Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

Still Etched

Things had changed. Remus could see that. Everybody around him could see that. He wasn't sure if Sirius had.

Remus never looks in the mirror anymore. All he sees is a heavily scarred werewolf with streaks of gray in his hair, his face more exhausted than ever and his robes more patched than ever before. Things changed too quickly for him. But then again, he doesn't want things to be back were they were before.

Remus never drinks a butterbeer anymore. He's regretted too many things to regret more.

Remus never looks at anyone anymore. There's no one out there to trust anymore.

Remus never loves anyone anymore. He's afraid he'll get hurt again.

There is a mirror in front of his figure, shining eerily with specks of dirt and grime on the corners, a long spider-web-crack running straight from the middle of the glistening. Remus tries to avoid it as he sits on the lumpy couch.

He trusts the Aurors in the room next to him. He really doesn't want to, but has learned to. He needs to; his trust is valued in these times.

There's a butterbeer in his hand. He swirls it in circles with his fingers, moving the bottle into round motions and making sure that the foam doesn't topple over the sides of the glass rim. He probably won't take more than two sips. Two bottles. Two cartons.

Tonight will be a long night.

The windows are too dirty to see any of the shimmering stars through it, but occasional rays of moonlight flicker through the clean parts and illuminate everything sinisterly.

He feels like a puzzle piece has been missing for so many years on his own mind of a puzzle, and now that the leftover piece was finally here Remus wasn't sure that it fit. But some things are still etched in his mind.

"Remus." A hoarse voice said, and Remus turned slightly.

Through the darkness the werewolf saw a black curtain of unkempt hair. The shadow moved, and soon the groan of the couch next to him sounded the arrival of Sirius.

"It feels weird, Sirius." He said quietly, looking at the assumed shadow of the Animagus.

"What does?"

"I feel like you've changed. We can't talk like we used to."

"Of course we can't," Sirius said. "Of course things have changed. We're not going to talk about N.E.W.T.s or quills ever again, and quite frankly – I am happy about that."

"You're different." Remus observed.

"Not as much as you think."

There was a long silent pause. "Yeah. I guess I don't know you like I used to."

"Nothing real has changed, Moony." Sirius whispered, and Remus' eyes widened for a moment. The old nickname still rang in his head, and even older memories flew into his mind.

"Padfoot?" He whispered, almost disbelievingly. "Has anything else changed?"

The dark eyes that used to shine so brightly and eagerly met Remus'. He almost flinched. The memories of the past were so different to the ones he saw here. But he still had the same desires as he looked into the broken face of Sirius.

"Of course not."

"Yes," Remus said, snapping out of the dreamy trance he had been in. "Yes, things have changed. James and Peter and Lily would be here if they hadn't."

"I don't want to talk about that." Sirius said firmly.

"Sirius, don't act thick. You know things have changed, you're just too afraid to admit it." Remus snapped harshly.

"Well, it's hard to think that things have changed when I've been away for twelve years in an Azkaban cell, where nothing ever changes." Sirius retorted, shivering slightly.

"Please," Remus said shortly. "Things changed before you even left."

"You didn't." He said carefully, his darkened face meeting Remus'.

Remus stopped slowly. "Well, maybe not. But now I have."

"You shouldn't have," Sirius criticized fondly. "I liked you the way you are." With a jolt from Remus, Sirius places his hand on the werewolf's thigh. His hands are still thick and warming. Remus tries to prevent himself from squirming.

"And you don't like me anymore?"

Sirius smirked. "Let's just say that there is room for improvement." A smile tugged at one corner of his lips.

"That's not very nice, Padfoot." Remus whispered, a husky and rather low voice escaping his lips. Sirius slipped a little closer in one swift moment. Remus sucked in his breath.

"I wasn't watching my words."

"You never do," Remus said suddenly, his voice coming out rather loud and playfully disapproving. "Especially with grammar."

Sirius laughed. "You really haven't changed, Moony. Well… some things are still etched." He turned away, his hand still firm on Remus' thigh. Remus twitched.

"Neither have you, Padfoot."

Sirius turned to face him again, the curtain of messy hair falling into his eyes. "But we have changed." He said in a quiet voice.

