Remus watches Sirius from the shadows of their room, feeling the firm spread of the stone wall behind his narrow shoulder blades. The coolness of the hard element crawls through the thin linen of his shirt. And sleepy blood vessels stir across the tattered canvass of skin stretching upon his shoulders in response.

Sirius sits there in the center of the room, long limbs curled up to his chest upon that dusty rug, the sheen black of his clothing a sharp contrast to the humble knitted colours of faded maroon and gold. He stretches one leg, pushing his foot out away from him as he crooks his left knee up against his chest, slender fingers toying with the laces of his shoe.

How magnetizing to watch, Remus thinks -- dark and brooding and yet somehow delightful all at the same time; a splendor of contradictions with his sullen eyes, tinged with a trace of aggravation; and a generous mouth twitching quite comically, moving soundlessly as he continues to argue with the cantankerous shoelaces.

Remus shivers. Perhaps it is from the cold, or perhaps from something more – something internal, that tremble of emotions that bloom in hidden darkness whenever he watches his companion, his secret lover.

There is something beautiful about Sirius Black, Remus thinks to himself, staring at him with a curious fascination. He isn't sure what it is exactly that enthralls him so completely. Often he has tried to put together lists about Sirius Black; spending hours upon hours long into the night poured over dimly lit parchments. He tries his best to write down every miniscule detail that floods his brain, burns before his eyes before vanishing just as quickly; a devilish wink teasing him of what he longs to grasp between his fingertips but somehow fails to.

He has given up on writing out those lists. Already he has countless journals compiled with foolish nonsense; and they have done him no good; all failing to piece together the craftwork that threads together Sirius Black. And so he has succumbed to simply watching Sirius, engraving every expression and fluid motion to the memory banks of his consciousness, and perhaps, even, to the secret crevices of the subconscious.

Right now he is oddly fascinated by Sirius' mouth, which has become an erratic flurry that is ever so delightful to watch. His lips snag at the corner for the briefest moment of triumph as he manages to relinquish one stubborn knot; white teeth flash in the warm bath of candlelight; and then his mouth opens wildly with childlike glee that spills from his lips.

Remus shivers again.

His eyes flicker down to the subject of Sirius' enraptured attention: a devastating tangle of black nylon strings coiled through scuffed loops and black leather. And perhaps untangling the knots would not be such a difficult task – if the task had any chance for victory at all. But it is all too clear ( well, not to Sirius at least ) that the laces of Sirius' boots have been fancied by a nameless rat and have reached the pinnacle of no cure.

Remus smothers a smile, dare not chancing that he may distract Sirius' determination. No, it is far too pleasurable to watch his companion's earnest efforts for success.

But Sirius is frowning again.

And this time the frown has truly engulfed his handsome features. The tender flesh at the corners of his eyes wrinkle in displeasure, his nostrils at the end of his straight nose flaring slightly, and now his mouth is set in a very firm, straight line.

Pity, Remus thinks in a passing notion.

Sirius growls low in his throat, the slender line of his back curving deeper over the foot drawn close to his right thigh. The material of his jeans groan a little in protest as they are stretched at the awkwardness of Sirius' new angle; and he haughtily ignores them and catches his lower lip with his teeth in new heated resolve.

He gives an arrogant toss of his head, black hair dancing along the strong definition of his jaw line and Remus' breath hitches in his throat before it is swallowed back down.

The air in the room is thick and warm and Remus wonders why it hasn't bothered Sirius yet. It is bothering Remus very much and making it quite difficult for Remus to breathe properly. The veins in his hands throb mercilessly, coiling up his wrists and thundering through his body to certain "unwelcome" areas of his body.

He shifts slightly against the wall seeking relief. But the stone is no longer cold, now quite warmed by the heat pooling through Remus' skin.

Most unfortunate for Remus Lupin.

He steals a glance over at Sirius, who is now verbally threatening his sorely chewed laces to cooperate or else face certain doom.

Remus feels a small smile tug at the corner of his mouth, a faint action, but one that still manages to irritate the fresh lines of marred flesh crawling across the gentle slopes of his face. And he winces, not meaning to, for even that slight change of expression manages to bring discomfort to the angry swells of fragile skin. He has forgotten it hurts to move his mouth, to part his lips or even stretch them in a smile. Sirius Black serves not only as a glorious sight for Remus' eyes to behold, but also has a distraction from the ugliness marring Remus' own self.

