Originally posted: 7 January 2009
Title: Take Me Out Tonight
Summary: It's the Marauders' first Christmas outside Hogwarts, and Sirius has always been studious when it comes to presents.
Word Count: 1 885
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters; I'm just playing around a bit.
Author's Note: This was my contribution to the Secret Santa exchange Michelle and GG hosted. This was written for Samantha, who did enjoy it, to my great pleasure. Huge thanks to bell for the beta! (And like Samantha guessed, the title comes from the The Smiths song There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.)
The fact that Sirius had ever wished for a white Christmas seemed quite insane at the moment.
If flying through sleet-filled clouds made his limbs feel frost-bitten, he didn't even want to think about how it would feel if it was snowing. The trench coat and scarf didn't maintain much warmth and he could've left his gloves and boots at home and not noticed the difference. He vowed to never go on a long-distance flight with his motorcycle again - at least, not in the middle of the winter.
The Findanywhere Compass that was attached to the handlebars started to glow blue, indicating he was near his destination. Sirius looked at it, grimaced and then braced himself before diving through the cloud below him.
Without the clouds obscuring his vision, Sirius could now admire the view that was Blackpool from above. It was a splendid sight that reminded him why he'd bothered getting a flying motorcycle in the first place. Rubbing his arms, Sirius surveyed the terrace house district underneath him, searching for Remus' house - two rows east of the playground, six houses to the left.
When he finally found it, he turned off the headlights and cast a silencing charm on the engine before diving further, mindful not to get caught in any light from the streetlamps. All the windows in the Lupin home were lit, but Sirius chose to hover in front of the topmost left one: Remus' room.
Sirius took off his helmet and leaned forward, peering into the room, and smiled when he saw Remus bent over his old, worn guitar. He was jamming by himself, trying out different chords. He kept pausing to push up the sleeves on a red polo-neck Sirius had never seen before. Sirius watched for a minute or two, but when Remus remained oblivious to his presence, he rapped his knuckles against the window.
The little furrow between the eyebrows was still there when Remus looked up, but disappeared when he did a comical double-take. Sirius snickered as Remus just sat there, wide-eyed and slack-jawed, before hastily putting the guitar aside and hurrying to the window.
The window was yanked open and a puff of blissfully warm air hit Sirius. Remus leaned out of the window, supporting his hands on the sill.
"What- How- You-" Remus shook his head. "Bloody hell, Sirius, it's Christmas Eve. And how did-" He broke off and frowned again. "Is that your motorbike?"
"Yup," Sirius said and grinned brightly up at Remus. The cold didn't bother him nearly as much anymore.
"How come it's flying?"
"With the help of a certain Miss Evans," Sirius said with a wink.
Remus stared at him. "Lily? The same Lily who promised to hex your balls off if she ever caught you doing something illegal again?"
"The very same. Apparently shagging Prongs rots certain parts of your brain. I barely had to work to convince; I think she even was eager!"
Remus closed his eyes and held up his hands in a stopping gesture. "Please, shut up - you're distracting me. Alright. Now, tell me why you are here." Only after he said this did Remus open his eyes again.
"I want to take you for a ride." Sirius smiled at Remus, trying to look as charming as he could. He didn't want the whole flight from Bristol to be in vain. Remus, however, just looked blankly at him.
"I want to take you for a ride," Sirius repeated. If only he could get Remus to consider it, he knew he'd be able to convince him...
Remus kept looking at him and then started chewing on his lower lip, averting his gaze. Sirius held his breath, clutched the helmet tighter in his arms and tried not to stare too avidly at Remus' mouth. "Come on," he cajoled. "I promise I won't drop you in the ocean."
Remus hesitated for a few more seconds before he glanced over his shoulder, into his room. Sirius saw how his lips twitched. Remus finally met Sirius gaze again and he had the Moony the Marauder twinkle in his eyes, the one that promised he was up to no good. On the inside, Sirius was cheering and pumping his fist in the air in victory. Outwards he merely grinned.
Remus grabbed one of his ugly, oversized cardigans and was in the middle of putting it on as he climbed out of the window. "We can't be gone for too long, or mum and dad'll know I'm gone."
"Cor, aren't you of age already?" Sirius asked with a snort as Remus manoeuvred himself onto the rear seat.
"Not if you ask them, no," he said, putting the extra helmet on, and Sirius could practically hear him smile. Sirius put his own helmet on and Remus wrapped his arms tightly around Sirius' waist. Sirius stepped on the accelerator and as he rose to the sky, he wondered how he ever could have felt cold.
They flew for about ten to fifteen minutes. Sirius kept them beneath the clouds so they could enjoy the view, and thus didn't freeze quite as much as he had on his way over. Remus seemed to be cold, though, for he was so close that his chest pressed flush against Sirius' back and his hands had somehow found their way under Sirius' coat. Sirius had to swallow as Remus' fingers clutched his jumper and unwittingly pulled at it.
