A.N.: While this is technically the sequel of Tomorrow, it can be enjoyed alone which is why I posted them seperately. Thanks to JO for beta-ing patiently.
Disclaimer: The Characters and situations of Harry Potter depicted on this website are the legal property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury, and AOL Time Warner, and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
It was a dark, cold and windy September night. The four Marauders, now adults, no longer lived in the cramped boys' dormitory at Hogwarts in the Gryffindor tower. They didn't attend Herbology classes or pulled pranks on unsuspecting Slytherins. Separated, they lived in fear. The wizard war, invisible to Muggles, surrounded them, suffocated them.
Sirius Black walked quickly, his hand curled tightly around his hidden wand, eyes shifting edgily on the lookout for enemies. He did not trust this neighbourhood. He would never have walked anywhere near this place but Remus lived in the heart of it, and tonight, he was heading over to his best friend's place to check up on him. The full moon had passed three nights ago and Remus had transformed alone, this time by choice. He refused the company and the help that both Sirius and James had offered. Peter was still missing; it was beginning to worry them all. They knew poor Peter did not possess the same level of magic skill as they did. They feared he had been attacked again.
The bright autumn sun had long gone, taking with it any warmth that might have lingered. The black alleys reeked of garbage and uncertainty. Sirius trotted in the middle of the cement road, knowing no car owner in their right mind would drive down this forgotten hell hole. Sirius wondered when James would visit Remus. He rarely left his home since Harry was born.
My godson, thought Sirius with pride. My godson, who will grow up adored and pampered by his parents and spoiled rotten by me, his amazing godfather. Sirius was happy for James and Lily. He could never have children; he would surely maim, torture and murder them before they reached the age of three. That's not the only reason, of course, but true none-the-less, eagerly snickered a little voice inside his head.
In response, the last of the Black line walked a little faster, scowling.
Sirius lived alone, in a nicer part of London. He normally apparated straight to Remus's doorstep on nights like these, but since they hadn't spoken in a week, he thought it best to take the Muggle way there. Every time they met for lunch, or at Order meetings, Sirius told Remus they should live together. Every time, Remus chuckled and said nothing. He kicked a large rock as he walked past it.
It wasn't only that Sirius was lonely. He simply really, really missed Remus. They saw each other once a week, twice if he was lucky. He missed Remus's laugh, Remus's afternoon naps, Remus's grin... he missed eating three meals a day with Remus, studying with Remus, planning pranks with Remus...
As Remus's apartment building loomed closer, Sirius stopped walking. He wondered what he was really doing here. You were supposed to stop this, he chided himself. You were supposed to stop worrying about him, stop thinking about him, stop visiting him... stop loving him... He groaned, closing his eyes. This kind of thinking wasn't getting him anywhere. A little more than two years had passed since his conversation with James and nothing had changed. At first, he had been determined to prove to himself he didn't love Remus. He had spent two weeks of hell alone before realizing he'd been stupid enough to fall in love with his best friend. His very wonderful, very straight best friend. Perhaps that's part of his appeal, Sirius sighed silently. Wanting what you can't have and all that nonsense...
It was several minutes before he noticed the light rain that fell around him. He shook his head, cursing, and jogged to the filthy three-story building.
He climbed up the last set of stairs in the shady apartment building and walked down the corridor towards Remus's tiny place. The electric lights flickered ominously. He knocked quietly on the dirty door. Remus opened it, unsurprised, and motioned for Sirius to enter. Sirius was taken off guard by the heat that rushed to meet him; Remus normally kept his apartment quite cold. Frowning, he took off his black leather gloves and stuffed them in an inside pocket. He unbuttoned his long black cloak and draped it over the moth eaten armchair while Remus redid the many locks, bolts and spells that protected his door. Sirius sat on a worn brown sofa and watched Remus watch him.
Remus crossed his arms over his chest, leaned against the off-white wall and sighed. "You shouldn't have come."
Sirius raised a sophisticated eyebrow at him. "Perhaps I'll go then and leave you to your lonely plans for a Wednesday night."
"Don't be ridiculous, Padfoot," smiled Remus tiredly. "As long as you're here, I'll take advantage of your more pleasant company. Tea?"
Sirius eyed the teapot on the coffee table distastefully. He hated tea; it reminded him of his bitch of a mother. "Firewhiskey, if you have it," he replied.
"Sorry, I'm afraid I'm fresh out." Remus rolled his eyes at him as he poured himself a cup of steaming tea. "You know I don't keep any of that around here."
"I know. I was just checking," he grinned. To Sirius's chagrin, Remus sat across from him on the khaki armchair. His heart twisted painfully. "Wouldn't want you getting into trouble."
"Trouble? Me? You must have me mistaken for someone else," teased the werewolf, eyes twinkling.
"No, I think I've got the right person. Sandy hair, amber eyes, tall, a bit maniacal with cleaning... you pretty much fit the bill," Sirius said thoughtfully. "Oh! You wouldn't happen to be a werewolf too, would you?"
Remus shook his head lightly, fighting a smile. He sipped his tea and made a face. "Too hot," he mumbled. He blew on it gently. The subtle action mesmerized Sirius.
He snapped out of it quickly; he had more than enough practice. He refused to get distracted from his original plan. "How was it?" he asked after a moment of silence. Both knew what he was referring to.
