Well... Some you win, some you don't. I really do intend in this fic to have Sirius and Remus together, but this is the sort of... uncomfortable part of their relationship, the part where no one really knows what they're doing any more and wonders if it's all worth the effort. You'll see what I mean, if I've done my job.
Sirius eyed the meal on the plate in front of him.
Remus had been trying to teach him to cook, those months in the first Order. Stolen hours in any kitchen they could find, in between the sneaking and the fighting and the exaustion. He hadn't tried to pick it up again afterwards, and Remus hadn't tried. Sirius was no fool: he could see the half-moons under his old friend's eyes, his almost-completely grey hair, his shaking hands.
He wasn't going to be the one who asked more of Remus, not when he was getting too much sleep to Remus' too little.
So he poked at a rubbery steak and decided to go for the dry, plain noodles as a warm up.
He was halfway to giving up on eating when he heard the door open upstairs and quiet footsteps creaked towards him.
"Sirius?" a disimbodied voice called down the stairs.
"Yeah," he growled back, poking at his food and wondering if he could make it look more appitizing before Remus got down the stairs to see it.
The footsteps creaked down the stairs and Remus came into view, dripping water and looking dishavelled. Sirius got up to grab Remus a towel as he sat down opposite Sirius' mournful plate of unpaletably beige food.
Remus whiped his hair as Sirius sat back down and eyed his food.
"I left you some, but I don't think you'll want it," Sirius said finally, laughing roughly and pushing the plate away from him.
Remus put his chin in his hands and looked at Sirius through tired eyes over the lone candle.
"I'm sure it can't be that bad..." he said, half yawning. "You could use some tomato sauce, though..."
"I don't really think we have any..." Sirius said sheepishly.
Remus drowsily raised a hand to cup the flame, feeling the heat tickle his rain-wrinkled palm. Sirius was a little startled to see the pale, scarred hand light up red with the flame behind it.
"I'll get some next time I'm out."
"I'm sorry," Sirius said suddenly, grabbing Remus' hand and cupping it in his own. "For being such a useless git."
"Have you been drinking?"
Remus eyed him suspiciously, but didn't pull his hand away. Sirius' thumb ran soothing circles around the back of it.
"No... Erm... Well, a little," he concieded sheepishly. "But I'm not drunk; I'm serious Moony."
"There's nothing to apologize for," Remus sighed, for the millionth time.
He saw somewhat of the old beauty in Sirius' face, shadowed by candlelight. And again for the millionth time, he had to catch himself from falling into the impossible depths of those dark eyes and getting lost there.
"I'm not hungry, I'm just going to go to bed anyways," Remus said finally, breaking the moment. Standing, his stomach was thrown into light and Sirius started.
"Reem, what happened to you!" he jolted halfway to his feet.
"Some of the neighbors didn't... well, didn't like a werewolf wandering around after dark. It's nothing, I'll be fine..."
His bitter smile and quiet acceptance only made Sirius more angry.
"They're not allowed to do this to you, Remus," he growled, stepping around the end of the table, still holding onto Remus' hand. "Fuck. Just tell me what they looked like, I swear I'll..."
Sirius was practicly quivering on the spot, eyes fixed somewhere over Remus' shoulder.
"Si. Sirius. Don't. It's fine," Remus pleaded, getting angry at Sirius' anger on his behalf. He jerked on Sirius' hand and it finally caught his attention.
"Let me take care of you," Sirius pleaded, not realizing the words before they came out, eyes earnest enough to scare Remus.
It made him smile sadly and gently remove his hand from Sirius'. "Just let it go, Sirius. That's good enough for me."
He turned towards the stairs but Sirius' broken voice stopped him.
"What do I have to do to have you trust me again?"
"I don't know," Remus whispered. "I don't know if it even can be fixed, Sirius."
He closed his eyes and swollowed against the rush of tears and exaustion that came upon him. "I still haven't figured all this out yet. I don't think it's hit yet that you're back... And we're not who we were."
Sirius took a shuffling step forward, hand brushing and then resting on Remus' cloaked, shaking shoulder.
"Reem, I promise..."
He didn't know what to promise. He wasn't niave enough to promise the impossible any more.
"Not yet, Sirius. Please, just let me go. I'll... figure it out later."
And Remus walked away, and Sirius heard a few minutes later the pipes clank and bang with the effort of creating hot water. He turned back to his lone plate, no sign of Remus having been there at all. Grabbing his plate, he stomped into the kitchen and tossed the entire thing in the waste bin, plate, utensiels and all.
"Fuck," he cursed and stood there for a while, looking at the plate on the counter he had left for Remus. His hands covered his face and he stood very still, breathing heavily to keep the tears from coming.