Remus is often left wondering, in the solitary cloak of darkness, how a being as flawless as Sirius Black can love one so scarred and ugly such as Remus Lupin. Surely now, with these dreadful reminders slithering across his face, Remus must be something dreadful to Sirius' eyes.

That low ache twists dully is stomach, intestines lurching with poisonous despair that spills through his being – how is it that Sirius can even stand to look upon him now? Now that he is such a vile looking creature?

Ah, Sirius Black – in all his fine beauty – those bright eyes forever laughing, and his mouth – grinning, reveling in the sheer brilliance of the game perpetually whirling around in his head. Sirius, beautiful tantalizing Sirius – the embodiment of sheer ecstasy and delight – full of light -- oh, such uninhibited light!

Sometimes Remus thinks that Sirius swallowed up the sun, and now it burns inside of him and radiates from his eyes and mouth and fingertips; spills off of his tongue and shatters into shimmering pieces when he laughs.

Sometimes he thinks his own internal darkness may snuff out the light brimming deep inside of Sirius.

But Sirius always simply throws back his head in delight at this; and slings his long arm around Remus' shoulders and laughs breathlessly in his ear.

It is very difficult for Remus to protest to much of anything with Sirius' breath skittering across his face, his body curving deliciously into his own . . . his face, oh so close --

He thinks of his scars again, which he has become painfully self-conscious about over these past few days. His sandy hair, so normally tame and smooth has fallen to a fate of unkempt shaggy disarray, which Remus hides his shameful face behind and allows to fall in front of his eyes.

Sometimes Remus thinks he has regressed back to his childhood thoughts -- that if he can not see others they can not see him and he is safe from their prying eyes and questioning mouths.

"Stop doing that, Moony."

Remus starts, blinking away the clouded fragments of his mind, and casts a startled glance over at Sirius who is watching him intently now.

"'. . . doing that'?" Remus echoes faintly.

"Yes," the long arch of his brows furrow slightly; odd to see Sirius' generous lips pulled down in a frown at him. He makes some motion with his hand, lifting it towards Remus and flicking his wrist at him. "The scars will never heal properly if you keep touching them like that. Stop it."

Remus' soft brown eyes widen slightly, surprise flickering in their imploring depths; and it is only then that he realizes that his nails have been grazing the raw, pink flesh right above the corner of his upper lip.

"Ah –" he begins, and a faint hue creeps upon his cheeks.

Remus will never know how alluring it is for Sirius to see his pale cheeks flush as they do, how the subtle change of his complexion enlivens him in the most startling of ways.

No, Remus Lupin will never become aware of such thoughts, as he certainly does not now. Because now he is far too immersed in his own thoughts -- grateful for his unruly hair that slips from beneath his ears to curtain his face.

"I didn't realize," he says, and the voice sounds foolish to his own ears. It's a useless thing to say, he knows, although it is spoken out of pure honesty.

Odd, for him to feel this way – helpless, awkward, like a skeleton shrunken beneath a costume of skin that he has not quite figured out how to be comfortable in. This skin is not his own, and yet it is, or rather – once was. But not anymore. This skin is marred, this skin is no longer beautiful, this skin feels too tight and too foreign. Remus can not hide all his insecurities behind this skin anymore, because his greatest self doubt has become this skin. And so now, he must hide this skin, and this face – but he is running out of things to hide behind. His lips feel strange on his face, and so he can no longer form words of wit and clever banter to disguise the fear slowly consuming his every fiber.

He hears Sirius sigh; can imagine him hanging his head back in that fashion he always does whenever he is frustrated; baring his tan throat to eager eyes –

"You're thinking about them again, aren't you?" Sirius glares over at him, but there is no malice behind his words, "I can practically hear you thinking. You're always thinking about those scars; it's a nuisance, you know." His voice softens, and Remus finds himself tilting his face, cautiously, towards Sirius, straining to hear the words that lace together from mouth. "I've told you before that you think too loud."

The pulse by the base of his throat flutters, as if Sirius' voice is something tangible, crooning across naked flesh, kissing the trembling vein that throbs at the base of his neck. Remus nods, folding his arms across his knees. Why is it that Sirius knows him so well? But does he know what shakes and squirms beneath this skin? He mustn't – if he did, he wouldn't stay around, he wouldn't still touch Remus, and speak with Remus and look at Remus.

He wants to let the words scurrying through his brain to spill from his lips, Aren't you repulsed by me? But he doesn't want to hear the answer Yes leave Sirius Black's lips. And so he curls back his tongue and pushes those horrid words down his throat.