Remus sighed and stared at the coffee table, drumming his thin fingers absently on the cup. "No worse than usual, but no better," he answered guardedly.
Sirius gritted his teeth. "You shouldn't have been alone, Moony. Prongs and I both offered to be here-"
"-and I declined your offers. It's as simple as that," dismissed Remus with a wave of a pale hand.
"We've always been there, Moony! We've always kept you company during your transformations!" said Sirius hotly.
"Not always!" retorted Remus swiftly.
Sirius sat back, stung. He glared at his friend, fighting against the guilt that flooded him.
"I'm sorry, Padfoot, I shouldn't have said that," Remus said with difficulty through clenched teeth.
"No, you're absolutely right," he laughed bitterly. "Not always."
Remus inhaled deeply and closed his eyes. "It was a long time ago. Forget I said anything."
Sirius snorted but kept quiet. He wasn't here to fight, although it was hard to remember why he was really here in the first place. Remus had that effect on him, even after all this time. "Why didn't you want us there?" he questioned stiffly.
"I thought - and keep your comments to yourself - that there was enough danger around us at the moment without my transformation to also endanger you all," he said carefully. "And I have to admit it wouldn't have been the same without Peter. No news about him, I suppose?"
"None," he said. "Don't change the subject… Are you raving mad? Compared to Voldemort and his moronic followers, your full moon habits are a joke! Just because there's a war out there... it doesn't change that we're best mates, Moony, and best mates are there for each other!"
Sirius stood and began to pace, working himself into a frenzy. "In fact, this is exactly what friendships are for! We stick together, especially through war! You keep shutting us out Moony! After all these years, all the full moons we've been through, you still don't want us there? There's nothing about a transformation I haven't seen! I've seen you transform over a dozen times; I've seen you morph back more times than I can count. Is this about Snape again? You know I'm sorry for that; I wasn't thinking, and I regret it every time I think about you," he raved.
Which is every fucking moment of every fucking day, Sirius thought miserably. "Do you want me to apologize again? I swear I will, Moony, until you forgive me. You saw Snape, didn't you, and he said something fucking stupid, right? He's a bloody bastard, but like you said, we've got to ignore him and-"
"Shut up, Padfoot," Remus snapped. Sirius's mouth stopped moving, but he kept pacing. "And will you stop that? You're making me ill."
Sirius stopped but remained afoot. He never could say no to Remus. "I just don't understand, Moony," he said loudly, looking down at his friend. "What's changed?"
"Everything!" yelled Remus, standing suddenly. "Everything's changed! James has a son now-"
"-Harry turned one year old a month ago, it's old news-"
"-there's been no sign of Peter for over four days-"
"-he'll show up soon, he always does-"
"-I can hardly afford to keep this dump-"
"-you can live with me, the offer still stands-"
"-restrictions on werewolves just keep getting worse and worse-"
"-it's that young Umbridge bitch, isn't it? Hasn't got a noble bone in her body, the wench-"
"-and you, who keeps insisting everything's all sunshine and daisies when it's just not!"
"How is that a problem?" Sirius persisted. "Positive thinking entails positive results, you always say that."
Remus paced to the other side of the living room, which wasn't very far, before turning to face Sirius again. "You honestly don't see the problem?" he said angrily, slowly getting closer.
"No, I don't, but do enlighten me," Sirius raged.
Remus stuffed one hand in his pocket, using the other to gesticulate wildly. Standing so close to Sirius, Remus almost hit him. As much as he hated to fight with Remus, Sirius did enjoy the sight of Remus's passionate side, especially up close. "I'm depending on you too much, Sirius!" he admitted loudly. Sirius's heart beat pumped rapidly in a frenzied staccato. "And Peter, and James! This isn't Hogwarts, where teachers monitor the halls and keep the feuding between Slytherin and Gryffindor to a minimum! People are dying, Sirius, all over the place, every effing day. If I lost you-"
Sirius didn't think. He didn't wait for Remus to finish his sentence. He just grabbed Remus's head and brought his friend's face towards his. He pressed his lips against Remus's forcefully, putting all his desperation into that one kiss. He threaded his fingers through the short sandy hair, his heart about to burst from mixed emotions. Remus simply stood there, not pushing him away, but not encouraging him. Sirius fought back unwanted tears of rejection.
He inhaled sharply, resting his cold forehead against Remus's scorching one, eyes closed. He thought fast, hoping his charisma would save his pride. "I..." But nothing came. For once, Sirius Black could not talk himself out of a situation. His throat constricted and he swallowed to clear the lump that was rapidly forming. He feverishly stroked Remus's cheek with the tips of his fingers.
Sirius could not bring himself to look at the werewolf to gauge his reaction. He glanced at Remus's face to see Remus was frowning. His eyes, the part Sirius wanted to see most, were squeezed shut. Sighing shakily, he closed his eyes again and ran his fingers through Remus's hair. He kissed him, longing to be able to get the words out right. "I... I should go," he whispered hoarsely. To his own surprise, his voice did not brake. He kissed Remus again, lingering, memorizing his friend's lips. "I..."
He could not find the words. Angry at himself, he turned and grabbed his cloak off the ugly armchair. He stepped towards the door and undid the locks and bolts. He opened the door abruptly and slammed it shut after him. He stalked away into the night, unaware that Remus was watching him silently from his suddenly cold living room.
It was a dark September night indeed.