Remus looks at him blankly, and suddenly Sirius' hand slides up a little farther up his leg. He jumps, almost, as Sirius whispers "Shh…" and rubs soothingly with his thumb on Remus' hip.

"You're so tense." The Animagus scoffed softly, and Remus tried to keep his brain low in expectations. Whatever he was doing it was out of vulnerability. Because Sirius Black didn't like him. Sirius Black obviously had changed, and this was part of his 'have you really changed?' challenges that Remus was supposed to pass. Sirius Black had definitely been drinking too much; Sirius Black was drunk. But this might be completely different.

"Are you vulnerable?" Remus dared to ask gently.

"I'm a child hitting my knee on the street, Remus." Sirius said. Remus looked away. Of course this was a game. Sirius just hadn't had a good snogging (and a little more, too) in a while and Remus was his toy. His play toy. Remus could play too.

Smiling to himself, the werewolf leaned in slightly.

"I know. But some things are still etched." Remus was just about to lean in a little further, just to see how far Sirius really wanted things – if he was willing to do it so desperately with Remus then he really had been very very alone in Azkaban. It had been a long time for him, but would Sirius really risk his friendship at the moment? – when Sirius laughed and pulled back, looking at the windows gloomily. His hand slid off of Remus' thigh.

"And some things aren't." Sirius said, looking at the window, a hint of huskiness and laughter both interspersing at his mouth. He looked at Remus again.

The shadowy figure of Sirius' face seemed to spring alive for a moment in the light of his laughter, and Remus almost leapt onto him. His knees buckled from the couch.

"Are you the vulnerable one, Moony?" Sirius asked softly, leaning farther down. His fingers landed on Remus' chin.

"How soft do you think I am?" Remus scoffed lightly.

"Softer than me." He leaned in even further. The werewolf could still feel his breath on his lips. He licked his upper lip, parting his mouth slightly. His body leaned into Sirius' almost instinctively. This is a game. His mind told him, and with another slight laugh he closed the gap at the same time Sirius did.

Remus thought he had done it first. Sirius thought he did. Both of them were cautious and careful, and because of it they broke apart right away at each other's hesitance.

Sirius saw the desire burning in Remus' eyes, and in a second he leant down in a battle of want and need. Remus moaned against his will. This was a game.

If it was a game then Sirius was clearly desperate, to make out with his best friend. But how far would he take it?

Remus couldn't worry about that, his hand sliding up Sirius' waist, but just as his hand reached the silky black hair, Sirius broke the kiss, breathing heavily. His fingers unbuttoned Remus' first shirt button, and with a pop, more delicate scars were exposed. Remus gasped. He felt unprotected. He felt naked, almost.

This was a game. His mind told him again. He found it harder to remember. A game of weakness.

Remus flipped sideways on the couch. Sirius might be desperate, he hadn't had a good time on the couch since Seventh Year, but this was going farther than he had imagined it. He was his best friend, after all –

"Sirius, whatever you're doing, stop." Remus commanded suddenly.

He lifted himself back up onto the couch on a sitting position, sweeping wisps of hair out of his forehead. "This is ridiculous. I'm not your toy. You might not have gotten a good wanking since school, Sirius, but using me is beyond desperate and low–"

"I'm not using you. How could you be a toy, Remus?!" Sirius said lowly, his voice sounding hurt. Things had turned even darker around them.

"Then what do you think you're doing?!" He demanded. "You can't just kiss me to feed whatever you've been starving off of and act like nothing's happened, you bloody basta–"

With a swift sweep, Sirius' hand was on Remus' cheek. It wasn't warm anymore. It was cold.

"Don't you dare call me a bastard. I'm not acting like nothing's happened. This isn't a game. Some things are still etched, Remus. I can't erase it."

Something clicked in Remus' mind, and in one second, he whispered "oh", and leaned forward slightly. He brought his hand to Sirius' neck, and their cheeks touched, Remus' eyelashes brushing the skin. He kissed his cheek ever-so-softly.

"Yeah," Remus whispered apologetically, moving to his lips. His mouth ghosted over his lips. Sirius connected them for a moment. "Some things stay etched."