A/N: Ah... What can I say? I've never been inspired to write slash until recently, and I'll blame remuslives23 for it. She, who can create 1,001 ways to get Remus laid and sings Mr David Thewlis' praises as no one else, is my smut idol. I lay my foray into slashdom at thy feet, Mistress Julie...

I must now offer the typical disclaimers now: Not mine, wish they were, Remus wouldn't have died, JKRowling sucks for doing that (but I suppose I should thank her for creating Remus in the first place... And Sirius...)

Hope you like it!

Formalizing the Relationship

"What are we doing, Padfoot?" he manages to whisper around and between my tongue and our lips.

As it seems fairly obvious to me, and I know he's not that dense, I answer his question the best way I know how: I ignore him.

Well, I don't quite ignore him. I actually reach down and let my hand slide across the front of his jeans.

He makes a noise — half groan, half gasp — and then the infuriating bastard asks me again: "What are we doing?" This time, he pulls his lips away from mine, and holds my head between his hands, forcing me to look him in the eyes. We're both panting like we'd run from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade at full speed.

I smile at him though. "Moony, you're the smart one. You tell me."

"Should we be doing this?" he asks.

It is then that I notice the uncertainty in his eyes.

"Why shouldn't we?" I try to lean my head forward enough to kiss him, but his hands firmly keep me inches away from my goal.

"Because tomorrow morning, we're going to have to look at each other," he says. "And at some point we're going to have to talk to one another."

As I don't see the point to all this, and we're wasting time which could be spent in a much more pleasant way than debating the bloody sense in all this, not to mention I'm beginning to ache in places that weren't meant to ache, I can't help but snap at him. "Damn it, Remus! I want you, you want me — for once, stop bloody analyzing things and let's do this."

I again touch the denim-covered bulge, but this time I leave my hand in place and he shudders. "Sirius –"

"Remus," I whisper. I'm begging, actually, and he hears it. I see his eyes light up at the realization that I'm pleading for him, for his touch, for his kisses, for his body…

His hands fall to my shoulders and I lean in again, capturing his mouth with mine.

I suppose I should be nervous too. After all, we haven't ever done anything like this before. At least, not with each other. I can't even say why this is happening now, at this moment…

No. That's untrue.

We're fighting a war, and our side is losing. Last week, the Prewitts were killed and Caradoc Dearborn is still missing. One by one, we're disappearing, and tonight, it could have been either Moony or me who had died. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time and the curses came just an inch too close — and then we both indulged in too much firewhiskey as we tried to stop the shaking in our hands and the tightness in our jaws and shoulders…

And finally, we collapsed into an embrace. It was meant to be a source of comfort for both of us. It was meant to be an affirmation that we were both still there…

And then suddenly, somehow, my lips were on his, and his hand was entangled in my hair: two up-to-now heterosexual males (well, at least as far as I know) needing to know, needing to prove that we were still alive, that the Death Eaters hadn't taken either one of us this time.

It was a physical verification that we weren't phantoms.

My senses had never been so alive. I could feel the smooth cotton of his T-shirt give way to scar-roughened skin as my hands untucked his shirt and found the warmth of his back. I could smell stale sweat and the traces of tobacco smoke and ale from the pub we had visited earlier. I could hear his sharp intake of breath as I started kissing the side of his neck. I could taste the salt that remained from our energetic, frenetic battle that left us both sweating and trembling. I could see brilliant multi-coloured lights behind my eyelids as his long, gentle fingers cupped my face and then drifted inside my own T-shirt, flicking my nipples with a confidence I never would have guessed he possessed.

I could sense myself becoming poetic, and stopped myself from thinking at that point, because I knew if I was thinking, then he was too.

My suspicion was right, because not even a minute later is when he asked what we were doing. And you already know how I handled that question.

"Bedroom," I manage to whisper — if only because his lips and tongue were now investigating my collarbone.

I feel him begin to pull away, but I tighten my hold on him. I'm afraid to open my eyes now, because I'm afraid of what I'll see.

"Sirius —" his voice is harsh, not just hoarse.

