A/N: Well well well, it has been a while now, hasn't it? And so to start off the summer i come bearing fic. It's something of a sequel (sequel here being used in the loosest sense of the word) to Dark House, By Which Once More I Stand which really means that it's of a similar style and the title is a continuation (and ergo, from Tennyson).

Warnings: Slash and incest, though the sex is surprisingly implicit this time round.

Because the summer heat is languid and damp like the sheen of his brother's flushed skin.

Here In The Long Unlovely Street

i. 1976

Summer is heavy against the windows, a languid press of heat and the cloying scent of the roses in the garden, when Sirius stands in the hall and, watching the contemptuous curl of Regulus' red lips, says clearly I'm leaving. There is a stifled moment of silence as they glare at each other and they carve an image of desperation into the house's hushed memory, a sculpture of brothers hovering, poised, on the polished wood floors. And then Sirius jerks forwards and his hand fists Regulus' hair before he forces their mouths together in a cruel slide of sharp teeth and wet lips and he smiles when Regulus makes a muffled noise as his fingers curl around Sirius' collar. Sirius slams his brother against the wall and presses his fingernails hard against Regulus' collarbone hoping he'll leave scarlet marks; and then just as abruptly he pulls away and drags the back of his hand across his mouth. I hate you Regulus spits and Sirius' laugh is like the hissing of serpents, like the crackling of the logs burning in the fire grate and crumbling to white-hot ashes.

ii. 1977

Summer is sticky this year, heat-mottled and damp like the sheen of his brother's flushed skin in the incandescent twilight. Sirius stands in the doorway of the flat for a moment, rattled by the unexpected appearance of his brother on the threshold, and then he pulls Regulus inside by the collar of his shirt and slams the door shut. Sirius steps away, puts solid distance between them as if that is tangible enough to stop him noticing how Regulus has grown taller, how his cheeks have become hollowed, as if that is enough to let him ignore how his chest aches. And then Regulus steps forwards and presses hard against Sirius, twisting his arms around his brother's neck and burying his face against the familiar scent of home. Sirius cradles Regulus' skull and gently touches his back and Regulus' mouth is damp against his neck, fingers clutching convulsively at his shoulders. And these are the things they don't have the courage to say, the whispering touches that are too soft, too full of purpose. When Sirius lays Regulus against the cold sheets of his bed, they are slow and quiet and Sirius kisses Regulus' shivering skin, presses his mouth to his brother's pale wrist.

iii. 1980

Summer is raging, violent and damp in a crush of long days and airless nights that taste like copper and discomfort. Sirius stands in the close heat of a London back alley and listens to the throb of his pulse in his ears. His head is a chaos of masked faces and flashes of light and his mouth is a tangle of brutal spells and words like help and Prongs and fuck. The war hasn't even started yet, not really, but already he is tired, already he wants out; already he dreams of blooded faces and empty eyes. And then he pitches forward and his fingers clutch at the rough brick wall as he retches into the gutter, coughing and gasping on stale air and sour bile. He falters, unsteady, and crouches down, closing his eyes and resting his forehead against the brick that has absorbed the day's sun and is still warm like the lick of flames, like the brush of skin. He sucks in a ragged breath and digs his nails into his palm. His brother has been missing for three weeks now and the heat keeps him from sleeping at night.

iv. 1986

Summer is the acrid taste of still air, heavy and tinged with the sharp tang of salt, and the muffled slap of the sluggish grey water frothing against stone walls. Sirius sits in a darkened corner with knees drawn to his chest and hands like white spiders against his dirty robes; his lips are cracked and raw red as they shape around indistinct words that rasp like the slow leaves in the garden back home. He thinks of home and his skin feels too tight; his fingers ache and burn like the scorch of the sun that never quite reaches through the tiny window and he has to press his sharp nails into his flesh to know that he can still feel something more than the angry blaze of his thrumming blood. The stifling days are long and at night he can't stop from thinking about the slow curve of his brother's smile and the straight line of Regulus' back. He thinks about the taste of Regulus' blushed skin, the rough drag of his laugh, and when he finds his face is damp he pretends it is from the slick press of the summer heat.