Of Beethoven and Mismatched Socks

Sirius awoke in 12 Grimmauld place to the sound of the piano and immediately thought he was either dreaming or had finally gone around the bend.

After a moment of confusion he finally remembered that his family owned a grand piano. His mother used to play before – well, when he was quite young. Regulus had taken lessons but Sirius had refused, although now he couldn't remember why. Most likely out of spite.

He wandered down the stairs in a daze, drawn to the slow mournful melody. It gave him chills and he wrapped his housecoat around him tighter as he approached the parlour door. It was slightly open, a sliver of light kissing his bare feet. He nudged it open the rest of the way with his foot and cringed when it made a high pitched whine of protest.

The pianist paused briefly before continuing the slow arpeggios. Sirius smiled faintly when he recognized the pianist. It was Remus. Of course it was Remus. Only Remus could bring something of beauty to this house. He was half surprised Remus could even play this piano. He expected it to be charmed for Blacks only. He held his breath for a moment, waiting for the piano to explode or to swallow Remus' hand when it didn't recognize him as a Black. Nothing happened and he exhaled.

"I hope you're being careful," Sirius said anyway as he approached Remus.

"As careful as I can be in C-sharp minor," Remus said with a small smile.

"I meant –"

"I checked," Remus interrupted. "I was a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher," he gently reminded Sirius.

"I know, I know," Sirius said as he placed a hand on Remus' back. "But this house —"

"Is getting cleaned and will soon be fit for living," Remus said firmly.

Sirius sighed softly and sat beside Remus on the piano bench.

He looked down as Remus pressed the pedals. His left foot was wearing brown and his right, blue argyle.

"Your socks don't match," Sirius pointed out. He didn't know exactly why he said it but was glad he did when Remus blushed a little.

"I, er, haven't done laundry in a bit," he said sheepishly.

"Socks are for women and the elderly," Sirius declared, wiggling his free toes. He was reminded instantly of lazy Sundays at Hogwarts, lying on Remus' bed in his Animagus form and licking Remus' bare feet until he laughed so hard he had to cry for mercy.

"Well include me in the latter," Remus said wryly, but with a smile.

As Remus continued to play, Sirius reached out a bare foot and rested it on top of Remus' blue socked foot. He rubbed it a little and Remus' stumbled, hitting a flat. Sirius stilled his foot but kept it where it was.

Ever since Remus had moved in, Sirius had felt something more than friendship blossoming between them. Still, he had known to be wrong about this sort of thing before so he had decided to go slowly, baby steps, and see how Remus reacted.

The problem was a lot of Remus' reactions were frustratingly ambiguous. Like just now, for instance. Did Remus slip up because he was horrified or because he was (hopefully pleasantly) surprised? And when Remus brought him tea and Sirius made a point of touching his elbow while thanking him, did Remus flush because he was pleased Sirius liked the tea, or because Sirius had touched him?

Sirius inched towards Remus (baby steps) and rested his head carefully on Remus' shoulder. Remus finished the piece but left his foot on the pedal underneath Sirius'.

"I like it when you play," Sirius murmured into Remus' neck. He felt Remus stiffen slightly beneath him before relaxing. Remus started the piece once more and Sirius closed his eyes under the influence of the melody.

"What is that?"

"Beethoven," Remus replied. "Moonlight Sonata."

"It's beautiful."

Remus nodded slightly in agreement, as if not to disturb Sirius' head on his shoulder.

"Only you could bring something beautiful into this house," Sirius said with a laugh that came out sounding nervous.

"It's not just me," Remus said and Sirius froze as he felt Remus' foot rub up against his. "You inspire me."

The piano playing ceased and Sirius opened his mouth to say something before shutting it as Remus took his hand tentatively and intertwined their fingers together. Sirius stopped moving, stopped breathing, stopped thinking. All he knew was Remus' heat against his body and Remus' fingers touching his. Remus gave his hand a little squeeze and he exhaled slowly against Remus' neck as he felt calm spread over him like a blanket for the first time in recent memory.

Baby steps, he thought as he gave Remus' hand a light squeeze in return, a small smile spreading on his face for what felt like the first time in ages.