Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Remus wasn't listening to Sirius. He was shaking his head, tawny strands falling into his face, as though he was denying the possibility that his best friend had returned and that he wasn't alone anymore.
"You're home!" Remus cried, wrapping his arms around Sirius' neck in a desperate hug. Sirius clung to his friend just as urgently, glad to have found someone who could stand to be so near to his repulsing scent. Instead of drawing back and wrinkling up his nose, Remus buried his head in Sirius' neck and breathed in his dusty smell, familiar and common to both Remus and the wolf.
Sirius thought he had steered clear of trouble as he wrapped his arms around Remus' frail form, but a second later his friend pulled from his embrace and gave him a harsh slap on the face, almost like a mother reprimanding her child for coming home after their curfew.
"Ow!" Sirius whined, clutching at his reddening cheek, "Bloody hell, Remus–"
Before he knew what was happening, Remus had whipped out his wand and held it underneath Sirius' chin threateningly. Defensiveless, Sirius raised his hands wordlessly, trying to flash an innocent smile to the werewolf.
"You think you can stomp into my house after killing my friends without any explanation and just a courtesy hug? Maybe Peter fell to that trick, but I sure as hell won't, Sirius Black!"
"Woah, woah, woah, and woah!" Sirius rambled hurriedly, shuffling an unnoticeable step away from Remus. The wand seemed to follow him dangerously.
"Maybe I miss heartthrob of Hogwarts Sirius Black but I don't miss serial killer Black who has been locked in Azkaban for years! Explain yourself!" Remus barked.
"Moony, just chillax, I'll explain everything–"
"Then start!" The wand dug into his chin harshly and Sirius yelped.
"It was Peter, all right!"
Remus stared at his old friend for a minute, tilting his head scrutinizingly before he tutted incredulously, "Oh, ha ha ha ha!! Blame it all on poor, innocent Peter, huh?"
"He's still alive, Remus! He tried to put the blame on me, you have to believe me!"
A few minutes of dead air passed through the two of them. Sirius sighed, "My arms are starting to get sore, can I put them down now?"
Remus nodded curtly, "Stay here," he muttered commandingly, running off into the depths of his flat. When he returned, he had a vial grasped firmly in his fingers.
"Veritaserum. It's good to keep it in the house for situations like these. Now get in."
Sirius feebly put his hands up defensively as he skirted through the doorway with Remus' wand still pressing into his back like a dagger grazing his skin. He stumbled almost headfirst onto the couch.
"So," he joked weakly, managing a faint smile, "is that a wand in my back or are you just happy to see me?"
Sirius could almost feel Remus blushing crimson behind him. The pause of a response meant only one thing, and it was a clear attempt to hide humiliation. Sirius smiled to himself.
"On the couch. C'mon." Remus finally ordered, giving him a gentle push with the wand.
Once he had seated himself, Sirius folded his grimy hands together in his lap and waited patiently for Remus to speak. Remus pursed his lips together similar to a rigid old lady disapproving of a foolish little boy.
"Mouth open." He commanded shortly. Sirius' lips fell apart.
Remus gingerly slipped a few drops of the potion on the black-haired man's tongue, watching him scrutinizingly for a clear swallow.
"All right then," Remus began curtly, the aura of a businessman lingering on his tongue, "How did you escape Azkaban?"
Sirius could feel the Veritaserum trickling down his throat like icy gel maneuvering through his insides. The words were slipping from his throat almost as though someone was forcing his mouth open with a hammer.
"I transformed into my Animagus figure and slipped through the bars. I swam the rest of the way to reach here. That's when the Ministry caught me."
Remus, clearly satisfied with the answer, nodded mutely and bit his lip before he reluctantly asked his next inquiry.
"Did… did you kill James and Lily Potter?"
"No," the air in the room immediately tensified, "Peter Pettigrew is responsible for their murders."
Remus stared at the floor in silence before he heaved a deep a sigh, "Peter… Peter Pettigrew is dead."
"Incorrect. Peter Pettigrew is missing a finger. He is currently in rat form."
"Why did you come here?"
"I need your help." Sirius replied in a dull, monotone voice. He could feel the sparse drops of Veritaserum already wearing off.
"Why would you need my help?"
Shaking the last ounce of Veritaserum off of himself, Sirius shivered slightly and stared expectantly at Remus. "It's complicated."
Remus got up from the couch as he realized that the potion had worn off. Taking a rattling breath, he rubbed at his temples and hastened toward the kitchen.
"Would you like a sandwich?" he asked to Sirius.
Sirius blinked. Eyebrows to his hairline, he sauntered over to the countertop and shrugged, "Would be nice. Haven't had a decent meal in a while."
"Obviously." Remus nodded mutely, reaching for the bread stacked up on the counter.
"Uh… so is that it? You're just going to dismiss the topic of Lily and James completely?"
