I. Sitting Room of the Shrieking Shack

He wakes screaming. Or it feels like waking, this merciful, agonizing shift back to humanity.

Remus opens his eyes to sunlight and Sirius. Who should've left hours ago with the others. "What - "

"Relax." Sirius's smile contradicts his weary eyes. "I stayed Padfoot until just now."

"Right. That'll be really helpful if there was a dormitory check last night. You know how paranoid - "

"I didn't want you to be alone. Some bloody gratitude."

Sirius kisses him, angrily. And Remus is grateful down to his last drop of tainted blood, down to the marrow of his aching bones.

II. Classroom

" - dismissed from the Wizengamot and served five years in Azkaban. His successor - "

"What? Five years?"

Shut up, Sirius, Remus thinks. Let it go. Doze off as usual.

"Five years in Azkaban for shagging a bloke? That's what you meant by 'unnatural vice,' yeah?"

"Er . . . " says Binns, and starts gabbling about the Wizards' Council.

"What were you thinking?" Remus asks after class. "D'you want everyone to know?"

"Why shouldn't they?"

Sirius the rebel. Am I a stand that you're taking? Remus wonders, kissing him. Unnatural together, defiant amidst the dust and outworn books.

III. Kitchen

"I believe," Sirius says contemplatively, "that we've created the most disgusting soup in wizarding history."

"Only wizarding?" Remus examines the glutinous brown mess. "Evanesco."

"Well, those Muggles, who knows what they get up to."

"Mmm. Do you reckon Lily might - ?"

"I don't think newleyweds cook. They just stand in the kitchen and snog." Sirius gives him a long, slow smile. "Come to mention it - "

They're not newlyweds, but newly something. New to this privacy and the slow exploration it permits. Kissing up against the sink, then naked on the floor, and they never do eat dinner.

IV. Another kitchen

In his skeletal hand, Sirius brandishes the fork like a wand. "He stayed purple for three days! And Lily wouldn't speak to James for weeks." He laughs, creakily. Rustily. "Remember, Moony?"

"Oh, yes."

"So it really happened? All these memories are . . . and I . . ." The fork drops with a clatter. "Fuck this, fuck it, just kiss me, would you?"

Remus hasn't dared to touch him.

"I forgot," Sirius says as Remus crouches beside his chair. "I forgot us."

Remus tried, and couldn't. He kisses Sirius, and kisses him again, wondering how many kisses equal forgiveness.

V. Bedroom

Remus hears, distantly, a woman shrieking. "Damn. We woke your mother."

"You woke her. You were" - Sirius licks his ear - "screaming." He turns his head and yells, "Can't hear you, mother, I'm too busy fucking my boyfriend!"

"I really hope nobody from the Order is downstairs."

"Let 'em hear."


"Him especially. Hey, Snape, you virgin - "

A kiss muffles him. "I'm tired, Sirius."


Silently, they stifle a quarrel. They're together too seldom for that.

"Sleep," Sirius orders.

"You too."

Sirius doesn't, he knows. Sirius lies awake holding him. Holding time, while it slips away regardless.