I chance a peek at him. There's something in his eyes, in his face, that I've seen, but at first I don't recognize it because it's never been directed at me. And then I realize that his intensity, his passion, his lust is there for me to see, for me to feel… So, why is he stopping me? Why is he stopping us? Why aren't we on our way into the bedroom?

"I don't think I'll be able to stop if we go in there," he says, and there's a sharp edge to his tone – a warning, I realise.

"Who said anything about stopping?" I ask, trying to lighten the mood. He's too serious…

"I mean it," he says emphatically. "Think about it now, because I don't want you to regret it later."

Me? He thinks I'll regret it? What about him? Apparently he knows what I'm thinking for he chuckles and runs his fingers through the hair above my left ear. "I don't want things to go wrong between us. You know, all awkward and strange. Where we can't talk to one another again because all we can think about is what we've done."

I pull him closer to me, if it's even possible, and tilt my forehead so it rests against his. "You know what, Moony? You talk too much, you git."

I see the left side of his mouth start to hitch up, and I know I've passed some sort of test that he'd quickly and deviously devised.

But I know I need to settle this — for his sake, not mine. My fists clutch his shirt tightly. "We've gone through hell tonight. There's no one that I would've rather had beside me in that fight than you. I think I deserve to know if you can love as well as you fight."

"But this isn't love," he protests, pulling his face away from mine.

"Of course it is," I scoff. "Do you love me?"

He wants to say yes, but he knows the trap is there, right at his feet, ready for him to step into.

I grin. "You know I love you."

"I don't know about that," he says, shaking his head. I almost miss the slight smile.

"You do," I insist. "For tonight, let's just throw caution to the four winds, and the four corners of the earth, and the seven seas, and everything else, and let's just — love each other."

I can't stop myself. I reach out and touch his cheek, feeling the stubble that's beginning to shadow his jaw. And obviously, it does something to him, because he closes his eyes and leans into my touch. My thumb lightly brushes his lips, and he nips at it playfully. He's smiling gently when he opens his eyes to see what I'll do next.

My breath catches in my throat, because there's something in the tilt of his head and how he's looking up at me from beneath his eyelashes — it's nothing I can describe, nothing that I can ever completely comprehend — it's just something that tells me that for now, for this insane, intense moment, he is mine. Completely, entirely, wholly mine—and if I hadn't already been aroused, that realisation would have done it.

"Bedroom, then?" he asks, and his voice is rather growl-y and gravel-y and I want that voice saying my name as we do this, as we fuck, or make love, or get it on, or any one of a hundred idioms you can use… I want to hear that voice saying my name as he comes…

That thought sends some kind of electrical charge through my body, and I throw myself at him, my teeth catching his bottom lip in my over-enthusiasm. He gives ground instead of standing firmly in place. I can't help but think that this is what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object… And again, I tell myself to stop thinking — to just feel…

But it's more than that. More than just feeling and touching — it's seeing, and tasting, and smelling, and then hearing him, as — oh God, yes – he cries out my name as we revel in being alive, in being together, in being… lovers.

I don't know what wakes me the following morning but the soft pinkish light comes through the window and illuminates the body next to mine. As if the weight of it is too much for him, he twitches and shifts. I prop myself up on one elbow to watch him wake up. It's a few more minutes before he opens his eyes, glimpses me and smiles. Before I can say anything, his eyelids shut again and he nestles his head deeper into the pillow.

Suddenly his eyes pop open again with full awareness. "It did happen," he mutters.

"Was it so bad?" I ask teasingly.

He doesn't answer. He just stares at me, and I can see a myriad of emotions playing across that usually neutral mask he wears. But in the deep blue of his eyes, I see – is it happiness? But there's fear, and I don't know why. So, I'll have to drag it out of him.

I decide to get right to the root of it. "Are you sorry?"

He is still staring at me, but he's withdrawn his feelings and thoughts to an unfathomable depth. Then, slowly, he smiles. It starts on the left side of his mouth, like it usually does when he's about to be sarcastic, or biting, or self-deprecating. But then it spreads to the other side and his face lights up. "No," he says simply.

