Disclaimer: Anything you recognise remains the property of JK Rowling. I'm just taking them out for a Christmassy spin ;).

A/N: Written for Red and The Wolf on LJ, using the prompts: There's a moment you know…you're fucked - Not an inch more room to self-destruct. No more move – oh yeah, the dead-end zone. Man, you just can't call your soul your own - Totally Fucked, by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, and speak. Rated for swearing and slight adult content.


Her lips press against his cheek, warm and smooth and all the things that lips are supposed to be, and in that moment, Remus knows that he's fucked.

He tries to disconnect them, lips from body, lips from her – it's just a kiss and all that, and yet he can't, because he knows that the rest of her is unavoidably attached to those warm, smooth lips, and that she's just given him something that lingers through eternity, something he can't erase with spells or soap, something he can never give back.

He swallows, tries not to let the flush he feels body-wide show on his face, and Lily giggles a bit. He knows she's drunk, hasn't the faintest idea what kind of riotous chain-reaction of sensation she's set in motion inside him, how that touch of her fingers on his shoulder, faint and friendly as she leant in, will torment him for weeks, but he loathes her a little bit anyway for not seeing what's blatantly obvious, for putting him through all of this, still.

God, he hates mistletoe.

Whose idea was it anyway to hang the stuff? Whose idea was it to dangle it from the ceiling in the common room, where the hapless and lovelorn could haplessly and lovelornly wander beneath it and get trapped by the people who made them hapless and lovelorn in the first place? A cruel mind, he thinks, came up with that one: merry bloody Christmas. You are fucked.

He knows it's fruitless to feel what he feels, that it's the very definition of self-destructive in extremis – he hardly needs it rubbing in, to have a friendly seasonal gesture linger on his skin for all eternity, laughing at him, mocking him, telling him how good the thing he already knows he can't have is.

He stares at the carpet, trying to force his heart to stop pounding, his muscles to untense, his body to relax and not give him away, but it doesn't respond, reacts to her entirely without his consent, and he just hopes no-one, not her, not James, not any of the twenty or so people clustered in the common room, will notice.

Why can't he just –

Why her?

Yes, she's pretty and friendly and she has the softest lips ever to grace his face, but he can't understand why his body, why his heart, why his goddamn soul would pick her when she's so obviously monumentally beyond his reach.

He'd always known that he was fucked, but as Remus stands there, waiting for his cheeks to return to their normal colour and his stomach to stop lurching, he thinks he's a good deal more fucked than he thought he was – roughly twenty per cent or so more – which is in itself disconcerting, because he'd previously thought he was totally fucked and he's not sure what the word for more than that is.

James drapes his arm around Lily's shoulder, pulls her close and nuzzles her hair, and then they shuffle off together, upstairs, probably –

Remus doesn't want to think about it, and so he sighs as they leave, fucked to the nth degree.

He rolls his eyes, sinks into a chair, absentmindedly reaches for the red wine Sirius is drinking and takes a long swig, trying not to cough.

Of course the real problem is that he's not actually getting fucked at all.

James is the one taking care of that. From what he hears Lily's pretty good at it too, which simultaneously makes him want to smack James in the face for being the kind of idiot who'd share those sorts of details with his mates, and lean in closer, savour every morsel so when the lights go out he can imagine her with him instead in vivid Technicolor, safe in the knowledge of relative accuracy.

God, he hates James.

God, he hates her.

God, he hates the mistletoe that made him feel like this in the first place.

His eyes roam the room, fix on Sirius, who's surveying him with a knowing and oddly superior smile. He hates him too.

He takes another sip of wine.

It doesn't help.

"So," Sirius says, and Remus winces, because things are about to get worse, whatever Sirius says. There's every chance, he thinks, that in two minutes time, he's going to be not only fucked but bleeding from the nose. "Any plans for Christmas?"

Remus glares, knowing that that isn't what he means at all. "The usual," he says, teeth gritted. "Presents, turkey, talking to relatives I don't actually like and pretending that the whole thing isn't a woeful commercial sham – "

"Someone steal the holly off your pudding, Moony?"

Sirius smirks, and Remus purposefully tightens his jaw, then sighs, losing patience with the whole thing. "Just say it and smack me in the face, will you?" he says. "So it's over and done with."

"Say what?"

Remus lowers his voice to almost a hiss, darts a glance at Peter in the corner, playing chess with a fourth year, using moves James taught him to impress her. "Whatever it is that you want to, because don't pretend that you don't know."

Sirius almost smiles, his gaze darting to Peter too. "Fancy a walk?" he says.


They end up at the top of the Astronomy Tower, alone.

Two fourth years had been up against the parapet, groping each other with more enthusiasm than skill when they arrived, but they left a moment ago. He likes to think it was him giving them a stern look befitting a prefect – hard to pull off when cradling a bottle of red wine to his chest and out of bed out of hours himself, but not impossible, although he thinks that realistically their disappearing act had rather more to do with Sirius strolling in as if he owned the place and telling them in a rather bored tone to bugger off.

