Sirius was still brooding by the fire when Remus finally finished his potions essay.
"Still awake, Padfoot?" Remus asked, more to fill the silence than anything else. The common room was empty now, and Remus thought it must be very early in the morning. He stifled a yawn as he sat cross-legged on the floor, his back against the chair Sirius was currently occupying.
"I think I should change my name," Sirius said suddenly. Remus blinked at him, confused by the non sequitur until he realized what Sirius meant.
Sirius had been prone to what Remus's mother called "fits of sullens" ever since they had returned to Hogwarts, which alarmed James, frightened Peter, and made Remus's eyebrows knit together in a concerned expression everyone said made him look all of forty years old. When Peter had offered Sirius a cautionary 'Congratulations' on his upcoming birthday (for he could not make himself say "happy" in Sirius's sulky presence) Sirius had scoffed and replied, 'You don't congratulate someone on being born, Wormtail. You sympathize.'
It was all very worrying.
"You don't feel like being Sirius Black anymore?" Remus asked cautiously, not sure how he should approach the subject.
"I'm not a Black anymore. Might as well change it, do the thing properly," Sirius said roughly, his eyes darting a quick look at Remus before he went back to staring at the fire.
Remus had only heard part of what had happened second-hand from James, but it was enough to gather that Sirius's summer had not been pleasant at all. The owl he'd received in August told him that Sirius had run away from home and was living with the Potters, recovering from several magical injuries. Remus's chest twisted whenever he thought about Sirius, scared and hurt, but he quashed his anger for now.
"What would you want to change it to, then?" Remus asked, attempting to draw Sirius out of his bad mood. "Something alliterative? Sir Sirius Squid, maybe?"
"Ha bloody ha. Can't you be serious?"
"What, now you want me to change my name as well?"
Sirius smacked Remus lightly on the head. "That was a horrible pun and you know it."
"Mmm," Remus hummed, distracted by the hand that was still resting in his hair.
"What about Lupin?"
"What about me?" Remus said, confused.
"No, I mean what about Sirius Lupin?"
Remus laughed. "I always knew you were the woman in this relationship."
Sirius laughed too and started running his fingers through Remus's hair. Remus leaned into the light pressure, sighing softly.
"I am not," Sirius said a few minutes later. Remus opened his eyes, which had fallen shut of their own accord from a combination of exhaustion and the absolutely sublime feeling of Sirius's Quidditch-calloused fingertips threading through his hair. "You're the sensitive one, and you read all those girly novels."
It took Remus a while longer to figure out what Sirius was on about, as he sat blinking his eyes blearily at the fire. "What, you mean I'm the woman?"
"Of course. You even look more like—"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence."
"Well, you do. You're very delicate."
Remus snorted. "Right. Me, a murderous werewolf, 'delicate.'"
"Hmm," Sirius murmured, the gentle movement of his fingers becoming more of a caress. "But you're my murderous werewolf. My Moony."
"And you accuse me of reading girly books?" Remus said, amused. "You sound like a bad muggle romance novel. Always with the dramatics, Padfoot."
"Always," Sirius agreed, and Remus smiled softly. He had the feeling that somewhere along the way he'd lost the thread of the conversation, but he did not dwell on it as Sirius's fingers lulled him into a contented peace.
Notes: Written for my wonderful friend Midnitemaraudr.
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