I sigh heavily, in relief that is only partially feigned. "Good, because I'd hate to have to explain to James why we aren't talking to one another."

He tentatively reaches out and puts his hand on the arm that is supporting my head. His thumb rubs my skin, and makes parts of me twitch. "Where do we go from here, though?"

I've had more time to think about it than he has. This does not mean I have an answer, however. So, I turn the question around on him. "Where do you want this to go?"

His forehead creases and the smile falters, but he keeps his eyes on mine. "I don't think —" He stops.

I want to know what he was going to say. I want to demand he tell me. But then, part of me doesn't want to know, because as I start putting words together that might fit at the end of that phrase, it doesn't sound so good for me: 'I don't think we're meant to be together,' or 'I don't think we should do this anymore,' or 'I don't think we should tell anyone we did this, and maybe we should forget we did it this time.' But, no, he said he didn't regret it… I'm thinking too much. I hate thinking. "'You don't think?'" I accuse him of what I already know I'm guilty of. "You think too bloody much, Moony. Tell me what you want."

"I've never stopped to consider what it might be like…" And again the infuriating bastard stops.

I sit up quickly, and the blanket slips down so that when I turn toward him, it's pretty obvious how much I've been enjoying his hand on me and his body beside mine. His eyes widen a bit, and then he smiles. No, it's a bloody smirk. It fades as I lean over him and say, "If you don't tell me give me a complete sentence that answers my question, I am going to hurt you. Painfully."

The left side of his mouth rises, and he whispers, "'Hurt' already implies pain, Padfoot." He can't help pointing out when I've said something like this and I don't blame him. It was stupid. Still, when I'm in this condition — when the blood has obvious left my brain for my lower bits — he can't expect logic.

"Yes, Professor Moony. Shall I be more specific? More grammatically correct? Tell me what in the hell you're thinking: a complete, coherent sentence or I will hurt you. Badly. I will hurt you in ways that will make you wish the Death Eaters had gotten you last night."

The lightness in his eyes disappears immediately, doused by the cold, horrible memory of green curses streaking past us. He shrinks back, away from me, and I wait for him to tumble off the bed. Instead, he balances on the edge for a moment before sitting up, putting his feet to the floor and his back to me.

"Remus?" What have I done? What did I say? I try desperately to remember what I said, and how anything could have offended or hurt him. Was it the Death Eater thing? The threat? What?

Merlin's beard. He's picking up his clothes. Well, the ones that are on the bedroom floor. He'll have to check the hallway for his shirt and his belt. I have no idea where his shoes are.

But at any rate, he can't do this. I can't let him do this. He can't just leave… I am launching myself off the bed before I can think another word, and I grab his arm. "What did I say?"

His eyes look everywhere else but into mine. "You've always said that Lily and James are out of the minds to get married now, when there's so much danger."

"Well, Lily's mad for getting involved with James in the first place," I say with a snort.

"You said you didn't want to get involved with anyone. That's your excuse for dating three girls at one time, and only keeping them for two weeks each. That at any minute you could die, and you didn't want to do that to someone you actually cared about."

He's throwing all these things back at me, things that I know I've said or done, things that I know I meant at the time, things that suddenly make me sound shallow and uncaring and… like such a prick! And I think I know where he's going with all this, and I bloody hate the paths his mind takes… Why can I not turn my fucking brain — and his — off?

"Moony, yes, I've said those things, but…"

"Obviously you don't want a long-term relationship. With anyone." He swallows hard.

"I was stupid for asking you where we were going with this. You asked me to throw caution aside for one night. No more than that."

"Wait." My brain tries to wrap itself around the fact that he's upset, and he's just called himself 'stupid,' but hasn't accused me of anything. "So, this is a one-time thing?" I ask.

"Were you thinking we'd do this every once in a while for fun? That we'd do this whenever we've had a close call like last night?" He rubs the back of his head, like he does when he's bothered by something. "Neither one of us has been in a relationship with another man. We both know last night was a matter of convenience. Can you honestly say you'd want to do this again? With me?"

