Title: In Holy Matrimony

Fandom: Harry Potter

Pairing: Sirius/Remus, Remus/Tonks.

Rating: PG-13.

Word Count: 760

Summary/Description: It is understood, in the silence between ten and ten thirty, that he is thinking about Sirius.

Warning/Spoilers: Spoilers for OotP. OOC-ness, maybe? My weird-ass writing style. Bits of smut-like stuff that aren't half as smutty as they should be. Oh, yeah, and slash.

A/N: I actually don't really like Remus/Tonks, as you may or may not be able to tell. My muse, however, delights in making me go against my word. Stupid demon bitch. Also, he seems to be in the mood for angst these days. /sigh/ Oh well. I'm patiently waiting for the days in which he shall be in the mood for smut.

Disclaimer: If I were J.K. Rowling, there wouldn't have been any of that 'you-know-who dying' rubbish in OotP.

It is understood, in the silence between ten and ten thirty, in which they lie side by side, still and untouching on their matrimonial bed, that he is thinking about Sirius.

Nymphadora is always silent during this time, never volunteering a word, or even motioning to give him a caress of comfort. She lies with her hands linked on her stomach, staring at the ceiling of their bedroom, and does not say a word. Something unnatural and bitter in Remus resents her for this, almost feeling that she is trying to goad him into guilt with her wordlessness. After all, here he is, lying beside his wife at night, the only time that their hectic schedules permit them to be together, and he is thinking about his dead lover.

He can lie and tell himself that it is not by choice. He can pretend that memories of Sirius come unbidden and unwanted, like Dementors passing over a grassy field to lull the flowers to death; his wide teasing smiles, his bright, lively eyes, his gaunt frame, withered down by years in Azkaban, and yet as ungainly beautiful as ever. He can pretend that he doesn't want to be haunted by this spectre of his past, but Remus and self-delusion aren't very good friends. He can't imagine they ever will be.

It is best, he supposes, in a horribly warbled way. What better time for Sirius to make posthumous appearances but in his thoughts, late at night, when the moon is out and about and mocking him with its curved half of a body? Remus sighs to think of nights at Hogwarts, a solid, toned body spooned next to his gangly one, stroking his scars and kissing his wounds, and hands evoking pleasure where the pain could not be erased. He sighs, but these thoughts are his strength, somehow, and so he conjures up some more.

Nymphadora shifts subtly, a slight movement that makes the bedclothes rustle, and Remus gives her a brief glance, forlorn and oblique. Seeing her lying there, expression unfamiliar and schooled into nonchalance makes him retract his earlier thought. He probably doesn't deserve her. Any other wife, knowing the thoughts that were running rampant from the storehouse of his memories to the forefront of his mind, would be raging and ranting, demanding that he forget Sirius and pay more attention to her. Nymphadora, however, is different. And even though she will never replace Sirius, never run wild with him, taming the wolf and feeding his soul, he is grateful nonetheless, just for her presence, if nothing at all else.

The silence remains and Sirius calls. Remus goes, drowning himself in nostalgia: fiendish pranks he'd been unwillingly pulled into – most of the time – and the subsequent detentions with Padfoot and the other Marauders; lazy Sunday afternoons with Sirius curled up next to him on the couch, indiscreetly trying to copy his Herbology homework; nights within the shaky walls of the Shrieking Shack, trying to tear the wolf out of his body, with the shaggy black dog at his side, the stag fencing them in, and the scurrying rat on the lookout; stolen moments at Hogsmeade, their laughter ringing the air as they roll aimlessly in the snow, limbs askew, hands crawling their ways into interesting places, and mouths making a religion out of warm, breathless kisses.

Remus is all too familiar with pain, but as he lies on his matrimonial bed, his wife worlds away, knowing and accepting, he cannot blind himself to the fact that Sirius-pain always cuts that much deeper, and he cannot do a thing as the memories bring prickly tears to his eyes, abrading his heart even as they warm it. Sirius could do that to you. He always did that to him. Remus does not permit the tears to fall, and instead, they tremble on his lids like wobbly stalks harassed by the wind. And again, Sirius swamps him, like a tidal wave breaking once more over a ravaged beach.

Nymphadora is his deliverance, as usual, and if he ever loses sight of why he married her, he knows he will always have that. As soon as the second hand of the nightstand clock passes the twelve into the realm of ten thirty-one, she is rolling over to meet him on his side of the bed, arms going round him automatically, face buried in his shoulder so he doesn't have to see.

Remus thanks her silently, tucks his memories away, envelops his wife in his arms, and thinks no more for the night.

A/N: No, untouching isn't a word. Bite me, Webster's.

I'd be glad to know what you all thought of it.