Disclaimer: I am not British.

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On the one hand, Remus knew where they were coming from. Werewolves were most dangerous not for their claws and teeth (things most magical creatures had in spades) but for their inability to be reasoned with, their deliberate hunting of humans (an almost unique quality), and that whole no cure, once you're bitten you can kiss your life goodbye' thing.

On the other hand, he loathed that Umbridge woman. A guy had to eat, preferably not other people.

Remus commented, after reading that she was trying to push through some more anti-werewolf legislation, I really hate being able to see both sides of an issue.Don't worry, Sirius said cheerfully, I'll be irrationally angry on your behalf.

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Sirius and Remus had never been terribly close. Sure, they were comrades, brothers-in-arms, Marauders, but it had always been JamesandSirius and Remus and Peter. Sirius thinks - no, he's sure - that if it had been JamesandSiriusandRemusandPeter he would have never suspected him; Remus would have never believed the charges against him; hell, Peter would have never sold them out.

But they weren't that close, and they hadn't trusted enough (and, in some cases, they had trusted too much), so when Sirius ran from the dementors he didn't run to Remus, and Remus didn't leave the door unlocked for him. Remus commented on it, when they met again at Grimmauld Place, after he'd told him he looked well (A lie, Sirius had thought, because he had spent a year living as a dog and looked it. But then he realized Remus was comparing him to when they'd parted, when he'd spent twelve years living as a corpse and looked it, and knew Remus was telling the truth.)

You could have come to me, you know. I would have taken you in.You'd take in anything, he'd joked, and they'd both known that wasn't true. Remus was compassionate but picky.

If Sirius had been shut up in a house with James, they would have horsed around and had a lot of fun. If he'd been shut up in a house with Peter, he would have skinned him alive. Slowly. Shut up with Remus, he... cleaned. And drank a lot of tea. (He'd always been a coffee person.) And not-so-slowly went mad.

Can't we do something else? he'd pled one day, throwing down his dirty rag. (it figured, that his crazy parents charmed nearly every piece of furniture in this stupid house to resist magic, so that they had to scrub everything the muggle way.) Anything else?

Remus paused mid-swipe and looked up at him, cocking an eyebrow. His sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, and he was hunched over the coffee table with the air of one who would rather gnaw off his own arm than surrender. Something else? he repeated, sounding mild and looking perplexed.

Oh, God, Sirius realized with a sudden feeling of doom. Remus liked cleaning. He probably liked it as much as he liked that nasty unsweetened tea. HOW long has he been living alone?

If they were still twenty, Sirius would have taken him out to get drunk and laid. But they hadn't been twenty for a very long time, and Sirius wasn't allowed outside, and there was furniture that needed cleaning.

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One morning Sirius walked into the kitchen and said, Sit down.

Remus looked at him over the edge of his newspaper. I said, Sit down.' I have to tell you something.I am already sitting, Remus pointed out.

Sirius made an annoyed hand gesture/ It's a figure of speech!All right, Remus said, folding the newspaper and setting it aside. What do you have to tell me? Sirius said, hate tea.

Sirius could hear the hall clock ticking.

... I see...I mean, I really hate tea. In thirty-five years I've drank it all of four times. And ever since you moved in, I've had it three times a day.And that's what you had to tell me? Sirius said, and made an exasperated noise. Because what he wanted to say was he was glad it was him he was stuck with instead of James or Peter, because with those two he would have obsessed over the past and driven himself crazy, shut up in this dump. He wanted to say he was glad they hadn't been so close back then, because it meant they could be closer now, but he wasn't so good with words and he was fairly certain he'd end up insulting him. And he didn't want to do that, because the madder Remus got the calmer he got, and it was pretty fucking scary.

Remus said, I take it you won't be drinking tea this morning.

Sirius shook his head.

Then you'll be making coffee.

Sirius nodded.

Then, if you're going to be in the kitchen anyway, it wouldn't be much more work to cook something.

Sirius hesitated. I suppose not...I like my eggs scrambled. And I'll have some toast, too. Dark, please. He smiled at him over the rim of his mug.

Remus returned to his newspaper. Sirius stood and tried to figure out when he'd agreed to being Remus' kitchen wench.

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Sirius had stayed at Remus' for less than a week before Dumbledore relocated him to Grimmauld Place. Dumbledore moved fast, but not fast enough in Sirius' opinion. After a year of being able to go anywhere and do anything (within reason), sleeping on a lumpy sofa and having to wait an hour for the shower was hell.

Remus wasn't the first person to show up. The first person was Dumbledore, who fiddled around the house and did many complicated things that, he assured him, would further protect the Order. It looked to Sirius that he was just screwing around, but it kept it to himself.

Tonks was next, and she struck him as one who was both in awe and trying very hard to act as though she weren't; then the Weasleys, spearheaded by Molly, who seemed determined to beat some life into the house; then Kingsley, who'd laughed and shook his hand and thanked him for getting him the easiest job anyone could ever hope for.

Remus was the only one that brought bags, though.

You're moving in?Dumbledore thought it was for the best, he said, setting them don. Ah, I see the welcome party is here, too.

Mrs. Black had started her screaming again. Remus and Sirius managed, with a great effort, to yank the curtains closed again. Then Remus turned to smile at him.

And there is more than one shower, so we might actually get along.

So he had noticed Sirius' less-than-subtle hints that he would have liked nothing better than to burn the house to the ground and flee into the night. Remus was too perceptive to be friends with a closeted jerk such as himself.

Er - well, about that, I was just-I must warn you, however, Remus went on with equal cheerfulness, That if you try to get me out by flushing toilet again, I will kill you and no one will ever find your body.

So being Remus' friend was a hazard. But he was the only one in the world that never needed an explanation, and Sirius needed that, so here they were.

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End