Remus nodded again, staring icily at his friend, "I have the answer I need. I don't want to press on it anymore."
Sirius shrugged, shuffling over to take a seat on one of the kitchen stools. "All right… I'm… I'm just happy to see you."
The tawny-haired man smiled briefly, "It's not one-sided, Padfoot."
Sirius smiled at how easily the nickname rolled off his friend's tongue. As his eyes fell upon the lavish sandwich Remus was creating, he vaguely felt his mouth watering. He hadn't tasted well seasoned meat in years. He was pretty sure that his taste buds were dead from lack of flavor.
"Ham or turkey?"
"Uh. Ham." Sirius answered dazedly, watching the in-progress meal like a hawk.
"So why are you here, Sirius?"
"Oh," the awkwardness was clearly not mutual. If there was uneasiness in Sirius' voice, it went by undetected from the werewolf, "Uh. I need to ask you for a favor."
"There aren't enough galleons in the world to bail you out of Azkaban, Pads."
Sirius chuckled, "It's not that. I can… I can stay out of Azkaban. Permanently."
Promptly, in an almost comical situation, Remus dropped the butter knife. "What?" he cried, "But you're practically an outlaw!"
The dark-haired man chortled, rubbing awkwardly at the back of his head, "If I leave the country."
"They don't want me in England anymore."
Remus took a deep breath before he leant over the counter and grabbed Sirius' elbow comfortingly, "It's all right. It's okay, I'll go with you. I've already lost my friends, I'm not going to lose you again."
"I'm not asking you to go with me." Sirius explained.
"I need you to pretend to be my wife."
"What the – what the hell, Sirius?!"
"Oopsies," Sirius brushed his fingers over his mouth innocently, "husband."
Remus started aggressively spreading the butter over Sirius' sandwich, his eyebrows knitted together incredulously.
"Wh – why?"
"Because if I have a family, I'm allowed to stay here." Sirius expounded, his fingers drumming impatiently on the countertop.
"Wow," Remus muttered, "Yesterday, I didn't even have any friends, and today I have a husband?! I'm not a damn queer, Sirius!"
"Sure. Wearing a ring and maybe getting a bit blue around the knuckles is totally not worth keeping your framed friend out of a prison proven to convert normal wizards and witches into insane maniacs because of the bitter effects of icy dementors." Sirius shrugged sardonically.
Remus scowled at him, thrusting the sandwich to him vigorously. "You're mean," he growled, "but… but you're right."
"So you'll be my husband?"
"You look way too eager, Pads." He mumbled, shaking his head, "It's like Azkaban made you want to settle down. Creepy."
"Thanks for ruining my amazing proposal."
"Sorry," Remus mumbled shortly, "but fine. I'll be your glorified partner-in-crime with marriage fraud. But if you call me your wife, I am out of here."
"Deal," Sirius bit hungrily into his sandwich, mumbling through the pieces of meat maladroitly, "Are we going ring shopping later?"
Remus wrinkled up his nose, "The moment you take a shower."
"There! I like that one."
Remus played with two rings on his thumbs, twisting them up to meet the light. He frowned skeptically at them, "What's better, the silver band, or the gold band?"
"How about this–" Sirius offered enthusiastically, waving a thick ring underneath Remus' face. It donned an extremely cliché sparkling pearl and heart-shaped diamond encrusted in the middle.
"I like the silver one." Remus answered for him, critically examining the gold band. "But the gold says more marriage. Oh, I don't know. What do you think, Padfoot?"
"I think I should check out the duct tape."
"Uh, excuse me?"
Sirius pointed fixedly to the rings in Remus' palms, "You're being such a girl about this, Moony! Just pick one. I want to get out of this stupid jewelry aisle."
"If you didn't want to seem effeminate, you shouldn't have pretended to be gay." Remus growled, finally stuffing one ring box back onto its shelf. He waved the silver band in front of Sirius' face.
"Made a decision?" Sirius pressed sweetly.
"Yes. And be happy, because I chose one of the cheapest ones."
"Uh… ten pounds?" The black-haired man asked incredulously as he played with the price tag hanging off the ring.
"They'll rust and turn green in a week, but they get the point across and are cheap as hell." Remus tossed two duplicates of the ring into their shopping cart.
Sirius grinned a dazzling bright beam to his friend, hooking an arm securely around his shoulders, "Remus Lupin," he praised, "you are a brilliant genius."
"Not anymore," the werewolf responds dryly, "I agreed to marry you."
AN: I mentioned this to everyone in my Torchwood story, but I'm mentioning here to all of you loyal guys that you should all friend me on livejournal! I've had my lj for a long time now, but I've never really taken care of it until a little bit ago. SO, I am telling all of you to check it out, friend me, and read around!! :D
Love to you all! :P