A new beginning
Of course, I don't own the characters (everyone knows they're JK Rowling's),
and nobody paid me for writing this (who would be stupid enough to do that, anyway?).
This is a kind a sequel for Canine Affinity
but the references don't make it hard to understand if you didn't read the other fic.
It's a birthday present for my Italian friend Akari.
(Don't miss her own Sirius/Remus stories if you understand Italian - or French, since I translated them.
There's a link to her website in my profile.)
To Maggie who corrected my grammar mistakes
(and sent the story back to me in time for Akari's birthday).
You're definitely the best beta I could find.
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Remus was staring at the ceiling of the bedroom Sirius had given him in Grimmauld Place. What a strange feeling to be there! When they were younger, he had heard his friend talk about this place - complaining about his mother, the best part of the time - and now, years after the memorable day when Sirius had announced he had left his parents' house forever, they both lived here.
They lived together... Again. But everything had changed, and there was now a wall between them. Or, to be exact, two walls - the concrete one, that separated their respective bedrooms, and an invisible one, immaterial but still much too real, that stopped them from being together in the same way they had been before. The terrible, cruel wall of time you can't turn back. Nearly fourteen years...
Their friendship had survived, though. Looking back, it seemed like a miracle to Remus how quickly and how naturally they had started to understand each other again without needing to utter all the words. Sirius had been so right, when he had said, what felt like an entire lifetime ago, that there was "some kind of canine affinity" between them. And also that, if they ever ended up not being boyfriends anymore, they would still be friends.
They definitely were still friends, as they had been before their 7th year, and were even a little closer now that James wasn't there anymore and Sirius had no one but Remus to be his best friend. Actually, the situation reminded Remus of the time, a few weeks after James started dating Lily, when Sirius had decided he needed a "temporary best friend" who could even become his "best friend for good" if James persisted in letting them down for "that bloody girl" practically every day.
I'm always a second choice, he thought, and it wasn't any more pleasant than it had been the first time. Of course, he had become Sirius's first and only choice for something at least as important as a best friend after that, but now...
Perhaps friends is all what we're meant to be, after all, he sighed.
It didn't feel right, though. If it hadn't been for Wormtail's betrayal, Padfoot and Moony would still be a couple.
You can't be sure of that, Remus tried to reason with himself.
But he couldn't help being sure all the same.
° ° °
Sirius wondered whether Remus was awake. It was late, but he was almost certain he had heard him move a few seconds ago. He had probably found an interesting book in the library... Sirius doubted that there was anything other than dark magic related volumes on his parents' old bookshelves, but he supposed that it could be considered an interesting subject to a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. And it was common knowledge that reading made Remus Lupin forget about everything, especially time. As did plans about pranks to Sirius Black and James Potter so many years ago.
There was something else - something that applied to him and Remus together - but Sirius didn't want to think about that. It was as good as a part of another life now, and this made it all the more sad for Sirius to think only one wall separated him from it - well, the wall and the twelve years during which Remus had lived without him.
It had felt so strange to give him a room! So wrong to let Molly prepare a bed for someone who used to sleep beside him every night. "Other life" or not, Moony still had a special place in Padfoot's heart, and he would only have to ask to get a place back in his arms as well.
But, of course, Remus would never ask. Sirius had had no real life for fourteen years - twelve in prison and two on the run - but Remus... Surely, after the first period of shock and grief, Remus had lived on. Without him. And probably with someone else at least for a part of that so long time, although he hadn't mentioned anything in front of Sirius. But that only meant it was not something they could talk about.
His mind still so used to the dog form he had assumed so often, Sirius instinctively growled at the thought of someone else holding his Moony. Then, without thinking - since when did he waste time thinking? - he got up and crossed in a few seconds the short distance between his room and Remus's door. He didn't even have to knock.
"Sirius?" called the well-known voice.
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"I knew you weren't sleeping," Sirius said simply.
Remus smiled and stepped aside to let him in.
"I knew you weren't either."
There was a rather awkward moment when Remus closed the door and automatically reached for the key, then moved back.
"Lock it," Sirius approved. "We don't want Kreacher to burst in in the middle of a conversation, do we?"
Each of them mentally forbade himself from wishing it could be more than a simple conversation.
"I first thought of coming here as a dog," Sirius resumed quickly to change the subject, "so I could curl up at the foot of your bed and pretend I'm nothing more than your pet. But then I wouldn't have been able to talk and maybe you would have thought it was rude to intrude in your room and just settle in to sleep... Yeah, I know this doesn't make much sense."
That last line was a reply to a puzzled look he could see on Remus's face - puzzled and amused, actually.
"You'd be a nice pet, but I would rather buy you a basket, if you don't mind. I don't want dog hair all over my bed, and I'm sure you would move all the time and stop me from sleeping."
As you did in your human form, Remus added to himself.
"You can sit down, though," he said instead, hastily tidying up the sheets and blanket while doing his best to refrain from letting his mind linger on the thought of Sirius in his bed, stopping him from sleeping.
Sirius stared at him, wondering. Remus couldn't possibly not have thought of something else when he said "and stop me from sleeping," could he? You can't help associations of ideas, and Sirius was well-placed to know his friend's mind could be as twisted as his own, in spite of those "highly decent boy" looks that had now simply turned into "highly decent man" looks.
They both sat down in silence, side by side on the still rather creased bedspread.
