive areas Remus didn't know could be monopolised like that.

Now he could taste Sirius' salty lips as he pressed back.

Now he could hear Sirius' accelerated breathing along with his own.

And now, if he opened his eyes, he could see Sirius' face so close to his own, so close he could study the water still clinging to his lashes after his shower.

And as well as that, he could smell Sirius as close as he had ever wanted to be, or never realised he wanted to be.

He could smell the vanilla of Sirius' skin, the spices in his shampoo and the fresh feel that accompanied Sirius wherever he went. The slow seduction he manipulated women with was gone, replaced by Sirius as he was. He smelt Sirius' undeniable arousal and thought it might be mingled with his own.

He thought, with some giddiness, that everything he smelled he actually tasted on the very back tastebuds of his tongue, something he remembered reading somewhere nonsensical.

He also found himself being given two fulfilments of desires that day; the knowledge of where his mystery scent originated and the ability to finally slip his hands up around Sirius' shoulders and slip his fingers into that enigmatic black hair that had haunted him for so long.

He was aware, quite suddenly, that the gentle kiss between them was slowly ending and he let it go, letting his eyes float open to meet Sirius' blue eyes.

"Very articulate." He said, getting in the first word.

Sirius' eyes crinkled as he smiled.

"I thought so." He agreed. "Easier than making up words of falsified honeyed terms of love."

Remus grinned.

"Would they be falsified?"

This was the crux of the matter.

Sirius studied him for a moment, taking in the smooth golden hair spilling over the cushion he had somehow been pushed down onto, the amber eyes staring up at him and the pale complexion that looked tired and strained when it shouldn't.

"Yes." Sirius said softly. "Just at the moment, yes."

Confusion swept through the amber eyes he was observing and he clarified.

"I mean, I can give you all the honeyed terms in the world and they wouldn't be false. But they can't be words of love just yet because, let's face it, I'm the world's biggest player and I'm seventeen. But," he took a breath, "I'm definitely willing to wait to make them terms of love, because … well, I think, I hope I have it in me to love you. I'm halfway there already." He admitted and then waited for Remus' reaction. "If … if that's okay." He hesitated.

Remus took a moment to assess him, assess his words, his expression and sincerity before he spoke.

"Of course that's okay, Padfoot." He told him. "In all honesty, I couldn't say it's love yet, either. But if you have the patience to be with me until you think the honeyed terms of love won't be falsified, then I have that patience as well." He frowned. "I'm not entirely sure that sentence made sense, but you get the idea."

He reached up to brush a strand of wet hair from Sirius' eyes.

"Least now I can touch your hair when I want to and blame it on waiting." He joked.

A smile played around the corners of Sirius' mouth.

"You wanted to touch my hair?" He smirked.

Remus shrugged.

"Occasionally." He hedged. "Once or twice." He amended as Sirius' closed the distance between them once more. "Or three times." He said as Sirius' lips claimed his. "Or four times." He concluded before Sirius bit his lip gently and told him he would shave his head if he didn't shut up.

So, Remus realised, certain smells can bring about certain events and, he realised many years later, they can bring back memories.

Searching through a decrepit, falling apart cupboard, he came across a bottle of unknown substance. Unscrewing the lid, he was immediately assaulted with the scent of vanilla and spices and he was swept back to the Common Room the night he and Sirius had started waiting for love and somehow forgotten to stop.

AUTHOR'S NOTE

I couldn't think of a decent last line, so that's why this thing had to end here or it would have kept going until the story progressed further and I thought of a better one. If I think of one, I will probably re upload this, so if you come back to read it another time and find it different, that's why.

Anyway, huge thank you's to everyone who reviewed 'Remus' Easter Philosophy'. I am pleased to report that there were no flames about the religious inaccuracy or the blasphemy of it. Thank you for your understanding or support; I really was a little nervous about putting that up there, especially considering I was mixing religion and slash, but oh well.

This story originated from the fact that I actually went back to an old shampoo the other day and I had the smell of it on my hands today and I was trying to place it, so it evolved into Remus having trouble doing the same. Of course, his search ended in getting Sirius, whereas mine ended in me washing my hands, but oh well, at least /they're/ happy.

So … how's everyone been? I know I promised heaps of fics this holiday, but I am busier than I expected, so it hasn't been as relaxed and liberated as I expected. I did manage to get a chapter of my original fiction up, to the delight of my readers. I did owe them one, considering it had been like September last year since I updated. Sorry guys. I actually, can you believe, wrote in a piece of dialogue about the characters (two main's and an incidental) reading fanfic. Harry Potter and mash fanfic, actually. I was getting stuck so I needed some insanity. It was great, I cracked up writing it.

Anyway, I had better be off and try and write this other idea for a story I have come up with. I haven't decided if it's slash or original yet, so look out for it if it ends up being slash. Could be fun, might be a bit angsty if it is, though. Oh well. Ooh, and I vaguely promise that the next fic will be from Sirius' point of view because I think I only have one and there needs to be more. And I desperately need a new place to set these getting together's. Somebody did give me some ideas, so thank you! Any other original ideas are much appreciated and I'll do the best I can to write something for it!

Love you always and hoped you enjoyed this, I enjoyed writing and actually don't mind this story, although at the moment I can't think of a good title!

LizzY