I lick suddenly dry lips, because now I'm caught. I'm trapped like a rat. Call me Wormtail. Now I have to give him an answer. "Look, Remus, it was good, wasn't it? Once we figured out what we were doing, right?"

He doesn't move or say anything, as if he fears that by agreeing to something, he'll condemn himself or confirm whatever fears he's having.

"And I think we could get bloody good at this — really fast." I offer a smile. "I mean, I can see ourselves doing this again, yes. And maybe it would be after a night like last night. Maybe it'd be after we've been in a pub somewhere, and we've dropped Wormtail off at his doorstep, and Prongs is with his doe, and it's just us, and it's just… right." I can't help but wink at him. "Or maybe we'll do it because we're bored."

He rubs his thumb along his bottom lip while he stares at me. I stand up to his scrutiny, because, well, what else can I do? The bed's too low to hide under, and frankly, I'd bet the dust bunnies under there are like piranhas.

"Padfoot…" He hesitates then shakes his head. "I can't do that. I can't just do this for fun. I can't make this just about sex, however good it might have been, or how great it might become. I need more than that."

"Gods, Remus, you want me to make a commitment?" He's lost his mind. The sex was so mind-blowing, he's lost his senses. That has to be it.

"No." He laughs, an honest one, which surprises the hell out of me. "The words 'commitment' and 'Sirius Black' were never meant to be used in the same sentence. No, Pads." He sobers, but the lights are back in his eyes. "This was a one-off. If we keep doing this, it'll get complicated. I'll want more, and you can't give that to me."

"How do you know that you'll want more?" I ask, getting ready to toss out an incredibly facetious line about the time he dated a girl named Melanie because she gave the best blow jobs in Great Britain. Don't ask me how I know that.

But his answer trumps mine. His answer is not so quick that I think he's lying, and not so long in coming that I know he's trying to justify something. No. He cups my chin with those long, elegant fingers of his, looks directly into my eyes and whispers, "Because I already want more."

What in the bloody hell do I say to that? What do I say to the fact that the most intensely romantic thing ever said to me was said by one of my best friends, who happens to be male? I've never consider myself homosexual or bisexual. Until last night, I hardly even thought of myself as heterosexual. I'd never had the need to classify myself. Women typically throw themselves at me, and if they're offering, why shouldn't I take? Do you blame me?

But now, I think I've been offered a chance at a possibly long-term relationship with someone intelligent, good-looking, and relatively funny who happens to have the best damned Protego of anyone I know — someone who sometimes seems to know me better than I do — and I hesitate to take it? What kind of idiot am I? An idiot that doesn't want to chance losing a friend — one of the best friends a man could have — for a mere chance at a relationship that might not make it past the first week. What would James say if we showed up at his doorstep and announced, "We shagged last night, James, and it was so good, we're going to give it a go"?

No. I can't. I just — can't.

But before I've reached this conclusion, he already has. See what I mean about someone who seems to know me better than I do? He's leaning forward and pressing his lips to mine.

"It was great," he says. "But we can't do it again."

And that's when my heart seems to drop completely out of my body. I can feel for my heartbeat, but I know it won't be there. And for the first time in my life, I am speechless. For the first time this morning, my brain isn't thinking. I'm only feeling: feeling what it would be like…

I watch in silence as he pulls on his briefs and his socks.

What is there left to say? What is there left to lose?

Everything.

His jeans are now in his hands, and he's starting to slide his right leg into them when I step forward and wrap my cold fingers around his wrist.

He looks at me, startled.

"If I die tomorrow, I don't want you going into bloody mourning for years," I say.

His eyebrows lower, and he tilts his head — all the better to stare at me with confusion. Then he shrugs and shakes his head at the fool he thinks I'm being. "Of course not. I'll find another friend just like you within a week."

"If you die tomorrow, though," I think very carefully about what I want to say, "I reserve the right to resurrect you and kill you myself for being a careless git."

"All right," he says, looking down at my hand, which is still on his wrist.

