A/N: Th morning after the night before. And, for the last time for now at least, we return to Remus' persepctive.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter so there is no need to sue.
When Remus next opened his eyes the heat of midday had filled the room, causing it to be humid and smell stale. For a long time he had slipped in and out of consciousness, dreams and thoughts tumbling over one another as he woke, only momentarily, before drifting back to sleep. As he stretched his body was unwilling to move, the muscles in the backs of his legs tightening as he raised his arms above him and yawned. As he had shifted he had expected to brush up against the man that had been beside him yet as he was met with nothing but a sleepless space, Remus shot up, his head swimming, listening for sounds in the room beyond.
The radio had been switched on and the droning voice of the news reporter floated on the stifled air and reassured Remus as he got up and moved to the bathroom. One of the towels had been taken from its place on the rail; condensation still clung to the air and the mirror was steamed from the warm water that had left pelted marks on the shower screen.
Washing loosened his limbs. He dressed and opened the curtains, blinking guiltily up at the sun that was sailing through the bright blue sky. They had wasted enough time, Sirius had said to him, and now they were still both guilty of doing that. Even so, for a moment Remus hesitated, one hand on the bedroom door, not really sure what they would have to say to each other now; frightened that he wouldn't be able to meet his friend's eyes. But they had important work to do; Voldemort had returned and, however much the idea appealed to him, Remus could not spend the whole day in bed.
Sirius was sat in the low wicker chair beneath the small, square window, a newspaper resting on his knees. He was yet to get dressed; he had the towel round his waist and Remus thought idly of the wet patch there would be on the cushions beneath. He looked up at the sound of the door opening and Remus managed some sort of reassuring smile before moving to the sink to fill the kettle.
"Tea?" he asked, his hands trembling slightly as he ignited the flames of the stove with his wand.
"I want my own clothes," Sirius said with a sigh. "As much as your taste is…inoffensive I'd rather have my own things."
Remus took down two cups and shook out the tea leaves, slicing the lemon and, keeping his back to Sirius, asked, "Did Dumbledore give you any indication of when you would be able to move to Grimmauld Place?"
"There wasn't really much time for all that. I'm sure he'll be in contact in a few days." As Remus turned around to face Sirius he saw he was looking at the boarded up plaster fireplace on the opposite side of the room.
"I don't suppose you're connected to the Floo Network?"
Remus shook his head.
"Not for years now."
As Remus poured the hot water, Sirius rose to his feet, yawning and scratching his stomach with the back of one hand. It was surreal but even though Remus now knew his friend's body intimately, he still felt he didn't have the right to look.
"Well, what shall I wear then?"
"Anything," Remus moved to sit at the table, the legs scraping back as he gave his hands something to do by raising the cup and blowing away some of the steam.
"They don't fit me right…not very flattering. Your legs are much longer than mine." He moved so he was standing behind him and placed his hands on Remus' shoulders. "But you used to be so much taller than me."
"You've grown," Remus said.
"I was always afraid I'd be stunted by my years in Azkaban…"
"Growth isn't simply a matter of height."
Sirius barked sharply at this, withdrawing his hands and retreating to the bedroom to get dressed. Remus continued to stare down into the amber coloured liquid. When Sirius returned it was odd to see him dressed in his things, making them appear so different on his body. He sat down in the chair opposite Remus and took a large gulp of tea before swinging his legs over the side of the chair and saying, "You're thinking too much."
"Am I?" Remus asked, not knowing whether this was true or not.
Sirius nodded, a smile of vague amusement curling the corners of his mouth.
"You've always done melancholy so well…" Remus couldn't help but laugh at this, and Sirius, cocking his head to one side and sending his hair over his shoulder, said, "Come on then, Moony. I may have been away for twelve years but I still remember what that look means. I know you're just dying to say something."
Remus nodded down at his tea and, after hesitating for a moment, he asked in a small voice, "Have there been many others?"
Instead of laughing as Remus had expected Sirius said nothing, his eyebrows raising slightly as he replied, "Do you mean women?"
Fighting the urge to blush, Remus backtracked, mumbling something under his breath before muttering, "I meant men."
Sirius smiled at this, a smile of derision that made Remus feel as if he was taking pleasure in the awkwardness of a conversation that had, in many ways, come too late.
"Not one," was Sirius' eventual two word response, causing Remus to feel awash with relief but a little surprised nonetheless. "How about you, Mister Moony?"
Remus thought of the times that he had considered his feelings towards Sirius and towards other men. He had known for quite some time that, however telling one might be of the other, they were not intrinsically linked. Remus shook his head.
"I suppose there is a first time for everything." The words seemed more insensitive than Remus intended and Sirius' smile dropped. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded…I'm just not sure what should happen now."
"The same as what would usually happen with a woman," Sirius said, draining the remnants of tea before shrugging and continuing, "It can mean everything or nothing, depending on your point of view."
"And what is your point of view?" Remus asked, trying his best to be level-headed, very carefully making it seem that, either way, he didn't care.
"Look Remus," Sirius said, his voice a little heated. Clearly their time apart had not affected Sirius' habit of becoming impatient with Remus' sense of moderation. "What happened…happened and I won't take it back, if that's what you're implying. And I don't regret it either, if that's what you were expecting me to say…" Sirius paused, his eyes fixing on Remus' face, his hands spread on the table before him as he said, after a sigh, "I've never known how things have stood with us. It's always been a bit…hazy…never quite clear. And last night I think we both finally worked out what we wanted…what we had wanted for a very long time."
"Are you straight, Sirius?" Remus blurted out the question he had been toying with ever since he had awoken and tried to rationalise what had happened. Maybe they had both spent too much time apart; maybe it had been an adverse affect of not seeing each other for so long. Maybe Sirius had just been so lonely, missing affection, craving someone's touch so badly that anyone, whether male or female, would have been enough.