Cool fingers press against the slant of his jaw line and Remus jolts away in surprise. He doesn't mean to coil away, to slam back against the wall with a resounding thud. But yet --

He can feel Sirius upon him, hovering before him. His scent, warm and musky encloses around him, making Remus forget what it was exactly that had him so filled with sorrow only scant second ago. Because, oh, Sirius is so close now, and Remus swallows down a nervous shudder. His gaze skitters beneath the tuff of hair tickling his brow and nose.

Sirius is crooning softly against his cheek, lips a feather caress against the scarred flesh. Shhshh, he is assuring him, nuzzling his nose into the sweaty mess of hair by Remus' temple, fingertips dancing across the belt loop hugging Remus' stomach. He can feel the fluttering pulse trembling beneath his lips as he whispers into Remus' hair It's alright, Moony.

Long, strong fingers curl around Remus' wrist, tighten around veins and lean muscle taunt within the delicate confinement of skin.

Remus is trying to breathe again. Somewhere between watching Sirius to now, with Sirius so intoxicatingly close, Remus has forgotten the simple necessity of drawing in oxygen and releasing it into carbon dioxide.

He licks his dry lips. And Sirius's eyes darken as something low and possessive rumbles within his ribcage.

Sirius leans into Remus fully now, bent down on his knees as he braces his weight on his left hand placed by Remus' hip.

Remus can taste his breath. It tastes like stale cigarette smoke, tinged with the warm aroma of French chocolate, as it brushes against the corner of his mouth. Remus feels slightly heady by it. Remus wants to drink it in every molecule of Sirius' breath, wants it to fills his nostrils and resonate throughout his veins. Oh, to have Sirius inside him . . . to have the sun burning brightly within in his being as it does in Sirius.

He jumps as he feels Sirius' hips shift against the inside of his thighs.

"What are you—"

"Are you worried about these, Moony?" he asks softly, his right brow rising slightly. Sirius curls his hand around the front of Remus' jaw, tracing the pad of his index finger across the tip of the raised hairline of flesh beneath his bottom lip. "Do you find them ugly, Moony? These scars?" His eyes lower to Remus' mouth.

His blue-grey eyes are like fathomless chasms as they bore dangerously into Remus' startled gaze. And somehow they manage to speak in volumes that never break the silence: Let me love these scars, Moony. Let me make what you find ugly, into something beautiful.

Remus' lips part in a gasp as he feels moist lips tug slightly at the jagged corner his oh-so-sensitive scar. It sings beneath his touch. God, like being licked by the sun --

His long fingers fist into the carpet by his side, control yourself. . . but it is hard to control any kinds of emotions when Sirius is upon him, calloused digits stroking the delicate slope of his neck. He arches into the alluring touch, his breath catching behind his clenched teeth.

"You really oughtn't hate these, Moony," Sirius' voice rumbles soothingly, painting a moist trail across Remus' collarbone that ignites beneath the clever stroke of his tongue, "Not when I love them so; really quite the looker, you know; gives you a roguish air I think."

Remus is engulfed by the sun, he collapses back into it, feels himself fall out of his body and into that devastatingly glorious heat.

And Remus is protesting, hands grappling blindly to stop Sirius' invading touches with a panicked Stop, Sirius, don't look –and Sirius' patiently consoling voice crooning in his ear Shh, Moony, I'm going to make them beautiful; long fingers curling around his wrists and gently pinning them against the bed.

He jolts free.

". . . stop squirming so much." Sirius is whispering into his mouth, lips and tongue moving slow and lazy upon his own – tasting, teasing, delighting.

Remus grips the front of Sirius' leather vest, fingers brushing against naked flesh. Sirius makes a strange noise in the back of his throat, fingers digging painfully into Remus' hip. And his mouth crushes against Remus', breath ragged as it invades Remus' gaping mouth, delicious hot Sirius finally filling his body.

Remus' trembles. He chokes down a garbled protest as Sirius' fingers curl beneath the waistband hugging his hip.

"Oh God, Sirius – not there," his head lolls back as Sirius mouth nips at the sensitive juncture between his neck and shoulder. "Sirius, I don't –"

Sirius' chuckle floods his senses.

"You talk too much, Moony, you know that?" he murmurs, "It's really not a very good habit, makes your voice sound all needy and wanting." He catches the downy flesh of Remus' lobe with his teeth, smiles as Remus gasps and jerks beneath his prodding hand, "And that, my lovely Moony, makes me want to devour you all the more."