"And when this bloody damned war is over," I continue, "we're moving someplace warm. I'm sick of the bloody rain and fog."

His head jerks up as he catches the pronoun 'we.'

"But, for now, it'd be easier if you come over here, since I doubt James and Lily would want the two of us leaving our clothes all over the flat like we did last night."

His eyes are widening, considering implications, and I can see he's trying to bloody deny what he's hearing.

"First rule, though, is that the first one up has to make breakfast," I say. I turn and flop back onto the bed, leaving him stunned and still bewildered. "The good thing is that I won't expect you to serve it to me in bed."

He gulps. As often as I've read that phrase in books, I'd never known anyone to do it until now. "Good," he says hoarsely, "because I hate crumbs between the sheets."

"Rule two: you will not—not," I shake a finger at him, "bring home any stray Kneazles, grindylows, or hinkypunks."

"There's no room in the living room for a decent sized tank anyhow," he replies.

"I sleep on the left side of the bed." I figure I might as well assert my authority now.

He shrugs. "Fine." But now he is sliding his jeans back off.

I stare at the ceiling, pursing my lips as I consider the next rule. He slides into bed next to me. "I suppose I'll have to get you a key," I say, giving him a quick sidelong glance.

"That's a big step, Padfoot." He still sounds stunned.

"In for a Knut, in for a Galleon," I inform him, trying to sound casual.

"Aren't you moving too fast?" he suddenly asks. "I mean, neither one of us has ever considered even doing something like this, and –"

I turn on my side to face him. "We could both die tomorrow. Do you want to toss away a chance to be happy now just because I'm making this decision at this moment instead of analyzing it for two months?"

"But, Pads, are you sure?" He doesn't know if he wants to hear the answer or not.

"Are you?" I counter. "After all, you're always yelling at me for being inconsiderate and unthinking. You yell at me for drinking out of the milk carton. Do you want this?" I smile and make a gesture that indicates my entire body. Then I poke him in the chest. "The good thing is I already know you snore, and you know I'm not worth shit until I get coffee in the morning…"

"You're doing all right so far this morning," he mumbles.

"Exception to the rule that proves it," I say dismissively. See? I can sound intelligent when I want. "We don't have to spend weeks of dating to find out if we're compatible. We don't have to spend months trying to pry our deepest, darkest secrets out of each other. Hell, you don't even have to work up the courage to tell me about the lycanthropy."

He inhales deeply then releases the breath slowly. "You make it sound — easy."

"Moony, we've been together since we were eleven. There's nothing I don't know about you. There's nothing you don't know about me. We've just proved we're damned good in bed together—and it's going to get better with lots of practice." He blushes and I smirk. "Why can't this work?" I ask, completely serious. And I don't mean that as a pun on my name. Really. "Some relationships are built on less."

He rubs his chin with his forefinger and stares at me for a long, long minute. "You've used the word 'relationship.'"

It hits me like a ton of bricks. I did use that word. I'm not breaking out in some kind of allergic rash, either. The next instant, the realisation hits me: "We've always had a relationship, Moony. We're just making it formal."

He laughs. "What will we tell James and Lily? And Peter?"

"We tell them —" I stop because I'm not quite sure what we tell them. And then I look down, letting my eyes slide over a body that I've only begun to get intimate with, down those long legs that were wrapped around me last night, and I make another decision. "Next rule: no socks in bed."

"That's what we're going to tell them?" Remus sounds like he's trying not to choke on his laughter. "That the next rule is 'no socks in bed?'"

"Prat."

"Wanker."

"Tosser."

And suddenly, he leans over and kisses me — hard and fierce. And then our hands are moving, caressing and grabbing in places that obviously like to be caressed and grabbed, by the way that our bodies are reacting…

He pulls away from me to tug off his briefs — and his stupid socks — but as he leans back over me, he whispers, "I finally found a way to shut you up."

I'm a fast learner. I discover that there are many ways to make Remus Lupin shut up — and some of them make him moan with pleasure too.

PLEASE review, even if to say "It doesn't suck too badly." My self-confidence needs a boost.