"Oh, well I have had my fair share of female admirers. And, very obviously, I have enjoyed myself with them," Sirius had stood up and was now pacing, his voice increasingly erratic, as he turned back to face Remus and finish sarcastically, "But you know, it's funny, I also enjoyed sleeping with a man, so I suppose I must be a little bit bent."
They were getting nowhere, Remus thought, struggling to suppress the urge to roll his eyes as he moved over to the sideboard and banished the empty teacups.
"You know I have been wondering," Sirius said, leaning back against the shabby kitchen cabinets that were peeling with green paint. "I've been wondering for a long time whether it is simply that I have a thing about men, or whether or not it is just because I wanted you."
Remus could tell, as he quickly obscured Sirius from his view by opening a cupboard, that he was scrutinising him as he had spoken.
"And," Sirius said, his feet padding softly over the carpet, bringing him so he was standing beside Remus. He had tried to find something to occupy himself with in the cupboard but Sirius, being Sirius, had not been deceived, and was now forcing himself into his personal space in a way that Remus should have come to expect. "Despite your admirable sensitivity and your fastidious nature…" His voice had become lower as he forced Remus to look at him, and meet his mocking eyes, "I never once took you for anything but heterosexual."
"Is that supposed to be some sort of a compliment?"
"In a way," Sirius said, moving his hand to the side of Remus' face, as though this was a gesture he had performed a million times before. Under his touch Remus felt a lingering remembrance of the pleasure of the night before returning, and something about Sirius' face gave Remus the impression that he was recalling it too.
"It won't be the same now; it can't be," Remus said, desperately wanting to make Sirius see things from his perspective. Sirius nodded and, frustrated, Remus batted away his hand and continued, flustered, "You have to listen because I don't know if you understand that we've changed everything. We've only ever known friendship and now…we can't go back."
Sirius' expression darkened so Remus hastily pressed on. "I don't regret it. I'm glad that it happened but…don't you see? We can never go back to being what we once were with to one another. I couldn't…" Remus laughed to himself and lowered his head and Sirius, closing the cupboard placed his hands on Remus' shoulder, as he raised his face and continued, without embarrassment, "I wouldn't want to, not now. Not now I know that it wasn't just me, alone, in feeling how I felt for you."
With a shock Remus realised just how Sirius' face had softened, flooding with empathy.
"You always seemed so cold to me, Moony, so bloody judicious that I could never have known…" Sirius paused, laughing momentarily, at the confused look on Remus' face.
"Whereas you expressed every feeling you had whenever you had them, never mind who you offended, or who got in your way…." Remus stopped himself from continuing, realising how, even though this had been true, it had never once meant that Sirius had said what he truly thought, or how he really felt.
"I know you don't like change, Padfoot," Remus said quietly, feeling a little odd at the use of an old nickname that hadn't passed his lips for years. To his surprise, Sirius rolled his eyes before replying, "I didn't, and then everything changed. The whole world is changing, and we have to change too to survive. We barely lasted last time…and now…" Sirius' smile was wistful as he gave Remus a shake as he said "Now it seems we've got so much more to lose."
Remus nodded, in complete agreement. "We owe it to Lily and James, to their memory, not to lose. And to Harry; Harry must be protected."
"And we owe it to ourselves," Sirius said, moving his hands to the back of Remus' neck, holding him in a firm grip so that he could not back away from Sirius' indeterminable grey eyes. "We owe it to each other to change the way we are, to change the way we've always been and try, at least, to be something different…something better."
Remus' smile would not be denied and, although he was undoubtedly frightened of what this newness might mean, he could not refuse his friend any longer.
"What about others?" Remus asked, clinging to the familiar comfort of hesitancy, as Sirius seemed to be suddenly more interested with the hair at the back of Remus' neck. "What about what other people will say?"
"Bloody hell, Remus, you'd think with having to handle something as anti-social as your furry little problem, you'd be relieved at having something as decidedly average as being involved in a homosexual dalliance with your recently estranged friend to deal with…"
"You forgot mass-murdering, slightly unhinged…"
"Quite," Sirius said. "You've always cared much more than I have what other people think. Does it really matter what anyone else thinks? Is it really anyone else's business asides from our own?"
For a moment, Remus considered whether or not anyone else should be told; indulging in imagining other people's reactions. Would it be as bad, or even worse, than the reaction he faced when people discovered about his lycanthropy? Sirius was right; no-one else needed to know.
Sirius kissed him then for the first time since he had woken and it was as though there was nothing more natural for them to do. They had kissed, in the past, in this room before, only this time they were equals; they knew how important it was to them both.
"Don't think that this gives you some sort of allowance to take liberties with my hospitality," Remus mumbled into Sirius' mouth, which was becoming increasingly persistent against his. Sirius gave a sharp bark of laughter.
"Hospitality now, is it?"
Remus tried to formulate a coherent response but was distracted by Sirius' insistent hands that were greedily roaming his back.
"So this is how it's going to be now, is it?" Remus said, a little stifled, trying to focus on anything but allowing his present situation to remind him of the promise of pleasure. Sirius' hair tickled against Remus' throat. "You're going to use this new found…familiarity to your advantage?"
Sirius' mouth was wet against his ear as he whispered, hotly, "Abso-bloody-lutely."
Huzzah! Originally I had intended to leave it unresolved but then I realised that, despite me best intentions, it simply had to happen. I shall be writing other things in the future. I have a few one shots to upload and, for a very long time, have been toying with the idea of writing a longer fic about the events of Godric's Hollow. However, after reading Deathly Hallows this might change, but I hope some of you will stick by me as a writer and look out for my stories to read. Byebye and happy reading this weekend! xxx