And the stirring of wind chimes

In the morning

In the morning

Helps me find my way back in

From the place where I have been

-Joanna Newsom, Emily

1. PROCEDURES AND PATTERNS

In muggy and unforgiving July, clothes peel off of backs like well-worn stickers and bodies submerge into the Prussian blue abyss.

In soporific and snug August, no one ventures outside and there is only the occasional rustling of wrinkled sheets as skin intertwine.

In aloof and brisk September, warm apple pie drips down chins and his tongue follows the trail until it stops at the beginning of his scarf and he has to move it aside.

In blustery and honeyed October, nimble legs carry bodies far, away from the impending frost.

This morning, Remus tastes like old Earl Grey, a lingering flavour so like him that it only intoxicates Sirius even further. But this is neither the time nor place, because one of Molly's old aprons is still tied around his slowly deteriorating waist and the aroma of fresh and crisp buttered toast still did not permeate into him.

That has been the rule for every meal; Remus cooks and Sirius cleans up.

The weather outside is overcast and feels like a thunderstorm sometime during dinner. In this inexpensive neighborhood perpetually in the doldrums, the entire street is full of a tranquil ease that overcomes everything else. Neighbours wave hello to each other, and strangers lend a dime or two in the line of a grocery store.

Languidly, he holds Sirius' eagerly wandering face in place with one hand and says something about having to go out to buy some decorations to brighten their dreary and austere flat. "After all, James and Lily are visiting in a few days with Harry."

He doesn't reply to this, instead choosing to just kiss him quietly.

2. WHAT IS LEFT

It is barely 1:07 in the morning, and yet Black and Lupin are already alone in some friend of a friend's obscure bedroom. It is definitely a college student's bedroom, with cans of beer bumping into toes and strangely whimsical porn magazines scattered around the bed.

Black was a relatively close friend of Carson, the broad-shouldered bloke who was hosting the party, but Lupin was a lost cause and had somehow warped himself there, with Missy (he did not ever recall knowing a Missy) and her phone number scrawled on his right hand, smeared.

Outside, vintage rockabilly tapes are blasted from a stereo, but the sound is muffled and barely audible through the locked door and the tightly shut window. There is the occasional and obnoxious thud of a tennis ball, or a giddy scream of a drunken teenager. Brisk September howls and claws at their window.

Through the chaos, the two are lost in a heap of heat and sheets. When two girls are pushed into the pool, Remus pushes Sirius further into the welcoming and forgiving mattress. When a cocktail is poured angrily on a cheating boyfriend, they pour all of themselves into each other.

Three doors over, another couple sheds their clothes, and down the hallway to the right, there's another, it's not anything new or extraordinary.

Smooth and strong fingers are pulling at the thick fabric of his sweater, hard knuckles brushing over his abdomen. Like a shrewd sculptor, he examines Lupin carefully, this untouched slab of marble or granite, and grins toothily. A new specimen ready for him to scrutinize and inspect; reserved, especially for him and the quiet darkness of the unknown bedroom. At least, only for tonight.

3. OLD RHYMES & NEW TIMES

Say Fenrir and I were strolling to whatever errand we had to do, with my quivering fingers snug in one of the pockets of his stretched and shabby coat. Say it was late December, when the cold got to even the most heavy of bones, but the wind is the last thing on my mind. Say I've forgotten all about you.

With every occasional gritty kiss roughly placed on my skin, another memory of you was slowly smudged from the parchment.

With every low chuckle that vibrates from his chest to mine, the jokes we used to tell fade a little more and appear more foolish.

Say that at the crosswalk, I saw glimpses of you at the other side, hunched over trying to light your cigarette with the wind beating on your back as cars sped in front of us. And if I had recognized your steady gaze on us (how close we were standing, his hot breath on my neck as he whispered something), maybe we could've managed to patch things up. I had to admit that you were beautiful for those few moments, though you were as emaciated as ever, seeing that weary face was anything but unfamiliar. But even without words, I'm sure that when you saw me squeeze his hand affectionately while we passed each other (your eyes low on the ground), you would realize that it would just have been impossible any other way.