"I'm going to dive now," he called over his shoulder as they soared above a small district.
"Alright," Remus replied, his breath fluttering against Sirius' neck, just before Sirius dove.
The street they landed on was deserted; a car was parked by the pavement and no lights were on in the small, densely placed houses. It felt a little eerie, being the only living people in sight on a winding street illuminated only by the streetlamps. What assured them that the world hadn't ended after all was the soft background noise of the city.
Sirius parked the motorcycle in front of a shop and dismounted, his legs stiff with cold. He hung his helmet on the handlebars and, without looking at Remus, turned to the shop.
"I think they're closed," Remus pointed out, still sitting on the motorcycle.
"Just come over here," Sirius called back, now by the door and working a key-ring out of one of his pockets. His fingers were quite uncooperative and numb.
"You're not breaking and entering, are you?" Remus asked from behind him, a faint note of reproach in his voice.
Sirius sniffed. "I'm not that stupid," he said and showed Remus, who was now beside him, the keys before unlocking the door. As he opened it, he took out his wand and lit the shop with magic. The ceiling lamps flickered on and revealed the interior: the shop was tiny, slightly shabby, and crammed to the point of bursting with LPs, neatly sorted into shelves and sorted by genre and artist.
Sirius purposefully didn't look at Remus, staring fixedly at the wall right opposite him. "I know the bloke who runs the place," he explained. "He owes me a favour, and... Well."
Sirius glanced quickly at Remus. His expression was one of disbelief and delight, and quite a bit of surprise as he surveyed the shop. Sirius nonchalantly leaned against the doorway, putting his wand away.
"So. Pick whatever record you want. Or two. Or however many you want. Just tell me which they are, so I can leave Noel a list."
Remus turned his head and looked back at Sirius.
"Let me get this straight," Remus said, pale eyes widened for the second time that night, but his voice even. "You rented a record shop for me, on Christmas Eve, and on top of it, you're giving me records?"
"That's... one way to look at it," Sirius said and scratched his neck in what he hoped was an off-handed manner.
Remus kept staring at him, then covered his mouth with his hand and shook his head. Sirius could see the crinkles around his eyes, however, and the twinkle in them. Remus mumbled something that could've been, "Thank you," and went into the shop, brushing against Sirius as he did so.
Remus spent a good while inside the shop, looking through the records with meticulous care, a small smile gracing his lips the whole time. Sirius waited right by the door, watching him and not feeling bored at all.
Eventually Remus decided on Elvis Costello's Armed Forces and Andy Mackay's Resolving Contradictions - Sirius refrained from commenting that his love affair with Roxy Music was bordering on obsessive - and Sirius jotted the names down on the scrap piece of paper Noel had left for him. When Sirius had turned off the lights, exited the shop and locked the door, he found Remus leaning against the facade of the shop and smoking.
"Cigarette?" he asked and offered Sirius the pack he'd been hiding Merlin-knows-where.
"I'm trying to quit," Sirius said and there was a distinct whining tone in his voice that almost made him wince.
Remus smiled and raised an eyebrow. Sirius huffed and took the offered cigarette, not meeting Remus' eyes.
"Your Healer training has addled your brain," Remus said breezily, smiling a little. "Cigarettes are not dangerous, and they haven't let me down yet."
"You almost choked on your first one."
"I deny everything."
They stood there, side by side next to the shop's wall, smoking and gazing up at the sky where stars shimmered here and there. Remus still had his new records tucked securely under his arm and Sirius was toying with the keys in his pocket. The background noise of cars and people and music was heard, the sound of a city, but it still seemed oddly silent. Remus and Sirius were the only ones on this small, one-way street.
Sirius liked that.
"Do you know what I'm wanting right now?" Remus said suddenly.
"Warmth? Daylight? Everlasting peace between wizards and Muggles?" Sirius replied glibly and the corner of Remus' mouth twitched.
"Snow." He turned to Sirius. "There's never any snow on Christmas, have you noticed that?"
Sirius let out a bark of laughter. "You should be bloody happy it isn't snowing," he said, with a nod towards the sky. "You freeze your arse off up there as it is - just imagine how cold it'd be if it was snowing."
Remus kept on looking at him, and then smirked almost lazily. "Well, lucky for me I have you to keep me warm, then," he said, his voice a tad lower than usual. He dropped his cigarette to the pavement and put it out with the sole of his shoes. He walked towards the motorcycle and halfway there he turned around. "You coming?"
Sirius blinked, forcing himself to stop following Remus' movements with his eyes, and nodded, hurrying to the vehicle. He had barely sat down before Remus wrapped his arms around him again. Remus had already shrunk the records to put them in his pocket and they had their helmets on, so Sirius started the engine, which purred this time.
They took off from the ground, and as they soared over the rooftops, Sirius wondered if he could get away with taking the long route back.