"So... You were...worrying about Harry, I suppose?" Remus asked eventually, which took Sirius by surprise.
"No... Well, yes, I have all the reasons in the world to worry about Harry, haven't I? It was not exactly what I had in mind tonight but...hem...so, Harry...I wish I could write him a real letter. He doesn't understand why no one gives him news and I don't know what to tell him, since there's so much that must be kept secret. I wish I could go and talk to him, or that he could come here now. I wish I could do something for him. At least just be there. Do my job as a godfather, since James trusted me with that - Merlin knows why."
Remus's hand seemed to move on its own accord to brush Sirius's with great gentleness.
"James trusted you because you cared about him and his family. And Lily trusted you, too."
"That's even less understandable, considering how I hated her when James started dating her! I never told her, but she surely noticed."
Remus couldn't suppress an amused smile at the thought of what Lily had imagined at the time.
"She knew you were jealous. James had told her about your quarrel and..."
He hesitated. It was a tricky subject for him, because that day was the one when he started to realize he was jealous of James and Sirius's closeness.
"Quarrel?" Sirius repeated, incredulous. "Did I really quarrel with James?"
"Well, since you left the room and slammed the door after shouting things like, 'you're letting us down for a girl' and you obstinately refused to listen when he told you Lily was not just some girl...I think we can call that a quarrel, don't you?"
"Oh! Yeah... It's true, I really didn't understand and it made me furious. How childish I was! I thought he was betraying our friendship. I couldn't see how Lily could be that important to him when I was convinced he would always be more important than anyone to me... And I hated it when he tried to find me a girlfriend too. As if he wanted to get me out of his way... That must be why I ended up slamming the door. Actually, I think I remember that too, now. He was trying to make me admit it was only normal that he wanted to spend so much time with the girl he loved, and I...reacted like a child, saying he should understand that, since I had no Lily, I only wanted to be with him - or something along that line."
"Yes... 'The only person I want to be with is you,'" he quoted. "Has it ever occurred to you that it was quite an ambiguous wording?"
Sirius first blinked in a puzzled way then, repeating the sentence in his head, he knew in an instant what Remus meant - and he burst out laughing.
"Don't tell me he thought... Oh, Merlin! I never had a clue! Honestly, how could he imagine such a thing?"
"Lily teased him about that and he started panicking," Remus summed up, allowing himself to laugh too now he was sure Sirius found it funny. "I had to remind him he had a werewolf as a friend, so he could not possibly be close-minded. And he wanted me to 'investigate' about you, which made me very uncomfortable, as you can imagine..."
"Did you? 'Investigate,' I mean. I didn't realize... Oh! Is that why you invited me to your parents' for Christmas?"
Sirius looked rather shocked at the thought, so Remus hastened to put him right...and said a little too much.
"No! That was because I wanted to be with you. I was jealous too, because you seemed to care only about James."
"But I cared about you too!" Sirius exclaimed, looking at Remus as if he thought his friend had lost his mind. "You should have known, Moony..."
This time it was his hand that brushed Remus's, and Remus's heart started beating faster.
Hope... Maybe there was a way to pull down the metaphorical wall, after all. Sirius's voice had sounded so loving... Would he still say "Moony" that way if there really were nothing but friendship between them anymore?
"You can't control jealousy," he said, apparently calm, "and mine was worse than yours. Even if I wasn't aware of my feelings yet, you were the only person I wanted to be with - and not in the way you meant it when you said that to James."
And now? Sirius longed to ask. But then his eyes met Remus's, and he knew.
"Remember that Christmas Day, when I said you looked like one of the girls who always wanted me to kiss them?"
"I do," Remus replied, very seriously, and it sounded like he was agreeing to marry Sirius - which he would gladly have done if only it had been possible.
Of course, he remembered! He could still picture the scene as clearly as he would have if it had been captured on a wizard photograph. And he could still feel the peculiar impression of magic waves or electricity igniting the air around them. Or, more exactly, he felt it again.
"Remember what you used to say about our 'canine affinity?'" he asked in barely more than a whisper.
"I do," Sirius said, exactly as Remus had before.
How could he have forgotten that? A special link between them, created on full moon nights and deepened later by two 17 year-olds who had just found out how amazing it felt to be in love.
It's still amazing, Sirius thought. We're still in love, as if all those years didn't count at all.
"Now can I kiss the werewolf?"
Remus first did nothing but blink, unable to believe Sirius could manage to joke at a moment like this. But that was precisely something he loved in his Padfoot - unpredictability and humour in every circumstances. So he laughed, and Sirius joined in.
"Sorry," Sirius said then. "I couldn't resist."
But Remus obviously didn't care.
"I love you," he murmured fondly, as he had dreamed of doing again for months.
"Even when I'm being silly?"
"Even more when you're being silly - well, not too much!"
They laughed again and Remus moved closer to Sirius, who said, "I love you too" in the same amorous tone and drew him even closer to kiss him at last.
Fourteen years... Fourteen years since their last kiss - that they couldn't even remember because neither of them had expected it to be the last one. But the wall had definitely vanished, now, and nothing mattered but the present kiss - the first one of their new life together.
"Can I invite the silly dog to sleep in my bed tonight?" Remus asked, after several minutes, with the wicked smile only Sirius had ever seen him wear. "I'll never buy you a basket. I want you to stop me from sleeping every night from now on."
Sirius, of course, didn't see any objection to that.
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