The sky is frozen above them so that the stars don't even seem to twinkle between the clouds, and Remus pulls his cloak tighter around himself and leans back against the cold stone of the wall, trying to front whatever this is out.

Sirius watches him as if he's waiting for some confession, but Remus knows that he already knows everything he could confess, and refuses to give him the satisfaction of hearing the words uttered aloud in some cloying apologetic tone.

He didn't ask for this.

Minutes pass. He doesn't know how many, but it's long enough that his fingers feel fused to the bottle and his mind wanders back down to the common room, to the feel of Lily's hand on his shoulder, her lips on his skin.

He closes his eyes, squeezes them tight, wishing he could obliterate the moment from his memory.

He's beyond fucked.

There's not even a word for what this is, this tangle in his chest of bitterness he doesn't want to feel, misplaced jealousy, and longing so potent it makes him want to cry.

He doesn't know why he can't just –

It's like he's not himself these days, he's some bundle of a load of things he doesn't want to be, some spiky, arsey twat, lost in himself and lashing out at his friends just because he can't have what he wants. It's childish and stupid and pointless, and he doesn't want to be like this, and yet he can't seem to figure out a way to be anything else. "I haven't done anything about it," he says quietly, giving the words no thought before he lets them out of his mouth.

It's the truth, although he could have done something about it, maybe, once upon a time.

"I know," Sirius says, but Remus is so lost in his thoughts he barely hears him.

The way she used to look at him – hopeful and eager, she'd make conversation about nothing, ask about Hogsmeade, who he was taking, always a bit surprised when he said no-one. It had taken him a while to believe that it meant what he thought it did, and then insecurity got the better of him, and by the time he realised she held the shape of his existence in her hands it was too late.

He leans back against the wall and tells himself that if this ever happens again, he'll reach out and grab whatever's on offer with both hands, not cower in fear.

He meets Sirius' eye. "I don't know what to do," he says, and Sirius smiles.

"Nothing you can do, is there?" he replies. "Keep on drinking and hope it fades. Most things do, in the end."

Remus nods, takes a gulp of the wine, holding it in his mouth and swishing it, sour and cold, around. He swallows, hopes it'll wash away his feelings, rests back against the wall and looks up at the stars.

The place where her lips touched his cheek throbs – or not throbs, he thinks, not quite – sings. He closes his eyes, hopes Sirius is right, and longs for the singing to fade so that he can have his soul back.


There's mistletoe everywhere.

It was inevitable, really, that sooner or later –

Her lips press against his cheek, warm and smooth and all the things that lips are supposed to be, and in that moment, Remus knows that he's fucked.

He swallows, tries not to let the flush he feels body-wide show on his face, and Tonks meets his eye, uncertain and coy as she sinks back onto her heels. She glances up at the cluster of green leaves and white berries above their heads in explanation, but it's not the reason, and he knows it.

He likes her – more than that, knows she feels the same, because she talks to him about things she has no interest in, lingers too long, her gaze eager and hopeful on his face.

But, as always, he's let insecurities get the better of him, pondered too long and too hard about how he can't, shouldn't, mustn't, precisely because he knows she holds the shape of his existence in her hands and it scares him.

He promised himself, an eon ago, that he wouldn't cower in fear, but he can't help it, and it doesn't seem to matter how many times Sirius tells him not to make the same mistake twice.

God, he hates mistletoe.

Where did it get the idea that it was its place to force issues like this out into the open?

"Say something," she says, and her forehead creases, giving her words the sound of a question, a plea.

He meets her eye, smiles a little, as much as he can, and she looks away, blushes, turns, because she's given him, offered him, something that lingers through eternity and she thinks he wants her to take it back.

He doesn't, though.

He just doesn't quite know how to do this, because he's not James, and his heart feels too exposed on his sleeve.

"I – "

He touches her arm and she looks up. He thinks that he should tell her, warn her, that he's rubbish at this, will make a mess of it however hard he tries – maybe because he tries too hard – but instead, he slides his fingers down her arm, over her wrist, hooks them between hers and pulls her closer.

She swallows, her gaze all over his face, trying to fathom him out, but instead of waiting for her to see it, what he feels, he leans forward, and presses his lips to hers. She squeezes his fingers, kisses him back, slow and earnest and perfect, and –

Oh.

He's beyond totally fucked to the nth degree this time, and gloriously, wonderfully so.

All of him sings.

He'd thought, perhaps, that his body, his heart, his soul had done it again, picked someone monumentally out of his grasp, but it hasn't, and all he needed to do to realise it was stop cowering and reach.

For a second, he feels that bit of him that's been lost in the ether flutter back.

He knows it's only temporary, though, and that when she asks for his soul, he'll give it to her gladly.


A/N: Cheers for reading. Reviews get a seasonal snog with a fictional sex god of their own choosing ;).